For me, and for us, punishment has never been a big part of our relationship. I have been thinking about that a lot lately as a number of the blogs I follow are actually focussed on Domestic Discipline and punishment seems to be a really key part for many of them. I know that for lots of submissives this is also the case so I had already been thinking about why it might be less significant for us even before I received this timely prompt to reflect upon it. It is actually quite funny to find myself saying that punishment is not a key part for us, because I can remember when I first met Sir and he was talking one day early on and he told me that it seemed I required some discipline! I fantasised about that for so long after and even playing around with the word in my head struck a chord and seemed to turn me on. But now that I am actually here, I find that contrary to the fantasies of my past, I want to be good, I want to please, and I want my pain to be part of my pleasure and not my punishment.
In the same way that I can enjoy pain, I also find some forms of humiliation a turn on. These things can be intensely erotic for me and so are not something which we have ever chosen to use for ‘serious punishment’. We have talked about punishments which don’t tread on the toes of our kink and discussed such things as corner time, journaling or other specific acts of service. While I do enjoy pleasing Sir and doing things for him, I am not a service sub and see chores simply as things which have to be done, rather than being something I actually enjoy, so those are all options. Initially we tried different things but most of the infractions were dealt with via communication and maybe a ‘funishment’ to follow, or by a reset if we felt that my behaviour had impacted on the dynamic or on either of our mindsets in a way which meant it was better to be addressed.
To have your focus on making another person happy and to try to uphold a set of rules and rituals because you have both agreed that they are important has made everything different for me. Realising that I have failed in one of these areas really is a punishment in itself. I feel huge disappointment in myself even without seeing Sir’s disappointment in me so, for the most part, I make sure that I try my best. I have no desire to be ‘bratty’ and push him in order to get some attention. If I need attention then I can ask for it in a respectful way. For me it is one of the beauties of D/s that we can exist much more harmoniously than before. I realise that for many couples punishment makes up an important part but for us it just doesn’t feature as much.
This doesn’t mean that punishment never happens, because it does. Sometimes that is what is what is required but others I will request it because I feel that is what I need. I can find it hard to move on from things when I feel that I have messed up and punishment is good for helping to draw a line beneath something. Sir tends to instigate punishments less than I do though and I think that this could be down to his nature. He likes to be respected and treated in a respectful way but he is more of a nurturing than a controlling Dom. He is a natural leader and likes to be in control and to make decisions but he does this in a way which is subtle rather than in your face. He does have expectations and wants those to be met but he listens and is understanding when things come between me and my intentions. I also think that as a couple we have always discussed things and even with the kids we would tend to use restorative, rather than punitive ways of managing, so it is difficult sometimes to expect him to take a different approach with me.
I think that ultimately, punishment is like everything else and has to fit with the people you are and the dynamic that you have. One size will not fit all and and that is fine as long as you can find a size which is a comfortable fit for you. We seem to mange with a less formal or rigorous use of punishments than some but things can change at certain times. If we are in our high protocol collar time then there will be very clear instructions given and any infraction from that, no matter how serious or how small, would be met with a punishment. Whereas when we are in our lower protocol times where we are juggling family and work and life, then we have a more relaxed view about how and when duties are carried out and that suits us. I think that whatever you choose to do, as long as you are clear and consistent in setting expectations, demands and subsequent punishments, then it is easy enough to be successful. By aiming to please and meet the needs of the other you should be able to find a level of punishment which supports, reinforces and enhances your dynamic.