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Petticoat Discipline

From The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, by Brenda Love (New York: Barricade Books, 1992).

(Petticoat punishment) Petticoat discipline refers to the discipline used on young males whereby they are forced to wear kilts without the sporran (purse) by their mother, sister, governess, or aunt. English and Scottish mothers both used this method for controlling an unruly boy. This ploy worked by humiliating and embarrassing the boy so much that he was careful not to engage in any type of activity that would draw attention to himself, thus making him easy to control in public.

The degree of modification in attire depended on the boy. For some only a bow tie, short pants, or velvet fabric was sufficient, for others lace, bows on the shoes, shaved legs, and girl's underwear was necessary.

Older males were sometimes subjected to this humiliation due to the power a widowed mother had over their inheritance. An extract from a letter to The London Times sometime during the 19th century quoted a woman as saying she had "found an effective cure for my 20 year-old son's flirting with young ladies. Since corsetting him and putting him into a short kilt he is unable to look a girl full in the eyes, let alone ogle her. I heartily recommend this form of correction..."

Sexual literature often relates fictional stories of 14 to 20 year-old boys who are humiliated by a female, other than their mother. These females add frills to their shirt, shoes, or underpants. The kilt may be cut short so that lace underwear will show if the boy bends over. As often is the custom, underpants are not worn with kilts. Most of the story lines include embarrassment suffered from having others look up their skirt, pull their pants down for a spanking, or having females rub against their genitals.

Petticoat discipline differs from cross-dressing or transvestism because the intent is to have the masculinity and identity of the male remain prominent. The male is not trying to pass as female; the change in gender identity would not humiliate him nearly as much.

See also Dominance/Submission, Transvestitism, and Victorian Lace