Domestic Discipline, or simply DD, is the enforcement of order, usually by physical punishment for infringement of rules applied in a domestic context, normally between members of a household. In the generally voluntary context of adult relationships, it is specifically applied to the practice of inter-spousal discipline. Commonly in a heterosexual relationship, the disciplined is the woman and the disciplinary is the man. Many power exchange style relationships have elements of DD.
In common with many power-exchange relationships, Domestic Discipline is based on the consensually agreed framework that one partner will adopt the role of overall 'leader' in a loving, committed, monogamous relationship, and the other will submit to that leadership. The purpose of this is to lessen conflict and promote harmony, respect and closer 'connection' between partners with it understood that the leader in the relationship has a duty to only make rules that are good for both the partners. Power exchange within a DD relationship is usually confined to certain mutually agreed areas in which both partners want to effect change and improvement and does not necessarily extend to the relationship as a whole. Within those agreed areas, the leader (sometimes referred to as the 'Head of Household/Relationship' (HOH/R) takes precedence and has 'final say', although there may be extensive discussion and negotiation between partners before that point is reached. Where the leader considers that his/her partner has broken his rules, he may take the decision, for the good of both the relationship and her, to punish using (most often) spanking and/or other 'traditional' methods of discipline.
Mutual respect, consideration and communication are essential to a healthy DD relationship, but, while the framework of DD must be consensually agreed, individual punishments may occasionally be given without the specific consent of the 'disciplinee'.
Ideally, DD is the loving, consistent use of discipline as a positive way to enhance communication, deepen intimacy and reinforce relationship commitment. The discipline would normally include physical punishment, especially spanking, but centres around rules of behaviour laid down by one party and nominally agreed to by the other. Couples who base their relationship on their religion may also include prayer and other forms of godly worship as a means of correction.
Practitioners argue that domestic discipline is distinct from both domestic abuse and activities such as erotic spanking and BDSM-style domination and submission. Switching is unusual in a DD relationship.
As a relationship style, it is often seen as a stylised form of 'traditional' relationship intended to help the woman overcome negative behaviours that harm herself, her relationship or others. In creating loving limits to her behaviour and firm consequences for harmful activities, it aims to improve the relationship over time and demonstrates a loving connection to and physical correction from a caring partner.
Use outside BDSM
The term domestic discipline is used in other contexts outside of BDSM in ways that are analogous. For example, in education, it is discipline applied by the educator, mainly of a minor and at home; in youth movements, it is the disciplining of minors.