Philosophy of Daddy Doms

by Randall S. Frederick

“What do you get when you have a male Dom who’s not a sadist and a submissive who’s not into pain?” asks author Normandie Alleman. “Often the result is a Daddy Dom and a little girl submissive in a relationship that focuses not only on domination and punishment, but also on nurturing and adoration for one another.”

There are few aspects of kink that are as misunderstood as Daddy Doms and their little girl submissives. People often think having a Daddy means you missed out on something as a child, and maybe that’s true. The other night, someone asked if I would ever get married and I said I wasn’t sure. When I was in kindergarten, I recall a moment when I was playing “house” with other kids and thinking I wanted to grow up to be a dad and husband. Part of me has always wanted to care for someone, to take care of them, protect them, and build a life with them. One of my recurring sexual fantasies is, I admit, so tame it is hardly sexual. I fantasize about someone wanting a family with me. This “fantasy” has no sexual currency – it is, quite simply, the idea of loving and being loved. Which is why someone like me laughs when people mistakenly believe that having a Daddy Dom as a partner means you want to have sex with your father. Some “little girls” (or, the more gender-inclusive “littles”) and Daddies (or “Mommies”) engage in ageplay and others don’t. In the context of a BDSM relationship, having a Daddy Dom may not even mean that traditional BDSM sexual activities are engaged in, but rather that there exist clearly defined power dynamics, guidance, and (instead of the anticipated punishment) forms of reward.

Some men want to dominate their women. They want to own them and have them do as they are told, particularly when it comes to sex. But what happens when that man is more of a nurturer than a sadist? He will often fall into the role of “Daddy Dom.” Daddy Doms put their babygirl’s needs at the top of their priority list. A Daddy Dom will do everything he can to help his little girl be the best person she can be. He may spoil her, but he doesn’t let her get away with being a brat. Sometimes this means he will punish her, not for the enjoyment of the punishment, but because it is for her own good. A Daddy’s little girl is his pride and joy and he does what he can to make her feel special and cherished. Similarly, the little girl submissive worships her Daddy Dom. She will do anything to please him because she knows that he makes it his mission to care for her and to protect her. Since she is secure in his feelings for her, she trusts her Daddy and submits to him completely. The little girl puts her Daddy’s needs first and pleasing him is of the utmost importance to her. In return, he fulfills her needs and disciplines her when she needs it.

“In my books about Daddy Doms,” adds Alleman, “Both the Dom and the sub put their partner’s needs above their own. They are open and honest about their sexual needs and kinks. Daddy’s little girl is the center of his world, and he is the center of hers. While they may incorporate elements of ageplay, this is not their focus. They may engage in BDSM activities that include pain, but this is usually motivated by a desire to get to subspace, increase endorphins, or a need for punishment rather than a desire for pain for pain’s sake. However, like all relationships – each one as unique as a snowflake and it is difficult to generalize.”

Sunny Megatron adds to this definition.

A Daddy Dom is first and foremost a Dom. He chooses the subcategory of “Daddy” within the lifestyle of dominance and submission (D/s). [But] let’s get one thing out of the way right at the beginning. A Daddy Dom does not promote incest or pedophilia as the kink may be misunderstood by ignorant people. Rather, in this specific subcategory, the dynamic is set up for the male dominant to be called “Daddy,” and the female submissive (sub) to be called “girl,” “little girl,” or “babygirl,” etc. Rarely is she called “daughter,” as this evokes too many parallels to incest, which Daddies and their girls detest. And while some doms and some subs may have been victims of family violence, incest, or other abuse, Daddy Doms and their girls are not overrepresented in these categories any more than the general population.

Broadly, what motivates the Daddy is an understanding that adults are not always mature. Producer of the Fantastic Beasts films, David Heyman, provides a parallel perspective. Recently, he spoke about the appeal of a character like Albus Dumbledore and the casting of actor Jude Law. “One of the reasons we chose Jude is he has many of the qualities we find in Dumbledore in the Potter films. He’s got authority, he’s got a twinkle in his eye, he’s sometimes a bit elliptical. So you have that but also have this youthful energy and jubilance. So he brings that twinkle, mischief, authority, and power, but at the same time brings far more youthful energy to the film. You understand why he would be your favorite teacher and be someone you believe is an extraordinary wizard.” I would suggest that one of the reasons we like (or are attracted to) certain characters is because they are complex. But what does that mean, “complex”? We speak offhandedly as though this is known. Someone is complex, nuanced, or “a real person” when we are able to see them from different perspectives. The college professor, brusque and offensive, with the Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster in his office. The professional therapist who does not allow her clients to know the “complexity” of her own life or her own issues. We are surprised and somehow delighted (or awkwardly intimidated) to see people out of their normal routine because it means, finally, we begin to see them as real people. The Daddy/little dynamic is, in some sense, built on the essence of this. The embrace, even the welcoming of it, provides the fuel for exploring something that feels safe because these masks, the facade of the superficially protected, are set aside to reveal a liminal space of delight and fear in equal measure. Philosopher Alain De Botton’s School of Life series on relationships puts forward the following ideas:

To say that someone has ‘daddy issues’ is a somewhat rude and humiliating way of alluding to a very understandable longing: for a father who is strong and wise, who is judicious, kind, perhaps at points tough, but always fair – and ultimately, always on our side. It would be so understandable if we were to feel we wanted someone like this in our lives, especially at moments of confusion and chaos.

The longing for a strong father has been a recurring theme in history. Most religions have conceived of their central divinities as male parents. In ancient Greece, Zeus was described as the ‘father of men and Gods’; in Christianity, God was the heavenly father; in Germanic mythology, Odin was the Allfather, the father of all other gods. The longing has been no less present in secular culture. In the US, the individuals who led the war of independence and drew up the constitution came to be known as the Founding Fathers; Garibaldi, the dignified and authoritative man who fought for the unification of Italy in the 19th century, earned himself the title of the ‘father of the fatherland’.

In early childhood, we are all immensely weak and in need of protection. We can’t understand the world, we are so fragile, we could be killed by a moderately sized dog; so much feels mysterious and outside of our control. A hunger for a ‘daddy’ is – in the circumstances – wholly natural. A grown man inevitably and rightly seems immensely impressive to a small child. They appear to know everything: the capital of New Zealand, how to drive a car, how to say a few words in a foreign language, how to peel an avocado. They go to bed mysteriously late. They’re up before you. In the swimming pool, you can put your arms around their neck and rest on their back; they once kicked a football so high, you nearly couldn’t see it; they take you on their shoulders and help you touch the ceiling. It’s beyond astonishing – when one is four.

The paradox of daddy issues is that those who have them are – almost always – people who didn’t have very good fathers when they were small. Perhaps one’s father was strong but ultimately cruel, bullying or disinterested. Perhaps he was more interested in another sibling or in his work. Perhaps he wasn’t around much, left the house after a divorce or died young. The adult longing for a father is not the result of having had a good father in childhood: it’s a consequence of abandonment.

The longing can incline to us some tricky patterns of behaviour. However mature and sceptical we may be in most areas, in relation to the idea of male protection, we remain a little like the young child we once were and haven’t been allowed to mature away from. We secretly yearn for a man to step in and fulfill an unquenched fantasy role. They’ll take charge; they’ll make the big decisions, they’ll be tough and certain and make our problems go away. They’ll make sure the money side of things is sorted, they’ll get angry and aggressive with anyone who hurts us; they will be proud of us and love us as we are. We’ll be looking out for daddies in friendships, at work and, not least, in politics.

The danger is that these ‘daddies’ may in the end hugely damage our trust, for it isn’t in anyone’s power to assuage the sort of longings we bring to bear on them. They may know very well what we want, and naively or cynically promise to provide it for us, but gradually – too late – we stand to realise that they had a thousand flaws, as we all do. We may realise that they are bullying rather than noble; that our enemies haven’t gone away; that they couldn’t help us; that there isn’t in fact enough money in the world to do what they promised; and that – in fact – they didn’t really love us at all.

The fantasy ‘Daddy’ figure of adulthood isn’t in fact a good father for one big reason: truly good humans know they aren’t that powerful and are happy to admit to the fact cleanly and  honestly, just as soon as we are ready to take the news, which is normally when we are around twelve years old and conscious of new powers and capacities. A good father doesn’t – beyond that age – pretend to be all powerful, they confess they can’t solve all our problems and can’t magically save us from a myriad of dangers, no matter how much they wish they could. The good daddy disappoints us just as soon as we are strong enough to bear reality. Out of love they deflate the idea that there could ever be a perfect, ideal daddy. They try as best they can to help us grow up.

If we encounter someone who has daddy issues, the temptation is to get frustrated, tell them to mature, mock them and – in particular – poke fun at the particular daddy figure they might have identified. This isn’t either a very wise or ultimately a very kind strategy. It simply tends to entrench their devotion – because, whenever we are attacked, we of course feel ever more intensely than ever the need for the protection of an idealised father.

What we really need to help us out of our daddy issues is something more like the actions of a genuinely good father: someone who truly acknowledges our suffering and our fears, who deeply wants what is best for us and isn’t reluctant to say so; but who, at the same time – out of love – wants to help us come to terms with a messy and essentially disappointing world; a man who – out of love – will encourage us to be independent and, specifically, not to fantasise that anyone, however outwardly imposing, can ever do the impossible. Good daddies allow us to bear the truth that there are, in the end, no ‘daddies’.

Likewise, in the search of a mother figure, the Mommy-Dom.

Perhaps you never had such a figure in your life, but let’s imagine for a moment what a good mother might have been like: when you were a baby, she fed you in the night; you cried at 3am and she got up to comfort you until you eventually found your way back to sleep an hour later. When you had a cold, she brought you toast and soldiers in bed. She was very interested in small things about you, like how you did in the school geography exam or the graze you got on your knee in the running race. Nowadays, she wants you to be happy, that’s what counts. Professional success isn’t the point. And when you mess up, your troubles are hers. She will put her own needs aside for you. She won’t demand that you take her difficulties as seriously as she takes yours.

She applauded even when your efforts were nothing special, yet she won’t remind you of any of it or even expect much gratitude. You are likely to understand – eventually – what she did, but only years later, and maybe too late to return the kindness. It’s an extraordinary image of what love could be. As adults, we often demand this sort of love of each other – and are likely to make a bitter discovery in the process: that we cannot now find again the love we knew as children. We rage against this and blame the other person for their inability to perfectly intuit our needs, until the day we reach a true maturity, realising that the only release from our longing for this sort of love is to stop demanding such love for ourselves and to learn to give it to somebody else, perhaps a child.

It is one of the most fascinating aspects of religions that they fully recognise the strength of our need for a mummy. In Catholicism, in shrines around the world, the sorrowful, the sad and the desperate will glance up at an image of Mary, light candles, say prayers and speak of their individual griefs to a mother who is symbolically the mother of all believers. From a robustly rational perspective, devotion to Mary seems to exemplify religion at its most infantile and soft-headed. How could any reasonable adult trust in the existence of a woman who lived several thousand years ago (if she ever lived at all), much less draw comfort from a projected belief in her unblemished heart, her selfless sympathy and her limitless patience? The drift of the question is hard to refute; it is simply the wrong question to raise. The apposite point is not whether the Virgin exists, but what it tells us about human nature that so many Christians over two millennia felt the need to invent her. Our focus should be on what the Virgin Mary reveals about our emotional requirements. In the broadest sense, the cult of Mary speaks of the extent to which, despite our adult powers of reasoning, our responsibilities and our status, the needs of childhood endure within us. While for long stretches of our lives, we can believe in our maturity, we never succeed in insulating ourselves against the kind of catastrophic events that sweep away our ability to reason, our courage and our resourcefulness at putting dramas in perspective and throw us back into a state of primordial helplessness.

At such moments we may long to be held and reassured, as we were decades ago by some sympathetic adult, most likely our mother, a person who made us feel physically protected, stroked our hair, looked at us with benevolence and tenderness and perhaps said not very much other than, very quietly, ‘of course’. To be seen, in any way, as babyish, childish or in need of mummy is to risk being scorned as an incompetent adult. Yet the needs are real. And we pay a price for dismissing them. We become desperate and feel very lonely. We might turn harshly on ourselves – getting angry because we feel ashamed of being weak.

For their part, Buddhists have evolved the figure of Guanyin for the very same reasons as Catholics invented Mary. She too has kind eyes and can suggest alternatives to despising oneself. In temples and outdoor plazas across the East, adults allow themselves to be weak in her presence. Her gaze has a habit of making people cry – for the moment one breaks down isn’t so much when things are hard as when one finally encounters kindness and a chance to admit to sorrows one has been harbouring in silence for too long. Like Mary, Guanyin has a measure of the difficulties involved in trying to lead a remotely adequate adult life. Guanyin does not act powerfully to solve our problems. The point is that just being heard; feeling that one’s pain is recognised, and taken seriously, is – in itself – a great help. She regards us with tenderness, when no-one else will, and strengthens us to face the tasks of life.

Modern society struggles to update what such figures as Mary and Guanyin represent. We don’t have a contemporary version of the publically available nurturing ‘mother’. It is easy to label as childish needs which should really be honoured as more generally human, for there is in truth no maturity without an adequate negotiation with the infantile and no such thing as a grown-up who does not regularly yearn to be comforted like a child. Christianity describes the capacity to accept the idea of one’s ongoing child-like nature as a mark of moral and spiritual health. Psychoanalysts would agree. Only the brittle and unnaturally haughty would attempt to deny their weaknesses. In religious ages in Europe, images of loving mothers were displayed in multitudes of shrines, temples and churches or on the sides of buildings. So the reassuring, generous message could reach people wherever they happened to be. Today, we have no problem at all with messages being displayed in public places – only they are more likely to concern the possibility of buying a special kind of sports shoe or advising us on how we can save a bit of money on car insurance. We’ve given over so much of this public terrain to people who are primarily concerned with making money out of us. We need a culture that recognises our common, widespread, deep need for maternal care – and the benefits of being reminded of the need. This is a political task – though it is one that does not (unfortunately) figure on the agenda of any major political party. It might be useful if architects and artists were occasionally to create works which took parental care as their central theme. Spaces for Tenderness, where we could, in the best sense regress; contemplate maternal images in a twilight ambience, while lying on cushions under the cover of soft woollen blankets of the sort that once swaddled us in our earliest days.

One might ask whether the taboo label, even at times the ridicule we direct towards the Daddy/little dynamic, is itself an admission of our failure to accept our own need for someone to take care of us, provide for us, and admit our shortcomings. These are the kinds of things we find hardest to articulate: our needs, wants that have gone unmet, and our failures in life and daily living. We want to admit our inability to handle life – the “adult” life of our own design, the consequences of our “mature” choices and the extension of our “responsibility.”

Small children sometimes behave in stunningly unfair and shocking ways: they scream at the person who is looking after them, angrily push away a bowl of animal pasta, throw away something you have just fetched for them. But we rarely feel personally agitated or wounded by their behaviour. And the reason is that we don’t assign a negative motive or mean intention to a small person. We reach around for the most benevolent interpretations. We don’t think they are doing it in order to upset us. We probably think that they are getting a bit tired, or their gums are sore or they are upset by the arrival of a younger sibling. We’ve got a large repertoire of alternative explanations ready in our heads – and none of these lead us to panic or get terribly agitated. This is the reverse of what tends to happen around adults in general, and our lovers in particular. Here we imagine that others have deliberately got us in their sights. If the partner is late for our mother’s birthday because of ‘work’, we may assume it’s an excuse. If they promised to buy us some extra toothpaste but then ‘forgot’, we’ll imagine a deliberate slight. They probably relish the thought of causing us a little distress. But if we employed the infant model of interpretation, our first assumption would be quite different: maybe they didn’t sleep well last night and are too exhausted to think straight; maybe they’ve got a sore knee; maybe they are doing the equivalent of testing the boundaries of parental tolerance. Seen from such a point of view, the lover’s adult behaviour doesn’t magically become nice or acceptable. But the level of agitation is kept safely low. It’s very touching that we live in a world where we have learnt to be so kind to children: it would be even nicer if we learnt to be a little more generous towards the childlike parts of one another.

It sounds strange at first – and even condescending or despairing – to keep in mind that in crucial ways one’s partner always remains a child. On the outside they’re obviously a functioning adult. But the Partner-as-Child theory urges us to recognise that parts of the psyche always remain tethered to the way they were at the early stages of life. This way of seeing the person one is with may be a helpful strategy for managing times when they are very difficult to cope with: when there are outbursts of deeply unreasonable petulance, sulkiness or flashes of aggression. When they fall far short of what we ideally expect from grown up behaviour and we might dismissively label such attitudes as ‘childish’, without quite realising it, we are approaching a hugely constructive idea, but then (understandably though unfortunately) seeing it simply as an accusation – rather than what it truly is: a recognition of an ordinary feature of the human condition.

The therapeutic benefit is the observation that we are generally very good at loving children. Our ability to continue to be loving, and to keep calm, around children is founded on the fact that we take it for granted that they are not able to explain what is really bothering them. We deduce the real cause of their sorrow from amidst the external symptoms of rage – because we grasp that little children have very limited abilities to diagnose and communicate their own problems. A central premise of the Partner-as-Child theory is that it is not an aberration or unique failing of one’s partner that they retain a childish dimension. It’s a normal, inevitable, feature of all adult existence. You are not desperately unlucky to have hitched yourself to someone who is still infantile in many ways. Adulthood simply isn’t a complete state; what we call childhood lasts (in a submerged but significant way) all our lives. Therefore, some of the moves we execute with relative ease around children must forever continue to be relevant when we’re dealing with another grown-up.

Being benevolent to one’s partner’s inner child doesn’t mean infantilising them. This is no call to draw up a chart detailing when they are allowed screen time or to award stars for getting dressed on their own. It means being charitable in translating things they say in terms of their deeper meaning: ‘you’re a bastard’ might actually mean ‘I feel under siege at work and I’m trying to tell myself I’m stronger and more independent than I really feel’; or ‘you just don’t get it do you’ might mean ‘I’m terrified and frustrated and I don’t really know why, please be strong.’ We’d ideally also give more space for soothing rather than arguing; instead of taking our partner up for something annoying they’ve said we’d see them like an agitated child who is lashing out at that the person they most love because they can’t think of what else to do. We’d seek to reassure and show them that they are still OK, rather than (as is so tempting) hit back with equal force. Of course, it’s much much harder being grown-up around another adult whose inner child is on display than it is being with an actual child. That’s because you can see how little and undeveloped a toddler or a five year old is – so sympathy comes naturally. We know it would be a disaster to suddenly turn on the child and try to hold them fully responsible for every moment of their conduct. Psychology has been warning us for half a century or more that this isn’t the right route.

However, we don’t yet have this cultural back-up fully in force to assist us in coping with a partner’s childish sides. Naturally, the insight can’t all be one way. A capacity for benevolence to the inner child of a partner has to be linked to a recognition that we will have a similar need to be viewed in this benevolent way at other points. We can take it in turns. We can summon up the energy to be be charitable to the inner three year-old of the other – in part because we know that soon enough we are going to need them to do the same for us.

The accurate, corrective reimagining of the inner lives of others is a piece of empathetic reflection we constantly need to perform with ourselves and with others. We need to imagine the turmoil, disappointment, worry and sheer confusion in people who may outwardly appear merely aggressive. Our lover may be six foot one and holding down adult employment, but their behaviour may still sometimes be poignantly retrogressive. When they behave badly, what they don’t, but should perhaps say is: ‘Deep inside, I remain an infant, and right now I need you to be my parent. I need you correctly to guess what is truly ailing me, as people did when I was a baby, when my ideas of love were first formed’. We do our lovers the greatest possible favour when we are able to regard at least some of their bad behaviour as we would those of an infant. We are so alive to the idea that it’s patronising to be thought of as younger than we are; we forget that it is also, at times, the greatest privilege for someone to look beyond our adult self in order to engage with – and forgive – the disappointed, furious, inarticulate or wounded child within.

When I was asked the other night what had gone wrong in my previous relationships – why I hadn’t married yet – my mind sifted over all these thoughts and considerations before returning (like a typewriter at the end of of a logical line) to conversations collected over the years with lovers. How I had been more of a parent to my parents, the doting older boyfriend, distant and, I suppose, immature in my own way. As a Gemini, I have often used my sign as an excuse for my dichotomous nature. Childish and ready for a cheap laugh wherever I find it, prone to laced severity on most days, I am often told I come off as “unreadable.” Partially, this is because of forced maturity at an early age. It remains part of who I am in intimate relationships, continually gravitating toward the paternal, delighting in personal triumphs and disappointed when my partners “let me down.” In my last serious relationship, I was hurt – but my love and care for her never wavered. I was not mad, I was “disappointed.” This was, I think, part of why it is so difficult to be in a relationship with me and why all of the “Daddy Doms” I know are either single or divorced. The dynamic prevails through all parts of the relationship, not just the sexual. It is, more often, part of our personality and not a mild extension of sexual interest. We care, which is different from being kinky.

Alternatively, all of the “brats” or “littles” that I know are single as well. Where Daddy Doms like myself naturally care and nurture, littles are often immature, naive, inexperienced, and gullible. Partners often see them as stupid or irresponsible when they are genuinely doing their best to navigate an “adult” world that – if we are honest – intimidates even the strongest, most mature among us. And while there is traction to the advice that people like me need to lighten up and seek out someone who is “ready to grow up,” I don’t think that would change who I am underneath. I also do not think it means the relationship “failed” just because the parties are no longer together. After all, do parents “fail” when the have raised little ones into adulthood?

The following are some of the fundamental characteristics, and indeed needs, that all Daddy dominants seem to share universally:

  1.  Her Number One Fan, the Daddy usually believes in his girl more than she herself does, and often uses the wisdom of his age to see her not only for who she is, but also for who she can become. A Daddy’s eyes light up when his girl enters the room. He is proud of her and praises her for not just for what she accomplishes, but for what she attempts, and for who she is. He accepts her for who she is, flaws and all.
  2.  And he knows all her flaws because he is also her ultimate Confidant, allowing her to bare her soul to him beyond all others. She may have many different relationships and types of friends in her life. But Daddy will be her “umbrella confidant.” The one with whom she can talk about absolutely anything and trust that what she tells Daddy stays with Daddy. He is the one from whom she withholds nothing. The one who doesn’t mind if she needs to call and talk at 3am.
  3.  He is the Protector of his girl against real or perceived threats, dangers, and bad people. Sometimes a little girl just needs to curl up in Daddy’s arms and smile at some of his bluster, and sometimes the Daddy may have to act on his protective instincts. Pity the person who messes with a Daddy’s girl.
  4.  Her Teacher and mentor shows her new things that come from a longer and possibly wider set of life experiences. Daddy likes to take his girl to places she has never been, feed her foods she has never eaten, and do activities she has never enjoyed before. He is never so happy as when he can look in her eyes and know he has given her something she has never had before. This also translates into sexual adventurism for some Daddy/girl couples. He symbolically deflowers her on a regular basis, whether that be sexual or just in exposure to new life adventures.
  5.  He wants to be her Guide and advisor. As the girl makes her way in the world, Daddy wants to be there to answer her questions, calm her fears, make her insecurities go away, and give her sound advice based on his years of experience.
  6.  Anchor. The Daddy dom is an unyielding, unmovable anchor in the storm. No matter what happens in the girl’s life, she knows her Daddy will be right there where he has always been, and she can hold onto that even if she is blinded by her own tears. Daddies know the storm will pass, and she will be safe, but she needs something to hold onto that will not move.
  7.  Disciplinarian. When the girl acts badly, she expects to be disciplined or punished for the infraction. Most Daddy dominants find it occasionally difficult to keep this up, especially as the affection for their girl grows. They would love nothing more than to spoil their girls, but they realize this is the path to ruin. One a girl begins to believe she can manipulate Daddy, she no longer sees him as her dominant, unyielding anchor. A girl needs the stability and protection of a man who is more dominant than she is. To demonstrate that characteristic, Daddies must sometimes be excessively strict and rigid, more so than they would in normal relationships. The act of disciplining the girl may be used as part of a sadomasochistic activity.

In addition to these practically mandatory characteristics, some couples add their own sadism and masochism to the mix, and may use the concept of the wolf or lion and little lamb to describe the way in which the Daddy simultaneously protects his little girl from the world, and yet wants to dominate and devour her sexually. As a sadist, he may create the very tears that he will later kiss away. Sounds sweet, yet terrifying if you are not accustomed to the world of sadomasochism in which these participants operate. To a Daddy and his girl who are into BDSM, this is the most perfect of scenarios they can imagine to act out their fetish.

Daddies come in many flavors, just as their girls do. Some Daddies may have polyamorous girls who have male and female lovers, and Daddy may be that one person outside the polyamory “family” who does not judge her. A Daddy and his girl might not have a sexual relationship at all. Since this is typically a D/s construct, there is usually a sexual component, but as can be seen from the above list of characteristics, sex is not the largest factor or the motivating force in this type of relationship. A Daddy may have more than one girl, may be married and have a girl, too, or may have other types of combinations. But it is rare for a girl to have more than one Daddy.

It is said that “a Top is for tonight, a Dominant is for as long as she is submissive, a Master is there until she is no longer a slave, but a Daddy is forever.” Daddy may have to give his girl away to a husband. He may eventually run out of things to teach his little girl. She may ultimately not need his sage advice and his experience any more. Hopefully he will be too old by then to have to deal with it, because when there is nothing left to teach, no need for a confidant, no discipline needing to be meted out, when his little girl no longer needs her Daddy, that’s when he will die inside. The need that Daddy has for his girl is every bit as potent as the need she has for her Daddy.

A Daddy usually knows he is one. He doesn’t have to be convinced of it, or taught how to be a Daddy. He may only need to have his innate Daddy characteristics pointed out to him. It might happen in the throes of a sexual activity when she exclaims “Daddy” for the first time, and the light goes on. Similarly, the little girl usually knows she needs a Daddy without having to be taught how to be his little girl. Once they identify themselves as Daddy/little girl (DD/lg), the draw is more powerful than many other forms of attraction, because it is rooted in deep-seated and old emotions that may not have any other outlet.

Girls in this lifestyle do not act like little girls in their normal work lives. They do not bring teddy bears to work. Indeed many are older women who are very assertive and successful in the business world, but need this special place to get nurturing and comfort lacking in their careers. A Daddy might not necessarily act parental or fatherly in his normal work life either. For some it may be role playing, for some it is a secret lifestyle, and other couples delight in the joys of unabashedly practicing the Daddy/girl dynamic in public. In any case, it evokes deep-seated needs and emotions for both parties, and is a very powerful dynamic.

“While some of these characteristics could easily be applied to any good male-female relationship, writes Sunny Megatron, “There are some that require something quite different than the “50/50 partnership” that is so often touted as the most healthy. This is not 50/50. This is a Dominant/submissive relationship, and all the characteristics should be viewed through the lens of D/s. And while many of the characteristics could also be easily applied to any good D/s or Master/slave relationship, there are some characteristics that are decided different. Not all Masters consider themselves their slave’s number one fan or her umbrella confidant. Teacher, guide, and anchor are not necessarily roles that a Master is required to adopt. This is nowhere near a complete treatise on Daddy/girl relationships. It does not address the possibility that parent-child ego states (Transactional Analysis) are the preferred communication mode. It does not address the “play space” created by the Daddy for the girl to enjoy feeling “little,” or many other aspects that make D/g different from other D/s, M/s and similar dynamics. But this description of Daddy Dom characteristics will hopefully be useful as a baseline explanation of what makes a Daddy tick.”

Partners find that intentionally exploring a new DD/lg component to their relationship can be a little frightening and very exciting. It can also be easy to shy away from the hard parts, and jump head-first into the “fun” parts. Often, feelings and boundaries are overlooked by the sparkle (and “newness”) of a DD/lg relationship. Time has a way of catching up with us; and when it does, all of those feelings and broken boundaries will come into question (either by you, or your partner). It is really important to take a step back and get a really good look at what you are committing to. Once you are fully aware of what it is that you are wanting, you will then want to step slowly into the changes; taking time to question and evaluate how you feel about what is happening. Discover who you are in this new role, and enjoy the journey. No one is going to be a perfect little or perfect Daddy Dom on the first day; or the hundredth; or the one-thousandth. Even the most experienced Dom will tell you that He is still learning and discovering new ways to be better. No one is perfect, and the only way to be a good little or Dominant is to learn, and be willing to grow every day, and to that end, there are ways that beginners in the DD/lg lifestyle may get started.

  1. Read books, blogs, and forums. Learn as much information as you can about this lifestyle.
  2. Talk with people who are in the lifestyle, and ask a lot of questions.
  3. Start a journal of your journey personally, or together as a couple.
  4. Establish rules and boundaries. It is important to remember that these boundaries can change and evolve over time, and with experience, in all of these new areas.
  5. Set up weekly meetings with your partner to discuss how things are going, and whether or not changes need to be made.
  6. Decide how much “power” the Daddy Dom holds over the little. Such as: certain areas, most areas, or total power exchange (TPE).
  7. Decide if this new lifestyle is going to be 24/7, only in the bedroom, or specific times and dates.
  8. Date each other!!! Even if you have been married or together for years, it is important to remember that you are both discovering who you are. Dating is the best way to explore that side of yourselves together.
  9. Plan fun, little-friendly activities. Such as: coloring, playing with toys, watching cartoons, or whatever else helps to bring your little side out.
  10. Be 100% open and honest, 100% of the time. This type of relationship is fundamentally built on trust. Without trust at its foundation, the relationship cannot operate the way it was intended to.
  11. Explore sexual kinks together. Whether it’s role-play, bondage, or any number of things; showing this side of yourself to each other builds intimacy and trust.
  12. Decide how open you want to be about your new lifestyle. Is this going to be private between the two of you? Private between the two of you, and a blog? Only close friends and/or family? Out and proud? There is no wrong answer. Every couple is different on who/when/why they want to share this side of themselves. Knowing this information can save you from some very awkward and hurtful moments for sharing with someone that your partner isn’t comfortable sharing with.
  13. Make a daily goal chart for your little. You can make make this as cute, fun, serious or to-the-point as you like. Having this chart will give your little a step-by-step list of ways to please her Daddy. And littles love pleasing their Daddies!
  14. Start a hobby together. Doing this will give you both things to talk about, and will provide something to do together to bond you closer. Some good ideas include: learning an instrument, learning to cook, exercise and fitness, watching a television series, ballroom dancing, etc.
  15. Be patient with each other. Remember, this is new for both of you. You will both undoubtedly make mistakes. Having patience and cheering for the other will motivate both of you to work harder.
  16. Talk about and establish punishments. Once they are decided and agreed upon, always remember to follow through. Establishing and following through with punishments will help the power dynamic stay strong for both parties.
  17. Learn the power of Love and Respect. The basic idea is that every little girl needs to be loved, and every Daddy Dom needs to be respected. If the little is being disrespectful, then the Daddy becomes unloving and hurt. If the Daddy is being unloving, then the little becomes disrespectful and hurt. So you can either be on the unloving/disrespectful circle…or on the love/respect circle. The latter works extremely well for us.
  18. Make goals for your newfound DD/lg relationship. Set a one week goal, a month goal, a year goal, and a five year goal. Talking about and planning for a future will help show your commitment to the other.
  19. Play with each other (haha not that kind, but it’s highly recommended as well). Build blanket forts, go to the park, share a milkshake or sundae at a diner, have tickle fights, etc. Laughing is so important, and vital in bonding and opening up with each other.
  20. Speaking of playing with each other…have sex. Have a LOT of sex! Having a healthy sexual relationship will keep your butterflies fluttering in your tummy like they belong. Being wanted by another is a huge confidence boost for anyone. Your partner needs to feel wanted by you! (This is for sexual DD/lg relationships. There is nothing wrong with being a non-sexual DD/lg couple, as long as both parties are on-board.)
  21. Have FUN!!!! Take your time and enjoy this new phase of your life!

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5 thoughts on “Philosophy of Daddy Doms

  1. I’ve been thinking about this article for the last couple of days. I might have met my first Daddy-Dom type man and I like it. I am normally a dominant female myself but this time it’s different – instead of desiring to have the ‘slave’ submissive men serve me and beg me to f*ck them, I have fallen head over heels for this guy and want him to discipline me!
    So my comment is about desire… Can you fall for a submissive? No. You might still desire them, but when you fall for someone, you desire to be theirs. Have other people experienced the ‘switch’ in this way?

    1. I thought I had found the perfect Daddy Dom. He was absolutely exciting and usually being a dominant woman, I was surprised that I was so into it. Jeff was definitely a desire in which I needed fulfilled! But turned out he had several others, in several states. It was heart breaking

  2. The takeaway I get from every article about Daddy doms, no matter who writes it, is that some people seem to think that nurturing is not found outside of Parent/babysub dynamics. The worst offenders keep being people in those types of relationships.

    My Master and I have spent years together with him guiding me, laughing with me, playing with me in the adult-to-adult context (puns, sarcasm, bouncing ideas off each other) and disciplining me with a heart that breaks when he has to. He’d protect me from everything else if it didn’t stifle my growth. He needs to have me where I am in his life as much as I need him where he is. But he is not a Daddy dom. He needs me to be an adult who doesn’t drop into the simper and whimper mode. I need to be one for him. And even Masters who need slaves who bow to their every whim love them to death.

    I hope you and the others involved in your preferred form of BDSM keep prodding and prying at why it works for you. Everyone can learn when more truth is revealed. I’d only ask you all to remember the rest of us are happy when it works for us, too. And nurturing can happen no matter what the submissive or dominant call themselves.

  3. when I first met my Daddy, he told me I turned him into “mush,” which, I surmised, might not be normal for him. I was also, decidedly, mush, We clicked right away. It was so unlike any relationship dynamic I had ever experienced, I didn’t know I wanted it. I didn’t know how much I NEED it – this specific flavor of mutual love & respect. It’s been a wild ride the past year or so, and most recently I learned I have ADHD, which (in addition to the baseline inner-child stuff) explains a lot about why I so deeply crave an authority figure, a person to hold structure for me, to set expectations, to help me organize my life. anyway, this article is incredible, thorough, and well-articulated. thank you!

  4. when I first met my Daddy, he told me I turned him into “mush,” which, I surmised, might not be normal for him. I was also, decidedly, mush, We clicked right away. It was so unlike any relationship dynamic I had ever experienced, I didn’t know I wanted it. I didn’t know how much I NEED it – this specific flavor of mutual love & respect. It’s been a wild ride the past year or so, and most recently I learned I have ADHD, which (in addition to the baseline inner-child stuff) explains a lot about why I so deeply crave an authority figure, a person to hold structure for me, to set expectations, to help me organize my life. anyway, this article is incredible, thorough, and well-articulated. thank you!

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