The trick of a successful punishment

The idea of punishments, and why they form part of my life as a grown woman, is a difficult one to grasp really, even as a submissive. It is one of the parts of D/s protocol that I am less than sure about and, as I have said before, we aren’t big on the traditional sort for a number of reasons. There are times, however, when a punishment is just what is needed. For both of you. I get that and so I thought I would write about what makes a good one and why they can work well.

The trick is to find a punishment that matches the crime. I don’t mean this in a evil, vindictive sort of way, but more in a learning sort of way. After all, the key purpose of a punishment is about teaching correction. As a teacher I ‘know that the best way of doing this is to model the sort of behaviours you want to see reflected back, so a heavy handed punishment is not going to work to provide harmony. Ruling by fear is not conducive to a healthy relationship so for two adults engaging in D/s, it needs to be something more considered.

The wrong approach to punishments

I think a big part of it is opening your mind to what a punishment can do and getting past the associations which go with them. This would be easier to explain if I could refer to the post on restorative practice that I promised to write over a year ago and have not yet got to. Who knows? Perhaps I can add a link later? Anyway, back to this post. Basically, to commit to a power exchange dynamic as the submissive partner, means to open yourself up to correction by the dominant partner in whatever form that is agreed.

Already my emotions are balking at that thought. I can think of it in a detached and rational way beforehand (I probably won’t do much wrong anyway) but in reality I know I won’t be grateful for the correction at the time. It will make me feel small, humiliated, patronised. I will likely have an element of how dare you, who are you to tell me rising up inside me. I don’t know. Maybe I am the wrong sort of submissive, because believe me, around this topic area, I have questioned whether there is a submissive bone in my body.

A punishment has to be right for the person

So the submissive who is grateful immediately is not me, but I do believe that there are other good submissives like me. I imagine that they either get past this over time, or that they buy themselves time in order to get into a headspace where they can take it. Those who engage in DD type dynamics have punishment/correction as such a large part of their relationship that I think probably they have moved well past the point I am at. When it happens less frequently of course, there is that baulk and I do take time.

A punishment has to be right for the misdemeanor

The other thing is that for the baulking thinking submissive is that it needs to be the right punishment. If you want to stop baulking and start reflecting then there needs to be a shift. From experience this shift will not come from just being told to take it like a good girl. It needs to be something which promotes the sort of reflection required. This is more likely to happen if the punishment fits the crime. It feels more thoughtful, I suppose, and less like someone is asserting their authority over you simply because they can.

Now this would lead the good submissive to say, well that is exactly what is happening. They might rationalise that your Dominant feels you need it or is training you in behaviour that pleases them or wants you to be a better version of yourself. And while all of these may be true, the independent woman inside me baulks. And then she baulks again. Yours is not to reason why, the good submissive tells me. Their word is final. And I know all of that and have signed up for all of that, but it does not make this any easier.

The right punishment makes me think

And my thinking is normal. It is why most normal people don’t want to do the things we do, because it feels humbling and humiliating and we have been learning for years not to let people treat us like that. Why would you let them do that? I would never! Blah. Blah. Blah. And so I become a little stuck. I become angry at what he is asking and my indignance does a little indignant dance, and my bad submissive sticks her imaginary tongue out. But despite that, with the right punishment, he has me doing what he has asked.

That and the fact that I respect him and have consented to this. More than consented. I have asked for this and so I can’t suddenly say Get Lost! How can I do that when I have asked him to take this role, when I have agreed to it for good reason? I can’t agree in principle and then throw the reality back in his face because of what? It hurts? It feels alien? It smacks of being a child and makes me feel powerless?

Hmmmm!

In fact it starts a chain of thoughts

And with that, the indignance starts to leave. I am still thinking, but my thoughts have changed. They are being influenced by what he is asking me to do. They are shifting from me to him. They are less about what he is doing to me and more about what I will be doing to him if I do not comply. I will be throwing his dominance back in his face, and where will that leave us? And so I begin to do the only thing that I can. I submit. Not fully, not completely, for that is a much longer process but it starts then and I go with it.

(I told you some of us need to buy a little time. The good submissive has taken her spanking, pulled her jeans back up and is back nestled safely in domestic harmony. Meanwhile I am still thinking. Thinking and making slow little steps forward into being the submissive wife I want to be.)

Now a good punishment, the right punishment, will go further than this. I have submitted to his will so far in order to keep up my end of the bargain. Why? Because there is something in it for me. I told you that this was only the start of submission, didn’t I? Submission, real submission should not be about me. It should be about him. And with the right punishment I will get there. The right punishment will get me thinking, and reflecting, and learning.

So how does it work?

I will see where I went wrong. My feeling of being humiliated and humbled by this situation will allow me to think in a submissive way about what I did. About why it was detrimental, to me, to him, to us etc. It gives me the space to do that from a place where I am not considering my own feelings. I move through the range of emotions, dragging my thoughts with me, to the point where I am not only accepting, but can embrace what is being asked.

I get it. I want it. And then and only then, I take it like a good girl, because that is what I am. It becomes all that I am. And that, is the trick of a successful punishment.

Addendum

For anyone reading who is not a submissive and not a Dominant and is wondering what the point is, the point is this:

This sort of punishment feeds our power exchange. It reinforces our roles and it allows us to deal with minor infractions in a way which means that we can both move on easily. But more than that. It connects us. It takes what would have led, possibly, to feeling less close because of what happened to feeling the closest we ever do. We are connected through our joint discomfort of what takes place. (I have outlined my struggle but it isn’t easy for HL either).

We are able to behave in ways which we usually would never do because the situation and the formality requires that of us. In doing that we let go of our other selves are somehow freed from the negative emotions around whatever the infraction was. Those feelings are gone and they are replaced with feelings of being deeply submissive, or deeply Dominant, and deeply connected. So it is a good way of turning a negative into a positive and making it work for us.

This isn’t something we do a lot, but it is something that has its place within our dynamic and if truth be told, we probably should do it more as I think it would be helpful. I am not easy to work with but I do want to be worked with. I know that my submission doesn’t just throw itself as HL’s feet when he walks in, although there are days when I think he wishes it would. However, it is there for the taking and the taking of it is a powerful thing for us both. We find our way.

4 Thoughts or Fiction
Posted in Building a D/s Dynamic.

28 Comments

  1. I love this piece Missy. Punishment has only featured once for us, but it has stuck with me for well over 6 years. It really did make me think! Having to work for his forgiveness (and like you I consented to this, and it corrected the behaviour so was very much a positive)

    • Thanks barefoot. It’s an area that I have struggled with working out on a personal level. I fight it so hard and there is a lot of push back so it has taken me a while to process why this happens and how to work with it. I think I used to see these parts of my submission as barriers. They made it seem that I was not really submissive rather than seeing how to tap into my submission. I hope that makes sense. I probably need a post about that! Missy x

    • Thanks RM. I am glad you found it interesting. It does fascinate me too. There are so many contradictions there. However, that is D/s. Missy x

  2. The post is written fantastically. It’s given a point of reflection for myself too and has enabled a deep and meaningful discussion about this between Hananoki and I.

  3. If ever someone asks me about punishments again, I will definitely point them here. Such a clear post, Missy, and you had me nodding many times. It even made me long for a punishment. Sort of 😉
    ~ Marie xox

  4. Very thought provoking post missy. I have only been punished twice, both times for the same infraction, but there have been several times where I felt I made a mistake and my Master offered me a punishment if it would help me let go of my guilt. I chose to accept His assurance that punishment wasn’t necessary (I’m new not stupid!), but it does highlight another benefit of the correct punishment, that of allowing the submissive to let go of any guilt surrounding the infraction and return the relationship to a clean slate.

    • Yes that is very true. For the most part we talk it through and that works but I think there are times when I could do with a firmer hand! Nit that I am asking of course….. thank you for commenting x

  5. This is a great post, missy. It is a lot to think on. I am curious as to what your thoughts are on discipline vs. punishment….do you use the words interchangeably?

    • Thanks Nora. And now that you ask I probably have which is an oversight. I think because it doesn’t form a large part of what we do in every day life I haven’t made that distinction but there would be one and those in a DD dynamic would probably see that. I will think some more as that is an interesting topic. Do you think this is misleading as it stands? Missy x

      • No, absolutely not! I am actually not sure what my opinion on the matter is…LOL….so I was seeking yours. I just looked up the two words and it does appear that there is a much stronger emphasis on training when referring to discipline, while punishment is described as a penalty inflicted for an offense. I will think on this more….

  6. Interesting post Missy – and many of the concepts you discuss really shout at me as the reasons why I would find it difficult to be in a lifestyle D’s. I don’t want to be punished, Yet I so understand when you say you have agreed to the roll – him being your Dom etc so it is only right you need to be accepting and learn from the punishment
    May xx

    • I fight it too. It just doesn’t come naturally to me but when it happens there is something important that comes from it. I suppose it is about submission because although we want something it can often be something we find hard. Not sure if I am making sense lol

      • No it does make sense- and I got that it not always come easily – but i also understood it is something u chose so u feel u need to respect that too x

        • Yes. But more than that. The reason it is hard is because I don’t want to give up the control. But by giving up control I am being submissive and when I actually do submit something amazing happens to the connection. When I am following the rules and not doing it wrong that is submission too but when I am forced to submit and I really don’t want to and find it hard, that is when it pushes me into a different place and that feels like the ultimate really. I suppose what I mean is that it is easy enough to submit on your own terms. That is part of it. But deeper submission comes when you are struggling to do it. Well for me at least it is like that. x

  7. Love your post and the discussion you have created here. As someone who practices dd, I do not feel mislead if someone uses punishment and discipline somewhat interchangeably. Sometimes I think they’re different and sometimes very similar. Depends on the context and is up to the author, in my opinion. I did know a dd wife who once got her feathers ruffled and said, “Children are punished. I am not a child. I am disciplined.” Whatever, just like many of us, she’s still bending over the bed with her adult naked ass and her husband is spanking her for having a smart mouth or whatever. Perhaps the lecture that goes with it is the discipline part and the spanking can be considered either or both. Lots of good nuggets in this pot for me to ponder on! Hugs, Windy

    • Thank you windy and I am glad that the post came over ok. Perhaps it is semantics although I wonder if the discipline would be more inclusive of the maintenance type spankings etc where the punishment would be in response to something additional which was the focus of my post. Like you say, an interesting topic and I am glad that it has generated some discussion. I guess my point was the way that the right punishment, and the right delivery of it, can bring about a deeper level of submission and a deeper level of connection for me personally. There are differences as well as overlaps between DD and D/s, as there are differences in the sorts of submissives we all are. I am still exploring the way that my submission works as it is not as natural or as innate as it seems to be for some. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Missy x

  8. Everything you write here rings true for me. DD is something we have added relatively recently and it absolutely has enhanced and strengthened our dynamic. At this point i cant image our married D/s with out it. It feels like everything that we did prior to its addition was “ practice” for a true power exchange. I find myself unable to process infractions and my Daddy-Dom’s disappointments until i am physically punished/ corrected and forgiven for them. I ruminate and beat myself up when left to my own devices. I cry and my self esteem drops when i upset him. DD allows us to immediately address mistakes, correct them,and move on, and neither of us retains guilt, resentment or anger. DD is intimate, and brings us closer. I would never return to a dynamic, bdsm or a vanilla, without it.

    • That is really interesting. I don’t have a reaction like that but I also think it doesn’t strengthen our dynamic the same way when it is managed differently. I am sort of on the fence with it. I need it I suppose but I don’t want it. I can’t imagine being in an actual DD where that is a big part but perhaps a little would work for me? Missy x

  9. “I will likely have an element of how dare you, who are you to tell me rising up inside me.”
    How recognizable isn’t this.
    You’ve put so many thought and feelings into words here…

  10. I am late in reading this but am curious of an example of a reason for a punishment and an appropriate punishment that was the response. Your site seems to focus on power exchange without typically focusing on punishment so I was a bit surprised. Do you have rules or is punishment for general disobedience or forgetfulness? Your site has never seemed like a DD site as you indicated, so I guess the question boils down to what might you be punished for?

    • I have rules to follow so there would be punishments for breaking them. These are set and pre-agreed. I tend to be good at sticking to them though so it would rarely occur. We sometimes use a funishment approach where it feels less serious but HL is making a point and using it to take charge. This would usually be a spanking or a withheld orgasm or something. Missy x

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