BDSM Punishment; BDSM Play – and Play Punishment

standing stoneThere are times when I give the girl a good whacking for my entertainment and she takes satisfaction in that: We call that play. Wikipedia defines it thus:

Play is a term employed in psychology and ethology to describe a range of voluntaryintrinsically motivated activities normally associated with recreational pleasure and enjoyment. Play is most commonly associated with children and their juvenile-level activities, but play can also be a useful adult activity, and occurs among other higher-functioning animals as well.

There are times when she is a bit naughty. I spank her. That is punishment of a sort. Wikipedia says this of punishment:

Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person, animal, organization or entity in response tobehavior deemed unacceptable by an individual, group or other entity

Punishment Chair
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are rarer times when something hurtful has passed between us and something that hurts helps mend things. That is punishment too. Rather more intense, serious and upsetting to both.

For us, play is joyful: punishment is anything but.

All this is consensual, she lets me do this to her. But that doesn’t make it something she volunteers for. Our dynamic, and the limit it is controlled by, means she has given informed consent to me playing with her, within our limits, when I want and punishing her, within our limits, when i find it necessary. Both things feel real to us and, I believe, to many others, whether they are in long-term relationships or not.

BDSM Punishment

I find it very difficult to think of anything as punishment if it leaves the punished person with a sense of joyful satisfaction. That’s play – and there is nothing wrong with that. But punishment’s satisfaction is in forgiveness and atonement, and not in the physical or mental stimulation of the thing for its own sake.

When I spank her for something trivial it’s quite often quite gleeful for me. Not for her though (and this is the weird-but-important-to-us bit): She reacts quite differently to spankings of similar intensity depending whether it is punishment or play. The head space is different: she is genuinely remorseful and requires comforting, in the case of a punishment. She is quite smiley and proud of taking what I dish out if I whack her just because I want to.

English: The old stocks at Chapeltown.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, you run the risk of inadvertently making her smile by imposing a penalty she rather likes. But, you can usually find something they won’t love (or that they love to hate) and use that when punishment must be given. YKIOK (Your kink is okay), but my kink, if it is one, would be to make sure that, if real punishment is required (something rare – I’ve not done it this year, I don’t think), that it was something that provided no comfort or satisfaction other than that experienced in atonement and forgiveness.

I think you can draw the distinction between BDSM play and BDSM punishment in pretty much every BDSM transaction from a long-term loving D/s or M/s relationship to a one-off interaction at a club (and everything in between): If it’s enjoyable to both parties, it’s play. If it’s being done to in response to something the Dom regards as wrong and it’s unpleasant to the submissive and, maybe, to the others involved, then it’s punishment, whatever it is.

The Dom’s dilemma

For us, punishment is sometimes part of a process of reconciliation and it does feel uncomfortable,

Punishment
(Photo credit: Toban Black)

sometimes hateful, to me. What if I’m being genuinely unjust? I’ll hurt our relationship, maybe long-term. What if part of the fault was mine (it usually takes two to tango), then it only seems right if the punishment becomes, genuinely, something we both feel bad about. For me to enjoy it in those circumstances could be construed as me pleasing myself, and not as me taking responsibility for our relationship.

So, Play, no matter how severe, is still lovely and light and enjoyable by all. Punishment, no matter how light is something severe and serious which causes unhappiness for the dominant (and maybe his/her partner) because it is necessary, and for the submissive (or maybe both partners) in its infliction.

Making a clear distinction between the two makes it easier to explain both terms and the satisfaction experienced by BDSM people in both. My experience has been, from time to time, that trying to explain the concept of punishment as it works in my relationship ( and in others) has been undermined by the impression some have that BDSM play is the same as BDSM punishment ( as I’ve said above, we do both) and that punishment is always “just a bit of fun”.

This has led to people expressing the view to me that D/s relationships are trivial, unreal fantasies.

This is upsetting: Whilst I feel I am unlikely ever  to live my BDSM D/s  life discreetly but openly, I’d like that to be true for people sometime in the future.

I think it would be useful if BDSM punishment is seen as distinct from BDSM play, Almost everyone in BDSM plays. Some punish or are punished. Being aware that there is a difference gives depth to people’s views of BDSM relationships. I think that’s a good thing.

You can read the definition of BDSM punishment I’ve developed, with the help of of others, and vote and comment on it here.

Northern lady’s BDSM Translator

Reposted by kind permission of northernlady22 from the UK’s Informed Consent website

Recently we have seen quite a few threads discussing definitions and meanings, I have decided to take things a little further and provide my own guide to profiles and comments you might find within!

The D/s (full of shit) Translator:

  1. English: A woman flogging a submissive man on ...
    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “My role is to help you identify then stretch your limits” [Translation: limits!!….let’s just do what I like.]

  2.  “My pet, you seem to be struggling with your submission – that is a natural feeling.” [Translation: Any more smart arse back chat from you and your gone.]
  3. “You seem troubled my pet. We should talk.” [Translation: Your sulking is giving me the shits.]
  4. “You are so wonderfully responsive” [Translation: You wail like a banshee and move around so much I want to hit every major organ….including your brain.]
  5.  “It is only in being owned that you will ever be completely free.” [Translation: I need some idiot to give up his/her own life to wait on me hand and foot without payment.]
  6. “I have 20 years experience” [Translation: 20 years ago I tied someone to the bed and last week I tried it again.]
  7.  “For me, the ritual of aftercare is the most important part of our scene” [Translation: Because that is when you stagger off to get me a drink.]

    Erotic illustration
    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  8.  “A true Dom has humility and never stops learning.” [Translation: Yeah, so I fucked up again: don’t give me that accusing look,]
  9.  “I never, ever strike in anger.” [Translation: It just feels that way when you give me shit.]
  10.  “It is time we explored polyamory together.” [Translation: It is time I shagged other people. You can help me pick them up and be my excuse to get rid of them afterwards]
  11.  “I cannot meet you at a BDSM club because I am a very private
  12. person.” [Translation: I cannot meet you at a BDSM club because I am a very married person.]
  13.  “I trained as a Domina in Europe in my early 20s.” [Translation: I had a kinky shag when backpacking around Europe after Uni.]
  14.  “Don’t think of it as pain. Think of it as intense sensation.” [Translation: This is going to hurt like hell, but I am almost certain that you’ll be too proud to safeword and stop the party.]
  15.  “You can only be a truly successful Dominant if you have submitted.” [Translation: I want you to sub to me, and that sounds like a legit reason, so you might actually consider it.]
  16.  “You must master your own life before you can master another’s.” [Translation: You need to have a 20-thousand square foot house and be earning at least 250k a year or the deal’s are all off. As a sub, I need to be accommodated in the style I would like to become accustomed to.]
  17. English: Woman standing on submissive male.
    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “I have no limits.” [Translation: Until you go beyond what is legal so I can have you charged, convicted and sue you to live the rest of my life off the proceeds]

  18.  “That’s not a Dom–that’s a control freak.” [Translation: Get rid of that person. I wanna be your Dom.]
  19.  “All Dommes need is to find the right man.” [Translation: Cuz I’m IT!]
  20.  “You aren’t sub enough.” [Translation: I can’t handle a person with a mind of their own without resorting to cheap manipulation.]
  21.  “You’re not submissive enough.” [Translation: Because you won’t quit your management job, move across the country today and give me oral sex on the off-hand promise I might actually start a relationship with you.]
  22.  “You’re not Dominant Enough” [Translation: You’re no fun. You won’t maim me permanently and it’s always been my biggest fantasy.]
  23. . “I’m service-oriented.” [Translation: I hope the dumb shit falls for this so i can clean their place and snoop through things.]
  24.  “I’m under consideration.” [Translation: I’m chasing someone.]
  25. “I’ve been released.” [Translation: I’ve been dumped.]
  26.  “I am a true dom/sub.” [Translation: You’re a phony if you aren’t just like me.]
  27.  “I am a bratty sub.” [Translation: I am a pain in the arse.]
  28.  “I will bend you to my will.” [Translation: I am insane.]
  29.  “I am a submissive with slave tendencies.” [Translation: Pick me because I’m pretending to be subbier (or better) than a regular submissive.]
  30.  “I am seeking my One.” [Translation: Someone out there must have dysfunctions which are compatible with mine.]
  31.  “I’m trained.” [Translation: I will drive you nuts doing exactly what my last master wanted.]
  32.  “I am a 24/7 slave, online only.” [Translation: I am a bored housewife or married man.]
  33.  “I’m strict but fair.” [Translation: I’m always right, you’re always wrong, and I’ll beat you whenever you’re right and I don’t want to admit it.]
  34.  “I am a trainer of sluts.” [Translation: I’m looking for girls who will believe they are being “trained” when I order them to give me a blow job.]

    English: A submissive man worshipping a woman'...
    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  35. “Looking for a sub/slave/girl to join us.” [Translation (when posted by a sub/slave/girl): I am much too lazy to clean the house and I need a work horse. Translation (when posted by the dominant): I need a backup fuck for when she’s mad at me. Bonus points if you’ll take my side in the argument.”