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Punishment vs. None

November 27th, 2007

There’s a thread on bondage.com about spanking for punishment vs. spanking for fun and the responses sort of amazed me. There was more than one person who responded almost offended because people punish their submissives. And more than one person said they (or their respective submissive) are too old to be punished. That just struck me as bizarre.

People of all ages are punished all the time for any number of reasons. The government punishes you when you break the law, even for something as small as a turn signal being out. Your job punishes you if you don’t perform to their standards. Significant others punish you for hurting their feelings or going against the unwritten rules of relationship behavior. Everyone punishes someone for one reason or another. Even if it’s something small and insignificant. Even if the punishment goes unnoticed. It’s still usually there.

I’m not too old to be punished. When I step out of line by anyone’s standards I expect to be punished. While I wouldn’t allow some stranger off the street take a whip to my backside for accidentally stepping on his toe (unless Master ordered me to, of course), I would still expect to get a heated retort or something of the sort. Whether we acknowledge it or not, that’s one of our many ways of punishing people we don’t know. By being mean or rude to them when they’ve wronged us somehow.

For example, once, recently, when strolling through an unnamed chain store I unwittingly wandered into the same space another patron wanted to occupy. Before I could say, “”Excuse me. I’m sorry,” which is my way, he opened his eyes wide and sarcastically said, ““OH, I’m sorry! Was I in your way?”” To punish me for getting in the way he was sarcastic. To punish him for being sarcastic, I withheld my apology.

I definitely expect to be punished when I step out of line as a slave. Maybe an over the knee spanking is a little childish. And let’s not kid ourselves, here. An over the knee spanking would get me hot more than it would punish me. But if it works, who cares that it’s childish? If they learn something from it, then what does it matter how someone is punished?

I understand that it’s not for you and that’s great! It’s even better that you know that. But who are we to judge what works for someone else? Should we take away their BDSM card because their fulfillment comes from places different than ours? And speaking of BDSM cards, where the hell is mine? I’ve sure been blogging long enough to be an official member! (Notice the tongue in cheek here?)

I think that’s the biggest issue I have with online BDSM communities. When someone asks for advice or insight, they want advice or insight. They’re not looking for an hour long explanation of why this particular thing they’re asking about isn’t for you. Whether or not you enjoy it, unless you’re the submissive they’re planning on using it on (and sometimes even then), is completely irrelevant. They’re not asking for snide comments about how impractical or unethical their idea is. Again, what’s impractical or unethical to you has absolutely no bearing on whether or not they would enjoy it. And while safety is important, rarely, if ever, have I come across a person who hasn’t researched the safety issues regarding specific toys and their use before using them on their submissive. Generally speaking, the ones I’ve run into who haven’t checked out the safety issues are people who have never actually had a submissive in their employ and only ever fantasize. I find myself either hoping they never do, or hoping they smarten up before they do, but I usually blow them off unless and until I notice some unwitting submissive wandering into their trap. /tangent

Punishment is an important part of the M/s aspect in my mind. Without punishment when I screw up, I’m left feeling like he doesn’t care. Like it’s okay for me to misbehave. Like the rules don’t matter. And then I get angry. How dare He insist that I follow His rules and then not do anything about it when I don’t? This relationship isn’t one-sided. If it’s my responsibility to follow the rules then it’s His responsibility to make sure I do! The anger leads to more misbehavior. And if more misbehavior doesn’t lead to punishment, the cycle continues and the pressure builds until one or both of us explode (figuratively). Leniency is not my friend. And it’s not Master’s either.

I can’t really imagine any sort of M/s dynamic without punishment. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist. If I’m to believe everything I read on the net, there are many D/s and/or M/s couples who engage in nothing but play punishment and the submissive in question is never actually punished. That’s fine. For them. Not for me. I need punishment and discipline like I need oxygen. And I’m steadily learning that the hard way.

As much as I’d like to never have to be whipped again, I will. As much as I’d love to say, “”Okay. Punishment is no longer needed. I can do this without it,” I can’t. As much as I’d love to be grown enough to stop testing boundaries, I’m not. And I might not ever be. It’s in my nature. It’s part of who I am. I’m not proud of it. But I don’t apologize for it either. Except to Master. When He’s mad because I’ve tested the same boundary for the five millionth time and He wants to thrash me into next week so maybe I’ll get it out of my system. At least until the next time. And the next time. And the…

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