As they clap their palm firmly down and make that delicious slap that makes hearts (and groins) all over the world quiver, you moan out a single, heady note, “Oh, DADDY!”

In scenes I’ve done with clients and play partners alike that deal with Daddy or Mommy power play, the question invariably comes up at the end or beginning of a scene: Do you have issues? What makes you like Daddy (or Mommy) play?

I know my clients and lovers to be kind, generous, and well-intentioned people. When this question arises, the curiosity is genuine and sincere. Does my love of power play originate from a deep childhood fetish or trauma? Am I, by participating in either being punished by a Daddy or Mommy or being a Daddy or Mommy, trying to fill some endless, vortex-like black hole of shame, struggle, and lack of affection? Without delving into the personal details of my childhood, I hasten to answer, “No!” I say soothingly to my lovers, “This is a scene that feels sexy, comfortable, and safe.”

Inwardly, I wonder if I am being truthful to my sweets, or simply trying to quell their understandable curiosity.

Many scenes done between consenting adults are about power: student-teacher, milkman-housewife, domme-sub, etc. The scenes vary from person to person, but when all is said and done, the primary dynamic that commonly exists between these relationships is one of power and hierarchy. A teacher has the power to make a student to do whatever she wants them to do, and to inflict punishment(s) if they disobey. When two people are playing out a scene with a parent and submissive, the idea is the same: a parent is a person who serves multiple functions. They can provide care, comfort, discipline, coercion, manipulation, and domination. They create a safe space for a person who is interested in subbing, or being willfully disobedient with the hopes of a mild-to-severe punishment.

This is not to say that Daddy and Mommy issues don’t sometimes breed (no pun intended!) PTSD that can be worked out in the bedroom. For years, trauma and sex-based reclamation have been willfully connected. Many survivors of domestic violence or incest find ways to reclaim their bodies from the trauma that unconsentually seized it using various forms of kink, BDSM, or power play. The Survivor's Guide to Sex, by Staci Haines, is an incredible resource for folks who are looking to find ways back into themselves after severely disembodying experiences. If you identify with this method of re-embodiment, then this book could be a particularly powerful resource for you.

However, this is not typically the normative motivation behind scenes that involve a Mommy or a Daddy. Though sex and play are fantastic (and highly rewarding) ways to work through frustration, the reasons behind why I do these particular scenes feel age-old and incongruent with familial trauma; never having reared children myself, I feel empowered by the opportunity to provide a space where my lovers can feel both deeply nurtured and sadistically punished at the same time. The parental dynamic ensures that my word is law, and my actions and methods of discipline are justified by my positionality. Similarly, a parental-type figure in a scene can provide excellent aftercare following particularly vengeful disciplinary scenes—they can dole out sweet words, bacon (my favorite form of aftercare), assurances, cuddles, and other manner of affection that fall into line with the caretaking aspect of being a parent.

There are many factors to consider when taking on a scene with a female escort, client, or lover, including their personal history, the context of your relationship to them, their triggers, their fantasies/kinks, and their vocabulary around their bodies. However, it would be a great disservice to both you and your play partner to assume that whatever kinks and fantasies they harbor are derived from long-dormant childhood trauma or incident. The best way to ensure that everyone has a safe and fun time is to check in with your partner before you delve into a scene that deals with potentially triggering power dynamics. My motto is always: Converse first, play second! Of course, this applies doubly to Daddy issues and Mommy play. Always!

Happy playing, Mommies, Daddies, and Children!