The convoluted paths of punishment
I’ve never been one to spend time analyzing why I’m a spanko. I just know that I am, I love it, and it’s made my life better, and I don’t really care where it came from. But I do wonder sometimes why I have such strong preferences, and such intense dislikes/aversions to certain aspects/ancillary activities in TTWD.
Recently on FetLife, several of us were on a campaign of sorts to “free” a woman who had been grounded from FL by her top. We wrote impassioned notes to the top, no dice. Someone suggested that we come up with a “free Piper” song. The top said that if someone did, he just might consider reducing her sentence. So I immediately did that, doing a parody of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
Piper Piper come and play,
Piper Piper what’d you say?
JC won’t let you come out,
Why’s he being such a lout?
And so on. Then another woman wrote another parody, and took it a step farther: she recorded it and put it on FL. I figured if she could do it, I could too, so I recorded mine. Then yet another woman recorded herself doing an interpretive “free Piper” dance.
None of this worked, by the way. She’s still off FL until Sunday. Can’t say we didn’t try.
Anyway, while all this silliness was going on, I caught myself in judgmental, pissy mode, thinking, “WTF is up with this grounding business? I wouldn’t allow that! I’m a grown woman, dammit!” I get the same hostile reaction when I hear about bedtimes, or writing lines, or mouth soaping. It’s not so much that these things sound unappealing to me — they actually make me feel angry. “How fucking childish! How can anyone allow themselves to be treated like a child??”
And then, just as I’m up my own ass with my righteous indignation, I laugh. Yeah, right, Erica. Because being over a man’s knee getting spanked is SO grown-up.
Yes, the hypocrisy didn’t escape me. So what’s up with that? Why do I accept spanking, but eschew so many of its adjuncts?
I think it’s my own personal connection with these adjuncts. My mother was big on all of them.
When I was little, my mother shoved soap in my mouth when I parroted swear words I’d heard. She actually made me write lines a couple of times. And she was big on rules, restrictions and creative punishments.
My bedtime was rigidly enforced, to the point that if I went to bed 10 minutes late one night, I had to go to bed 10 minutes earlier the next. Same thing with TV. Two hours a day, and not one minute more. If I wanted to watch something that took up more time, I had to borrow the time from another day.
If I misbehaved, she took beloved things away. No TV. Cancelled plans. No dessert, or even no dinner. Once, she wouldn’t let me read for a week. Considering I spent nearly every waking minute with my nose in a book at that time, that was torture.
And I felt intense rage at all this. My mantra was “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to make my own decisions. No one will ever impose restrictions on me ever again.”
Of course, that was silly. Life is full of restrictions and rules. But I am mistress of my personal life. No one tells me when to get up or go to bed, how much TV I can watch, how much time I can spend on the Internet or what sites I can go to. Those are hard limits, because they seriously piss me off. As it turns out, with good reason.
For those who had these dynamics in their scene relationships, I wonder how they feel about them. They may moan and complain, but are they secretly turned on by these restrictions and punishments, just as I am by spanking? We all have our triggers. I know I love having my hair fisted, but others say that’s a hard limit. I guess this is why the “hard limit” discussion is so important. Because one bottom’s ecstasy is another’s torment.
Thoughts? How many of you use these adjuncts in your spanking play? (Don’t worry, I’m not condemning. I’m curious.)
I can't speak for anyone else, but I have thought about this and me quite a lot.
First, it's not something Paul and I do all the time. We both have to be in the right frame of mind for it. Just as I don't always want to have control taken away from me, he doesn't always feel like being in control. The dynamic has to work both ways.
Okay, that said…
I have a lot of anxiety and get overwhelmed easily, especially when I'm trying to focus on one thing and other things have to be done and suddenly it's all just a bit much. Yes, sometimes spanking helps me feel centered. But other times I'm feeling too frayed and frazzled to be spanked — largely because of the noise and just the physical jarring. Or spanking helps, but we / I need something that lasts longer.
Having to stand in a corner, write lines, go to bed early or follow some sort of rule is mindful. It gives my all-too-busy brain something to focus on and makes me feel cared for, watched over, less alone in my messy life. It's a brain trick, but it makes me feel like so long as I do this one thing, everything is going to be okay.
So I guess the short answer is that they make me feel cared for and less alone.
Back when G. and I met for the first time face to face, he realized just how sleep deprived I was. I'd been sleep deprived for a couple decades at that point, so it wasn't a new thing, but he hadn't experienced it in person before. On our last day at Worldcon, he said that when I got home I'd have a bedtime until further notice. He wasn't a task master about it, it was only on work nights, and if I wanted to stay up for some reason, like a something on tv that I wanted to see, I could ask for permission to stay up. At that point 11:30 seemed so early to me that it was difficult to stick with it sometimes, and I broke it occasionally without asking permission first. The thing is, it worked. After three years I was finally, PERMANENTLY, not chronically sleep deprived. I take naps these days if I'm light on sleep, some even intentional. LOL As for the other stuff, we do occasionally do corner time after a spanking, like when I was in NY last year we did it one time. It fits into the dynamic once in a while. We do mostly concentrate on the spanking though. It depends on what he's spanking me for!
I'm a little slow on the uptake today and I read she was grounded from FL and I am thinking it means Florida. I'm all like- she's grounded from the entire state? I wonder where she lives? I am still laughing at myself, just thought I would share that.
I think I feel the same way about these punishments as I do about spanking. Spanking over here is just all sexy fun and playing and never a punishment. I think I would get bent out of shape over any kind of punishment really because that is just me. Even when my husband gently suggests something like maybe I should go to bed because I am tired and bitchy I will stay up later just to prove a point. Because I am very mature. Because he is not the boss of me, haha.
Writing an essay or corner time may stimulate reflection – and as such have added value, I have noticed.
Mija — this makes perfect sense. This is a very good example of how that sort of thing works for others. Thanks.
Jen — again, another good example. In both these cases, it sounds more like a helpful restriction (you need sleep, you need to focus, calm down) than a punitive restriction (you're going to bed early because you were bad). I think it's the latter that I would resent most. But that's just me.
Casey — ha! Yeah, I start by spelling out FetLife and then abbreviate it. I can think of several states I could be grounded from for life and it wouldn't bother me a bit. 😉
MrJ — I suppose. We're all so different, even within our basic kink.
Other than spankings I would never agree to any other sort of punishment dynamic in my real daily life. None of those you listed above appeal to me in any form. I'm much too independent and needing control over most aspects of my life. I think mouth soaping would be inhumane for MY experiences and FORGET grounding from anything. Last time I had a birthday I turned 45. EFF that bullshit! LOL
Kelly — re. birthdays… oh, wanna trade? Please please please? 🙂
G. isn't one for punitive punishments, and lucky for me, isn't into micromanaging. As long as I'm handling my business he's not going to nail me for things. If it's something I've asked for help with, then if I screw up I'm in for it. There have been a few things that HE has decided I need to change, but not all that many.
Hi Erica — I had restrictions and early bedtime before, I am not a big fan of those type of punishments, but it made me feel like I was loved and cared about 🙂 As you know otk spanking is my favorite type of punishment LOL 🙂 Much Love and hugs from naughty girl Jade
Hmmm…this is interesting because my parents were so incredibly lax, and now I crave boundary and loving punishment in my relationship with my husband. We are just F'd up, aren't we? Hahaha.
No, in all seriousness though, I do get turned on by being punished for real things. We do practice DD, and a white hot sexual connection happens to be the most prominent side effect. But the punishments really are punishments–I take them seriously. We don't practice it as strictly as some, though. I don't get grounded or bed times, and the things I am punished for are usually things that harm our relationship, which I feel guilty about anyway.
Like you, I don't bother to analyze myself. I used to be an avid spanko who would never in a million years do that silly “DD” thing, but it turns out simple spanking wasn't enough for me. And it turns out DD has re-ignited passion that wasn't even there in the puppy love phase of our relationship.
It is what it is…I don't question my brain–I just do what turns me on, as long as it doesn't harm anyone else 🙂
Jade — if that worked well for you, then I'm glad. 🙂
Autumn — that's the best way to look at it, I reckon. How funny about our opposite parents! Although to be clear, it was just my mother. My father was just the opposite — I'd go to his house on weekends, no rules, then back to my mother, RULES! She didn't want me to end up like him. (rolling eyes)
Mouth-soaping is ridiculous! No child or adult should have that inflicted on them. Writing lines is a school alternative to corporal punishment, and corner time – aka the naughty spot – is for ages five and under. We don't do any of that stuff. We stick to spanking for its own sake.
Having said that, Ron pretty much calls all the shots, and what he says goes. I go along with his rules because on the whole they make sense, and I'll do anything to keep the peace. If I disagree with something, I don't say so; I just ignore it, do my own thing and hope I don't get caught.
Erica, speaking for myself, I had loving parents, who very rarely restricted me.. So when I hear what your mother did to you, I cringe, and it hurts, what sometimes happened to you. But I do fully understand where your feelings on life, are coming from XXX Luv ya
I have had some rules imposed that I did not like. I was grounded from something. I would have preferred 50 cane strokes. I was not turned on, it was just a test of my submission.
And, I have had rules that turned me on a lot.
I had lots of rules growing up. 12 years of nuns and brothers!!!! And, my mom was tough. I hated many of the rules, but I am very disciplined now in my vanilla life.
Hermione — I think whoever conceived the idea of washing a child's mouth out with soap should go through all eternity with a bar of soap lodged in their rectum.
Six — my mother meant well, even though she screwed up monumentally. She was desperate for me to turn out a certain way (read: not like my father). Sad thing was, I ended up more like him anyway.
joey — it sounds like John was raised a lot like you; three siblings, Catholic school for 12 years, lots of rules. He turned out well, as did you. On the other hand, his siblings have histories of drug and alcohol problems and failed marriages. Go figure.
Hi, Erica 🙂
So… I was never punished as a child. Not once. I was yelled at, humiliated, called horrible things, emotionally abused, but I was never punished at home. Nor was I ever punished at school – I was a very good girl, the teachers liked me, and the rare times I really misbehaved I got away with it. I got detention a few times in high school, but we were just left alone in a room for an hour and played cards. So really, before I experienced kink, I had never experienced punishment.
That, I suppose, may be the main reason it is such a big part of my kink now. I cannot handle anyone yelling at me or calling me names. But all the things you guys think are ridiculous… lines and corner time and mouth soapings… are things that I welcome in my fetish life. I purposely think of role play scenes we can play where a girl is in dreadful trouble…
I don't *like* being punished as a submissive because A. punishments are meant to be painful, frustrating, or annoying, and B. I hate knowing that I disappointed my top/dom. I want to be good. But sometimes, I can be bad. And I like that we have a dynamic where there can be – will be – consequences if I'm bad. It makes me feel safe, cared for, loved… Writing lines or sitting/standing in a corner calms me down and clears my head. I hate mouth soaping, but he did it once after he found out I started smoking… I never smoked again. I never will. And sometimes being banned from the internet is good when I am finding it hard to focus.
I suppose I don't see it as being treated as a child because I was never treated like this as a child. I also never felt cared for as a child. It's good to know that someone cares.
Olivia — thanks for coming forward with this. Please understand; I don't think what you do is ridiculous; it's just that those activities are a strong trigger for me. I will always think that shoving soap in a child's mouth is barbaric, but to each their own.
I'm sorry you were yelled at and called names. That is the absolute worst. I had a stepmother who was very verbally abusive and she is the reason I cannot stand the “c-word” to this day.
Whatever works for you, dear, is what's good. 🙂
My folks were also proponents of Dr Spock and we had few rules. I crave them and punishment is a natural consequence. But it's the threat that really does it for me. Yesterday Don sent me an email and at the end tells me why he was so pissed at me and that he's going to give me the belt for trying to blackmail him. I swear I didn't. But we see things differently. I read that email all day long. Turned on. But then I came home not feeling well and went right to bed. Didn't get the belt but tomorrow is another day and I dread it. It's much more the threat that's the thrill.
Jackie — I agree; the threats and anticipation are really hot!
I think that grounding is pretty problematic as a punishment tactic for adults.
Why? I think the primary reason that it upsets me is because when you take someone away from their social group, you're taking something (their friend) away from everyone who enjoys interacting with her. That makes me feel weird, like I'm being non-consensually involved in someone's punishment. Once, a friend was specifically grounded from talking to me and two other friends, since we were her three favorites, I guess. I hadn't done anything to influence her to be bad or anything of the sort. It made me feel rotten, though, like I was a bad influence, and simultaneously objectified, like I was something that could be taken away like the TV. No one asked me if this was alright with me, because it wasn't, but there was nothing I could do about it.
I think the idea of this upsets me so much because I have social anxiety and balancing those interactions is so important to me. I need to have the right amount per day or else I'll “go problem.”
I'll admit though, that very temporary grounding is something that works for me. For example, when I was trying to get through a lot of chores right before Paul came home, I kept finding myself feeling overwhelmed and giving up to use the internet instead. One of my “off chart bossing” type friends asked me if structure would help, and I said yes, so he told me I wasn't allowed to use the internet until I finished a certain set of tasks. They magically got done and life got back to normal! But anything that isn't stuck to a couple of hours doesn't work for me.
What especially doesn't work for me, and makes me incredibly upset just to hear about is the removal of affection or comfort as a punishment. My ex was all about this: grounded from cuddling. Grounded from stuffed animals. I was going to spank you but you were bad so I won't. I even got grounded “from our dynamic” if I didn't obey (or if I used a safeword), and I wasn't allowed to have any of the rules or protocols that made me feel comforted.
To each their own, of course, but when I hear about people giving out punishments that really interfere with one's life, I tend to get grumpy about it.
I think it is as simple as to each his own and to whatever works for BOTH the individuals involved. I may not understand why certain things turn certain people on and/or desire certain actions/scenarios, but I have learned to be understanding of these varieties.
Personally I don't think mouth soaping an adult girl for foul language is OK, yet on a certain occasion a bare bottom spanking has served the same disciplinarian purpose, but aren't they both “childish” punishments for an adult lady?
In a similar manner, corner time alone does nothing for some; but to some I have known corner time alone is even more humiliating than a bare bottom spanking. Yet others they can't submit to that extent and thus it becomes truly counter productive in its entirety creating a false tension all around.
What I am trying to say, is that ultimately consent, submission and trust are the things that makes punishment effective.
Alex — removal of affection is grotesquely cruel, in my estimation. Guess what? My mother did that too.
As for your friend who said you couldn't use the Internet, the huge difference for me was he asked you first, if that's what you needed. He was working with you and had your best interest at heart with the restriction.
Enzo — absolutely, both mouth-soaping and spanking are punishments associated with children. That was my point, originally — that I didn't understand why I had such an averse reaction to one and not the other. We are mysterious creatures sometimes, we kinkoids.
Most of the responses have been from bottom/subs so far so I'd like to throw in some thoughts from a top/dom point of view. My partner and I usually stick with spankings for punishments (and play), but there are times I will expand into other areas, usually after talking about goals.
For example, my partner is trying to get healthy, so I “ground” her from eating fast food more than once a week. (Put another way, one fast food meal might represent a reward for sticking with her diet the rest of the week.) Or there are days when she is annoying me to get attention and I'll have her kneel quietly beside me without phone or other distractions while I stroke her hair. It calms her down and gives her attention while getting her away from stressful text messages or negative Facebook drama. (I guess the kneeling beside me is a bit like corner time in its effects, but involves more contact.)
In my opinion most punishments in a BDSM style relationship should be things both parties have talked about and agreed on. The behaviour of Alex's past partner, for example, strikes me as being emotional abuse rather than a proper top/bottom interaction. I think punishments are most effective (and rewarding) when they work toward improving the state of things rather than making the bottom unhappy/remorseful.
Anonymous — thank you for your top's POV. Your methods do sound reasonable and loving. I like the idea of kneeling and hair stroking much better than corner time! 🙂