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?
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.
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.