Friday, August 23, 2013

D/s Without Punishment?

A question on one of my old posts brought the concept of punishment to the forefront of my mind again. Specifically, how our D/s works without it.

In all honesty, there are still days when I miss punishment. Or more accurately, I miss the absolution and sense of having a clean slate that punishment brings.

In the spring of last year, he announced that punishment would no longer be a part of our dynamic. I may have had a minor meltdown. "You can't have D/s without punishment?! Now I know you're doing it wrong!"
Yea...I even tested the waters a bit. You know, see if he could be provoked into a retraction. Nope. He stuck to his decision like glue. I swear I went through withdrawals.

No punishment doesn't mean that I get away with anything that wasn't allowed before. It's just...Different.

Being the logical man that he is, Alpha patiently explained his reasoning while I panicked and bounced off the walls like a deflating balloon.
He wants me to submit because I need to, because I want to, because of a sense of personal motivation on my part; not because of threat of punishment.
He said that there's enough punishment in the world, without having it in our relationship. Plus, I am apparently quite good at self-punishment. Too bad it comes without the sense of absolution...

I have adapted, and I can see the point and value in his perspective--I am responsible for my own behavior. If I need to be Dominated, I will submit. If I know better, then I should be better. He doesn't feel that it's his job to force me to submit every time I balk at something.

It's not to say that there are not consequences, or that I get to do whatever I want. There is often instant discipline if I step over the line, but he refuses to call it punishment.
There is also the painful fact that one of the terrible side effects of D/s is that his disappointment is utterly crushing.
Seriously, wanna see full grown Little Miss Independent turn into a quivering ball of tears? Catch me in that moment after he says he's disappointed in me.

I miss the sense of absolution that punishment brings. But I also now see the sense in holding myself responsible for my actions as opposed to expecting him to do it for me.

I want to be his and am willing to do whatever is necessary for that to be our reality. Because it is who I am, and I need it. Punishment is ultimately unnecessary for us to accomplish that.  

There are many healthy and fully functioning D/s relationships that utilize punishment. I think that there are also more D/s relationships than people realize, which do not have punishment as part of the dynamic.

In some odd, and perhaps twisted way, withholding punishment becomes a punishment in and of itself--there will be no absolution to look forward to after I fuck up, there will be no pain to wash it all away. There will be bitter disappointment, and the knowledge that I did wrong.

Since this post originated with a question, I think now would be a good time to add that no punishment doesn't mean no pain.
Sometimes I need that beating, the pain and absolution that washes the weight of life away. And I get it. It just does not come in the form of punishment.

Alpha has many responsibilities. One of those is helping me to be what he expects me to be by creating an environment where I desire to submit to him.
Ultimately, this is a consensual arrangement, and I am responsible for exhibiting the kind of behavior that I know makes our arrangement function well.

Taking punishment out of our dynamic was his way of ensuring that my submission always comes from an inner desire and need to please him, not fear of repercussions.

He is still just as patient and strict as ever, perhaps more so. Above all else, he expects that I will do my best to please him. It is a simple and all-encompassing expectation that is not always easy to accomplish. But I try. Because this is who I am, and he is what I need.

Even though this is quite the ramble, I have a feeling that I somehow managed to leave a lot out...


  1. You may think you have left things out, but I don't think so. I understand it completely and I think Alpha has it right. Submission is all about wanting to submit, not being forced to or submitting out of a fear for punishment. That's not submitting, that's a form of bullying by my way of thinking.

    1. sunnygirl,
      I tried to cover the bases!
      I think that not all D/s with punishment works around fear of the punishment itself. Fear is an interesting thing...

  2. I nodded my head so hard - with every paragraph - i think i have whiplash. He has never had a punishment component - discipline yes - in many forms, and pain - and control, and all the rest - i do need that. You've put it all so well - but the thoughts could have been pulled from my own head (just not as nice sounding or coherent). I did for a long time think he was doing it wrong - that it couldn't work this way - but you know what? It does.

    1. gg,
      Ooh, whiplash is painful!

      My mention of this post raised an interesting half conversation with him about how he sees it as not exactly being without punishment. Perhaps we are talking the semantics between discipline and punishment...Haven't figured that out yet lol.

      And yes, it does work...Whatever exactly "It" is...

  3. I totally understand and agree with Alpha! It is absolutely how I work when being dominant, and partially how I like things to work when I am submissive. I do like things explained to me, and it is a habit that needs to be reconditioned, I can see punishment as being a viable option, but simply explaining disappointment, and self punishment on it's own should be enough.

    I'm not one of the micro-managing types though, so often using punishment for me tends to feel like that.

    1. Loki,
      Oh, I think that "explaining" can be an important component.
      He's not a micromanager himself. Sometimes I wish he was, then I think about it and wonder if I have a screw loose.

  4. I think im going to be the odd one out here lol

    I dont think punishment is about fear, or rather certainly i dont submit because i fear being punished if i dont, that would be unhealthy in my mind.

    For us, its about me accepting responsibility for my actions, i know what behaviour he expects, what i am allowed to do and what im not, if i choose to go against this then there are repurcussions aka punishment...because it reinforces that he owns me and my actions are a reflection on him.

    The punishment in itself is holding me accountable for my actions, and it clears the air, i need the absolution because otherwise i would beat myself up about it...i need things to be 'put right' he is very big on actions have consequences.

    Do i like it? heck no, its punishment its not meant to be like lol

    but i appreciate the benefit it has on me and therefore on us.

    It works for us.


    1. tori,
      odd to me that you would feel like the odd one out--when it comes to this topic, I often feel like the odd one out lol.
      But I'm glad you shared your thoughts! Because that is really how I have always felt about punishment, and I think that is how it should be for punishment to be a healthy aspect of D/s.

      Like I told gg, Alpha and I had a half conversation that left me somewhat bemused...Apparently he thinks I need to clarify that I don't lead a punishment free life--he just chooses methods besides the traditional.

  5. For us, punishment is more about the absolution and clean slate than fear. The fear only comes in disappointing him, and disappointing myself also by not living up to what I said I would do. I don't fear any of his punishments as much as I fear that. And I sure am not made to submit only by punishment. He would never do that.

    1. ksst,
      I agree completely with your approach. That is pretty much how it has always worked for us.

  6. I meant to add that we have punishment in our dynamic now, but I could imagine a day when he says he is done with it and he just wants me to obey because I said I would, kind of like what your Alpha told you. I don't think I'd like that, but he's the boss :).

  7. Ah lil, as always, so well said. You just described how D/s works for us too. We've never had a punishment aspect in our dynamic, and that often led me to question if it really was D/s. I stopped questioning though, cause I did finally see reality. He leads and controls, I follow and submit(most of the time). It's just what works for us.

    1. Faerie,
      I think that however D/s works best for the individuals involved is how it was meant to be...

      It's good to see you around.
      Hope that you are doing alright.

  8. It's like confession. Going into a little box...telling someone your sins...waiting for the punishment...and then letting the bad deeds go. It's so much easier than being stuck with it - forced to own up and deal with it.

    Can you tell I have a bit of a Catholic background? It's probably why D/s works so naturally for me.

    Daddy does spank me as punishment. And he has made me cry. Intentionally. And yes, it has absolved me to some degree. But the majority of the time - he uses disappointment as its own punishment. And it's so much more effective.

    But, of course, you have to truly own your behavior and already feel bad about it for it to work. And if you are naturally and easily "guilted", it works even better.

    I come from a background of being melted to a puddle by a father figure's disappointment. Seems natural that it followed me into marriage.

    So I totally get that.

    1. Brigit,
      I don't have a Catholic background, but I can totally understand what you mean!

      I think that owning the behavior is huge. And yes, disappointment is really its own form of punishment.

  9. Hi Lil,

    This is a great post and as always, very well said. I totally understand the reasoning.

    For us, things work very much as Tori has described above. For us, it is also about accountability and being able to move past the issue at hand and move forward with a clean slate.


    1. Roz,
      SIgh* there may be a slightly contradictory post in my near future. The man is an enigma.

      The clean slate is a beautiful thing!

  10. I'm still so new to all of this and the thought didn't even cross my mind. You have definitely given me something to think about.
    I feel the need to tell you that I LOVE how you write. You explain things in a beautiful way, not just this post but all of them. You should write a book- seriously!

    1. Welcome to the Lil should write a book club :)

    2. I knew I wouldn't be the only one!

    3. Misty & DelFonte,
      aww, you guys really are too sweet.
      Now if only I could manage to see my writing in a somewhat similar light...

  11. I totally agree and so would Daddy.

    1. Angel,
      always nice to hear from someone of alike mind.

  12. Another post that had me thinking more in-depth and understanding where you're coming from. Then reading the comments and Tori's in particular, understanding also, where she's coming from. I dunno now lol! We're all kinda different apples but from the same tree huh? :)

    Dee x

    1. Dee,
      well, I'm glad it brought clarity to someone, he's gone and dashed my certainty of how things are working lol.

      I think that you are quite right about the apples!

  13. Great post. I do think in some D/s dynamic punishment is not wanted or needed. Though, I wonder if punishment is there but it's more mental than physical. I know right now I'm deciding which way will work for the dynamic with Sir, but I'm still conflicted.

    I don't think punishment questions my submission, I think of it more as correcting an unfavorable behavior. Sometimes, for me, I don't realize I'm doing that unfavorable behavior. I can say since my punishment I'm more aware of it. That punishment is so fresh so I'm not sure how long my awareness will hold until I'm testing those boundaries again.

    One thing is for sure, D/s has many paths, and no two paths will be the same.

    1. His Slut,
      After my conversation with Alpha, I think that you have a point--that perhaps "Punishment" Just takes different forms, and whether or not we call it punishment, is simply a matter of perspective and wording...

      I think that keeping that awareness is really important, but not as easy as it sounds!

  14. Very interesting and thought provoking and I can see both sides and guess it comes down to whatever makes the relationship tick. For me though, i submit willingly to my Mistress and accept punishment for my misdemeanours as both a means towards absolution and as a reminder of my place. i don't enjoy it in whatever form it may take and find the mental torment of punishment by denial just as hard as the physical pain of corporal punishment. At least the latter is over more quickly and the sense of absolution comes sooner.

    1. Roxandra,
      I agree that the mental type punishments are much harder to handle. I would also say, that those were not really phased out of our relationship lol.


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