Corporal Punishment & Lifestyle BDSM

If a submissive is to be disciplined, should they be caned, whipped, beaten? Is utilizing some form of  corporal punishment effective in modifying behavior or counterproductive?

It depends – of course – but my position is corporal punishment can be effective as long as the dominant is skilled, experienced, and a mature responsible person.

Why would a submissive sound off on the topic? Because it’s been brought up repeatedly on Fetlife, Collarspace, and other kinky forums. More often than not, those arguing against the idea use more emotion and second-hand anecdotes than informed reason and logic to make their points.  – These impassioned yet tone-deaf discussions annoy me.

Below are well-reasoned arguments for a hostile audience who’ll probably never read a single word.

Qualifications and definitions are tedious but seem unavoidable given the subject.

Punishment is an aspect of Lifestyle BDSM relationships which sets them far apart from conventional relationships. Anyone who’s suffered through a lengthy drive in silence can attest to the fact punishments exist in conventional relationships. However, in conventional relationships, behavior is coded in faux-egalitarianism, and is therefore erratic and often arbitrary. In contrast, those living in a lifestyle BDSM relationship usually have an explicit binary of power and specific rules which, if broken, lead to a submissive being punished. Of course, there are a multitude of different D/s relationship dynamics and structures, some more relaxed than others, but some reduction is required to have a discussion. So to narrow the scope of the discussion, I’m referring only to D/s relationships where there’s consensual agreement between rational adults to utilize corporal punishment when the Dominant feels it’s warranted.

Back to the issue: is it effective to physically hurt a submissive as a form of punishment?

Common arguments against corporal punishment tend to run as follows: a beating rewards a masochist; it doesn’t matter if the attention is negative because it’s still attention; a dominant might abuse their power and harm the submissive; mixing ‘fun’ activities with genuine punishment leads to confusion and resentment; or ‘funishments’ lead to bratty or SAMmy  (Smart Ass Masochist) behavior.

I probably forgot a few, but those are the claims that spring immediately to mind. If you can think of a ‘big one’ I’ve omitted, please let me know.

I’ll address the ‘against arguments’ later, but for now here’s my working axiom for understanding why corporal punishment is effective:

An experienced dominant knows how to make the most pleasant activity an awful experience.

If you caught someone, not allowed to smoke, indulging in a cigar, how might you teach them a lesson? A common approach is to have them smoke several cigars in a row. The same logic applies to eating cotton candy, riding a carousel, or damn near any other combination of verb and noun. In regards to corporal punishment, a logical disconnect seems to occur because the same tools/toys used for pleasure are being utilized to punish. Furthermore, tools such as the crop or paddle have connotations which tend to evoke emotional responses as opposed to rational ones. Yet as I just demonstrated, pretty much ‘anything’ can be a source of discomfort.

A skilled dominant can make a punishment beating an experience an ardent masochist will avoid by using a combination of psychology, preparation, setting, and relentless repetition. Essentially, it’s the same cocktail used to launch a sub into space – except in reverse. The experience becomes one full of unpleasant and painful sensations that are inescapable and negative because the dominant makes them so. [I’m resisting the temptation to go on a tangent about safe words here.]

As this post IS NOT a ‘how to’ guide, I won’t provide an example of a punishment session. However, agree or disagree with my position, anyone who’s experienced in BDSM can understand the concept above. And for fucks sake – if you’re just getting your toes wet with kinky sex and lifestyle dynamics, please find an experienced mentor before you hurt yourself or someone else.

That said, here’s a brief response to the arguments against corporal punishment in lifestyle BDSM relationships:

“A masochist is being rewarded” – If we’re talking about someone ‘hard core,’ someone who derives sexual pleasure and catharsis from raw pain no matter who’s causing it and why, then yes, an extreme masochist would be rewarded. But we’re not talking about the fringe extremes here, are we? And even if we were, the statement above leaves out a key component of psychology- the submissive desire to please their dominant.

For example, lets say the person being punished is a submissive masochist who will be caned. This caning is going to occur at a set time and place as a direct result of the dominant being so displeased with the submissive’s behavior that a portion of the day’s been set aside to correct it. Punishment is focused, negative, attention, which is not the kind of attention a sub wants. It’s an explicit message the submissive has fucked up badly. This knowledge is, in part, what’s used to keep a submissive from deriving pleasure from being punished. Additionally, a dominant who knows what they’re doing has a number of tactics to keep a sub from floating away on endorphins or escaping into their mind.

Understanding the psychology of punishment and how it’s enacted, destroys the idea of ‘funishments’ and concerns over confusion. And, look, if you cannot differentiate between the ways ‘fun beatings’ and ‘punishment’ are very different beasts, then you probably shouldn’t be dispensing corporal punishment as serious aspect of your relationship.

As for dominants being abusive, that’s a completely separate issue. Why? Because they have the same tools and power to be abusive whenever they damn well please. And the tools themselves are just as much of a strawman as the nature of the relationship. Since when have abusive rageoholics needed rules and rituals to terrorize their loved ones? An abusive dominant who lacks self-control is dangerous to their submissive – full stop. The fact they have or have not incorporated beating someone as punishment is beside the point.

More often than not, people tend to believe the knowledge they’ve received first without question. It’s human nature to do so. And far be it from me to prescribe whether rational adults should or should not do something behind closed doors.

But if you want to know whether corporal punishment can be an effective means of correction, my answer is yes. I’m biased, of course. I adore my Dominant, she has a wealth of experienced, and I don’t have a safe word. Those are three significant reasons I’m quite keen to avoid punishment.

Let’s be clear, knowing someone possesses the power to whip my ass until they decide I’ve had enough is arousing. Yet even though I am a masochist, I have ZERO desire to get a lesson beat into me. If you cannot grasp the seduction of giving up power and the appeal of the ‘unfairness’ in a D/s relationship, then there’s not much else to talk about.

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3 thoughts on “Corporal Punishment & Lifestyle BDSM

  1. I agree with your observation that lifestyle bdsm does have punishment when rules are broken. Punishment is a significantly different experience than the pleasure even if similar means are used to achieve the effect. A sub will know the difference from an experienced dominant.

    My question is what are the effects of punishment in a lifestyle relationship? Will it drive dom & sub closer or further apart in their dynamic? Or does it leave the dynamic unchanged?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for both the comment and for asking such great questions! I spent a few days mulling over how to answer these without replying with what might be construed as a ‘cop out.’

      Unfortunately, your questions are difficult to respond to without knowing the specifics of a situation as the way I would answer depends on multiple variables: the maturity, experience, and seriousness of both dominant and submissive, the ‘kind’ of dynamic that’s been established, and the level of investment each person has in the use of corporal punishment as part of their relationship. –There’s a LOT more I could add to that list, but those factors are what spring to mind.

      So, yeah, while I would rather not respond with a statement like, ‘It depends, ’ I find that’s the only realistic response I feel is intellectually honest. Because while I’m quite sure corporal punishment is exactly right for the dynamic I’m involved in now, I can think of two prior Dommes who I would absolutely NOT want to have this kind of power over me or anyone else.

      People involved in lifestyle BDSM have to figure out issues like this one out for themselves. I think it’s exciting!

      Anyway, I hope you find my answers somewhat satisfactory. Thanks again for reading and responding.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on dave94015 and commented:
    This post brings up an aspect of lifestyle #bdsm relationships that prospective submissives should consider: that their dominant knows how to punish them and that they will be punished for bad behavior.

    Like

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