The Punishment Dilemma

hooper-headmistress-118Dirk Hooper Professional Photography-

Last week I answered a submitted question. It proved popular so I will answer another BDSM question – this one from a discussion at the legendary Los Angeles dungeon, the  Lair deSade.

“I am a new Domme and have been trying to learn as much as possible. One thing truly baffles me. If I find a submissive who likes pain, and it seems that most do, how do I punish him? If he likes flogging, for example, I can’t really flog him as punishment, can I? How should I approach this dilemma?

This is a very common question; I wondered the same thing when I started my BDSM journey. It is only natural to contemplate how you punish a submissive who loves pain with pain.  In my opinion, there are three distinct responses to your query.

The first one addresses the use of punishment in the training of a submissive. Who says you have to actually punish a slave to maintain discipline? There are many slaves to whom the Master’s displeasure is more than enough to keep them in line. They rarely, if ever, require physical punishment. After all, did you need bodily punishment in school to get you to do your homework? The disapproval of your parents or peers was usually enough. It can be argued that to achieve lasting behavior modification, no matter how minimal, that the desire to do so trumps any exercise in reprimand. With a “self-correcting slave,” to coin a phrase, the mere look of dissatisfaction by the Master or Mistress will suffice; this slave will adjust his/her behavior to please the Dom/me, punishment or no punishment. This “self-correcting slave,” of course, doesn’t imply that “Mistress never works.” If you find a slave who fits this mold, you must still be firm, demanding and consistent in explaining what your requirements are. This slave needs as much guidance as a submissive who has to be physically punished. Don’t think you can just “sleep all day” and you will have the perfect slave. Basically, you must “discipline” her/him; but you are using a look of disapproval, a verbal reprimand or a word of guidance instead of physical castigation. It requires the same dedication to the task of training that the “punishment system” does.

The second analysis concerns the way pain registers in the brain. It can be argued that a spanking administered at a dungeon play party would invariably register as “pleasure” in the slave’s brain. Whereas a spanking given with a harsh look, under corporal conditions (“How did slave disappoint Mistress?” “I did not obey Her orders.”) would be perceived as pain — or even worse. Basically, the setup for the spanking will determine whether it is pleasurable or painful. Think of it like this. If you were spun upside down in a chair, you might consider it torture. Ride an amusement park ride that is similar to the upside down spinning chair and you will think of it as fun! Same stimuli, dissimilar mindsets, different results. Thus, you can discipline your “painslut”, if that is your desire, by setting up the punishment scene differently than a pleasure scene. The sub must know it is punishment to perceive it as such. Make sure you avoid the “spank me I’m a bad girl/boy” scenario because a painslut will eat this role-play alive. In this case, spank for fun. Not because she is a “bad submssive.”

Finally, not even the “King (or Queen) of Painsluts” has an affinity for every tool of torment. He/she might love the flogger but hate the paddle. Or a sub might worship the whip but despise the cane; or adore the crop but loathe tight bondage. Part of the fun of BDSM is experimentation. You should try every toy you can on your slave and find out those the submissive loves and those she/he hates. The key is to find at least one activity that the slave abhors. This might take some doing; you might have to live at the toyshop. But once you find that magical punishment implement, you are set. Remember, all you need is one!

About the Author:

After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.



  1. Your article gave me a lot to think about. This is a common topic at MAST and I am so grateful that you shed more light on it.

  2. Thanks MasterK for your support. On a side note, in a galaxy far far away, when I first entered the BDSM scene, I wanted to use the name MasterE — as in mastery. It was taken so I used BaadMaster — in part as a reaction to all the “Doms” of the era using names like Good Master, Great Master and Amazing Master. Being a contrarian, I chose BaadMaster and it stuck. You name reminded me of this story!

  3. Neilias_elision says:

    Also keep in mind that tickling can be an effective torture to many people. The sensation, coupled with squirming against restraints and laughing can leave a body sore beyond what you might expect.

    • Good point, Neilias_elision. Tickling is great from many points of view — from play to punishment. It is not the play that is the thing, it is the player! (Thanks, Shakespeare. My High School teacher would be proud of me to paraphrase/quote the Bard!)

  4. kinksterkate says:

    Can you share what types of punishments have been helpful in your own dynamics?

  5. SlaveBunny says:

    Essays, when applicable, are used in our home when punishment is needed. It allows me to reflect and learn as well as “pay the price.”

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