Young couple in bed exploring Daddy play

Why Guys Like Being Called “Daddy” In Bed, According To Experts

The answer may surprise you 👀

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Do you think calling someone “Daddy” in bed sounds hot? Or have you ever wondered why some guys like being called “Daddy”? Using the term in a sexual context can be a surprisingly hot way to experiment with power play. And although it’s a common practice in BDSM relationships, which typically involve a mix of dominance, submission, and control, anyone can call their partner “Daddy” for some sexy fun. You may have heard “Daddy” used in porn or your favorite smut, but what does it actually mean, and why is it so attractive?

“The title of ‘Daddy’ carries an air of someone who is caring, in charge, [and] a problem-solver,” sex educator Dirty Lola tells Elite Daily. “Basically, [Daddy is] someone who will take care of you. I think folks are drawn to that, whether you want to be called ‘Daddy’ or you want to call someone ‘Daddy.’”

Contrary to the stereotype of leather-clad dominants dishing out spankings in BDSM, “Daddy” doesn’t necessarily have to be used in a sexual or kinky context — in fact, it can sometimes imply a more nurturing role. Even in platonic relationships, calling someone “Daddy” can be a playful way to show affection. (Like calling your handy real estate agent friend “House Daddy” whenever you have a question about plumbing or home repair.) Using the term in a non-sexual way can be fun and lighthearted, and in an erotic context, it can open up plenty of steamy possibilities.

Tapping into Daddy energy allows you to play with everything from sexy power and control to caretaking and nurturance. If you want to bring those dynamics into the bedroom or just better understand the appeal, here's what experts have to say about why Daddy play is a turn-on and how to get started.

What Makes Someone A Daddy?

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From DILFs (Dad I’d Like To F*ck) to “Dad Bods” to calling celebrities “Daddy”, this term is everywhere. Although historically used in queer spaces and kink communities, the term “Daddy” has recently gone mainstream. A 2019 study in Psychology & Sexuality explored the growing appeal of the DILF as evidenced by increased searches on porn sites. The study found that men with children were more likely to be associated with warmth and empathy and that traits like “nurturing, dominant, and domesticated” were “demonstrably appealing” to female-identifying participants. In other words, being an actual dad can be attractive, and the term “Daddy” could be a reminder of that hot, nurturing energy.

So, what does it mean to be a Daddy? Experts say there are no strict requirements, and despite sounding like a gendered term, it’s surprisingly versatile and can apply to anyone. “Daddies know no gender,” Lola explains. “Anyone can indulge in the role of Daddy, although the title may change. Whether you are a Daddy, Zaddy, or femme Daddy, the roles remain the same.” Daddy and Zaddy are largely interchangeable, and “femme Daddy” is often used in LGBTQ+ communities. Femme refers to someone who presents in a traditionally feminine way, and a femme Daddy is someone who takes on a Daddy role while also exhibiting these characteristics. A Daddy in lipstick and high heels? Why not?

For many people, terms like “Mommy” and “Daddy” immediately signal an authority figure. (Calling a sexual partner “Daddy” even gives some people the “ick” because they associate it with incest or pedophilia — but these things are not related.) Calling a partner “Daddy” when you’re an adult isn’t necessarily about reliving or repairing actual parental relationships — in fact, it has very little to do with your connection to your parents.

Angie Gunn, LCSW, a certified sex therapist, tells Elite Daily, "The way I like to explain [Daddy play] is that many people [want] to explore belonging, safety, and release within a safe container.” She explains that calling someone “Daddy” can help you “drop into [a] role” during a sexual experience. “It could be [a way of] repairing deeper childhood wounds through the practice of reclaiming power and autonomy. But [it] also can be purely erotic, tapping into power-related cues,” she says. Although the term “Daddy” may have a certain connotation at a first glance, the term can simply be a starting point for exploring power play dynamics.

“In my experience, those who give off a Daddy vibe have been caring but firm,” Lola continues. “They are very good at taking care of others in a way that envelopes you in a sense of safety and stability.” Ultimately, if you’re interested in using the term with a partner, the dynamics of your relationship and your comfort levels are most important. How does the term “Daddy” make you and your partner feel? Use that as a starting point for your erotic explorations.

Why Is Daddy Play A Turn-On?

Calling someone “Daddy” can be a turn-on for many reasons, especially in the context of power play. Madison Young, a queer writer, activist, and kink and sexuality educator who authored the memoir and forthcoming feature film Daddy, describes the role as “[a] person who has things under control.” In an uncertain world, having a partner who is ready to take control — in or out of the bedroom — can be super appealing. (Sex is great and all, but have you ever watched someone expertly fold laundry?)

Daddy play offers space to explore what Young calls different psychological archetypes — aka universal symbols that represent common, recognizable figures (i.e., mother or father). “If someone feels an erotic charge when someone calls them ‘Daddy’ or they call someone else ‘Daddy,’ it’s helpful to sit with that and think about what energies or qualities that holds,” Young explains. For example, maybe when you call your partner “Daddy,” it makes them feel powerful and strong, which turns both of you on. As you discover where the spark is coming from, you’ll get more inspiration for fantasies and desires you want to explore together.

Any form of role-playing requires some level of vulnerability. But as Young says, being able to feel safe and let go is one of the benefits of Daddy play. She explains that the Daddy dynamic creates “[a] place where vulnerability can exist [and] where it is safe to let go and experience surrender.” What could be hotter than that?

Daddy play offers a setting that makes it easy to play with power, control, vulnerability, and surrender, all in a framework that’s equally approachable for beginners and experienced kinksters.

Daddy Play For Beginners

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Experts say you should never surprise someone with new kinds of sex or kink. It’s important to ensure that both parties are comfortable with everything that’s going to happen in bed, so if you’re considering using “Daddy” for the first time, be sure to talk about it with your partner first. “Any new type of play calls for good old conversations,” Lola says. “Sitting down with your partner and speaking to them about why you are interested in [Daddy] play and how you would like this play to manifest is a great place to start.”

If you like the potential power dynamics of “Daddy,” but that specific word isn’t a turn-on, you can try other terms and titles, too. Whether you borrow from established BDSM roles or make up your own honorifics, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of options. Talk to your partner about what they find arousing, and try a term that embodies those elements. For example, if an authority figure is a turn-on, titles like Maestro, Headmaster, or Headmistress can be playful ways to bring a power dynamic into the bedroom.

“The role of Daddy can mean whatever you want it to mean. Just as there is no one way to be queer, there is no one way to be a Daddy or in relationship to Daddy,” says Young. Daddy play is what you make it.

It’s this very flexibility of Daddy play that makes it so beginner-friendly — and so hot. Your ideal Daddy might be strict or playful, (consensually) controlling or gently nurturing. Negotiating the kind of Daddy play you want to try gives you an opportunity to share these desires with your partner. So if any of the above sounds appealing, give it a try — and don’t hesitate to customize “Daddy” to your own fantasies and desires.


Dirty Lola, sex educator, entertainer, and speaker

Madison Young, author of the memoir and forthcoming feature film Daddy. Host, producer, and director of the sex-positive documentary series Submission Possible

Angie Gunn, LCSW, certified sex therapist