Martha Allen—no, Martha Allen Ames, she corrected herself—looked into the mirror of the beautiful hotel suite’s bathroom. She liked what she saw: wavy brown hair to her shoulders, bright eyes that seemed to contradict their dark brown color with the lively way they flashed, a characteristic Ben always commented on with that sweet smile on his face, making her heart fill with love for him.
Martha liked what she saw, but that didn’t quiet the nervousness. She should certainly feel nervous, though, shouldn’t she? Every bride should feel nervous, especially here on the colonial planet of Harmonia, where the founders had decreed, five generations ago, that brides must always be virgins on their wedding nights, and laid the charge upon every family to uphold the ancient tradition.
Try as she might, though, Martha couldn’t help feeling that her own anxiety had an extra, different dimension. For months, as their courtship had proceeded and the wedding preparations had taken shape, she had felt that as affectionate as she and Ben were toward one another, they had danced around the topic of this night, here, in the lovely hotel room.
Now he’ll tell me what he expects, she said to herself. Of course he will. And… and then, when I say that I don’t want to do it, he’ll…
That was where her imagination always seemed to break down. Martha, age twenty-three and almost a lawyer now—the new sort of career woman who had decided to leave the old gender roles of the founders behind her—knew she should be able to figure out where the trouble lay, but something in her simply refused to think further about it. Ben would tell her, and he would follow through, the way he had followed through—though just with his hand on her breasts—under her shirt the night he proposed, touching her nipple though Martha had protested.
Now Martha wore her white cotton nightgown with nothing under it. It wasn’t sheer, and it came down past her knee, but the knowledge that she didn’t have any panties on somehow made her shiver when she thought about why she didn’t have them on.
Now he’ll tell me what he expects. She opened the bathroom door. She had told him, leaving the reception, to give her fifteen minutes. They were almost up, and she wanted to be in bed with the covers up when he came in to… to tell her what he expected, and…
The door opened. Martha had just enough time to get under the comforter and the sheet before she saw Ben in the light that spilled in from the doorway. So handsome, with that carved chin and dark hair, the blue eyes she couldn’t see right now but pierced her soul in her imagination.
“Martha?” his deep voice said.
“Hi,” she said shyly from the bed.
“Are you ready, sweetheart?” In his tone, she heard his affection and his care for her. She heard the way he had once said, when she cried on his shoulder about an exam, “I love your incredible intelligence. I love the way you overthink everything. I love the way you’re going to change the world.”
Now he’ll tell me, and I’ll say no, and it will all work out. No more overthinking. Not tonight.
The Decree to ensure domestic tranquility was promulgated by electronic message to the inbox of every man on the planet Harmonia five nanoseconds after the inbox of every woman on the planet had been transferred to the control of her husband, father, or assigned guardian, on the first day of January, galactic year 3203, five years after Ben Ames and Martha Allen had gotten married.
The proper ordering of the Commonwealth of Harmonia being necessarily dependent on the proper ordering of the commonwealth’s households, in light of the recent disturbances and the threat posed to the public welfare by the granting of excessive freedoms to women, an idea that stands in direct opposition to the principles upon which the commonwealth was founded in GY 3085 by colonists with the avowed purpose of maintaining a traditional Earth lifestyle, the following statutes are now in effect.
First, that unmarried women of age eighteen or older who deny their obligation and duty to submit to the men responsible for them be provided with transportation from Harmonia to Earth, with a stipend of 500 galactic credits, and that heads of household who wish to remove their families be provided with the same transportation for them and their families, and that a legal procedure be instituted for married women to do the same after due discernment by a competent authority, providing for sanctioned separation of irreconcilably different spouses.
Second, that from henceforth women shall no longer be called citizens of the commonwealth, and shall no longer exercise the rights of citizens, but shall instead be called ‘women of the commonwealth,’ with their citizen rights exercised by the men responsible for them.
Third, that from henceforth the discipline of women from the age of eighteen shall be placed under the supervision of the newly appointed Marriage Board, which board shall report directly to the president of the Commonwealth of Harmonia.
Fourth, that unmarried women shall at the age of eighteen be regarded as members of the household either of the principal or dean of their educational institution or, if they have completed their educations, of the duly appointed director of the local office of the Marriage Board, and that those citizens shall therefore have responsibility for those unmarried women’s conduct and their discipline in case of misbehavior.
Fifth, that every man responsible for one or more women shall submit to the Marriage Board each month a report on his discipline of the women under his care and protection.
Sixth, that the Marriage Board’s guidelines for the disciplining of women, expressly including corporal punishments of various severities and various kinds, to be given as often as necessary for the maintenance of household order, shall be considered binding upon heads of households.
Seventh, that the Marriage Board shall have power to audit the discipline of a household, and, if a deficiency in discipline is detected, shall have the power to punish a misbehaving woman at twice or three times the scheduled severity, as an example to her and to her head of household.
Ben sat back from his video screen, stunned. Everyone had known the administration had to do something about the protests. The young women, voicing demands that struck a majority of the people of the commonwealth as threatening Harmonia’s way of life, had nearly shut down the proper functioning of the little colony’s government. Even Martha, Ben’s wife—now sleeping off the Earth champagne on which they had splurged for New Year’s—had thought the protesters should have slowed down.
“Yes, they deserve the chance to work construction jobs,” she had said, though Ben wasn’t sure he agreed, “but occupying the president’s office isn’t the way to go about it.”
But this response seemed… well, Ben had to admit that from the perspective of the administration it must seem logical, even if to couples like Ben and Martha it would seem excessive. The president and his cabinet all came from the founders, as the party called itself: men who had been raised, even five generations on from the birth of Harmonia, in households that practiced family discipline.
All the first families had sworn to uphold the tradition of family discipline with corporal punishment for women from the family strap or the family paddle. Many even in the second generation, though, had let the tradition slip.
Ben’s own father Don had practiced no family discipline at all with Ben’s mother or their children, as far as Ben knew. Ben didn’t know even the first thing about the way the founders ran their households, and he and Martha had never come close to discussing the matter, though he felt sure that her parents hadn’t made marital discipline part of their lives either.
Shaking his head, he clicked on the link to bring him to the Marriage Board’s Schedule of guidelines for the disciplining of women.
What he found on that page surprised him even more than the decree itself had.
The Marriage Board is here to help you, head of household. Above all, we are here to help if you are one of the many men in the commonwealth who have no experience at keeping women obedient and respectful. We know the change in your life will be profound, when you begin to practice family discipline as Harmonia’s founders intended it, and we want to do everything we can to help you avoid the severe consequences of failing to maintain order.
Let’s get that unpleasantness out of the way first. The Marriage Board has the authority to punish any woman it finds to have misbehaved, who has not received proper correction from her head of household. If this happens to a woman of your household, you will be required to bring the woman to a Marriage Board facility for correction, and she will receive twice the punishment she earned, in a public disciplinary session.
Husbands, you may be thinking that you can simply pretend that your wife has not done anything to deserve a date with your belt. We urge you to remember that you will have to submit a monthly record of discipline to the Marriage Board. You can expect that any household where a woman has not received at least one spanking in a given six-month period will receive a visit from a board auditor. We understand that you may not like it at first, or even comprehend it, but we can assure you that it will be a very rare occurrence for that auditor to find that the woman in question did not, in fact, need more discipline than she got in those six months. And we can assure you that your new family life, along with the whole domestic order of the commonwealth that will soon reassert itself, will demonstrate to you that the Marriage Board is here to help.
We also ask that any citizen who notes that a fellow head of household may be failing to maintain good order, by allowing disrespectful, disobedient, or immodest conduct by a woman in his household, should report the circumstances to a Marriage Board auditing office. We especially encourage employers and teachers to be vigilant for such misbehavior.
Now, let’s talk about disciplinary methods.
The Marriage Board has only one true requirement, based on eons of successful discipline back on Earth. To orient you in our thinking, every one of your three founding Marriage Board members believes that if only the people of Earth had maintained this very simple practice, the collapse of the Earth economy in GY 2243 and the hundreds of years of suffering that followed might well never have happened.
Here’s the requirement: a misbehaving woman shall receive a bare-bottom spanking, as a first measure.
From this point on, that idea must begin to permeate family life here on Harmonia. When it does, the commonwealth will be a much happier place.
Because we place so much importance on this first and fundamental principle, we have undertaken to provide a detailed procedure that you may follow in correcting a woman, as a head of household or in the workplace should you have female students or employees, if you have little or no experience of proper discipline.
First, summon the woman to a place appointed in your home or to your office. The door should be shut: for simple discipline, the misbehaving woman may retain a modicum of her privacy, with the understanding of course that on repeated offenses she will lose that modicum and may be punished on her bare bottom in a more public setting, and even with all her clothes taken away to increase her shame at her misbehavior. Tell her that she must plan to present herself as if at an important occasion, dressed nicely and above all with clean and well-ordered underwear.
Second, inform her of the precise reason you will spank her. Do your best to ensure that she is already penitent when she presents her bottom for punishment, though we understand how difficult this can be especially in the time through which we’re now living, where women are confused about their rights and responsibilities. Be patient with her! If there’s a chance she will say she’s sorry before she feels your firm hand across her backside, don’t rush to the spanking; let her think long and hard. Don’t hesitate to leave her by herself, perhaps with her nose in the corner, to consider her misbehavior and think about whether she would rather apologize and perhaps receive a less severe spanking than feel the full force of your disappointment on her naughty and impenitent rump.
Third, whether she has apologized or not, instruct her to position herself in the posture you find most convenient for her spanking. We recommend over your knee for a family spanking and over a special stool or bench for a workplace punishment. For an intimate marital spanking, when a wife refuses to honor her husband with every part of her body as she has vowed to do, we also recommend the reintroduction of the time-honored marriage bench, with its traditional leather straps to secure the recalcitrant spouse both for discipline and for the doing of her intimate matrimonial duty.
For a simple spanking, the girl to be chastised should not have her bottom bared before she gets into position, to allow her more privacy and also to suggest how easy it would be for you to take that privacy away. For the same reason, consider instructing her to bare her bottom herself, though we leave that to your discretion, and certainly if the miscreant must return to your office for the same offense you will want to be the one to raise her skirt and take down her panties, in order to suggest more emphatically your authority to correct her misbehavior.
Fourth, when she has bared her bottom, carry out the spanking. For a simple marital spanking, we recommend the bare hand as the most intimate and appropriate way to teach a wife the vital lesson of obedience and respect. For paternal spankings and workplace spankings we recommend a strap or paddle, though the heritage of the school cane, of rattan or bamboo, deserves much respect. A naughty wife should of course also naturally expect that repeated offenses will earn her your belt’s attention to her pretty bottom, and we urge husbands to consider that placing a wife not over your lap but over a sofa arm, coffee table, or even a whipping stool that you appoint for the purpose of giving her the belt, does wonders for her attitude. Again, the traditional marriage bench would also suit this purpose excellently.
The severity and duration of the spanking are of course at your discretion. The Marriage Board has visual aids available to guide you in this, and we wish to state clearly that you must not go beyond the upper limit of correction to be seen in those aids. Likewise, corner time after the spanking we leave to your judgment. We recommend that you spank the girl’s bottom until she will have difficulty sitting down for several hours at least, to provide a reminder of her need for reform.
From the baseline bare-bottom spanking, our recommendations proceed to the following disciplinary practices, which we rank in order of the severity with which we will apply them in cases where an audit reveals a deficiency in a woman’s conduct that her head of household has not sufficiently corrected. Each of the implements mentioned is available from the Marriage Board free of charge.
- Twelve swats of a wooden paddle with four air holes, one-half inch thick.
- Twelve lashes of a punishment strap two inches wide and one-half inch thick.
- Twelve cuts of a rattan cane one-half inch in diameter.
Your board auditor will work with you to decide when any of the above disciplinary measures must be applied to a woman in your care. Please remember that failure to discipline a woman properly will mean that you must bring her to a board facility to receive double the punishment in a public disciplinary session.
Finally, and this is of course just for husbands, let’s talk about the bedroom. For a wife, we firmly believe, discipline must begin and end in her sexual submission to her husband. The founders, in leaving this fundamental element out of our basic law, placed we believe too much trust in Harmonia’s citizenry. They overestimated both fathers’ abilities to educate their sons properly as to how to manage the training of a young bride and mothers’ abilities to inform their daughters as to what to expect in the bridal chamber. When the time came for a husband to have his way on his wedding night, many young people failed to communicate effectively, and many a bride was left with the impression that she could refuse her new husband’s desires if she found them inconvenient.
Happily, that will no longer be the case, as the Marriage Board will undertake to train both young men and young women (in separate classes, of course) as to a bridegroom’s rights and a bride’s duties. But that leaves the husbands of the commonwealth who never learned to take charge in bed with the need to do so from scratch, with a wife who may very well prove reluctant to acknowledge her husband’s sovereignty in this most important aspect of their lives together.
Ben sat back, stunned. He didn’t want to read on, and yet he couldn’t stop. In the bedroom, he heard Martha stirring.
Could he deny that his heart endorsed the administration’s actions completely? Things in his married life had seemed to him never to work right, even beyond the difficulty of managing two careers. He and Martha had seemed so much closer when they were dating, before their wedding night not quite five years ago when she had seemed to shrink away from him at the very moment they should have felt closest, when the time had come to make love for the first time. Some things at least had survived from the time of the founders, and young men and women on Harmonia didn’t spend the night together until after their weddings.
After that, after they had managed to get through it with Ben trying to be as gentle as he could and Martha seeming to try to be brave as he thrust in and out of the tight pussy that felt so good to be inside, they did it twice a week, but they never talked about it, and they never talked about Martha stopping birth control. Nor did they talk about anything except work and seeing their friends, which weren’t terrible subjects, of course—but before their wedding they had talked about so much more: dreams of changing the world, of family, and of traveling across the galaxy.
What would this decree mean for them? To Ben’s slightly guilty surprise, his cock had become as hard as a rock as he’d read about the administration’s ideas with respect to his bedroom. No, he had to admit he wanted to take Martha in hand, the way his great-great-grandfather must have taken his great-great-grandmother in hand. But he foresaw a struggle that might well tear them apart before they managed to return to Harmonia’s founding principles—if they managed it.