Tag Archives: communication

10. My Approach to Our DD Contract

This is going to be a lengthy post as there are so many important points to share about creating a DD contract with your husband.   Not every couple actually creates a contract, but I believe most do.  I can’t imagine not having one.

The exercise of writing the contract was cathartic.   We had to reveal very personal thoughts and feelings and talk about things we never talked about in 20+ years of marriage and couples would never have reason to talk about absent putting together a DD contract. I wonder if putting together a DD contract would be good couples therapy, even if you never planned on going through with it?

Oh, remember when I said my life changed on March 17, 2015.  That was the date of our initial contract.  (Renegotiation is something I’ll explain in a bit). We made some changes at the 30 day mark.  We made our second contract good for six months and then our latest contract is good for 2 years.  We are more confident and comfortable in what we are doing and thrilled with the results.  It is that confidence and the success we’ve had that led me to decide to blog about my experience.

Tips to writing the contract:  I will share an overview of our approach and what we learned, and then I will share our actual contract with you on my next post.

I describe the authorship of our contract as somewhat collaborative, but I had the lead.  I know some DD relationships are based on the man setting the rules.  That wasn’t happening here.  This was about me surrendering myself to him, but it was a surrender on my terms.  It was a gift I was giving him, and I got to pick out the gift – with some suggestions from him.  Note some DD relationships explicitly say the woman is not giving a gift, as it is not hers to give, but is for her husband to take.  That’s not our version of DD.

Don’t overwrite
:  At first we found ourselves putting in too many details.  You need to resist this as ultimately a DD contract is one of utmost trust in your partner and one of you submitting yourself to them.  If you water it down by trying to precisely prescribe every action, you take away power from your partner and are basically saying you do not trust them.  In addition, too many rules make the contract hard to follow and enforce, and will just bring frustration.

Think of the contract as a place to set basic expectations, and to refer back to for clarification of each other’s intent, but never to be used as a rule book to decide what action will be taken.  I was clear with Mike that I wanted him to take the action he deems appropriate and then we can refer back to the contract later if there are questions as to whether that action was in the spirit of the contract.  Doing so ensures that we ultimately stay consistent with what I intended while both not interfering with the power I am giving him and not causing a delay in punishments.  We concluded it was better to receive a punishment that ultimately is agreed to be outside my intent than to have had the punishment delayed because you had to find and interpret the contract.   Lastly, as we have now renegotiated our contract for the third time, there have been clarifications that we added to address ambiguities that arose that either I or Mike felt necessary to clarify and codify.  That’s another reason it is good to put a term limit on your contract.  I’ll talk more about our renegotiation process later.

Words are Power
I highly recommend taking time to talk about the meaning of the words you use in the contract.  I took our contract seriously and once signed there was no going back.  I wanted to be fully committed to seeing it through and living with the consequences.

It is important to ask your partner what a word or concept means to them to ensure you both have a common understanding.  I recall there were many words we spent a lot time talking about.  Here were the words and concepts I recall as being the most important to us to ensure we were on the same page.

  • Promise Statement: Mike had the idea that we start the contract off with a statement that each of us would write.  A promise directly to each other. It is a bit sappy, but think of it is as a short love letter to each other.  Mike felt it was important that we shared and documented our individual reasons for establishing a DD lifestyle.  I told you he was a great guy!
  • Duties and Obligations: I wanted everything I was agreeing to do to be referred to as my “duties and obligations.” I felt strongly about this wording as to me it conveys a strongly held conviction that you perform without condition.   A rule is something anyone can set, but a Duty and Obligation is a personal term.  It is something I own, I create, I commit to myself.   It was not just about some rules.
  • Renegotiation: We wanted to be committed to the contract but also have an opportunity for change. We agreed to an initial 30 day term for our contract and then renegotiated a new six month agreement.  Our latest contract is good for 2 years.  We also set up rules for the renegotiation so that we could have candid discussions.  Mike and I entered renegotiations on the same “level” as we were on when we did our first contract – that is, I am not bound by any contract during the renegotiation.  Remember, I am in control here.  It is about what I want for myself, my husband, and my family, and I could not be submissive during a renegotiation.
  • Reward: I was fine with referring to consequences as a “punishment,” but Mike felt that word was demeaning. (Remember, words mean different things to different people).  At first he wanted to call them “consequences” which again I was fine with.  But then I had an idea… We would call them Rewards. Since the punishments would be extremely important in helping me attain my goals, anything that helps me towards those goals would be a reward.  This term had the added impact of reminding Mike that I agreed to and wanted these punishments and it made it easier for him to accept delivering the punishments.  He would not be doing something that had a demeaning connotation to him or to me.  He was just “giving me my reward.”
  • Purpose of Rewards It was extremely important to give meaning to my punishments.  I felt every swat on my bottom or every privilege revoked or whatever the “reward” was, must have a consistent meaning.  That meaning was to make me the person I want to be, for myself, for my family, and for my husband.   A spanking was not because my husband wished to inflict pain, or not because I wished to feel pain, but because I agreed, in advance, that the punishment was uncomfortable enough for me that I would likely not want it repeated. In setting the specific “rewards” we had to consider what would be appropriate to deliver the desired results in my actions.  This is where DD contracts need to be highly personalized as I image this must be different for everyone.  I am sure some of you would see my punishments as too light, while others too severe.  Also, the Rewards in our current contract are more severe than in our initial contract, as I have developed a greater tolerance and I wanted to ensure they continued to be effective.
  • Transgression: So, what would we call it when I did something wrong?  “Infraction” sounded like “oops” which to me is weak and meaningless.  “Violation” sounded too dramatic or police-like.  “Rule” sounds arbitrary or infers they were handed down by someone else.  These were ours and ours alone.  I wanted a word that reflects a violation of a moral principle as I felt my duties were moral obligations to myself, my family, and my husband.  Thus, I came up with Transgression.
  • Ceremony: We referred to the punishment session as a Ceremony.  There is often a ceremony to present awards, so we figured, why not call it a Ceremony when I received my Reward.  This was Mike’s idea by the way. This is another example of words being powerful.           Instead of….“Break a rule, get sent to my room for a spanking.”          It became….“I Transgressed and was going to a Ceremony to receive a Reward.”   Thinking of it this way often helped keep me from sulking and helped Mike in delivering the Reward.   We established procedures for the Ceremony to ensure Rewards were given in a calm, purposeful, and resolved manner.  Mike should never deliver them in anger.  Even if I did something that directly hurt him, the Ceremony “dignity” must always be maintained.  We made it clear the Ceremony was to ensure I would be reflective, remorseful, and surrendered, and we took time to identify what those words meant so that we were both on the same page.
  • Sex: We had to address if this contract was going to include anything sexual.  In my mind sex and discipline are distinct, although I believe many DD contracts can be highly sexually based. Frankly, I’ve never seen another contract so who knows.  Our first contract did not have anything overtly sexually based – if you agree nudity and spanking are not inherently sexual.  However, we both realized that sexual based consequences could be extremely powerful.  In our latest contract I added in a “sex” clause.  I  went “all in” giving Mike full authority over my body regarding any sexual activity.  It was important to me to show him I was trusting him with everything, without exception.  That trust had to include my body.  It still excites me today to know he has this authority, which I regard more as an open invitation to experiment more than complete authority.  In case you wonder, Mike really hasn’t taken advantage of this clause as you might be imagining (not to say he has never evoked it – but that’s to share at another time).  My recommendation is initially leave it out – again sex is not discipline.  But as your DD relationship evolves you might find some sexual based consequences highly effective and desirable.  So what are my sex based Rewards?  At Mike’s suggestion we added in some mandated masturbation time (oh, darn, I guess I would just have to agree to that one).  And we added in Rewards that included breast binding, nipple clamps, anal plugs and palm slapping. (Nothing sexy about that last one).   I was finding that sometimes spanking wasn’t always giving me the level of discomfort I felt was effective. I always had a high pain threshold and was becoming desensitized to some degree.  We needed to escalate the sensations else the spanking session would have to get very lengthy and that would just not always be practical.  I mean, I didn’t want to tire out Mike’s hand!  In any event, I am sure some DD contracts are highly sexually charged and others completely devoid of sex.  I am glad we started with nothing pertaining to sex and allowed things to naturally progress.
  • Always: Another word we used throughout the contract was “always.”  I felt it was important that expectations for myself were to be consistent and always expected without any exception.  In other words, I was asking Mike to strictly interpret things.
    I believe it is very important to make it clear that I was fully surrendering to him and that there would be no exceptions to what I was expecting of myself.
  • Vague or Missing Terms: Every DD contract should make it clear where ultimate authority rests.  In case we forgot something or realized that what we wrote was hard to interpret in a real life situation, we wrote in a clause that made it clear that any ambiguity in the contract would be interpreted at Mike’s full discretion without consult or protest from me.  If I disagreed I could not immediately say anything. Instead, I was to accept his verdict and if I wished, discuss it at our Maintenance Session.  This is why words are so important.  I was giving him a lot of authority and I wanted to make sure he and I were on the same page regarding how the contract would help guide that authority.
  • Maintenance Sessions:  Another extremely critical part of our contract and we approached this like no other DD relationship I read about.  It established a time where I can respectively ask for clarification regarding something that went on during the week.  Some DD couples would never do this as just the thought of such questioning would be considered disobedient.   It was important for us to have a common understanding of things and there is no way to have that without two-way conversation.Mike had ultimately final authority, but at least there was an avenue for me to get clarification.  Note I could seek clarification, but was not questioning his decision nor asking him to change it.  I could ask for clarification to ensure the Reward had the full impact that I intended for myself.In addition, Maintenance Sessions included a review of my journal, self-reporting of any transgressions and if any, Mike’s administering my reward for those transgressions, a “maintenance” reward, and alone time for self-reflection.  It got to the point that I very much looked forward to every Maintenance Session as it served as a milestone for marking my progress towards the person I wanted to become.  It also had a type of intimacy that I can’t describe but that I could never experience outside a Maintenance Session.  How many couples spend designated time where they both intimately focus on the needs of one of them?  Oh, and I also very much enjoyed the “meditation time” for self-reflection (i.e Mike’s mandate I mentioned earlier).

Now you understand a bit more about our approach to the contract.  Eventually I will share the actual contract, but next I’ll share an overview of how we structured it.

NEXT  – 11. Structure of our Contract

8. NOW I am ready to get hubby aboard

How do I even bring up this subject?  What will he think?  What if he refused?  What’s my plan B?

At this point about two weeks have gone by and I had become completely invested in seeing this through.  I already wrote down my initial list of Duties and Obligations to myself.  I was convinced my version of DD was the right thing for us to try.  How do I bring it up in a way that he understands it isn’t because he has been inadequate in any way?   I also recognized that level of selfishness in this. It was really all about me and what I wanted.  Sure I needed his buy in, but I really needed his buy in.  It became very important to me that we try this and remember, I am used to getting my way.  But I also realized that if it works it can’t be forced on Mike.  He has to really feel and understand it from my perspective.  It was hard enough to convince myself, how would I convince him?

It was unfair for me to think that he had the easy part thus should be easy to convince. The reality is, he isn’t dominant by nature, and I effectively conditioned him to defer to me.  So I needed a strategy to help him conclude it was right for him and for us, and not that it was all about me.  I did that the way I often tackled problems – focus on the outcome. 

Getting Mike to agree and accept that the outcome is what we both want…for each other and for our family.  Then work backwards from that outcome to come up with what DD would mean for us….and I wouldn’t use the term DD.  I didn’t want to give any preconceived definition of what I was talking about and as it turns out, he hadn’t heard the term before.  What I would be suggesting is a change in lifestyle that was our own, without label.  It just so happened to conform to many DD principles.  Okay, I was convinced I had the approach that would work in theory, but how do I start the conversation?  

I don’t recall exactly how I started it, but it was something like this. “Mike, I want us to make some changes in how things work around the house.” 

I shared with him that I have been concerned about my turning into a slob and leaving him my own big messes to clean up.  I was concerned about my forgetfulness, my clumsiness, my short temper with him and the kids, etc.  My inability to give everyone the time I wanted to give them because I just couldn’t stop myself from trying to solve everyone’s problems and meet everyone’s needs.   I told him I needed his help.  With his help we can have less stress, more together time, an overall better managed household from cleanliness to finances and we could become closer as a couple.

I asked a couple of questions that I knew the answer had to be “yes”, such as “Have you noticed those things of me?”    That’s kind of a Jedi-mind trick I learned.  Get the person saying “yes.”  It creates momentum that makes it hard for them to say no later, and it helps build confidence in yourself to keep asking increasingly tougher questions.   Then came the golden “what would it mean to you…” question that I love to ask everyone.  I asked him, “What would it mean to you if we could accomplish those things together?”  He responded with all the personal gratification he would get from having those things and seeing me happy, etc.  So, at that point, I knew he was going to be open to considering any suggestion I had that could potentially give him that satisfaction.

At this point Mike’s on board that some things need to change about me and that he is all ears on how he can help me with that.  I then said something like, “I believe the best way to accomplish these changes would be for me to give up certain responsibilities.  Not that I would be doing less, in fact, I want to do more, but, I feel that I haven’t been able to be responsible to myself for the things I want to do, and that is where I need your help. I want to take the responsibility for myself and give it to you as a gift, with love.”  I remember that phrase as I had practiced it over and over in my head.

Mike was puzzled and I stated it again, and then a third time, all with the same puzzled reaction from Mike. I then had this panic like, “oh god, he doesn’t understand, quick Jennifer, think of more to say.  How could I have thought that this was all I was going to have to say.  Say something, say something!”   There was quite the awkward pause.   In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t rehearse beyond the initial phrase as now it was time to speak directly from the heart with the raw and true emotions that can only come from speaking what I was feeling at that very moment.  These weren’t my exact words, as I am sure it was more babble and less eloquent, but I recall it sounded something like this:

“Mike, I haven’t been myself, and need your help in being the person I want to be. The person I want to be for myself, for you, and for the kids.  I believe the best way I can get to being that person is with you taking responsibility for my actions.  Where I agree to do certain things and behave a certain way, and you hold me responsible.  For some reason I just can’t be that person on my own anymore but I know I can be that person if I know I have clearly committed to being that person and that you will be there to hold me accountable.”

I think adding in the terms “responsibility” and “accountability” really helped him to begin realizing what I was suggesting.   Now, instead of puzzlement, I got a response that went to the heart of the matter.

Responsible for what actions and accountable in what ways?”   Wow, he said it.  There it was.  That is the question that everyone considering DD has to address.  And the answers are as varied as there are people – there is no right or wrong answer – only the one that works for your relationship.  Here was the very question whose answer would determine our path forward.

My answer went something like this.   “I haven’t thought all of this through and will need your help in doing that, but right now when I think of you being responsible for my actions it means that you could help inforce the behaviors I want from myself.  You can remind me of my promises that I made regarding what I will do and how I will behave.  For instance, you wouldn’t be responsible for doing all the cleaning, but would be responsible for reminding me to get certain chores completed.  Those reminders will help me.  That is what I mean by being responsible for me. Does that make sense?”

He said he thought he understood, but okay, so he would take on some responsibility in helping me, but what did I mean about accountability?  Yikes, there it is.  The punishment conversation.  While I had reconciled this in my mind, I was still very uncomfortable talking about this with him and I didn’t want to be the first to say spanking or punishment or anything like that.

My answer was that it meant he would hold me accountable beyond just the reminder.   I told him if all he could do is constantly remind me, he would just be a nag and neither of us want that.  Instead, we would agree on certain consequences if I failed to do something.  I remember asking him if that made sense.   His answer was spot on.   “Do you mean a consequence like a punishment?”

I can still see his face the moment he said those words. It was the “moment of truth” in this discussion.  It would now be about Domestic Discipline no matter if we called it that or not.   The word “punishment” had been spoken for the first time.

My mind raced. I started thinking about way too many details dealing with punishment and visualizing the actual act of spanking.  I didn’t know what to say so after another long awkward pause I uttered fairly softly, “Yeah, a consequence like a punishment.”

Mike’s reaction was a half-smile, like his imagination was at work, but I could tell he wasn’t sure what I was saying.  His half-laughing response was, “Are you serious?  What type of punishments are you talking about?”   I was nervous to say specific things, and in hindsight, am glad I did not.  I feel my answer put us on the path towards success, as this punishment thing could have gone horribly wrong if we went in with misconceptions about what it was.  So, how would I explain the type of punishments I was talking about?

NEXT – 9 The “S” word… gulp… Spanking.

 

5. Before Getting the Hubby Aboard

Before I could get Mike aboard, I had to first completely get my head around this. I was less than an hour in to being introduced to the concept of DD and while I was already convinced it held significant promise, I needed to get fully comfortable with the concept and exactly what I would be asking Mike to agree to.

I like lists, so I made myself a Pros and Cons list.   They went something like this:.

PROS:

  • Give structure to my chaotic life that was getting increasingly unsatisfying.
  • Codify what I expected of myself into a “contract” of behavior would be my way of honoring myself, honoring my husband, and honoring my family. It was not demeaning unless I allowed it, and I would not allow it.
  • Asking Mike to help me is his way of honoring me.
  • Require myself to share and discuss everything with my husband.  Mike would have to have a vested interest in the things that are important to me. No more silent resentments, no more unresolved arguments. It would require a level of communication that no other “system” I could think of would require.
  • Provide structure to resolving disputes that was quick and final. No lingering ill feelings.
  • Creating a process to resurface those disputes when everyone was calm and respectful – I can tell you that today this has been the biggest Pro of my DD!

CONS:

  • Structure meant I couldn’t just call the shots on a whim.
  • Those spankings still seemed demeaning to me.
  • I would have to share and discuss everything?  I was not used to that.
  • Sure disputes would be resolved quickly, but only because Mike would have ultimate final say.
  • Again, being submissive does not sit well with me. Punishment?  Getting spanked?  Are you kidding?

How did I reconcile these cons?

Ultimately, I had to focus on the desired outcome and work backwards. (A great tip to take any problems in life).  The outcome was to become the person I wanted to be.  That’s a tall order and would not be possible without some sacrifice. Plus, this didn’t have to be permanent.  If I didn’t like it, we would stop.  So, why not try it?

I still wasn’t sure I was ready.  I wasn’t.  But the thoughts were running in my mind and I was becoming more and more open to the possibilities.  But….how would I justify allowing my husband to punish me?  That seems to be the very definition of submissive?  How could I ever agree to be submissive?

NEXT – 6. Submission and Accountability