Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Years Eve to all of you.  As longer-term readers know, I usually start each year with a long-ish entry on goal setting, how I performed over the last year, and identifying some concrete resolutions for the upcoming year.  As JGirl over at Taming of the Shrew blog says in her most recent post, this years primary goal is going to be something about balance.  In what I hope is a positive sign, I have absolutely no idea what specific resolutions I would put around that, as I've been too busy goofing off this week to come up with any, and I don't feel any particular need at this very moment to come up with a list of things I want to change, fix or improve.  Instead, I kind of feel like leaving things a little open to whatever happens.  As it inevitably will and instead of resisting it, I hope to allow for the possibility of being pleasantly surprised.  In fact, one reason I'm not spending a lot of time coming up with specific career and work goals for 2018, is I wouldn't mind being in something very different by year-end and so, while I want to continue to out-perform in my current role as long as it lasts, I don't want to be so focused on goals related to that role that I don't stay mentally and emotionally open to letting something entirely new take me in an entirely different direction.

I do hope 2018 brings a deepening of the Domestic Discipline aspects of my relationship with my wife and a stepping up in her confidence level and willingness to take control.  Being the goal-setter and list-maker I am at heart, I probably will spend some time in the next few days coming up with specific things I would like to see us do to help bring those goals about, but right now, I just don't feel like it.  So . . .

Goodbye 2017.  I hope each of you have a great very Happy New Year and a great 2018.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas

Christmas is a season not of rejoicing but of reflection.  - Winston Churchill

Is it just me, or has 2017 seemed like a total meat grinder of a year?  Politics.  Hurricanes.  Politics that feel like a never-ending hurricane . . .

Even so, as I reflect on the year that is about to pass, I give thanks for a few simple things.  All my immediate family made it through the year in one piece, as did most of our extended family.  With one exception, most of our family and the important people in our lives are healthy.  None of our close friends or family suffered health or financial calamities.

I realize these are all low bars, and yet they aren't. I was reminded of that a few days ago, when I was having a few medical tests run (nothing serious -- it just kind of sucks getting old, though that's way better than the only other alternative).  After checking in, a nurse took me to an examination room, and left the door ajar.  As I was sitting there waiting for the doctor to come in, I overheard a conversation between two of the nurses.  One told the other that she was feeling emotional and had seen three patients that day who  had almost made her cry.  She said the last had been an old woman who was in bad health and was there to have some x-rays taken after a fall.  The old woman had told the nurse that she hoped she would die before the holidays were over and, in fact, really hoped she would pass that night.  She said that she was 89 years old, in chronic pain, and didn't have friends or family to take care of her.  In fact, she didn't even have anyone to take her home after her tests. As I listened, I had a hard time holding back my own tears, and the conversation stuck with me as I left, and is obviously still on my mind several days later.

So, as we all run around buying those last minute gifts, let's all think a little about what a blessing it is to have people in our lives to buy those gifts for.  And, maybe do something nice for a stranger who may not be as lucky. I remember last year around this time I pulled up to the drive-through window at Starbucks and started to pay for my coffee, only to be told that the woman in the car ahead of me had already paid for it.  I'm going to spend the next few days looking for opportunities to do little things like that.

We are going to be taking a vacation until after the New Year, and my current plan is not to post during that period, though I could get bored and change my mind.  In the meantime, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Forum - Vol. 233 - After Effects

"What we have here, is a failure to communicate." -  Cool Hand Luke

Hello all.  I hope you had a good week.  I can't say I accomplished a whole lot with mine.  It seems like pretty much everyone around me is as unmotivated as I am and just sort of shuffling our way slowly to the new year.  And, there is nothing wrong with that at all.  Usually at this time of year I am either overwhelmed with work to the point that I barely notice the holiday season and certainly don't have much time to enjoy it, or I am in a panic that I don't see much on my plate for the upcoming year and I make myself nuts looking out over the horizon and praying for the next big project to come in.  This year, I seem to be in this sweet spot where my group does have something of a workload, but a lot of the real work isn't expected to come raining down on us until well after Christmas.  It's nice.  Though, the season also presents a bad combination of plenty of opportunities to misbehave but limited opportunities for her to take me in hand.  I am, in fact, feeling a little worse for the wear this morning after attending a holiday party in the neighborhood.

I also committed a major DD faux pas.  The party was thrown by a couple we hang out with who are definitely not teetotalers.  The drinks were flowing freely, and I wasn't consuming at a faster pace than anyone else or getting out of hand. But, my wife decided I should be cut off, so she told me I had had enough.  I complied for a while, but 30 minutes or so later I poured myself another glass of wine.  So, on top of drinking enough to make myself feel less than spry this morning, I disobeyed a direct command.  I haven't faced the consequences of that yet, but they may prove to be significant.
We didn't have a deluge of comments on last week's topic, but I thought that some of what we did get led to some high quality discussions.  Which is always the goal.  I really liked this from ZM:

It is perhaps strange to think of DD punishments as being a communications tool, but at least for us that is exactly what they are. When she chooses to communicate to me in this unique way (which connects in the most power way with my deep-seated fantasies) it really gets through to me. And as the "conversation" rolls around in my head in the following days, since I simply can't stop thinking about it, I have noticed that it really has a positive effect on not only my behaviors and attitude, but also it changes some of my selfish and at times just plain wrong thinking patterns.

I didn't think of it that way when I first came across the concept of Domestic Discipline.  I thought of it mainly as a tool for correcting behavior.  However, over time I've come to believe that while it can serve that purpose effectively, the extent to which it actually does so is a function of a lot of factors, including not only the severity of the punishment but also its certainty.  Unfortunately, certainty is hard to achieve, because "real life" so often gets in the way.  Nevertheless, I've also come to believe that it has major benefits even if the underlying behavior is repeated, because it empowers the wife to express her dissatisfaction in a very tangible way.  It clears the air and, for at least a time, may produce real feelings of contrition.  In other words, it has that value that ZM identifies, i.e. a means of communication.

I also liked Anna's observation that there may be a self-reinforcing cycle in these relationships, such that Domestic Discipline is the initial focus and used to correct behavior, but as the wife gets more comfortable with exercising her authority and "communicating" via her paddle or strap, the relationship trends toward an FLR, and then the disciplinary aspect may increasingly involve spanking that obstinate male need for control right out of him.  That resonated with me, as it does reflect to some extent the arc of our relationship.

This week's topic comes from Glenmore, who sent me the following:

I just read your brief but effective account of your most recent spanking and it is pretty clear what the post spanking effects are on you , at least physically , but was interested at what the emotional , behavioural and other post spanking effects are on both the husband and wife.

For the husband , how does it feel to walk around for the next few days with a sore behind and visible marks left by your wife? Do you feel ashamed, perhaps proud, relieved and are you more likely to be better behaved and be more respectful of your wife? Do you feel a power shift in favour of your wife for a short time?

For the wives , do they feel satisfied, proud, more powerful or in charge?I notice my wife is more confident and assertive for a while after the spanking she has delivered. I wouldn't say she gloats about it but she does love to tease, commenting on any marks, or asking how sore my bottom is, etc. If I do something she doesn't like, she will drop comments like ,"Would you like more of what I gave you the other night?" or "There is lots more where that came from?"She also teases me if she finds me wincing or squirming when I sit afterwards.I'd be interested if this is common , or do other hubbies wives simply spank and forget as if it never happened.

I'll kick off the discussion.  I would say my most immediate reaction after a hard spanking is, perhaps not surprisingly, relief that it is over.  I also almost immediately feel significantly more calm, with my background level of anxiety dropping, which can last for several hours or even a few days.  While I'm sure some of that comes from a release of endorphins, I think it goes deeper than that.  I've talked before about the paradoxical sense of freedom that can come with an absence of choices. While I am a natural rule breaker, there is a certain comfort in knowing there is an aspect of my life that I do not get to control -- that she can and will take over and impose consequences on me when I fail to do the things I need to do in order to avoid bad consequences.  It makes me feel more secure in a weird way, knowing that there are lines she will not let me cross or at least that she will make me very sorry that I did.  I also feel an increased sense of respect and admiration for her.  While I was not an early spanko like most of you, I have always been attracted to strong and confident women, and the more strict my wife is with me, the more attracted I am to her.

From her perspective, she has told me she definitely does feel empowered, but she says a lot of that feeling arises not from the spanking itself but from ordering one, telling me to get ready, and watching me drape myself over the ottoman or the bed or the back of the couch, at her command.  She is a very visually-oriented person, and she says there is something very powerful for her in issuing the command to get into position and then watching me comply.  She will often follow up the next day, asking whether I'm having trouble sitting comfortably.  She will sometimes express disappointment if I am not well-marked the next day, sometimes commenting, "I guess I didn't do my job very well."  Unfortunately, I think that is just a fact of life at this stage, because I do not get bruised to the same extent I did when we were first exploring DD.  A hard paddling once was guaranteed to leave me with a bruised behind that would show for several days, but that is rare these days.

Now, the one she gave me last week did, in fact, leave some prominent marks on one cheek, and I almost outed myself as a result.  In fact, I don't know for sure that it stopped at "almost." I caught a cold last weekend and was feeling pretty miserable most of the week.  The day after my spanking, I went to the gym in the morning before work, which is my usual practice.  I was pretty careful when disrobing and getting dressed to make sure my well-marked butt was not on display.  I went to the gym the next morning as well, planning to hit the steam room to try and bake the virus out of my system.  By that day, the cold had settled in my sinuses, which I swear results in my IQ dropping by 20 points.  I was feeling pretty awful and my head was just not in the game.  I disrobed and wrapped myself in a towel and headed to the steam room -- and only then realized that I had not taken any precautions at all when getting undressed and donning my towel. There had been some period in which I had dropped by pants and was standing there naked before wrapping myself in the towel.  The locker room was not packed, but there definitely were a few people walking around.  I do not know for a fact that anyone saw my bruised behind, but I also don't know that they didn't.

Have a great week.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Forum - Vol. 232 - Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.
Hi all.  Sorry for the delayed posting.  I woke up with a cold, but in the interests of full disclosure, I also had a very nasty hangover.  We had a holiday party last night, and a very merry time was had by all.  I'm finally feeling almost human again, so I decided to get off my lazy ass and do some posting.

I'm not quite sure how to characterize this week's topic, but it extends from a couple of comments on last week's by Bart and Alan.  Bart's comment was:

Dan, while we have been married many years and have been engaged in DD before we knew there was a name for this, the conflict between Sylvia and I regarding limits has been an ongoing challenge. While I recognize that initially the punishments were a result of my needs, she soon decided that spankings were effective and useful for her as well. Over the years there have be instances where I have objected to the reason she had given for a particular punishment, and also the severity. I have protested very vigorously to mouth soaping which I hate. In the end I have always submitted and the knowledge that she decides the extent of the punishment has as she posted changed my behavior. It’s not just cursing that brings out the Ivory soap it’s also mean or spiteful dialogue .she has threatened me with a spanking in front of her sister but that has never happened.

Alan replied:
That is really where the rubber hits the road, when she punishes consistently as to the behavior and she decides why it happens, when it happens and where it happens, and you realize you really can't stop it. Why was the hardest for me for a long time because I thought we had a clear understanding of what was punishable behavior. True at the theory level but not true at the interpretation level.Over the years I have been spanked many times when I sincerely believed I didn't deserve it.But ironically that is a big part of what makes it work and what I need.At some deep level we are unable to self discipline and so we turn that over to our wives. She decides and I obey and it works.

As I replied to Bart:   

This comment kind of cuts to the core of what I'm talking about when I draw a distinction between "real" DD versus BDSM with DD trappings. From what you say, you objected to the severity and sometimes the reason, but you acknowledge that the behavior changed. Similarly, you hate the mouth soaping, but it she wants to change the behavior, doesn't it require something that you are truly, genuinely adverse to?
Again, I'm not sure exactly how to label this topic, but something along the lines of, have you had that "where the rubber meets the road" moment Alan referred, to where the punishment became, for lack of a better word, "real," such that it became something you really, truly wanted to avoid?  As most of us who contribute here know, we have some weird attraction to this lifestyle, and most of us literally asked for it.  And, as the caption above says, we want a spanking (or other punishment) that is bad enough that we really do not want it.  Has she taken you to that point -- to the point where you genuinely do not want this thing that you put in motion?  And, has she hit the point Bart refers to, where she decides the disciplining you serves her needs as much or more than hers?

My wife and I have been doing this for a long time.  I don't recall exactly when we started, but it was something like twelve or thirteen years ago.  Yet, it was really only a year or so ago that I feel like we hit both of those points.  The first happened largely as a result of new tools.  For me, it involved rubber hitting not only the road, but my ass. I bought a couple of rubber straps that were just excruciating.  They hurt so badly, for the first time I would really, truly dread what was coming if she ordered a spanking.  She ended up deciding to discontinue using them, because they had too much of a tendency to break the skin. Not in a major way, but enough to bring a spanking to an end before I had received the full measure of punishment she wanted to deliver.  But, the dread remains because she really did crank up the level of her paddling in general.  And, I also ordered some custom made paddles that seem a lot more painful than her old one.  

It also seems like her own dedication to Domestic Discipline has increased in the last couple of years, probably because we consciously took things in a more FLR-oriented direction.  I can't say that aspect really took off in a major way, but I think it gave her a taste of real power and control that went beyond merely spanking, and it felt good.

Tell us about your experiences.  Has your DD relationship reached a point where the spankings are something you truly seek to avoid?  And, while we're at it, what about Bart's discussion of mouth soaping?  We have not done that, and I hope she never does.

Have a great week.  Counting down to Christmas!

Delayed Posting

Hi all.  I caught some nasty bug yesterday and can't get my head together to post anything worth reading.  So, I'm going to push the weekly topic off to tomorrow.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Vol. 231 -- Limits

"If we do not wish to be ruled by a coercive authority, then each of us must rein himself in." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Hi all.  I hope you had a good week.  I really do love this time of year.  For once, we put our Christmas decorations and tree up right after Thanksgiving without delay.  We weren't the first in our neighborhood, but close.  I had to go on a business trip this week, and when I came back, a good portion of our neighbors had their lights up.  It really does change my mood.  Though, not necessarily my behavior.

In fact, one problem with this time of year is there are no shortage of opportunities to get in trouble and misbehave, while the "real life" distractions that get in the way of her correcting such misbehavior also increase. Work parties, parties with friends, family members more likely to be around . . . It all can create the perfect storm of temptation unchecked by immediate consequences.  

But, my own wife does seem more focused on correcting my behavior than is sometimes the case.  It's taken such a long time, but I feel like she has finally really internalized the notion of Domestic Discipline as a "go to" way of taking care of disputes and getting more of what she wants out of the marriage.  As Anna said last week, it gives her a way to take real action, then let the resentment go.  No matter how much short-term pain that may mean for my bottom, it is so much better than passive-aggressive silences or pouting.

Anyway, last week we discussed limits.  It was a good discussion, and it is interesting how many of us really want something more than spankings for bad behavior.  It's really the verbal dominance, lecturing, setting of boundaries, etc. that we crave.  As much or more than the actual act of being disciplined or its after-effects.  It's also clear that one of the biggest impediments for the wives is the "trial and error" involved in figuring out how hard should hard be, how hard is too much, etc.   Of course, ironically, many of the men seem to really want her to step up her level of control and dominance in ways that don't directly involve the spanking element of these relationships.  So, she could safely step it up in those areas, without any concern about whether she is spanking too hard or not hard enough and with no risk that a punishment is excessive in any physical sense.  It would be interesting to extend this discussion to address whether there are ways to encourage the wives to take that next step and start displaying real confidence as the Head of Household, setting rules, being more verbally commanding, etc.

Regarding the trial and error issue, one thing we did early on that really helped us both was combining self-reporting offenses with a pre-set minimum number of swats for each offense.  Instead of leaving her to have to guess at how rigorous the punishment should be, with all the self-doubt and concerns about hurting him "too much" that can go along with a wide-open system, setting a minimum "floor" for the session took a lot of pressure off her.  In fact, it reduced the whole thing to a very simple mathematical exercise.  And, because the spankings were delivered with a wooden paddle, the combination of a minimum number of swats, added up cumulatively by offense, meant that small offenses and few offenses over a week resulted in a fairly mild session that reflected the generally mild misbehavior, while if the tally got high . . . well, I had no one but myself to blame. In fact, I recall to this day (many years later) that the first real glimmer I saw of her really embracing Domestic Discipline, as opposed to just accommodating my desire to experiment with it, was when I had a particularly bad week, and the tally got up into the mid-double digits for the first time.  I added them up and said something like, "I don't know if I can take that many swats," and she replied, "Well, then I guess you should have been better behaved, because you are going to take that many swats."  It was a real turning point in some ways.

This week, I also wanted to talk about the flip-side of wanting more, i.e. are there limits to that for you?  Or, since so many of us seem to be at the point of wanting "more" in almost every sense, are there things you think should be off-limits? 

Because so much our our own dynamic has been caught up in wanting her to be more assertive and more strict, we haven't spent a lot of time talking about anything that is "off limits."  It's also a matter of being together for such a long time, we don't really need to spend a lot of time talking about those kinds of things.  We know what pushes each other's buttons and what areas are especially sensitive.  So, most of our limits are more mundane.  Where spanking itself is concerned, what "limits" there are have, unfortunately, resulted from the kind of "trial and error" that does seem to be kind of inevitable.  Most of it has been around instruments.  A while back, I became enamored with rubber straps and ordered several.  Once we tried them . . . all I can say is . . . OMG!  They hurt so, so badly.  I don't know why they hurt so much more than leather, but they do.  Now, one "positive" outcome of that was, for perhaps the first time ever, I came to really, really want to avoid getting spanked.  But, those instruments also were by far the most likely to result in a spanking being terminated early because of excessive physical damage to my butt.  I don't have a lot of padding back there, so the skin is very tight and prone to injury anyway, and the rubber had a high tendency to result in that kind of injury.  It was counterproductive to the whole process, because she would terminate the spanking well before she felt I had been truly punished.  So, we got rid of most of the rubber implements, other than one lighter weight strap that doesn't seem to be as risky.  

Now, in other ways she has not accepted my suggested limits.   I have told her several times that if part of the goal is to get me to tears, she should consider more of a warm-up, so I don't go immediately into "take it like a man" mode in which I just try to get through the spanking.  Yet, she never really adjusts her approach and, instead, goes hard from the first swat to the end.  I think it is a conscious choice that for her, taking me to that place of cathartic release is only a secondary goal, at best, and her first priority is to make sure I am well and truly punished for the bad behavior.  

Most of our other limits are really more around the more FLR-oriented aspects of the relationship.  They really aren't even boundaries, so much as harder-wired reflections of who we are as people.  For example, I would have a real problem if she tried to micro-manage anything related to my career or, god forbid, try to push me to take that career in a really different direction.  Work is just so core to who I am as a person, I wouldn't take kindly to someone telling me what to do in that area of my life.  Now, I'm fine with her giving me some DD-related incentive to perform better and to cause less churn in my work environment through my temper or lack of self-restraint, but that is really about enhancing performance in the direction I myself have set.  In reality, it's hard to see this as a "limit," given that she doesn't have any desire to tell me what to do about my career, so it's really not an issue.

We also seem to be on about the same page regarding other aspects of the relationship that might present boundary issues for other couples.  Neither of us have the slightest desire to explore cuckholding, for example.  If she decides to experiment more with enforced chastity, I would comply even if I'm not wild about the idea.  I would actually be OK with her being more openly in charge in front of the kids and even in front of others.  So, that seems to be more of a limit for her than for me.

So, what are you limits? What are hers?  And, are there areas where the limits clearly exist but one or both of you see that limit as something that should be overcome?

Have a great week.