So does it work?

Does discipline and punishment work for me?  This is probably a question for the site FAQ (er, when we get around to writing one).  It’s something that has come up in the Usenet group we’ve all been part of (alt.sex.spanking and its successor soc.sexuality.spanking).  Can any adult, especially an adult with a spanking fetish (which I feel safe in saying all of the blog authors have to some degree or other) be punished by spanking and have that punishment work to change their behavior?

My answer: Yes, no, sometimes and it depends.

Does that make sense?

Having covered all bases I’m going to try and give reason to my own answers.

First
for the "yes".  Yes, I believe spanking (and a few other things) work
for me as punishments.  They work not because they resolve the tension
between my partner and myself (although that can be happy side effect)
but that my behavior has changed.  I’m a far cry from perfect, but I’m
more honest in our relationship and have lost a few bad habits over the
years.  I attribute that, in at least part, to Pab’s generally consistent
spanking me for lying.  It’s also helped with improving everything from
work habits to bedtime.

So why then the "no"?  Because sometimes
spanking doesn’t work between the two of us.  That’s happened in two
different types of situations.  First, when we’ve been too ambitious
and tried to impose a complex grid of rules very quickly. It’s too much
too fast for me and I tend to flail miserably and end up resisting
everything.  My partner’s scene isn’t about controlling me or
micromanaging my life so we both end up frustrated.  I feel like a
failure and, I discovered not too too long ago, so does he.  Spanking
also doesn’t work as a punishment between the two of us if it’s for
something that matters to me (like say not eating candy for Lent) which
doesn’t matter to my partner.  Not eating candy for Lent would
especially not be something he felt I needed to do as he’s not
religious and doesn’t do Lent so he’s not going to spank me for eating
chocolate on Good Friday. I can’t ask or expect him to enforce rules he
doesn’t believe in.  And yes, we’ve tried — it wasn’t about Lent but
it was lame.

The opposite isn’t true, by the way, though it
would be elegant if it were.  Pablo can indeed use punishments to
change behavior that upsets him but doesn’t really bother me. Example:
I used to smoke very very occasionally.  It obviously didn’t bother me
and I thought it harmless, but he made me promise "never again" and
twice thrashed me almost beyond what I could bear when I let myself
smoke.  The first time I was testing him, the second because I
convinced myself it was over between us and it seemed the most "in your
face" thing I could do.  I’ll never touch another cigarette as long as
I live.  I’m just fortunate that his ethics haven’t pushed that beyond
what’s right.

So there’s times spanking / punishments in general
have worked well and there’s times they haven’t worked at all. Now for
the sometimes / it depends part.  My schoolwork sometimes can be
positively effected by punishments.  How? Well, I respond rather well
to threats and discipline (how very embarrassing) at least in the short
term.  I like to be seen as a "good" girl and so want to be approved
of. Plus external structure works for me.  I get more sleep, I get into
a routine, my on-line time is curtailed, I get more work done.  But
that said, it only works sometimes.  Why? Because it’s a push / pull
issue.  Pab can push me on the right path and even nudge me to stay
there.  But the work has to come from me, he can’t pull it out.

That’s
where the "it depends" and, I suppose, "consent" comes in.  I’m not a
child or a grammar school student. I’m not even working on my BA.
There’s no reason for me to still be a student and still do school work
except that I want to — getting a PhD is my choice.  If I stop wanting
to write a dissertation, stop wanting to finish my degree, knowing that
Pab will be disappointed in me will make me sad, but fear of that isn’t
going to be enough to get 300 plus pages written.  So all of this
working depends on my own motivation, what’s inside me that makes me
want to write about the emergence of the Chicana as author and editor
in the 1970s.

Pab wants me to finish for me because I want to
finish. And so while I do depend on him to help me focus when I drift,
he has to expect (and more importantly I have to expect) that in the
long term, the excited energy sustaining my work is going to come from within me.

Though thoughts of a heavy brush and swishy cane can and do impress the importance of working hard on this often very lazy girl.

13 thoughts on “So does it work?

  1. Haron

    I don’t really know that many people for whom discipline does actually work. I know many who say it’s at the heart of their kink, but relatively few of us actually ever get to try. Especially with an emotionally qualified partner. Especially long-term.
    Two months ago I would have said (with a sad sniff, too) that discipline didn’t work for me. Now that we’re trying again, we seem to have found a better arrangement, but it’s very, very new and vulnerable. I don’t know that I won’t snap; I don’t know that Abel won’t get discouraged. It’s hard work.
    I could be specific, and say that on the basis of the last few weeks discipline _can_ work for me. As for long-term?
    Does it actually work?
    Good question. Too little evidence to answer either way…

    Reply
  2. sparkle

    I fantasize about having the space and opportunity to try long-term discipline, but the reality is that it wouldn’t work for me and my personality and my living situation. And it wouldn’t work for C.
    As he told me a few days ago, “You’re a big girl and you can decide for yourself when . . .”
    Yes, I can *decide*. I’m very good at knowing what the responsible thing is, not so good at always sticking to my plan. I decide to go to bed by X pm – I actually go to bed at X+2 pm. Or, um, X+1.5 pm. I decide to work for 2 hours. I read Literotica for 45 minutes and then work for an hour and fifteen minutes – knowing, of course, the entire time that I’m not acting in my own best interest and that I’ll pay for it later.
    So discipline is on an as-needed basis, and that works usually. Either because I ask for it, or because I’m irritating enough when I complain about my own lack of self-control that C is forced to respond, either by telling me to stop complaining (well, more politely than that) or spanking it out of me.
    I’ve never really had a long-term discipline situation where I felt truly restricted. That’s probably why it’s good fantasy fodder. (If I tried smoking, that might change.) Those others on this blog who actually get to experiment with it probably know better than to daydream about it. 🙂
    sparkle

    Reply
  3. Lil

    I’m in a long-term relationship (eight years)that has involved D/s on varying levels for the majority of the time. Speaking from my own personal experience, it DOES work.
    But, it is hard work and requires effort on both sides, and without consistency it is doomed to fail. G loves me enough to use discipline and punishment to improve my habits, my mental and emotional outlook and my view about the world around me.
    Complicated rule systems do fail because they are unmanageable in the long term. I am punished for relatively concrete, “simple” things such as being negative, not washing dishes adequately, not being respectful, forgetting where I put things, etc.
    Does this work for me? Yep. It makes me think before I act (usually) and although these are all bad habits that took years to form, I think I’m slowly turning them into positive elements in my life.
    But until recently, G was NOT into D/s as I’ve always been, and had incorrectly believed that I WANTED punishment spanking because it was sexually satisfying. He couldn’t have been more wrong, as he is now fully aware, but that made him reluctant to punish and also extremely inconsistent and disinterested.
    Now things are totally different as he is coming into his own in a consistent, 24/7 Dom role and I am submissive with every breath I take. I love it because he encourages me by building my self-confidence and improving my self-image and helps me to think about virtually everything from the positive rather then the negative. I’m happier and more productive and a nicer person to be around and I/we owe it exclusively to D/s for saving our relationship. It’s better than it’s ever been!
    A side-note about punishable offenses and the effectiveness of the punishment. G and I just talked about this yesterday and he made the point that for us, it doesn’t matter if the offense is something I don’t like about myself or something he doesn’t like about me. If it bothers one of us enough to be noticed, it is game as a punishable offense and once that decision is made, my behavior improves exponentially.
    For example, he started spanking me for being too negative (not something I had even noticed I was doing until he pointed it out). I resisted at first, and argued and manipulated, (or tried to) but have already begun to see drastic changes in how I view everything around me. And I’m enjoying each and every moment for what it has to offer for the first time in my life.
    On the other hand, when we experimented with D/s earlier in our relationship, I’d asked G to spank me for biting my nails, a habit I abhor but can’t seem to stop on my own. It started working for me but we stopped because that was when he thought I actually wanted the punishment. Though he doesn’t LIKE me biting my nails, this is NOT an issue he would see as spankable except that it really bothers me and I want to stop such a nasty behavior. This time around, we could easily add it to our list of punishable offenses and he would gladly spank me consistently for it.
    Anyway, this was my long-winded way of pointing out that punishment is so much more a hugely mental issue than a physical one. But without consistency and BOTH people truly caring about creating and instilling positive, life-affirming changes, it is doomed to fail. It MUST be realistic, consistent and above all else, always done with love and the punishment act itself must always bring closure to the behavior that preceded it.
    By the way, I am writing this 90 minutes before I am to receive 7 hard punishment strokes of the cane, immediately before going thrift store shopping with G dressed in either my uniform or something particularly “slutty” (revealing and very short). Thanks for giving me a temporary distraction! Have a great day everyone!
    Haron, I’m glad you’re OK and am looking forward to your next post. It sounds like we have a lot in common and it is nice to “meet” someone else who is heavily involved in this lifestyle (and discipline) 24/7.
    Lil

    Reply
  4. poiesia

    Interesting topic. I used to think that people were kidding themselves about “real” spanking as discipline, if it could really change behavior to bring about positive changes. Now, I’m more cautious. Perhaps it had to do with focus and the sort of arrangment/relationship that exists between a person and their Disciplinarian?
    Enthusiastically, I tried to get on this ride, came up with a formal arrangment (with all the rules in place) and it…well, it simply was awful and a failure. The relationship I have is one that requires a more complete role than just discipline so perhaps this is where it all blew up. However, punishment is still *good* for me to alleviate guilt.
    Most of the time, I see *punishment* as an valid reason to give/accept a spanking, maybe it is comforting to have a “real” reason as a prelude to do what we all love.
    Yet, I know of a friend of mine who has a formal Disciplinarian (who she sees only for discipline, not friendship, no erotic overtones, etc.) who swears that her discipline arrangment has succeeded in changing her over the years for the better. I believe her.
    For whatever reason, the lecture/talk etc. affects me more than the actual spanking and *might* induce more of a rational reason to bring about long term change.
    Thanks for the topic and letting me voice an opinion!

    Reply
  5. sparkle

    Just a correction to my earlier post. In the next to the last paragraph, I should have begun it “So _punishment_ is on an as-needed basis…”
    sparkle

    Reply
  6. Mija

    I’ve really enjoyed all the comments so far. I think this is a complicated subject and one where individual relationships (and the individuals in them) can be very telling. Forgive the following ramble. It’s a hard thing for me to write about because there’s a lot of layers, at least in my head.
    The idea of externally enforced discipline has definitly, as Haron commented, always been at the heart of my kink. Maybe my partner’s too. In my fantasies I was a lot better behaved with better work habits, punishments were done with consistancy (and never seemed to hurt very much) and it was all very lovely and rose-colored. These thoughts kept me warm though many a lonely month when Pablo and I were still in a long distance relationship.
    Yet the practice of it isn’t easy at all. I’m still the same person, mostly, that I’ve always been. Lazy sometimes, forgetful others and embarrassed about both. It’s one thing to intentionally misbehave with the idea of getting spanked — that’s for me fun and exciting (er, especially if the other person is in on it and not being manipulated). It’s quite another to need to be called out for “things undone” for real.
    In trying to consider why that is, I think part is the idea of equality. Because I do consider myself Pablo’s partner and equal. Yet as often as we might say “equal doesn’t mean the same,” I feel bad and somehow more dependent / less responsible because he has to discipline me, yet neither needs or wants a reverse of that situation. Moreso because discipline, punishment and the rules we make do matter to both of us. I’m frequently worried that Pablo looks at me and sees someone who’s flawed in a way he’s willing to compensate for, but at the same time, wishes he didn’t need to. At those times I wish I could just somehow be different enough to do things I say I will when I will, be internally motivated and all that.
    At the same time, Pablo’s willingness and ability to discipline me are part of what makes me feel wildly attracted to him partly because it makes me feel safe and protected.
    I really appreciated hearing from Lil about the evolution of she and her husband’s relationship because, well, first it was interesting and beautiful, but second because it pointed out so clearly how different each relationship must be. For us, what’s worked best is an almost day-by-day approach (with a very few arching rules). Each day starting fresh with a few goals for that day. I think doing discipline that way works best for us because if there is inconsistancy one day, it doesn’t need to effect the next; we can just begin again. Also, it gives him the freedom to stop or take breaks without him having to feel he’s letting me down (me too, should I need it). That’s important for us.
    So, going back to some other replies like Haron and poiesia’s, I can’t say for sure this works long term for my partner or me. But I do know each day that we decide we want this does work. My thought is that those days may one day add up to “long term.”
    🙂
    Mija

    Reply
  7. TheBoss

    I’ve promised Invidia a whoopin’ at LEAST this bad if she touches a tobacco product. So far, she hasn’t dared test my resolve on that! =)

    Reply
  8. patty

    I agree, yes, no and it depends on how you interpret the scenario of a disciplinary or punishment event. *g*
    From the pragmatic stand point: Will a ‘disciplinary’ spanking make a meaningful change in my behavior? The answer is yes. But it’s a qualified yes.
    For one thing, since it’s almost always an accumulation of minor relationship crimes that results in the ‘punishment’ event, it’s pretty much a given that as enough time passes and enough life stressors sneak back in and build up, that I will once again succumb to the impulses of the weak woman inside of me who is prone to snide comments, selfish acts and nasty temper.
    But, the punishment event that hauls that wench in and forces me to acknowledge and address her behavior, does effect immediate improvement that lasts for many weeks to months.
    Still, if you look very closely at the real dynamic between us, you’ll see that the spanking isn’t really what cleans up my act. It’s the ritual that is very much based on trust and acceptance surrounding it that really does it. When the time comes for a reckonning, my husband or I (I do ask to be punished now & then) put the cards on the table. There’s some arguing, maybe some bickering, but ultimately the fact that the bad & the ugly sides of my personality have had too much outlet is addressed and talked about. I explain why, he lets me know how it made him feel, I let him know how I felt. We agree it wasn’t fair, etc. etc. In all of it there’s almost always the acceptance that even though feelings got hurt and feathers ruffled, we’re both OK, no harm is done, and we know it’s normal, even healthy to an extent, and that it’s going to happen again.
    Then I get a sound spanking. What does that do? It stamps paid on the whole deal. The catharsis of the spanking exhausts all that remains of bad feelings and tensions, makes me cry, gives both of us some closure and allows him to cuddle and nurture me at the end.
    I’m reassured that he’s invested in us no matter what I’ve done. We both appreciate the physicality, and yes sexuality of the spanking and a sweet renewed calm settles back in between us.
    It works.
    good question, good discussion, interesting thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  9. Lil

    This may not be the place for this question, but I REALLY need some feedback from people who can relate to my need for discipline.
    Have any of you ever needed discipline (even a play spanking) from your Dom, then discovered that he is not remotely interested in giving you one, or even having anything at all to do with spanking?
    I’m not talking about “at the time” but rather him conveying a desire to get away from it (spanking. D/s, domestic discipline) altogether. He even commented that it felt “dirty” to him, a thought that took him a very long time to work out of MY head when I last came to him around the first of the year and asked him to discipline me again.
    I accepted his reaction but inwardly felt considerable pain and loss, as if I didn’t even know how to connect with myself, as I have grown very, very comfortable in my role as submissive to him. I waited, and was rewarded that evening with him saying that he wanted to make me feel better and wanted me to know he had already been thinking again of how much fun it would be to “beat my ass”, so the storm has been avoided for now, I guess.
    Yet my own doubts remain, as I’ve always known this is really just a day-by-day game for him and though I certainly may not always need this in my life, right now it is helping me to become the person I’ve always dreamed of being. In fact, it saved our marriage and I’m not sure where we will be without it.
    Any thoughts? Words of wisdom? I’m thinking about writing down the aspects of D/s, dd that are most important to me, specifically, then asking him to do the same (at least have him write down the things he wouldn’t mind doing or might even enjoy). Then we can compare lists and find a compromise to please us both. He always said that he was more than willing to punish me for whatever I felt was necessary to make me a better, happier person … I guess this might be the truest test of all.
    Please give me feedback … either here or better yet, email me at Lil_tggr@yahoo.com!
    Lil

    Reply
  10. Lil

    This may not be the place for this question, but I REALLY need some feedback from people who can relate to my need for discipline.
    Have any of you ever needed discipline (even a play spanking) from your Dom, then discovered that he is not remotely interested in giving you one, or even having anything at all to do with spanking?
    I’m not talking about “at the time” but rather him conveying a desire to get away from it (spanking. D/s, domestic discipline) altogether. He even commented that it felt “dirty” to him, a thought that took him a very long time to work out of MY head when I last came to him around the first of the year and asked him to discipline me again.
    I accepted his reaction but inwardly felt considerable pain and loss, as if I didn’t even know how to connect with myself, as I have grown very, very comfortable in my role as submissive to him. I waited, and was rewarded that evening with him saying that he wanted to make me feel better and wanted me to know he had already been thinking again of how much fun it would be to “beat my ass”, so the storm has been avoided for now, I guess.
    Yet my own doubts remain, as I’ve always known this is really just a day-by-day game for him and though I certainly may not always need this in my life, right now it is helping me to become the person I’ve always dreamed of being. In fact, it saved our marriage and I’m not sure where we will be without it.
    Any thoughts? Words of wisdom? I’m thinking about writing down the aspects of D/s, dd that are most important to me, specifically, then asking him to do the same (at least have him write down the things he wouldn’t mind doing or might even enjoy). Then we can compare lists and find a compromise to please us both. He always said that he was more than willing to punish me for whatever I felt was necessary to make me a better, happier person … I guess this might be the truest test of all.
    Please give me feedback … either here or better yet, email me at Lil_tggr@yahoo.com!
    Lil

    Reply
  11. sparkle

    Lil,
    Your comments and questions are very helpful for me. I started to reply to your post and realized that my reply was going to be lengthy and I don’t have the time right now to think it through thoroughly.
    So I’m writing a blog post on my own relationship and our different types and kinds of kink interests. But it will be after Easter before I can get it posted. Work, baby and arriving houseguests are all factors – plus, I want to run it by C before I post it.
    sparkle

    Reply
  12. Lil

    My apologies for my last post being sent twice … my computer malfunctioned as I sent the first post and I didn’t think it went through. SORRY!!!!
    I’m looking forward to checking out your post, Sparkle. One of the most fascinating things about this lifestyle is the myriad of ways of approaching it, and how each couple finds gradually what works best for them.
    G and I are fine … as my bottom can attest to (just some playful smacks OTK but he really let loose yesterday morning). I’m sure there is much more where that came from, but we’ve both been ill so things are progressing slowly as we haven’t both felt well at the same time for long enough to play. I’m really looking forward to it though!
    Anyway, hey everyone, please feel free to read my new blog and post any comments. I’m in the midst of trying to get the links figured out as this site is the first on my list. Should have that irnoned out by tonight!
    Take care, everyone! Hey, Haron, you never did send that post about your caning … are you OK?
    Lil

    Reply
  13. Richard

    Very late in finding this thread.
    My relationship isn’t 24/7 so my situation is very different.
    As a masochist I enjoy pain. I like being spanked. That has caused a small problems at time. Because even though we may only be in a scene: how can she punish me.
    It turned out that her anger when she is angered by an action or lack of action turns off my ability to enjoy pain. I feel real regret. And I want the spanking to stop in a way I don’t when the spanking is not administered as punishment.

    Reply

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