The Spencer Spanking Plan

In 1936 Dorothy Spencer published The Spencer Spanking Plan. She begins,

Several years ago I conceived the idea of settling domestic misunderstandings in our home upon a somewhat unique basis—the giving and submitting to carefully regulated corporal punishment.

My idea was to inaugurate a system of cooperative discipline that would sincerely benefit the party at fault and prevent all serious trouble by furnishing a definite, fair and effective method of adjustment. The plan was a wonderful success.”

Her idea was that a couple could use spanking to solve domestic differences. Unlike our domestic discipline, the Spencer plan called for both partners to administer and receive spankings. The actual plan is very simple. Both partners agree in writing to consent to being punished for agreed-to behaviors. It goes on to describe how Dorothy Spencer thinks the punishments should be administered.

She wrote that a lot of men requested her plan. This is in line with modern domestic discipline. Men, like me, ask our wives to punish us as needed. The idea of mutual DD is interesting. I suspect that few couples actually practiced that way.

The Spencer plan dictates that spankings are never to be given in anger. It also says that it is important that a spanking lasts a long time. She doesn’t say how long but teaches that time being spanked is more important than intensity. We’ve learned that’s true.

What struck me about this famous concept was its importance in assuring that once punishment is administered, the offense is forgotten. The big idea was that spanking avoided holding on to anger and grudges. That’s how it works for us. The other stressed point was that spankings had to be given on bare skin. Ms. Spencer was very aware of the humiliation a bare-bottom spanking evoked.

There’s no way to know just how popular this idea was in the 1930s. I guess that it didn’t get much circulation. Modern spankos like to point to this as an early endorsement of domestic discipline. Paddle makers like to offer “Spencer paddles.” Dorothy Spencer never advocated paddling. She believed that women should get bare-hand spankings and men whipped with a belt.

If you read her plan, you will probably find it quaint. The agreements she wrote for partners to sign are nice templates for a modern DD contract.


  1. I like to think my husband and I are pretty close to this. If he screws up, he’s likely to get spanked. That happens if it’s super clear and he’s super guilty, or if he asks for it. He spanks me at his own discretion.

    1. Author

      You make an interesting distinction. You have to catch him doing something very serious or he has to request a spanking. He, on the other hand, can spank you anytime he wants. Not too close to Spencer, but very nice. 🙂

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