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Domestic Discipline and a NEW YORK TIMES Article

Finding the Courage to Reveal a Fetish
A Domestic Discipline Society is happy to have been the first to share this with our blogland friends! Thanks to one of our ADDS discussion group members for bringing this to our attention so quickly.
There are so many people who are, or have been, struggling with the dilemma of sharing their feelings on the subject of how to tell their loved one.
Have you considered coming out of the closet with your lifestyle choice? This was posted and shared on a A Domestic Discipline Society discussion group and I wanted to share it with everyone. Have we begun to go mainstream in our lifestyle choice? It would seem like we are edging that way a little more every year. Below you'll find an article published by the The New York Times. Yes, that New York Times. Of course it is being presented below in it's original form for ADDS readers to enjoy and share their thoughts and opinions.

New York Times

      Finding the Courage to Reveal a Fetish
by Jillian Keenan a freelance writer in New York City

DAVID doesn't remember this conversation, but I won’t forget.
“Nice belt,” I said, gesturing to the red canvas belt around his waist.
We had met a few weeks earlier through a Stanford student group. He was quiet and broad-shouldered. I liked him right away.
“I have a leather one, too,” he replied, smiling.
I was thunderstruck. For as long as I remember, I’ve been fairly obsessed with spanking. This obsession felt impossible to share, so I was always hungry for cues that someone could relate. David’s remark was innocent, of course, but I was so desperate for understanding that I imagined connections everywhere.
 “You’re in trouble!” a friend once declared when I playfully stole his textbook during a date.
“Really?” I asked, hope rising.
He started tickling me. The relationship was doomed.
I had long assumed my life partner would share my kink. At 17, I met my first boyfriend while living abroad. He was 24 and so comfortable with his sexual identity that on our second date he asked whether I had “ever received a severe spanking.”
His question took my breath away, and our next 18 months were essentially an extension of that first electrified moment. By the time we broke up, I had come to accept that a shared fetish was a necessary part of any future relationship.
But David, it turned out, is “vanilla” — the word the spanking community uses to describe people who don’t share our quirk. I was disappointed, but it was too late: I had already fallen in love with him.
My dilemma was clear: how could I describe my desires to David when I could hardly confess them to myself? Spanking fetishists don’t have a tradition of coming out. The comparisons to child abuse and spousal battery are inevitable, upsetting and often impossible to dispel, so it’s easiest to keep our interest private.
In 1996, Daphne Merkin examined her own fascination with spanking in "Unlikely Obsession" for The New Yorker. Her confession raised such a controversy that it was still being mentioned this year, when one writer concluded that its “take-away was, something is wrong with Daphne Merkin.”
Even popular books and movies link erotic spanking to severe psychological trauma. In “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Christian Grey’s passion for erotic pain is a result of extreme childhood abuse. The 2002 film “Secretary” suggests that the main character’s spanking obsession is merely a preferable alternative to self-mutilation.
So what is a nice girl (who also happens to love being spanked) supposed to think? More pressingly, what is she supposed to say to her brand-new boyfriend?
At 20, I confronted the situation indirectly; I went to a college party, steeled my nerves with cocktails, and breezily told David’s roommate that I was “kind of into S & M.” It worked. A few nights later, David asked, “Are you, like, into pain?”
“Um,” I said, blushing. “Yes?”
It wasn't quite true. I’m not into pain; I’m into being spanked. But it seemed like a safe first step.
Over the last decade it has become fashionable in certain millennial circles to announce an interest in bondage or other forms of sadomasochism. The implications are often tame: A couple buys handcuffs, experiments with hot wax, and tosses in the occasional spanking. So when David heard I was “kind of into S & M,” he interpreted the code exactly how I had expected: from time to time, he spanked me during sex.
This was a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t the whole story. While there is a strong erotic element to my kink, sex is merely a side dish to the more absorbing entree of the spanking itself.
It’s hard to admit this. A few playful swats during sex seem fun, while serious spankings seem damaged and perverse. After years of pretending I was interested only in the occasional erotic swat, I finally had to admit it to myself: Although spankings do satisfy a strong sexual need, they satisfy an equally strong psychological one.
On my computer, hidden inside a series of password-protected folders, is a folder labeled “David, If You Find This, Please Don’t Look Inside.” It has my favorite spanking stories I've collected online. A small fraction are what you’d imagine: A man spanks a woman, then they have sex. In the vast majority, though, both characters are men, have a platonic relationship, and no sex or romanticism is involved.
This paradox — that my kink is simultaneously sexual and asexual — is one of its most frustrating and intriguing aspects. Perhaps I’d been so uncomfortable with my sexuality for so long that scenes with two men, where there isn’t an obvious stand-in for “me,” were easier to digest. Perhaps I’ll never fully understand.
My kink developed early. As a child, I pored over any book that mentioned spanking, paddling or thrashing. Tom Sawyer went through many reads, as did — believe it or not — key dictionary entries. (Looking up titillating definitions is so common among developing spankophiles that it’s almost a rite of passage.)
BY high school, I’d started to explore my feelings in more public ways. When my best friend and I wrote short stories together, I exorcised my nascent fantasies by subjecting our characters to ritualized, punitive beatings. With classmates, I’d awkwardly introduce the topic with invented references to a “news story” about a “town” that wanted to outlaw spanking.
“What do you think of that?” I’d ask, straining to sound casual.
But when I started college and got my first personal computer, everything changed. In online anonymity I found a community that shared my interest and insecurities. I wasn’t looking for partners to “play” with (as it’s called); spanking, to me, is as intimate as sex, and not to be shared with someone I didn’t love. I just wanted a forum to express my otherwise unexpressible side.
“What did you all do before the Internet?” I asked a woman in an online forum.
“The brave ones looked for personal ads,” she replied. “The rest of us were lonely.”
For the next several years, I settled into a sexual détente: David, under the impression that I was “kind of into S & M,” satisfied my physical desires — almost. Online strangers satisfied my desire for community and understanding — almost. And I stopped feeling like a freak — almost.
Almost, I decided, would have to be enough.
I often tried to pinpoint the origins of my obsession. I’ve been exposed to enough pop psychology to recognize the obvious first question: Yes, I was spanked as a child, but infrequently and never to an extreme degree. Many of my childhood friends experienced some form of corporal punishment and emerged into adulthood unburdened with daily thoughts on the subject. For a few months, I buried myself in physiological explanations for why someone might enjoy being spanked. Pain causes an endorphin rush, which can be pleasurable. The process also causes blood to rush to the pelvic region, which mimics sexual arousal.
“This is biologically normal,” I told myself. “Totally normal.”
Eventually, I gave up. It was exhausting and depressing to try to justify my obsession. Moreover, it wasn’t working.
The solution, I realized, had been sleeping next to me for almost six years. David is my best friend, my fiancé and my champion. If anyone can convince me I’m not damaged, it’s David. He makes me stronger when I can’t do it alone.
But how could I ever express it all — my history, insecurities, secrets and hopes?
I’m a writer, so I wrote it down. And as I translated my feelings and memories into these words, I took control of a desire that has controlled me for most of my life. I felt comfortable, confident — even celebratory.
For about three days. Then ancient insecurities, as they always do, crept back.
“Coming out of the closet” isn’t the right expression. We’re not in closets that can be left in a single step as the door clicks shut behind. “Coming out of the house” might be better. Or “coming out of the labyrinth.”
In our different ways, we all just want honesty and intimacy, right? We’re looking for the people who will love us, even when it’s difficult. Or uncomfortable. Or painful.
I always share my writing with David, and this time would be no different.
“This is hard to show you,” I said as I slid my laptop across the bed. “Also, I’m worried that my paragraph structure is confusing.”
As he read each page, I felt the clicks of a dozen doors closing behind me.
“I love you,” David said when he finished. “You’re so brave. And there is nothing wrong with your paragraph structure.”


Thank you Ms. Jillian Keenan, your courage is appreciated! :)
I hope everyone enjoyed the article which can also be found on the November 9th NYT online page in the Fashion & Style section. It can also be found printed in the Sunday Styles section of the NYT newspaper on page six. (printed November 12th.)
How did you "come out" to your partner or close friends?
Do your close friends really need to know? Should it be shared or simply part of your private life within a relationship? 
Personally I feel like my private life isn't something to be shared with anyone who really doesn't need to know. Co-workers for example, what benefit would it have to them? It has nothing to do with work! Imagine if a co-worker sat down and started explaining personally intimate details about them and their spouse. Seems out of place if you ask me.
Even though the lifestyle in general is becoming a little more mainstream every year, it's still viewed as a part of someones private life. There are plenty of things we all do that isn't seen as regular conversation topics.  There's no problem in the lifestyle I personally live and there has never been any kind of embarrassment about it, but I just prefer to keep it between myself and only those who need to know or those I know would completely understand.
Explaining their need to their partner is something different for every person. I've helped a lot of people open up to their spouse or significant other and each and every time was different depending on the individuals involved. The common denominators have usually been patience and timing. Beginning with an explanation on a personal and relationship level has more long term success then just talking about "spanking"  Approaching the  situation with humor works for some while a conversation after a romantic evening works for others. Also starting out slowly after the initial conversation always helps. Something mainstream like an article can be useful. Then having a place where both can read and learn together is extremely helpful.  

For those who are new to our community or continuing to grow in your lifestyle dynamic...>>> Where To Start & Revitalize your DD Lifestyle Relationship Dynamic

Related DD Article >> Coming Out about Spanking & Revealing Domestic Discipline Desires


  1. I never actually said anything to my husband until I posted my first story on New Beginnings with PK. We have been married 21 years.
    He always did (spanked) what he did 'half' in humor, and I was okay with that, then I emailed PK. The rest is there for all to see. We are still exploring, learning and growing.

    1. It looks like however you explained it, worked well for you Minelle. And we're always exploring, learning and growing. That's one of the beautiful aspects of this lifestyle choice. :)

  2. I loved that NY Times article!

    I had confessed my interest to my husband years earlier, but other than one night of fantasy fulfillment, it had been long forgotten until I published my first spanking romance. Now I'm in 7th heaven exploring all my desires...

    1. Yeah, there is a balance to bringing it up, then following up without pushing to hard. It's a delicate balance. So happy that you have found your deepest desires with the one you love! That's beautiful Renee :)

  3. Great article. Takes a lot of guts to make that first confession.

    1. Very true. It can be difficult sometimes. I have never suggested telling a friend first (like the author did) so that then their partner finds out through that friend. lol
      Too much can go very wrong and that usually doesn't work out well. Glad it broke the ice for her though!

  4. Anonymous11/10/2012

    Terrific article. I told my wife about my fetish and she was surprised but accepted it. Bit, I would not tell friends or other relatives.

    Most of my spanko friends keep their fetish hidden.


    1. I agree Joey. And I prefer to think of it as part of my private life to those outside of the lifestyle. Most of my long time friends who are living a variation of this lifestyle agree too. And we don't share "details" with each other either. Generalities yes, and general suggestions sometimes, but not the most intimate details shared by a couple.

  5. Anonymous11/10/2012

    This is quite an amazing article. Thanks Mr.BBSpanker!
    My husband tried to spank me early in our relationship and I was confused and excited by the prospect and a virgin, so I gave him quite a tongue lashing that made him back off. After our marriage it happened a few times and I always became very indignant. I just wasn't brave enough to admit that I might like it because he meant it in a punitive way.
    There was never any erotic spanking stuff ever between us. Then I began to admit to myself what I wanted and it took years before I went searching online for information. After I found this community and lurked and read for a long time, I finally got drunk and told him how I felt. He didn't believe it.
    Then we started fooling around with fun stuff - slap and tickle stuff and I wanted more. I wanted a lifestyle and that was very difficult to talk him into.
    But - now it is great. We are very happy. I have discovered that while I love erotic spankings, and I really do - nice soft, erotic spankings that end in sex, I do not like punishment spankings. I am getting better at accepting them, but occasionally still struggle.
    I have asked Ian a few times about just removing them as an option in the marriage, and he is determined to keep them on the table. Our marriage has never been better, so I guess they are here to stay.
    Telling him, however, was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
    Thanks for the great topic.
    Sorry about the novella.

    1. Write as much as you want... novellas are not only welcomed, they are encouraged!
      Starting out with the playful & sensual side of spanking is often an enlightening gateway for couples to open up the communication about even more aspects of DD lifestyle.

  6. This is a really interesting article. From how she describes her feelings, she sounds like a real spanko to me. I don't plan to share TTWD with family or vanilla friends, certainly not coworkers. I wouldn't want to risk problems if they don't understand. And like you said, does there have to be a need to tell them?

    I don't want to hear from my brother about whatever he may do behind closed doors with whomever he's dating. I told my ex-husband about it and as it was a few years into our marriage, he was understandably surprised. It was the hardest and most awkward conversation I've ever had to have. I don't have any answers on an easy way to do it.

    1. Exactly. I don't tell people what I had for breakfast everyday either. It's just not pertinent information to the situation. (waffles... it was waffles. dang it!)
      Sometimes when people do decide to share their feelings, there isn't an easy way. Doing a lot of background research and then sharing and communicating with patience and love seems to be a common denominator toward a good start though.

  7. That is quite an article, and printed in such a widely read mainstream paper. I am quite impressed.
    I agree that talking about ttwd is like telling someone about what goes on in your sex life; each are intimate to just the two of you and does not need to be broadcast.
    I do however speak about deferring to Dave as if its the most acceptable thing to do; and for us it is. I have gotten some comments, but if I act like its something I should be ashamed of then it will be treated as such by others.
    Our children are adults but two still live at home and they are very aware of ttwd. I don't know if I would say the same if they were younger. We have talked to them and they understand that it helps bond Dave and I so much and they have witnessed the positive changes in our relationship since we did incorporate it. They're cool with it and they are happy for us that we are deeper in love with each other than ever before.

    1. It is nice to see something like this in a mainstream media source. I am now a big fan of The New York Times!

  8. Anonymous11/11/2012

    GREAT article! I think it was so well written and hopefully will make people start to feel comfortable with their desires. It paints it in a very positive light.
    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    1. It is a good article. Not only personal but personable as well.

  9. Really great article, I think many of us can relate!

    1. True, an many people are relating and sharing here in blogland and online though social media. This story has really taken off! It's so nice to see :)

  10. Anonymous11/13/2012

    I would like to know how here and her boyfriend are doing these days. And how he feels about the article. Also if she has heard of DD since writing this. I would just like to know a little more lol
    I hope she's doing really really good now. Jen~

    1. From what I have gathered, David has been very supportive. I'm not sure if she heard of DD before, but I did write Jillian back and asked her the same question. I am hoping to have a "follow up" to the story kind of interview and if that happens you'll all be the first to know. But, it's just a hope at this point :)

  11. Anonymous11/13/2012

    It's like Jillian and David are becoming our Bella and Edward.

  12. Thanks for alerting me to that good article. I read the Times but missed it. And I only share my fetish with the friends I've met online, which makes it so nice that we have this online community.


    1. You're welcome FD! Thanks for stopping by :)
      I'm newer to this area of the community as a blogger, but have been a long time reader and have enjoyed your blog for a long time. I have had you blog on the DD Friendly list of links as a resource for ADDS readers too.

  13. Anonymous11/14/2012

    I can't wait to read your follow up!

    1. Keep an eye out, it should be ready in a day or two.

  14. First chance I've had to read the article. Thanks. Took some courage.

    I would not tell my vanilla friends or family about TTWD. Don't see the need.


    1. ah good... glad you got a chance to read it Roz :)
      It did take courage. She mentioned on a social networking site that her hands were shaking badly the day it was first being published!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this article and so interesting that it was in the NYT. I'll be curious to see what the reaction is from NYT readers.

    1. You're welcome Celeste! So far almost all of the reaction has been positive on the internet.


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