Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Club - Meeting #281 - Ebbs and Flows

“A rule sometimes broken is better than no rule.” – Herman Wouk

Hello all.  Welcome back to the Disciplinary Couple’s Club.  Our weekly gathering of men and women who are in, or interested in being in, Domestic Discipline relationships.

First off, welcome again to Elizabeth and Jeanne. Thank for you for participating, and this is an ongoing invitation for more Disciplinary Wives to participate.  Of course, the possibility that always worries me is that some of the “women” who drop by here are not, in fact, women and are, instead, spanko men pretending to be women.  Our little pest Sean/Jack often pretends to be a woman, somehow missing that inane posts are inane posts that reveal it is him whether he’s calling himself Sean, Jack or Susan.  And, I’ve had a few indications lately that even some of our longer term posters might not be what they seem.  It’s disappointing, and part of me wishes this blog was set up more like Aunt Kay’s DWC, where the website was public but real participating hinged on admission by Aunt Kay, which might include a short phone call to verify the bona fides of the participants. But, that would, of course, blow my own anonymity, which I’m not really ready to do at this stage.  So, I hope for 2019 we can foster some genuine conversations and that the people engaging in them are being more or less genuine about who they are in terms of gender and disciplinary role, what kind of relationship they are really in, etc. Hope triumphs over experience . . . 

In addition to the live trolls like Sean, I seem to have picked up some renewed interest from the annoying automated spam bots.  I've been getting inundated with the same stupid fake comments that became a problem last year, involving generic praise for the blog that then tries to lure you into some kind of response or link.  One I particularly loved over the holidays said something to the effect of, "Hi. Thank you for such an inspiring post.  Can I share this on my own blog, as my readers share some of the same interests and I would like to share with them your compelling piece." It was posted on my notice that the usual Saturday post would be delayed by a day.

I hope you all enjoyed the first full week of the new year.  Mine was an instant wake-up call and reminder about the general futility of planning anything.  Without going into details that might be too revealing, I came into the year with a game plan for delegating more and pulling back a little on my own hands-on work, both because I feel like I’m coming up on the stage of life where I want and need to do that, and because I need to make room for the people under me to develop and grow and move up.  So, I had this whole plan to get together with my lieutenants and lay out that goal, but one of them beat me to it with an announcement of a major move in his own life that threw all my plans for his role out the window.  A day later, there was an organizational announcement that may result in me taking on a different role that will require a major time commitment, more travel, and generally a faster pace in 2019 than I had in 2018, which is exactly the opposite of where I saw things going.


Worse, these developments both conspired to cause me to very quickly blow one of my New Years resolutions.  I had committed mentally to throwing myself into one of the latest fads – Dry January.  No alcohol for an entire month.  At first, my prospects for living up to it seemed surprisingly good.  Even though we were on vacation for the first several days of the new year, I stayed away from alcohol despite a confluence of opportunity and temptation. Then, when I got back to work along came these two developments from below and above, both of which were made known to me by someone walking into my office at 5:00 pm, announcing they needed to talk about something, and suggesting we grab a drink to do so.  Now, I could have explained that I was happy to join them but would be nursing a “near beer,” but particularly in one case it just didn’t seem appropriate, because the conversation was with someone who I’ve been close to for many years, and he clearly needed to talk genuinely and openly.  Having a beer together is how we have always done that.  So, although I’m not wild about breaking my resolution, sometimes abstract rules and plans have to yield to the needs of real people in real relationships.  Or, at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 Paradoxically, despite tripping up on that resolution right at the outset of the new year, and despite 2019 seemingly heading off in a very different direction than I had planned, I’m feeling pretty good about things.  I’ve been exercising regularly. My diet has been pretty consistently healthy.  My strength and overall health are quite a bit better than this time last year.  I’ve always been a chronic insomniac and, yet, I’ve been sleeping surprisingly well lately.  Part of this seemingly well-balanced internal state is probably the after-glow of a vacation, but some is also attributable to conscious choices, like meditating more and trying to take every day slightly less seriously.  It seems to be working.



So, what does all this have to do with Domestic Discipline?  Perhaps not much.  Except that, my perceived need for discipline and boundaries and giving up control are inversely correlated with how calm and balanced I feel at that particular point in time.  There are kink aspects to this thing we do and for many of us there also are compulsions that go deeper, including the need to give up control, the need to have some external restraints imposed on your behavior.  Where your motivations fall on that spectrum, between the desire for kink and the desire to be taken under someone’s control and made to behave, probably determines whether you see yourself as a “spanko,” a “submissive,” or as a “disciplined husband.” 

I’ve never contended that this desire of mine that I recognized pretty late in life—well into my 30s—is “normal” or reflective of a well-balanced mental state.  Quite the opposite.  My personality has always been intense and lacking in balance.  While I discovered DD late in line, it was kind of like finding a new drug to treat a long-running illness.  I am pretty open and accepting of the fact that my driving need for accountability and boundaries is not “normal” or “healthy,” though in a weird way the discipline itself does promote better mental and emotional health, because Domestic Discipline  is for me a kind of psychological medication that balances out what are some fundamentally unbalanced personality traits.  My friend Jane over at https://ashrewtamed.blogspot.com has characterized those of us with this bent as having somewhat “disordered” personalities.  Her view is that being disciplined and subjected to someone’s authority provides some of us a means of ordering our emotions and mental processes that, for whatever reason, we can’t quite sustain on our own most of the time.

Which is kind of where I am going with this week’s post.  Ebbs and flows in our interest in all things both kink and disciplinary inevitably is going to ebb and flow depending on what else we have going on in our lives, the relative level of distractions and, frankly, our hormonal cycles and on a variety of other factors.  (Yes, we men do have hormonal cycles that affect our overall level of sexual desire, kinky thoughts, etc.)  For me, it also depends a lot on how balanced I feel at that point in time.  Last year was kind of a meat grinder, so my desire to be kept in check ran very high for much of the year.  Right now, I don’t feel like I need it as much.

But, and here is a serious kicker, now that I have consented to this kind of relationship, the level of intensity isn’t just up to me.  Anne has her own desires, needs and motivations.  She may very well be interested in ramping things up, and that’s fine, particularly with respect to the “kinky” aspects of DD and FLR, as opposed to “real” discipline.  Right now, when my mental state is in better balance, I don’t feel a compelling need for her to impose boundaries, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still find it very sexy for her to do so.  And, while right now my behavior is pretty well in check because my mind and emotions are in good shape, that doesn’t mean I might not stray and break some rules or do something to piss her off.

I could ask whether you go through ebbs and flows in your interest in Domestic Discipline, but I would be shocked if any of you do not.  The question for this week is, do you see any patterns in the triggers for those ebbs and flows? For the recipients, are there times you need discipline more than others?  What role does being stressed out over work play?  I can see it going both ways.  When I am under the gun and trying to get a bit of work out the door, discipline is the last thing I need as stepping away from work at an intense point in time may just make things worse.  However, when work is just chronically stressful, discipline and boundaries are very welcome and necessary.  For the Disciplinary Wives, are there times you are particularly into your role, and others where you lose interest, and are there particular things that trigger those ebbs and flows in the interest level?

I hope you have a great week.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Club - Meeting 280 - Reporting & Monitoring


“I don’t need any new resolutions, since last year’s are all still good to go.” - ZM

Hello all. Welcome back to The Disciplinary Couple’s Club.  Our weekly on-line gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, a Domestic Discipline relationship.

I know this post comes a little late in the day. That may be the new norm.  I keep finding that I have other responsibilities much of the day on Saturday, so my new plan for 2019 is to be a little less rigorous in getting the blog done, as other things in my life sometimes do need to take priority. 

I hope you had a good week.  I finally got some serious time off.  While work was slow the last quarter of the year, that’s not quite the same thing as actually taking time off.  I probably should have put that on my list of resolutions for 2019: Relaxing more and just enjoying the scenery.  Though, I’ve read that on average of the de-stressed feeling following a vacation wears off after ten days or less.  I’ll do my best to stretch that out a bit.  In the meantime, I come back tanned, rested and ready for 2019. Without revealing too much about our holiday, it involved a little of this reaction on my part:


Speaking of resolutions, this week’s quote (above) comes from ZM’s comment to last week’s post.  Just about fell out of my chair laughing.  And it hit way too close to home for comfort.

To kick off 2019, let’s talk about reporting.  It is a subject that came up several times over the last couple of posts, in connection with both consistency and resolutions.  Therefore, it seems particularly appropriate for kicking off a new year, one in which we try to improve our behavior and performance consistently.  


On the issue of the extent to which self-reporting should be a part of a Domestic Discipline relationship, there was a wide range of views expressed.  Alan kicked off last week’s discussion by observing:

“I offer a resolution I won’t make but should make: I resolve to self-report more often and more promptly behavioral issues that might result in discipline. I am not going to make that resolution because it would utterly fail and I know it.”

Perhaps at the other end of the spectrum was a comment from Elizabeth from a couple of weeks ago:

“He has to confess, and he does that by keeping an honest and complete journal. Those of you who are unwilling to come clean and instead are expecting your wife to find out about all your misbehavior are living in a dream world. It's dishonest and disrespectful.”

Unlike Alan, I did make a resolution to report more consistently, though my view of reporting is somewhere between his and Elizabeth’s.  I said in a reply to her:

“I get what you are saying and agree in general with the distinction. But, I do get what Alan is saying, too. For whatever reason, some of us who are wired like this just do better when control is taken out of our hands as much as possible, and self-reporting does—for whatever reason—feel like keeping some degree of control. Now, as a practical matter, I think that’s just the way it has to work in adult relationships. But, what we crave is the note from the teacher or principal telling mom or dad we had gotten spanked and school, knowing it will mean a second one at home. And, knowing that if the note didn’t make it home, we’d get it even worse when the truth inevitably came out. I’m not arguing with your point, as I think it really does reflect the inevitable reality that getting ratted out by others is unlikely as adult, and expecting a wife to detect and deal with every offense on her own also is not realistic or helpful. But, the psychology for some of us really does seem to involve wanting to be taken as far out of the control loop as possible, while also wanting the discipline to be consistent and rigorous. I suspect you can have or the other, but not both.”


My view really is somewhere in the middle between Alan and Elizabeth.  In addition to being concerned about his chance of living up to a self-reporting resolution, Alan sees self-reporting as a form of “topping from the bottom.” Also, his wife is not really interested in it and may want to maintain control over dialing things up and down, and he likes her having that control and feeling like she is the one imposing things. As I said above, I totally get that and feel it myself.  For me, the very perverse attraction of DD has always been heavily wrapped up in both hating and needing boundaries.  Because I do hate them so much, I need them to be imposed from outside, and part of me craves being taken well outside my own comfort zone and being really subject to someone's hard, rigorous authority.  The more I am responsible for keeping things moving, including by reporting my own bad acts, the less the whole thing meets my need to have control affirmatively taken away from me. It's why I still get butterflies thinking about how schools used to send notes home after a spanking there, knowing it would result in a second, harder spanking at home that night; it's the way the whole thing is taken out of the recipient's control. 


But, on the other hand, I think Elizabeth is right that few wives are going to sign up to rigorous behavior monitoring and, thus, if the husband is not going to report regularly, any chance of discipline becoming a regular and sustained part of the relationship is diminished. Few of us have third-parties to rat us out and our wives don't have crystal balls that allow them monitor our daily misdeeds at work and outside the home.

[As an aside, where I don’t quite agree with Elizabeth is that if a man does not always report his bad behavior, it means he is playing games or not serious about the relationship.  As I said in a post about this a couple of years ago, there is one obvious impediment to more rigorous self-reporting: while confession may be good for the soul, it is not so good for the bottom of a truly disciplined husband.  In fact, in several years now of running this blog, I think the only folks I’ve heard say something along the lines of “if you aren’t reporting fully and completely you are playing games,” are (a) husbands who admit that they are in FLR or Femdom relationships in which whatever spankings they receive are not really full-blown punishment spankings; or (b) the Disciplinary Wives who, most often, have never been on the receiving end of the kind of punishment spankings they dish out. On the other hand, the men who tell stories that have the ring of truth about receiving real, true punishment spankings ALL seem to appreciate the challenges of being forthcoming when you know what that may bring.]

Now, that said, I do recognize that as much as my fantasies may involve Anne taking the reins fully and not needing any kind of reporting from me, as I said to Elizabeth, that probably isn’t realistic if I want to see real improvement in behavior and performance, and while I may want boundaries to be imposed by someone else almost against my will, I also need them to be consistent. As ZM said last week:

“It seems that most everything that I feel needs to change stems directly from my undisciplined life. If I had to make a single resolution for 2019, it would be that I want to learn how to live a more disciplined life. It would greatly reduce the stress and anxiety that I experience, and would also lower the stress of those around me as well and make our family more financially stable.”

Amen, brother.  So, as much as I know it will result in a bottom that is more sore, more often, I know I need to report more regularly.  And, I think it would be good if Anne gets into keeping better track of those things that annoy her and piss her off, both to increase her own sense of authority and to address the concerns Alan and I both have that self-reporting subtly reinforces a level of control on our part that negates some of what we need/want from this relationship.   

The imperfect but practical solution may be something Elizabeth brought up a couple of weeks ago that had already been on my mind. She observed: 

“We developed consistency over a number of years. It was based on taking advice from Aunt Kay's site about having a weekly Reckoning. And keeping a journal in between the weekly sessions. I think that any submissive husband who keeps a journal of misbehavior is more likely to get regular discipline from his disciplinary wife. At 1st my husband kept a journal. After a few years I began keeping one as well because I wanted to keep track of the issues that he was less aware of.

As I've discussed, at the very beginning of our DD experimentation, I kept a notebook in which I tracked each agreed-upon offense and tallied up the minimum number of swats we agreed to.  I still have the one we initially used, and I took a look at it a few weeks ago. What I didn’t remember was the extent to which she would comment on particular offenses, hand down her sentence, and document when the punishment had been carried out.  We didn't keep that system in place very long, because she quickly got over the need for establishing some minimum number of swats.  But, I think we both knew that reporting had its benefits. Over the years, we have tried other systems, like sending her emails with a daily/weekly journal, kept in a password-protected file.  But, the journal is not a great vehicle for simply reporting offenses, as it is more of a “stream of consciousness,” contemporaneous check-in on what was going on, driving me, stressing me, etc.  The entries can be long and detailed.  

I've also tried more succinct reports. Over the last few months, I worked on a couple of reporting formats (including one modified from a form Glen sent me), including weekly summaries . . .
 

and daily reports for particular offenses.

 

But, we have never implemented these in any regular way, probably because I am not diligent in using them.  And, while reporting electronically or in forms that are reviewed and then disposed of is undoubtedly more secure than a paper journal that might be found by prying little eyes, that is less an issue for us these days.  So, our old “offense-only” journal and the failure of my other efforts got me to thinking that maybe a simple, paper journal that she and I both use to keep track of things might be the way to go.  Therefore, for Christmas I gave her a small, leather-bound journal as a stocking stuffer.  My current thought is it will reside somewhere in her office, where both of us can access it and enter offenses as they occur. We do, however, still need to talk and agree to the logistics around how it will be maintained consistently, when we will go over it, etc.  Again, it needs to be something simple.  Elizabeth explained her system as follows:   

“Frank has a small spiral notebook that fits in a pocket. He carries it everywhere, and he is required to enter every date, even if there are no misbehaviors. Next to the date he writes the specific behavior that we will address, such as "2 extra drinks at lunch business meeting," or "forgot to do dishes last night" or "left socks on the floor" or "did not put car in garage last night." There is nothing else in the journal. Our week starts Saturday morning because Friday evening is our reckoning. He strips naked and sits at my feet while I review his list and mine. I assign implements and strokes for each transgression.  Establishing a regular system like this makes it very easy for me to be his disciplinarian.”

So, aside from what we've already discussed, any ideas on what an effective reporting routine should entail?  For those of you have implemented a reporting or review system, how does it work? What do you keep track of?  Does it cover only agreed-upon offenses, or is it more flexible?  Do both parties have a role in documenting and formally tracking the misbehavior?  Does it cover work-related issues or only relationship/household stuff?  And, most importantly, have you been able to do it consistently and, if so, how?

I hope you have a great week.