I’ve had these links open on my Firefox browser for a couple of days now, since Caitlyn sent them to me.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to think here. It’s like the scary answer to the question, what if you crossed BDSM with a thread of Fundamental Christian ideology and rhetoric, wherein spanking became God’s will?
According to the tenets of Christian Domestic Discipline, the husband is the head of the wife as “Christ is the head of the church,” and because of that, discipline in the form of spanking and related forms of corporal punishment are a necessary inclusion in a marriage. The site cautions that husbands should warm up with lighter, less intense spanking, though the explanation doesn’t seem to preclude any pain or injury to the woman:
After a sufficient warm up you will be able to spank her with great intensity and a longer period of time, hence enforcing a proper punishment and the tears that are sure to flow….
If you spank with fast, hard swats you will cause her to cry, that is true, but you have failed to take into account what is truly needed. She needs and desires to submit to you and your decisions as her HOH, and by taking time to slow down the spanking and thoroughly punishing her she will find solace and be happier.
So it’s not just spanking and physical contact, but enforcing a relationship of domination and submission within Christian precepts.
There are several individual accounts of couples who find this structure in their relationship to be a good thing, who enjoy exploring submission and domination within the rhetoric that doing so is God’s will.
As Caitlyn, who brought the links to my attention, pointed out to me, the position on whether this is punishment and domination or a form of erotic play is unclear. In some of the sections of the website, the woman is not at all meant to enjoy it, and should be crying at the end. The male section underscores the need for an “authoritative” man who dominates and leads through that domination. The store affiliated with the movement sells crotchless pants and historically-influenced undergarments with secret kinky spots.
The people writing in the guestbooks and on blogs for this movement all seem to be indicating that their participation is voluntary, making the arrangement, superficially speaking anyway, consensual. And hey, if this is what turns you on, more power to you.
What truly disturbs me is the insight provided by the fiction affiliated with the Christian Domestic Discipline store, specifically, the Christian Domestic Discipline Spanking Romance Short Story Collection by Leah Kelley.
Kelley writes in her Author bio that she was inspired by Woodiwiss, Lindsey, and Scott, and enjoys creating “stories with strong heroes teaching and leading their feminine heroines as set up in the Bible. Men were never meant to be the wimps the world and the church have taught them to be. They were meant to lead their families, not be a joke to them…. That’s why I believe he has the right to spank his wife if need be.”
So based on a platform of inspiration that includes old-skool romance, spanking included, also potentially rape of the heroine, Kelley has written several short stories inspired by or operating within the CDD world. I’ll let the review speak for itself:
This book is not your average “spanking” romance; it is not a normal romantic, erotic, or Christian product, though it attempts to be all three. What this book is about is no more or less than men dominating women and beating them into submission, both spiritually and often physically….
The author claims the spanking of the wife is not domestic abuse, but it’s actually one of the worst kinds I’ve seen because it’s methodical and, worst of all, cloaked in a false cape of Christianity. In fact, if a man lost his temper and hit his wife (not punched her, but hit her) because he honestly forgot himself in the heat of anger, I’d find this LESS abusive than a man who methodically hits his wife because she displeased him. This author claims that the heroes in this book have “that edge, but it’s tempered with the knowledge that they love the heroines and just want what’s best for them”.
Clearly, this isn’t romance as I and many other readers have come to define it. The idea that the hero/husband must dominate the wife/heroine into accepting his world view, because he knows best and operates with total and complete authority over her, leaving her no autonomy and self-actualization… that sounds like an old-skool romance come to life, dipped in the glittery justification of Christianity and a literal interpretation of the Bible, and sold wholesale as a marital aid. My discomfort is immeasurable.