Reader: When punishing your slave, is it important to use a device that has never been used for pleasure? If not, how can that punishment be given without it being pleasurable?
This is a common delimma that both beginners and not-so-beginners face. The best way to answer this question is to answer it with a question: What is the purpose of punishment? If it is for training purposes, the object is to paint a vivid picture in the submissive’s mind that what he/she did was unacceptable and that this behavior should not be repeated. The purpose is to emphatically make one big point – the Master’s disapproval of the slave’s actions. The actual implement used to make this point is relatively unimportant. The Master must forge an association in the submissive’s mind that his/her bad behavior will have unpleasant consequences if repeated — the most unpleasant being the Master’s disapproval. (We are getting too serious here; so let’s have a fun digression for a moment.)
Digression. In the popular vanilla stereotype of D/s, the leather clad, high-heeled, ultra-sexy Domme with cleavage says to the submissive, “You’ve been a bad boy, you are going to get a spanking.” The “bad boy” wants the spanking; he has been just bad enough to give the Domme an excuse for some play. The object here is not to teach the “bad boy” a lesson. It is really to have fun! Hey, I am all for fun, and this is a fun scene. So in this case, the “punishment” is really not punishment at all; it is not for training purposes. It is, as the questioner states, pleasurable. Thus, the implement is irrelevant. End of digression.
There is one basic principle which guides all training. “The effect of the punishment is correlated to the submissive’s need for approval from the Dominant.” In a certain sense, this implies that only a submissive who wants to be trained can be trained. The analogue here is to hypnosis. (I am a certified clinical hypnotherapist, licensed to practice in California.) When in hypnosis, the subject will only do things he/she is willing to do. Thus, you cannot give a suggestion such as “don’t overeat” to an overweight person and expect that suggestion to work — unless that person really wants to lose weight. Thus, the choice of implement has little effect if the slave really has no intention of being trained. You might say it is not the selection of the right implement that makes for effective training; it is the selection of the right submissive.
In the BDSM world, the linkage of pain and pleasure makes it difficult to use pain for training. As we have seen, the punishment of the so-called “bad boy” was not punishment at all. If we assume that the best way to train a slave is to make a point of the Master’s disapproval, then you might not have to use pain at all. In fact, I have found that non-scening punishments can be more effective than pain.
If you find the thing the submissive hates most, then you have found the perfect punishment. For example, if your slave abhors wearing a pacifier in public, isn’t this more effective that a flogging which can have pleasurable aspects to it. Taking away things the submissive likes also works. Not letting a slave watch the HBO show “Game of Thrones” would be, in many cases, serious punishment!
Thus the key in punishment is the fact that a) the submissive is feeling that the punishment is being administered because the Dominant disapproves of the sub’s behavior and b) the submissive truly needs the Dom’s approval and this act of disapproval is extremely upsetting.
If the submissive doesn’t care whether the Dom approves of his/her behavior, than the punishment becomes an empty exercise. No matter how much pain is involved, or what implement is used, if the submissive says “so what?” — the punishment will not work.
About the Author
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, 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.