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,

(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.

Consensual Slavery.


BelasariusI don’t characterise my BDSM dynamic with curvy_bottom as an M/s one. She’s a submissive, not a BDSM slave. Having said that, I’ve often in the past, thought of consensual BDSM slavery as a state to which I, as the person on top, aspire.


These day’s I’m really not sure whether a BDSM slave (Master/slave or M/s) dynamic is heaven or hell for either party.


Consensual non-consent


I like the concept of consensual non-consentand wonder whether this is all that is required for someone to characterise themselves as a BDSM slave? But, as most of the people I’ve spoken to


Ball gag


who characterise themselves as in M/s relationships talk of ownership, possession and control, I’m unsure that, by itself, CN-C is sufficient.


There is another thing. I think I’ve seen slave type dynamics in non-BDSM relationships. I mean non-abusive ones (though I think differentiating BDSM ownership/slavery from abuse is absolutely key to gaining acceptance of this as a positive form of human relationship that can be fulfilling for both parties.


Slave-style relationships in the non-BDSM world


The non-BDSM relationships I’ve seen which seem to resemble BDSM slavery are ones where one party is very much “taken care of” by the other, who assumes responsibility for much of their life together and both parties seem very content for that to happen. It seems to me that some BDSM slave relationships are like this, but with the addition of BDSM sexual and fetish elements and without any form of disguise masking the authority aspects of the dynamic.


(Photo credit: nikiold)


Sometimes I got the feeling that a non-BDSM “slave” relationship had a less positive connotation too: The partner who was content to be dependent seemed to be more in love with the one on top, and both seemed aware of it. It was almost as if the “bottom” partner knew that, though it was unlikely, the top partner could, in extremis, walk away. That could easily be a bad, maybe abusive, thing, But I didn’t detect that – more that the senior partner was aware and had made themselves responsible for ensuring their partner had faith in them.


I haven’t seen this, I don’t think, in BDSM relationships (other than my own, even though I’m top, I do, from time to time, sense the responsibility thing from curvy_bottom, because we are in a shared relationship: she could have walked away – Iam not as good at having faith as i should be): Maybe that’s because, in a BDSM thing, a huge part of the attraction for the bottom often is that things can be done to him/her, for the satisfaction of another, that he/she doesn’t want?


This is a bit of a ramble. What do YOU think?




Definition – “Dynamic” in BDSM


Blog and definition revised- 19 March 2013

I have stopped taking votes on the first proposed definition (please see below) today and have put forward a revised definition for people’s views.

At that time votes were as follows:

  • I think this definition is accurate and appropriate – 76% (130 votes)
  • I think this definition needs further work – 24% – 39 votes
  • I think this definition is incorrect and/or inappropriate – 1% – I vote.

This is not a bad level of agreement, but I’d like to get something that is as widely agreed as possible. My suggestion, for voting and debate, is:

BDSM dynamic is a term for the roles consenting people adopt and the way they behave toward each other in the BDSM aspects of any relationship or scene.

Please vote on this using the poll below.

Original post and definitions,

BDSM dynamic is the way consenting people Interact within a BDSM relationship, scene or group

This definition has been prepared following discussion on this thread on the UK BDSM website, “Informed Consent“.

My original take on the word was this:

Dynamic, in BDSM, is the term used to describe the limits to which a dominant and a submissive have given informed consent to the BDSM things that they do, either continuously or within any time limits they agree.

BDSM Artwork
BDSM Artwork (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It developed the way it did primarily because people disagreed that a dynamic could only be between a dominant and a submissive person and because many saw “dynamic” as synonymous with relationship. It hasn’t been for me, I see the dynamic as being shorthand for the BDSM and D/s things we do that are part of our relationship, but feelings were strong and I am happy to take them on board.

Dominance in a BDSM relationship

acedc11cbeb3a2a0b4e3bca15378bec4Dominance in BDSM is present when one individual, has the informed consent of another to be in control of that person within agreed limits and at agreed times as long as that informed consent persists”.•

This is the third of my BDSM definition blogs. I’m trying to produce these on the basis of inviting comment and criticism from the BDSM community, especially from the site I take part in most, the UK’s Informed Consent.

The debate on this definition (actually a slightly different version of it – I’ve re-edited it to be

English: Image of s/m
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

compatible with my definition of submission – is on this thread)

Please vote on the poll below to tell me what you think of this definition, and do comment here if you wish – I am really interested in people’s views, for or against!

*NB – I am assuming agreed limits and times could extent to “no limits” and “always”, as in a master/slave relationship.

Equality in our dominant/submissive relationship

BelasariusMe and my girl are equal. No doubt.

There is huge respect between us. We value each other as people, we see the world through different eyes and we argue our corners.

But we are opposite too. She doesn’t want to be the leader and I won’t do as I’m told. And in our dominant/submissive relationship we have found a way to make that oppositeness create energy and strength.

She submits. I don’t: She strives to please me. Pleasing me pleases her.

It’s not about pain

I adore her. I push, pull, mould her to make her more of herself – the self I see, that she has wanted to be all her life but has not had the chance to be. The self that pleases me (which is what she wants to do).

It’s not about pain. It’s not about bondage. It’s about her service and my loving respect for that.

Equal. Yes. Opposite – definitely. Putting the other first – absolutely.

Both getting what we need? Indeed.

Definitions – so what is a BDSM Slave?

standing stoneArticle revised – 31 January 2013:


I have stopped taking answers to the first poll on this definition today (145 people voted), but you can see the results below – they show:

  • 72% thought the definition was accurate and appropriate
  • 26% thought it required further work
  • 3% thought it inaccurate or inappropriate

No-one has commented said why they think the original definition (see below) needed further work. I’d really welcome people’s views. But here is a go at a revised definition anyway:

“A BDSM slave is a person who has given informed consent to continuing voluntary submission, without limit, to another. The person owning the slave has all the rights of ownership whilst that consent exists”

I realise that this definition is controversial because many say that BDSM slavery is different to continuing voluntary submission and that, through internal enslavement, a state is reached where a person is so in thrall to another that not only do limits not exist, but the person’s ability to leave their state of slavery is lost too. But I am putting it forward as a discussion point and, I guess it is closer to my idea of consensual BDSM slavery too – please tell me what you think by using the poll immediately below – and by commenting if you can. Thank you.

Original post

I started a thread on “Informed consent“, to discuss this. It got a little distracted by discussion of whether trying to define anything was at all useful, but hey ho!

At the start of the debate, this was the definition I proposed:

“A person who has freely consented to defer to the will of another, without limit, within a relationship that is intended to last as long as free consent exists between the persons’ involved.”

Kuntzler slave sale
Kuntzler slave sale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This differed from my view of submission principally in that it’s my belief that a slave gives submission without limits.

By the end of the thread, my views had been changed and the definition I am happy with for now is as follows:

“.A BDSM slave is a person who has given informed consent to being owned by another. The slave is only such whilst owned and the person owning the slave is entitled to all the rights of ownership whilst that consent exists.

I don’t think this is bottomed out yet. But, I think I now understand why a lot of the Ownership and Possession (O&P) manifesto seems so very appropriate for this kind of relationship.

Have you any further thoughts – please do comment if you do! I promise not to hide anything (except spam)

Helpful Links

The following links may be helpful if you are thinking of responding to this thread:

Feel free to add your own citations too.

Human Black Pudding – the recipe


BelasariusI can’t really remember how it started except that, as you do, there she was bouncing up and down and I told her she was good enough to eat (as you do). She expressed the view she’d ike to remain intact and I think I said something like “well, there is always black pudding“. I wasn’t serious. Really – I wasn’t.

But, we decided a collaring wasn’t right for us (because she is shared) and that eating each other could be a great celebration of our commitment.

I am posting this (it was formerly on Informed Consent), on 5 September 2012, the third anniversary of our black pudding day.

The recipe:

  • 70mls our own blood, mixed.
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 150gms of suet
  • A little bacon fat, diced
  • 20ml double cream
  • 30g oatmeal, soaked overnight in spring water)
  • 25g barley, boiled in spring water for 30 minutes and cooled
  • pinch each of salt, ground coriander, black pepper and ground mace

Soften the onion in a little of the suet – make sure it does not colour. Add the rest of the suet and slowly sweat for 10 minutes.

Take the blood you need at this point. Keep it moving if you can – or it will coagulate.

Add the oatmeal and cream and cook for a few minutes – then add the rest of the ingredients and stir over a gentle heat for 5 minutes. Don’t stop stirring, be gentle. When the mixture thickens (like scrambled egg) you are ready to make the puds. It catches easily (you are making a tiny amount) so DON’T stop stirring!

Bake the puddings in ovenproof containers (we used ramekins), standing them in a larger ovenproof container half filled with water) in a low oven (150 degrees or gas mark 2) for about 60-90 minutes. The top turns black quickly – the key is that it should feel firm.

You can then cut slices and fry or bake. We fried. A picture of the finished product is on my profile.

My partner’s view

It was an amazing project, long in the planning and execution (but that was because the blood wouldn’t come out!) and yet it made a difference.

We are “blood bound” – though we sort of were already, as we’ve signed our rule book in blood and he has tasted mine after the diabetic pricker session – but I digress…

It appears that there is something quite strange about wanting to eat one another – even though we made it a bit about protocol and a bit about friends and even a bit about the recipe. We were careful and considered lots of information about the likely risks.

It was a special evening – but the breakfast was amazing. Waking to the warmth of his body, then pottering in the kitchen helping prepare mushrooms, and all the while feeling slightly floaty. It was fun, watching him – it looked like black pudding, it smelled like black pudding, it cut like black pudding (complete with little cubes of fat – though it was a healthy eating recipe!) and it tasted like a fine black pudding!

Not sure what else to say, really.

5th September is a sort of anniversary.