Monday 4 April 2011


I have been struggling with another post all week ... and want to get it right before publishing - or perhaps just discard it. Perhaps it will be less controversial than I think but I need to word it correctly.

OK - then this is off the top of my head following on from the last post about pain and punishment.

So ...

Why punishment?

What has it got to do with BDSM and D/s?

Is it just an excuse for a sadist to administer pain or for a sub to accept pain? Is it really necessary to use punishment to express control? Surely if a Master has to punish to maintain control then he is not really in control?

How does it fit into Domestic Discipline? Positive reinforcement of acceptable behaviour has been shown to work better than punishment of bad behaviour. I would never condone spanking as an appropriate way of disciplining a child - so why for a wife (or husband)?

How does the concept of "punishment" fit in to BDSM relationships? Surely one can enjoy D/s and BDSM within their own structures and "punishment" need play no part. If I want to beat my sub or she wishes to be beaten then let's do it ... in which case it isn't punishment for either of us.

Please forgive any lightness in the argument here - just to keep you on the ball until the next post!!!!

Thank you all though for continuing to read and comment. I've had some lovely mail and thoughtful comments recently. I really do appreciate all the kind support.


Jz said...

"Surely one can enjoy D/s and BDSM within their own structures and "punishment" need play no part. If I want to beat my sub or she wishes to be beaten then let's do it ... in which case it isn't punishment for either of us." ...

This would be why I haven't commented until now... I simply could not speak to it.

Anonymous said...

Hi..I guess I think of it as, if a sub steps out of submission intentionally or unintentionally , punishment in the simplest terms reinforces not to do so. In this case pain is not about anger or pleasure but discipline. The difference is that children don't have a choice whereas adults, in a consenting relationship of course, do. I'm not saying anything new really.

In reality it can get more complicated. For instance, once a sub submits, the sub is totally vulnerable.. at that point consensual is as real as the Dom's intentions. Hopefully the Dom cares for the sub's well-being and doesn't take advantage under the guise of discipline.



Pygar said...

Thanks Jz


I'm pleased at last to have found a form of words that help you access the discussion. It is so difficult a subject and I feel we all need a way into it.

P xx

Pygar said...

Thank you K.

I think children too have a choice - though perhaps deserve more careful guidance.

I think too that discipline is not about pain. It is about guidance and instruction and help and care and love and structures.

It is not even about control - it is about self-control.

I feel my thoughts drifting into diverse directions here perhaps more suitable for another post so I will bite my tongue for now!

But you are right too I believe in discussing a sub's vulnerability and the hope that a Dom will not take unkind advantage. Thank you for your thoughtful words.

P xx

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pygar, Yes, this whole topic has me going in a bunch of diverse directions as well!

I agree with you, children have a choice too. A big part of discipline, whether physical or otherwise, when provided with love and care, is to teach that very truth about choice. I moreso meant what I said related to the physical discipline, that they don't have a choice, as far as whether or not it is an approach their parent(s) takes. Whereas, in D/s, it's more of an agreement. But, yes, definitely, in the context of said discipline, there is choice and consequence..

I have a lot of thoughts budding from your topic, but I'll save that too for a post down the line maybe.


Alice said...

Sooooo... I have no insightful comments to make. I grew up being spanked as a punishment for -- well whatever I did wrong, so I guess I would have said before that pain as punishment is normal in a parent/child relationship, and so why not in BDSM, or in a D/s relationship?

To be honest I rarely thought of the two in correlation.

I read many women speaking of how pain as punishment helps them to pay penance, especially in DD dynamics. So I guess I will through out a question from the subs point of view, why do some of us feel that pain is needed in punishment for us to feel that we've paid penance and can now be forgiven?

Alice said...

Gah! Throw out a question, not through out a question... (I couldn't leave it like that without recognizing and correcting my mistake.)

Unknown said...

hmmm..I'll come back to this when I can find the right words.

Pxx -You can do it, I know you can ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Pygar,
I think punishment is a bad idea all around. As you said, positive reinforcement has been shown to be more effective.

Thanks for such an interesting and well written blog.

nbs said...

It is never punishment when Sir beats me... for either of us.

Punishment would be if he ignored me or turned me away from him in some way.
( that hurts just to imagine)

Velvet said...

You ask 'Why punishment?'
My answer would be because I need it. For me it helps to cement the dynamics of our relationship. In other areas of my life I am independent and in many ways do what I like, for good or for bad. In our D/s relationship I have relinquished control and submitted to M. But there are times when the 'brat' gets the better of me and I do things that I have agreed not to, or I know I should not. Our relationship is such that I own up to these misdemeanors, and I am punished for them. These times are becoming less the more our relationship develops, as I feel really bad about letting M down and am gradually better able to control myself. But for now they are still there in the background, and I need that security right now.

Velvet <3

Lady Xanax said...

Everyone's D/s dynamics are different. I do use punishment as discipline. My hussy knows when she's done wrong (usually disobeying a direct instruction) and she accepts she will be punished for it. I always explain to her what she has done wrong and what she will expect in the form of punishment. That pain is linked to that. Pure and simple. It is normaly swiftly administered. Afterwards I tell her that is the end of it. She knows I expect her to learn from the lesson. Sometimes I make her write lines, lots of them. I find that although this is humiliating (especially as she's a teacher), it doesn't always make the point.

As for DD, I was given a smack by my mum when it was absolutely necessary. I can count the occasions on one hand. But I never forgot the lesson, the smack or the pain behind it. I didn't want to incur that again so I learned from it. I am in favour of it, sorry, but I feel the lack of corporal punishment in UK schools has led to a direct deterioration in children's behavioural standards especially with their peers.

As Velvet says, punishment - because you need it. Otherwise how would we know right from wrong?

Anonymous said...

Punishment is not necessarily physical pain, Sir.

I consider discipline a tool used for teaching/guiding. However, when the one being guided (a child, or sub--as you linked them) repeatedly disobeys, punishment is in order.

Punishment should be appropriate, and instructive. I'm not sure how spanking/beating would fit that description.

When I was making a habit of disregarding some household chores, they were piled into one VERY LONG day. It was a punishment which physically reinforced the stupidity of procrastination. It worked well and my Dom never laid a hand on me. I was 'uncomfortable' and punishment should be uncomfortable. That is not HARM or PAIN because the first is abuse and the second can be pleasurable.

I don't think punishment has a place in a short term relationship with a play partner. In a long term D/s one, I feel it is a must. It is not a matter of expressing control as much as keeping order.

EX: If you were late for work everyday, wouldn't your boss dock your pay? Isn't that punishment?

Warm Regards,

Pygar said...

Thank you so very much K, Alice, NewToThisLife07, Maryann Lovejoy, nancy, Velvet, Lady Xanax and Dannah!

What a fascinating variety of views, experiences and thoughts - and thanks due similarly of course to those who commented earlier who I have responded to. Please forgive me if I do not reply individually to each of the recent posts now but I may come back to them soon - or perhaps a new post!

I had no idea when I hurriedly wrote this post that it would attract such thoughtful and varied responses from so many people. Thank you all.

I hope readers have found the comments as interesting and thought provoking as I have.

I have often said that the strength of this blog is the honest and well considered comments from its readers. You have just proved it again.

Thank you all.

P xxxx

oatmeal girl said...

Physical punishment gets my attention. It sears the lesson into me. It impresses on me how serious his displeasure is.

The man who owns me is a sadist who protects me from most of his desire to hurt me. Even when he hurts me for punishment, there is a very different sense to it than when he does it purely for his pleasure.

And then the air is clear. The penalty was paid. He expects me to remember for the future, but for this instance the book is closed. Which I find very refreshing and reassuring.

There are other sorts of pain that he uses to achieve a special and very deep level of intimacy, but again, that is something completely different and very beautiful.


Unknown said...

Why punishment? Well for me atleast it works as a reminder that I have somehow stepped out of line and need to be brought back.

I think that punishment has more to do with the D/s part than the rest of the BDSM acronym. It is an affirmation of roles -much like parent and child.
Punishment does not have to be painful by default.
I think I have said this in one of your earlier posts about pain and punishment, but even though I am a masochist, punishment pain is not enjoyable, at least not during ministration -just _because_ it is punishment. Now the after feeling might well be just that, enjoyable -but the message has come across loud and clear.
Maybe pain as punishment is even more effective to someone that is not masochistic, that is entirely possible. But I think the key component -pain or no pain- should be disappointment and regret. (Punishment should not be carried out in anger! Especially not physical ones).
Often punishment is welcomed for it's penance. I know I feel the need for punishment more often than my Master does, just because I have difficulty to let it go otherwise. I do think though that prods and warnings are in their place first hand though, unless it is a really big transgression. So far I have only received punishment in the form of pain, or some other physical activity that I don't find too pleasant.
Sometimes non-painful punishment can be harsher I think.
And is it really only sadists that give punishment? I've heard of submissives receiving corporal punishment even though their Dom isn't really sadistic, i e he don't get any sexual gratification from it.
You say "Is it really necessary to use punishment to express control? Surely if a Master has to punish to maintain control then he is not really in control?"
I think you are right in that, if it is such a case that punishment is a frequent and recurring thing -either he is not in control or he has a bratty sub that just does it to get what she wants from it (usually pain) -that is a perfect example of when you _shouldn't_ use pain as punishment!

I think positive reinforcement works as a good deterrent, but if one still slips correction of some form is appropriate as a reminder of what is right and wrong. So gold stars for good behaviour and reprimands for bad -sounds like a good idea to me at least.

OK,this comment turned out longer than your actual post -again! sorry...

Unknown said...

OK, although I just wrote a whole essay as my last comment, I felt I needed to address what you replied to someone else.
"I think too that discipline is not about pain. It is about guidance and instruction and help and care and love and structures.

It is not even about control - it is about self-control."

That is so true and so well put! And that's exactly what I need!
The last sentence there is something I'm completely lacking, so maybe punishment isn't so much about his control over me, but rather a form of control to teach me to have more self-control?

Guidance, instruction, care, love and structure -yes, that is exactly what I need!

Pygar said...

Thank you Oatmeal Girl and NewToThisLife07.

This subject is attracting such interest that perhaps I may try to bring together some of the comments in a future post.

You both speak as do other subs above of the feeling of a penalty having been paid, a penance allowing one then to let go. Perhaps many subs find punishment almost cleansing in this way.

Please do not apologise NewToThisLife07 for writing long comments. As I wrote above - it is the comments that are the best part of this blog!

P xxxx

Draugluin said...

physical punishment, such as spanking, for either a child or a sub becomes a bad thing if used at the wrong times. The wrong time can be if the offense could have been handled another way, or if physical punishment is used too often. As an example think of the mother who spanks her child for everything from spilling milk to punching their siblings.

physical punishment with a child should be used when other forms of punishment do not achieve the desired results in my opinion. if after being scolded, receiving timeout, having privileges taken away the child still continues the behaviour then physical punishment could be the next step.

I feel it should be the same with a sub. Timeouts, reciting of rules, lose of activities the find enjoyable can solve some instances of rule violations or acting out. Physical punishment could be included as one of the possible steps to correcting a problem.

I do have to say that the best punishment I ever read about was totally non-physical. A sub acted out, intentionally, and was told by her Dom that her punishment was that she was not allowed to serve him that evening. He did everything for himself. Got his own coffee and drinks. Fixed his own dinner, took his own clothing to the laundry, retrieved his own pajamas. Anytime she offered to do something for him , or get something he told her no. He would then go do it himself. The sub never repeated the behaviour again