In the 2013 TV show "Masters of Sex", Libby Masters calls her husband William "Daddy". Apparently she uses this as a term of endearment.

To be honest, I am a little creeped out by this. Does she have serious "daddy issues", or was this really a common nickname for wives to call their husbands at the time? (The show takes place in 1957.)

Is this maybe something special the writers use to emphasize her wish to get a child?

  • I think it's the sum of all the things mentioned here: 1. An attempt to wish it true because they're trying to get pregnant; 2. A (submissive) term of endearment, as Matt said, which might not have been uncommon in the 50s; 3. Daddy issues because Libby's father abandoned her when she young.
    – Walt
    Nov 25, 2014 at 17:50
  • It's a common "nickname" even today. It's where the phrase "Who's your daddy?" comes from. Actually, it's not so much a nickname as a submissive acknowledgement like the word "sir". It illustrates the submissive/dominant nature of their relationship.
    – slebetman
    Feb 23, 2015 at 5:59
  • Ya'll are nasty. "Sugar daddy" people...sure people use it sexually. They're talking about a person who gives a physical token of affections to supplement a physical relationship.
    – Michelle
    Apr 1, 2017 at 3:42

2 Answers 2


Its referencing Marilyn Monroe quotes from the 1950's, around the same time the show is set:

More overtly erotic than Dorothy, and way cannier, Lorelei doesn’t give anything away. She’s learned the hard way — being seduced and abandoned by a man back in Arkansas — that sex is a commodity: she’s got it, and men should pay for it, preferably in carats. As she sings in “Little Rock,” “I’ve discovered since then that a girl in love / Usually gets a token of / A man’s appreciation in advance.” She calls Esmond “Daddy,” which sounds faux-infantile but just the way a “professional lady” refers to her sexual sponsor: “I came to New York and I found out / The one you call your Daddy ain’t your pa.”



Daddy, as a term used during sexual intercourse, usually signifies that the person saying it is being submissive towards the person (usually a male) that they're saying it to. It can be considered synonymous with other words such as master or Sir.

Could also indicate that the male they're saying it to is their sugar daddy, a term for a male who provides their partner with financial support, usually to a high degree.

Some people find it creepy, while others do not.

  • 2
    this answer doesn't appear to relate to the show at all, just your understanding of the term in general use today Aug 26, 2014 at 18:15
  • 2
    Right, I'm saying she's likely more or less using it simply more as a term of endearment. Any subtext into her, "Wish to have a child," would merely be conjecture unless the writers have stated this is the case. As such I simply provided a more direct reason for the use of the term during sexual relations, as that, to me, seemed to be what he was more confused about.
    – MattD
    Aug 26, 2014 at 18:23
  • An understanding of the term as it is used today (or indeed in the 50s, it never changed much) is indeed the answer to the question: "or was this really a common nickname for wives to call their husbands at the time?"
    – slebetman
    Feb 23, 2015 at 5:57

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