Remember when you were a kid and if you did something wrong (and sometimes when you didn’t) your mom or dad would bend you over their knee and whack you across the ass? Or, in the more implement-oriented households, items like belts, hairbrushes, sticks, or nearby magazines rolled into weapons would be used to mete out corporal punishment? It was all done in the name of discipline and punishment… to make you, the errant child, a better person. I always hated the attendant pain and humiliation and came to realize – oft-times at the end of my father’s belt, that physically hurting a child in the name of discipline and punishment was… oxymoronic. Attempting to teach a child to be a civil, well-mannered, rule-abiding member of society by inflicting physical pain was utterly counter-productive. Wrong message.
That’s one topic of conversation and a good one; I’ve written about it before and, boy, if you want to rile up the masses, tell parents you’re against corporal punishment and you’ve got an honorable, ethical, grown child to prove it can be done. But that’s not actually today’s story; it’s the intro to today’s story. Today’s story is about corporal punishment, but a very unique kind of corporal punishment: spanking… for Jesus. By adults. Spanking other adults. Husbands and wives. For… Jesus.
Yes, you read that right. Because there aren’t enough batshit crazy things going on out there in the wide, wacky world of religion, a new source of crazy has come to light. It even has a name: Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD). There are, at this point, two main websites related to this “discipline”:
ChristianDomesticDiscipline.com: This one is identified on the site as follows:
A Domestic Discipline (DD) marriage is one in which one partner is given authority over the other, and has the means to back up that authority, usually by spanking. The application and practise of DD in each marriage is as unique as the individuals who make up that marriage. There is no “One Ring of Power” in the Domestic Discipline world, to which all DD couples must bow; no singular path to “true DD enlightenment.” What works well for one DD couple may not be a good fit for another marriage. Therefore, you may see many different suggestions espoused on this site and elsewhere.
A Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD) marriage is simply a traditional, male-led, Christian marriage which utilises aspects of Domestic Discipline. It is set up according to Biblical standards.
But then there’s also ChristianDomesticDiscipline.net, a slight variation on the theme:
“In order to describe to you what is Christian Domestic Discipline, I’d first like to start with what it is not. Christian Domestic Discipline is not domestic violence. Neither is it abuse. It is an arrangement between two adults who share the belief that the husband is the head of the household and with that position comes the right to enforce his authority.
“Christian Domestic Discipline is not BDSM. It is not a game. While we do not deny its sometimes erotic nature, it is ultimately not for erotic purposes. It is often much different than the domestic discipline you will find outside of the Christian faith. [Emphasis added.]
“A Christian Domestic Discipline marriage is set up according to the guidelines set forth in the Holy Bible, meaning the husband has authority over his wife within the bounds of God’s Word and enforces that authority, if need be, through discipline including but not limited to spanking. He uses his authority to keep peace and order in his home, protect his marriage, and help his wife mature in her Christian walk. In a true Christian Domestic Discipline marriage, discipline is tempered with the knowledge that the husband must answer to God for his actions and decisions in his position of authority.”
The writer of the site copy does, for the sake of the reading audience, offer the following disclaimer:
(This website is not intended to offend anyone. If the subject of wife spanking offends, please just click the little “x” at the top of the page to exit.)
Oh, so tempted to click that little “x” but… I’ve got a story to cover.
Both sites have specific categories for Husbands and Wives. In each, we either get a scroll down menu or a click takes you to a page with topics. On CDD.com, in the “Husband” category, we’ve got Leadership, Understanding, Discipline. But CDD.net takes it a little further; their scroll down includes: A Woman’s Nature, To Be Cherished, To Be Led, To Be Protected, The Edge. Very intriguing, all that. Let me see if I can encapsulate just a bit for each:
“In reality, what she needs is a hero. Not a suave Prince Charming who brings her flowers and jumps to do her every bidding, but a Knight in Beat-up Armor who understands her needs as a woman and is self-disciplined enough to meet those needs.”
OK, I’ll buy some of that. Even Bonnie Tyler needed a hero, so okay… we won’t get all reactionary about that.
“Tell her she’s adorable. Tell her she’s precious. Tell her you love being with her. Send her flowers. Give her backrubs. Just don’t go overboard and start to seem sappy.”
Adorable?? I can’t say I’ve ever needed to be called “adorable” (what, am I a kitten?), but back rubs are always nice…
“Whether she will admit it or not, a woman needs to be led.”
OK, now you’re losing me.
To Be Protected. Bunch of stuff in here about being gallant; that’s fine. But then there’s this:
“Some women might similarly test your intelligence or your resolve on certain issues or even your prowess at video games or sports. Again, they are testing your masculinity. Be patient and do your best to come out on top.”
Dammit! We can’t even win at Pacman??
And then… The Edge. And here’s where it all leads… Fifty Shades of Gray. Not even trying to hide it; it’s promoting the book and its thesis of sexual domination. It’s also here that we find the writer of this site is a woman:
“As a woman, I feel qualified to tell you….Most women would be terrified if a man were as rough with her as Christian is with Anastasia in ‘Fifty Shades.’ That kind of roughness should only exist in fantasy. However, a little discipline from her man will only make a woman love him more than he’ll ever realize. It’s just part of her nature. Just another good reason to look into Christian Domestic Discipline.”
Yes, another good reason, amongst so many. I’d go over each of the sections for Wives but I think we get the gist. Except it’s important to go back over to the .com site for a minute. Under their section on Wives is a sub-section called “My First Time,” a forum for essays about the first time a wife’s bottom gets buffeted by her Bible-loving boy. Or whatever the first time involves. In this particular case, written in very sophomoric Fifty Shades of Grayish vernacular (if you read the book, you know what I mean – “oh crap” and all). I half expected to see pink hearts and smiley faces embedded. Let me just say this: if you enjoyed the juvenile sexual blatherings of that book, you will likely enjoy these sites. Their essays. The lifestyle. The whole issue of spanking for Jesus. Otherwise… yeah.
Those who do partake claim loudly that it’s not domestic abuse, it’s “for Jesus” (though I’m not sure how Jesus gets off on seeing his followers beat the crap out of each other!). From The Daily Beast:
When a wife breaks her husband’s rules—rolling her eyes, maybe, or just feeling “meh,” as one blogger put it—that can equal punishments which are often corporal but can also be “corner time”; writing lines (think “I will not disobey my master” 1,000 times); losing a privilege like internet access; or being “humbled” by some sort of nude humiliation. Some practice “maintenance spanking,” wherein good girls are slapped on a schedule to remind them who’s boss; some don’t. Some couples keep the lifestyle from their children; others, like CDD blogger Stormy, don’t. “Not only does he spank me with no questions asked for disrespect or attitude in front of them, but I am also required to make an apology to each of them,” she writes.
Again, Fifty Shades of Gray. The whole “rolling her eyes” bit is a running theme in that book and clearly that book is a theme for the whole movement. Which makes the depth and dimension of it about as deep as the dialogue written for Christian Gray and Anastasia, his submissive gal-pal (Half an inch? Quarter? Can there be a less-than-zero measurement?).
When an entire “religious” lifestyle (movement?) is based on themes found in a badly written erotic novel, you’ve got to wonder. If Christian couples are into a little bondage and discipline for the sake of their sexual pleasure, that’s one thing. To frame it as a Biblical mandate (and we are talking about the same religion that uses the Bible to damn gays to hell) seems a little manipulative. A little convenient. Even some within the movement acknowledge this:
What seems to be the most obvious explanation for CDD, one acknowledged by some domestic discipline advocates not tied to the Christian church, is that the practice is a means to justify the fulfillment of a sexual fetish. On a CDD blog, “Sue” writes, “Boy do I wish more of the women in DD would admit to this. It’s a sexual fetish. There’s nothing wrong with it, but they try to make it so much more than it is.”
But the moral constraints of the church make it difficult for couples to be honest about the sexual nature of their desire, says Paul Byerly, who with his wife runs The Marriage Bed, a site dedicated to sexuality and religion. Byerly, who calls CDD a “distortion of what God intended,” believes that “women, particularly in the Christian church tend to be sexually repressed.” Domestic discipline, he explains, could be “a way around that”—a chance to explore sexual desires while still nominally acting in the name of Jesus. [Source]
While there is a “live and let live” contingent who would shrug their shoulders with a, “Hey, if that’s your thing, everyone’s consenting and no one gets hurt, more power to ya,” there’s also a school of thought that says any relationship that infantilizes a woman and gives ownership and authority of her to a man who has permission to hit her, is an unhealthy one.
Jim Alsdurf, a forensic psychologist who evaluates and treats sexual psychopaths and is the author of a book on abuse in Christian homes, says CDD isn’t about religion—it’s an outlet for emotionally disturbed men with intimacy deficits.
“No fool in his right mind would buy this as a legitimate way to have a relationship,” Alsdurf says. “A relationship that infantilizes a woman is one that clearly draws a more pathological group of people.”
For Alsdurf, though, CDD sounds less like an act of violence and more like of an act of distorted sexual arousal. “If people want to spank each other, go ahead,” he says. “The problem of course, is if it’s done in a controlling and a mildly abusive way.” Like with all outer variables of sexual expression, he says, “If they’re not done in a healthy way they can become about abuse and control.” [Source]
As for the perspective of women who aren’t “Anastatsias,” out in the world needing, wanting, wishing, hoping and praying for a man to whip them (literally) into shape, the end result of a “disciplined” relationship can look alarmingly similar to an abusive one. Wendy Dickson runs an emergency shelter for women and children and she says, “It’s sick“; women beaten in the name God, she’s discovered, are no different from the women she sees every day in her shelter. Battered.
Don’t see much that’s sexy – or holy – about that.