Saturday, September 12, 2009
Whispering the 'P' Word, Part 2
The preceding post surveyed various methods of “Punishment Lite”—none requiring the wife to lay a finger on her guy. “But what,” I asked in closing, “about the wifely right to bear arms?”
In wife-led marriages, some wives emphatically do (use corporal punishment), a lot or a little, some wives don’t at all, some are averse, some squeamish, some just a wee bit curious about it. I’ll include a few quotes from across that spectrum, from both wives and husbands.
Rationale for Reluctant-to-Punish Wives
Here are a few provocative exchanges between two wives, the first curious but hesitant, the second a confirmed believer in not sparing the rod. They are excerpted (with cyber-names removed) from the original Venus on Top Yahoo forum, precursor to the She Makes The Rules message board.
First Wife: “Recently he has been getting disobedient as if he is testing me and wants me to punish him… I have wondered if spanking might be an option worth trying? I'm not sure I could hurt him though… I believe having it as a threat rather than a regular thing would be enough after having done it once. Maybe also occasionally to show him who is in charge.”
Second Wife: “The major obstacle in my mind [to using corporal punishment] wasn't a fear of hurting him so much as a reluctance to treat my husband like a child. (After all, I already have four children. I don't want to "raise" my husband. I want him to be my partner.) However, I now consider it an invaluable tool in our FLR. I now use spanking not as a means of ‘teaching’ my husband so much as I do a means of expressing my own displeasure. When he steps out of line, he knows there is a price to pay and, consequently, thinks twice about his behavior. Spanking has produced wonderful results for us over the years.”
(Several days later)
First Wife (thanking Second Wife for her advice and encouragement): “I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be doing this [spanking] but I'm OK with it if it helps our relationship. He needs this. It feels strange at the moment but I'm sure I will get used to it.”
Second Wife: “I am so delighted that you have come to terms with the idea of correcting his behaviour. I fully appreciate that punishment is not part of everyone's relationship. However, where he feels that it is needed and you are comfortable with using it in order to correct behaviour, I think it can increase the bond between you. You are telling him how important he is to you. After all, you love him, your husband, enough to use a tool he wishes you to use to make him the person you want. He wants to be a better person for you and you are helping him. When he has behaved badly, you have not simply turned away from him in disappointment, you have engaged with him to make him better.
“You are discovering the joys of having your needs/wishes/views respected and satisfied. Consider that both you and your husband have agreed that these will be respected and satisfied and you are simply helping both of you achieve what you both want.
“Yes, it can be hard work but I find using my hand and alternating with something else can ease the work. And doing it more often can ease any physical tension you feel and help you build up a steady rhythm. However you decide to punish him, make sure he fully understands what he did wrong and how you feel about his disobedience and why you want to punish him in this way.”
Punishment as Catharsis
This has already been touched on. But, as is often the case, I think Fumika Misato makes the point most succinctly:
“Spanking can be very cathartic for both parties. Men are particularly fond of enduring physical pain in their devotion to love or in the service of an important cause. For men enduring physical pain can be a powerful symbol of manhood. All the more when that pain is at the request of their love.”
This husband seems wholeheartedly in accord: “What I find very hard is the grumpy not-talking-to you punishment. I would rather corporal punishment over that anytime, especially if it came with verbalization of the issue.”
“A prompt hard spanking can help restore harmony,” another husband remarks: “Reducing her husband to a sincerely remorseful, tearful boy is cathartic for her and, I believe, tends to bring out her natural maternal instincts. By that I mean, her tendency to want to forgive and express her love. ‘Honey, I had to punish you because of your behavior, not because I don't love you. I'll always love you, but I'll always correct you for misbehavior.’
“Her nurturing side comes out and this is satisfying for her. For the husband, he has ‘paid the price’ in a very obvious way. The price that has been determined by his wife as the cost of her forgiveness. He is off the hook as far as guilt goes which, at least to me and I'm sure many others, is extremely important. He should cry tears not only of pain but of emotional release. For the spanking to be truly cathartic, I believe those tears are necessary.”
This from another husband in SMTR: “My Princess spanks me when she feels it is necessary but it is very much a last resort after everything else has failed. I know I have upset her deeply when she says I am to be spanked and I take the punishment gladly because I know I deserve it and I feel terrible for disappointing her. Neither of us enjoys it but it draws a line under my disrespectful behavior and enables me to then refocus on pleasing her and making up for my misdemeanors. Afterwards we reaffirm our love for each other and move on.”
Which draws this approving feminine response: “I like particularly the point about it drawing a line under the matter. I think it is so much better than nagging. The matter is over, done, dealt with and the parties move on. As you say, afterwards you reaffirm your love for each other. For me spanking is all about restoring the balance in a FLR. If I am offended, upset, I need something that will reconcile me to my partner. I do not want to carry around my annoyance because I believe that this could mar the relationship.”
Then, weighing in on the topic decisively, come two of the authoritative leading ladies of She Makes The Rules:
Anne In Charge: “Imagine if [your wife] just let this anger brew over several weeks without addressing it. Then, one day you do something small that bothers her and she explodes. You stand there stunned with no clue as to why. This is what happens in many vanilla marriages where the husband is clueless and the wife is frustrated. Instead your amazing wife has resolved this conflict and you'll have completely moved past it within a few days. Thank her by completing your punishment and moving forward with a deeper love and respect for her.”
QueenBee: “Punishment really DOES work. It does clear the air and releases the stress from both of you.”
As parting shots on catharsis, let’s hear from two husbands, one who gets spanked, and one who only wishes he did:
Gets Punished: “My wife punishes me when I have done a stupid thing and when the punishment is over she feels better and there the anger or grudge is over.”
Wishes He Did: “There have been times when I wished she would just spank me to get it out of her system. And there have been times when I almost said that to her.”
Punishment as Attitude Adjustment:
Confession: I’m a typical won’t ask for directions guy, often refusing even when I’m obviously lost and directly ordered to do so by my exasperated wife. I find it easier to simply drive around endlessly, hoping to blunder into the right way.
One wife, driven far beyond exasperation when her husband refused to pull over at any number of motels, finally ordered him to pull over, took the wheel and stopped at the next lighted motel. Then…
“Once in our room, I lit into him and gave him a darn good spanking, surprising him and myself. I felt that he hadn't been listening and in refusing to stop, made for an unsafe and scary drive. Since then, I have a small flogger keychain in the car's glove box, and he knows when I take it out, that I'm putting him on notice about his driving habits.”
For a similar offense (and probably not a first offense), another husband lose his driving privileges for a time.
SMTR’s Anne in Charge explains this kind of wife-imposed attitude adjustment: “Sometimes, you guys need to be taken outside of your own little self-controlled comfort zones and be made to think about things.”
And for an apparently growing cohort of in-charge wives, spanking is the quickest way to accomplish that—taking hubby outside of his self-controlled comfort zone and making him think about things. Many other wives, of course, balk at the notion of putting palm or paddle to hubby’s nether regions.
How to cure such wifely squeamishness? The advice of a female supremacist calling herself Litia is short and to the point: “’Oh my God, just spank him! The wives who say they will never do that always end up eating their words after the 14th time they're getting ready for bed and the dinner dishes aren't done. When you start to see or hear him slack off and you begin to be required to do his chores, sooner or later it will come to you that all who came before you as women of loving authority knew what they were talking about. Spare the rod and you spoil it all.”
And, yes, for a militant minority of female authoritarians, the instrument of choice for attitude adjustment is not the hairbrush or paddle, but the whip. The mere threat of this fearsome punishment is usually sufficient to correct any recalcitrant husband, for example:
“Last night, we took a long walk to the grocery store instead of driving and my wife told me that she did not like my attitude and if I did not change it right now, she would adjust it with the whip when we got home. I reevaluated my attitude right then. I KNOW she would carry through on her threat and we are not talking about a sensual whipping.”
Another word for attitude adjustment, of course, is “training.” Hence, on many female-led websites you will see links to various books about how animal training techniques can be successfully employed on husbands and boyfriends. No-nonsense titles like these:
* How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers by Karen Salmansohn
* The Boyfriend Training Kit by Tanya Sassoon
* Husband-ry 101, How to Train Your Husband to Be the Spouse You've Always Wanted Him to Be by Michael H. McCann
And the sagacious Fumika Misato, goes into considerable depth of behavioral or operant conditioning of the male on her seminal website, Real Women Don’t Do Housework.
Does this sort of wife-administered Pavlovian regimen work? You darn betcha, at least according to this guy: “It is strange that, while I don't really want the corporal punishment my wife delivers, at the same time I can't think of a better feedback mechanism to improve my general behavior and performance of my duties.”
This, of course, links to the topic of weekly performance evaluations, which were covered in an earlier two-part posting, “Weekend Update.”
Punishment as Revenge (and Therapy)
Every now and again, as you explore the online resources about loving female authority in all its manifestations, you will come across another category of female-to-male punishment. These are punishments administered by women, often strong feminists, as a kind of therapeutic “revenge by proxy”—using a boyfriend or husband, who may be faultless, as a kind of whipping boy or stand-in for the entire male population for years, decades, centuries or millenia of perceived masculine or patriarchal sins, i.e., “sins of the fathers.”
Elise Sutton, while clearly condoning this kind of vicarious exercise, does suggests that it does not meet the standards of Loving Female Authority:
“Once you enter into a relationship with a man that you care for, discipline and corporal punishment will become less about taking revenge on the male gender who mistreated you and more about loving female authority… That is not to say that you still cannot express your aggressive side and take out some of life's frustrations as you dominate the man you love, but it will take on a different dynamic… You may desire that the man you love stand in proxy for other men who have mistreated you, but your love and compassion as a woman will temper your discipline as you combine strict discipline with nurturing.”
Have I exhausted the no-longer-verboten topic? Not quite. I think I have just about enough for one more posting.
End Part Two
(To be continued)