Every once in a while, someone asks Daddy or I about how we do punishments in our dynamic. We tell them that we don’t use punishments at all and, nearly every time, that person is rather confused.
Punishments are a classic part of what people think of when they think of D/s. The sub misbehaves or forgets to do a task so they are given 10 hits with a cane. Or maybe they do lines or kneel in rice. It’s the Discipline part of BDSM. So when we respond that we don’t use punishments, I think it makes people wonder how we have a dynamic at all.
In reality, we simply talk to each other. Daddy inquires why a task wasn’t done and I must give him a reasonable explanation as to why. Then, together, we try to solve the reason it wasn’t done and complete the task. Many times the answer is simply that I’ve forgotten so we’ve come up with other strategies to try and avoid that from happening. However, when there are true roadblocks (didn’t have the right materials, didn’t understand what he wanted, etc), Daddy takes it on himself to remove them so I can complete the task successfully.
And when it comes to my attitude, a stern look goes awfully far. I strive to remain respectful to Daddy at all times but I have a mood disorder. It affects me whether or not I like it. He points out when I’ve shifted into a negative headspace since I can’t always catch it myself.
A caning isn’t going to fix my mood disorder but discussing why I’m acting like a snot can help me notice my actions and language better.
Doing lines isn’t going to help my ADHD remember things better but coming up with plenty of strategies I can use does.
Punishment triggers a shame cycle for me personally. This is another reason that we don’t do it. As Daddy says, I will punish myself far more harshly than he ever will. Being punished by Daddy reinforces the negative talk in my head as true since there is an external factor confirming it. If punishment is meant to be one and done and, instead, I linger in that space berating myself for days, has it really helped? Has it really corrected the behavior or issue?
I don’t think punishments are necessarily a bad thing for power exchange dynamics. I think many people can find them useful for a plethora of reasons. What is important, however, is distinguishing it extremely clearly from play. “Funishment” is not a true punishment and doesn’t get the point across, in my opinion. Punishment is meant to create negative feelings so that something isn’t repeated again. It’s a form of reinforcement.
If punishments don’t work for you, that’s okay. There are plenty of people out here in the real world just like me. I know of many other dynamics where people don’t have punishment elements. Maybe they did at one point and it doesn’t serve them anymore or they are like Daddy and us where it doesn’t do anything good for them.
The wonderful thing about power exchange is that everything is customizable. Everything can be modified or changed for whatever helps you and your dynamic thrive. If you try punishment for a while and find that it triggers shame cycles or something like that, let it go. If punishments work for you, keep doing them. What matters is that you are happy and fulfilled by your dynamic and how you approach situations together.
Power exchange is not egalitarian but you and your partner are still working together to create something beautiful. Don’t get caught up in the shoulds or coulds or anything like that. Shape your dynamic to your heart and soul and you’ll be happier for it.