It's pretty common for people who fuck each other to call each other names in bed.



Head Queen.

However, there's one bedroom name that's arguably much more controversial and derisive than any other: "daddy."

For some, the word conjures up disturbing images of incest, genetic contribution and unresolved daddy issues, for lack of a better word.

For others, it has a meaning all its own; a far cry from anything even remotely familial. 

Yet, despite the common and understandable belief that "daddy" inherently means "father-fucking," that's by and large not how the men and women who use it mean it. In fact, sex therapists and sex-havers alike agree that "daddy" has nothing to do with actual daddy issues, and everything to do with something else: power exchange.

"I've heard from a fair amount of men who were turned off by it, and were worried that it was an indicator of 'daddy issues,'" sex therapist Vanessa Marin told Broadly. "Yes, 'daddy' can mean 'father,' but we also use the word to indicate when someone is the boss, in charge, a protector, or doing a good job. That's usually the meaning women are going for in the bedroom. It's a bit of a 70s porn cliche. I've never run across a woman who called her partner 'daddy' because she genuinely liked fantasizing that he was her father."

On online sex discussion forums like Reddit, people also deny that the word "daddy" has any connection to daddy issues or dark desire for incestuous contact.

"Umm, I don't know. I enjoyed calling my ex daddy because I thought it sounded hot," says one redditor. "I don't have a father, and I don't have 'daddy issues.'"

"I have a great relationship with my Dad, actually," says another. "So it has nothing to do with daddy issues. But to me, the word daddy in a sexual context means the man I'm with is killing it. It's a sign of respect and admiration, and also a bit of submission. When I call him daddy, I'm telling him 'You're in control.'"

In fact, submission was a major theme on Reddit daddy threads, the general consensus being that women call men "daddy" because it's an easy and symbolic way to demonstrate submission to male authority in a consensual sexual setting. It's also a very intimate term, something that connotes trust and love more than the icier "Sir" or "Master."

"Sir/Master just doesn't have that same affectionate tone to it, know what I mean?" says one redditor.

Even some real, actual dads we talked to didn't see anything inherently incestuous in the sexual use of "daddy."

"My real name is Alan, but this point, Daddy is basically my other name," says Alan*, who's the dad of a four-year-old girl. "When a woman calls me Daddy in bed, it feels like she's calling me Alan. I am Alan. I am Daddy. It's just my name. I don't really have a problem with it."

So, if it's not a father figure women crave when they whisper "daddy" through possibly-semen-encrusted lips, what's behind our mistaken belief that it is?

In short, you can blame Freud for that.

He's the guy who invented the infamous theory that we all secretly want to take our parents to pound town. He dubbed the phenomenon of female children supposedly wanting to do their dads "Electra Complex," and the related desire of boys wanting some motherly love "Oedipus Complex." He's also the mastermind behind the ridiculous and now-debunked idea of penis envy, or the idea that all women are debilitated by a compulsive need to have a dick.

Given these bizarre and inaccurate interpretations of sexuality, it's not surprising that his theories have largely been discredited in the psychology community. Still, though, his insistence that all people are parent-fuckers has silently loomed in the background of popular discussions of mental illness.

After all, it was Freud who really popularized the idea that someone's mental state is a direct result of their upbringing. He overemphasized parental contribution to personality and sexual development, and though his ideas sound asinine to us today, they were the prevailing theories for a large part of the 20th century.

Years later, with his ideas seeped into our collective unconcious, who do we blame for our problems and sexual deviance?

Ding ding, you guessed it: our parents.

Thus, "daddy" in the context of sex-fucking has garnered an association with the Freudian desire to bone our dads. Thanks, asshole.

However, there are some corners of the kink community that do play around with parent-child roles in a safe, consensual space. The most extreme version DDlg, which stands for Daddy Dom/little girl. Within this community, men take care of their "littles" in a paternal way, providing toys and discipline. In exchange, the littles bring joyful innocence and impressionability to the relationship. According to Broadly, "The DDlg community thrives on Tumblr, where different blogs are set up for DDlg secrets, personals, and blogs for women who describe themselves as being 'Mentally age 3-6, physically all grown up.'"

That's, in fact, where we found this gem:

Either you read that and got horny, or your read that and got disgusted.

For some of us, it's understandably hard to separate the word "daddy" from a parent-child relationship. It can feel like sexualizing children and infantilizing grown women, neither of which are acceptable forms of sexual expression.

In fact, that's exactly the problem another dad we talked to, Mitch*, has with the term.

"I don’t like the infantilization and incestuous connotations," he says. "My guess is that it’s that kind of flirtation with the taboo that gets some people off, which is fine, just not for me."

Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but by that logic, shouldn't we also get grossed out by the term of endearment "Baby?" "Baby" is a universally accepted pet name that implies both familial relationships and a certain vulnerability, yet we don't seem to see that as problematic.

Riddle us that.

At the end of the day, words mean what you make them mean. It's the intention behind the word, not the actual word itself, that carries weight. So, if the word "daddy" conjures up images of your dad fly-fishing and that dries you up like Death Valley, feel free to not use it, ever. Yet, if you're attracted to the idea of "daddy" as an expression of admiration or power exchange, you can relax knowing it probably has nothing to do with the daddy issues you may or may not have.

Father of two and Rooster editor Brian Frederick puts it best: "There's a big difference between my kid calling me daddy and someone using it sexually. Same word, different meanings."