I wanted to get back to my thoughts about Submission and Respect.
I’ve been thinking about the Discipline aspect of BDSM a lot lately, and punishment in particular.
This might be something I come back to more, but I wanted to get down a few thoughts.
So, what is Discipline?
Outside of a dictionary definition, it is what I think of as the formal aspects of BDSM and D/s dynamics. So making rules and enforcing them, behavioral training, defining etiquette and enforcing it, etc. And I know that is very simplistic, but again, this is something I plan to come back to.
So at some point when we talk about Discipline, punishment comes up. I am of two minds about punishment. It is necessary sometimes, I suppose. It is not always beneficial, unless the punishment ties into the action that brings on the punishment in some way.
Punishment should not be pleasurable. Yes, a submissive may enjoy that the dynamic includes it, especially if Discipline is an important aspect of BDSM for him or her. That is not the same thing as enjoying the punishment itself, however.
The punishment should respect limits.
If you have a hard limit that you will never, just as an example, be struck by a bamboo cane, your Dominant should not use a bamboo cane on you as a punishment. Period. It should not even be threatened. That is your hard limit, and nothing in a dynamic ever excuses the breaking or pushing of a hard limit if you have not expressly stated ahead of time that you want to push or break said limit.
With that being said – and this I know is contentious because I’ve already had this argument with folks – safe words are allowed during punishment if needed, just as they are during any other time in the dynamic.
So the arguments I saw against allowing a safe word during punishment boiled down, in almost every argument made, to trust. Dominants and submissives alike felt as though the submissive would safe word not because of a limit being approached or any other need, but to simply avoid a punishment because, who wants to be punished?
If I have reason to think that my submissive would safe word her way out of a punishment just to avoid the punishment, my dynamic has problems that punishment will never solve. Just as my submissive should not enter into a dynamic until she trusts me to be responsible with the power she hands to me, so too should I not enter into the dynamic until I trust that she will be responsible to me in her submission, that when she chooses to submit, that she does so within our agreed limits and boundaries. That includes accepting a punishment if such is necessary for the Discipline aspect of our dynamic. And that means not safe wording out of it merely because the punishment is, while within her limits, unpleasant, boring, or whatever.
So those are my basic thoughts on Discipline and punishment.