Want vs. Need

W. and I had a long conversation tonight; one of the main topics was me trying to express how I need more structured rules in my life, with both punishment and rewards as part of the system.  And as I was talking about the areas where I particularly need help, I had to wonder: am I really, seriously asking to be punished for these things?  Do I want to be punished for things I’m nearly certain to do (or, more to the point, do I want to be punished for not doing things I’m nearly certain not to do)?

And the answer is, "No, of course I don’t WANT to be punished for these things."

Which leads to the next question: will punishments work to help me change my behaviors?  And there, I think, is the answer.

Yes, I do think punishments will work. 

I really don’t like being punished.  I don’t enjoy it.  It’s not fun.  I don’t know how it is that it’s different from spanking for fun, but it definitely is.  I love to be spanked for fun, no matter how hard or long.  Punishment spankings are different.  They can be very short, and not even necessarily very hard, but they tend to encourage me to change my behavior.

I think a major aspect is the sense that someone else is paying attention to me, and cares about what I do, and how I treat myself.  So when there’s an element of trying to communicate through negative behavior (and I hate to admit this, but I know that I do it), some kind of response is required.  And, unfortunately, I often have trouble getting out of the cycle of negative behaviors without the reinforcement of a spanking.

On the flip side, when I do something wrong unintentionally, I often have a very difficult time stopping beating myself up about it (in the figurative sense).  And in these cases, the self-punishment is utterly out of proportion to the mistake that I made.  A spanking often helps me to let go of the need to be angry at myself, and helps me to move on.

In both cases, although I absolutely dread getting the punishments, they leave me feeling safer and more secure, better balanced, and more whole.

But this is something that I can’t quite understand at the moment when there’s about to be a punishment.  Although I can say, calmly and rationally, separate from the actual situation, that I know it’s good for me… in the moment, I’d do anything I could to avoid it.  I’d argue.  If I were a better liar, I might lie.  I resist.  Yeah, more than anything, I resist.

This is a complex situation.  Given a choice, W would far rather not be punishing me at all.  And it’s very confusing to her, that I ask for something, and then fight it with all my might when it comes to the point of her doing it.

Some of the resistance is testing to see whether she really cares enough to follow through with the consequences.  And some of it is simply that, while I might know that the consequences are good for me, there’s nothing that says I actually want to deal with them.  (Why dealing with my own negative consequences is better, I’m not sure.)

On top of all the issues inherent in this situation, I’m also thinking about Natty’s post (and the comments on it) about that good old Inner Appalled Feminist.  One of the things that comes up for me around this is that mandate from my IAF that I should be a Strong Woman, one who can take care of her own emotional needs, one who is mature and self-reliant.  So I struggle with that, particularly in response to W’s concern that she shouldn’t have so much power over my emotional well-being.

And yet, I remind myself to look at what works.  And I know I am more whole, well-balanced, secure, stronger, and yes, even more self-reliant, when I am securely within the boundaries of a disciplinary system.  So maybe I should revise my answer to the question of whether I want to be punished for things I’m sure to do.

I may not want the punishment, but I definitely want its results.

8 thoughts on “Want vs. Need

  1. amber

    Boy, Dyke Grrl, I can see you perspective, but if I was to speak only for myself and my relationship with punishment, I would say that I delight in being punished, while I am punished (well, sort of, in a masochist way) – I mean spanking is fun, anticipation is fun, humiliating position is fun, and losing control and crying out in pain is fun, too. And then, the unyielding man. That’s all I ever fantasized about (that, and a country life). It’s a fetish for me, really, more than it actually alters my behavior. In other words, it’s an erotic experience for me and it turns me on like nothing else, moreover, it is the only thing that ever turns me on, although half of the time no lovemaking actually follows. (Sorry if I’ve already made a similar comment here before).

  2. Dyke Grrl

    I guess it’s different perspectives. Play punishments *are* fun for me. (I just corrected the typo “funishment,” which is perhaps a good word for those!)
    I think the difference is this: the punishments that are designed to alter behavior aren’t fun. Some of this is because I really hate being in the position of having messed up, and I don’t like the necessity of getting it. But also, the head space of receiving that kind of punishment (whether or not it’s a spanking), leaves me wishing desperately that I hadn’t done whatever it was that earned the punishment.
    Punishment in the context of role play is really erotic for me. I like the schoolgirl type games, or the being naughty during sex and getting some kind of “punishment” for that.
    However, if the goal is to help me feel in control of my behavior, taken care of, and especially, to get the sense that someone else will help me to hold myself to reasonable standards, then… I don’t enjoy receiving the negative consequences of not being able to follow those standards. Perhaps it’s simply because I am better motivated by negative consequences than by rewards; I don’t do well at changing my behavior in order to get a reward, but I’m very good at changing my behavior in order to avoid a punishment.
    I guess it’s different for different people.

  3. Iris

    Wow, you dealt with a whole slew of issues in that post! Need vs. want, accepting vs. fighting punishment, acting out on purpose vs. accidentally doing something bad, the actual spanking vs. the results it achieves. What struck me most at the moment, however, was about the “mandate from my IAF that I should be a Strong Woman, one who can take care of her own emotional needs, one who is mature and self-reliant. So I struggle with that, particularly in response to W’s concern that she shouldn’t have so much power over my emotional well-being.”
    One of the things about punishment is that it necessarily involves someone else (unless you’re doing the self-punishment thing, which, as you noted, is often longer and harsher than spanking). And negotiating my needs with the needs of another person, whether or not they’re into the same kind of thing, is always tough. Period. I think our partners always have power over our emotional well-beings, but it’s the part where they have to take *responsibility* for us that pushes buttons. Because (as our AFs will loudly proclaim) I shouldn’t need that and that shouldn’t be my partner’s job. I’m not entirely sure what my point is here, but I wanted to lift up W’s concern as real and as one that I’ve thought about too. I think there has to be some kind of middle ground (as it seems you two are working on), but it’s not always easy to come to. Argh. Too much rambling, not enough clarity.
    So I’ll end by echoing that I too am stronger, more secure, and happier when I have a discipline system in place. Which at this point I both need *and* want. 🙂

  4. Mija

    Great entry… I found myself nodding with self-recognition to the entire thing. Including the part about resisting / hating the punishments themselves. I do do my best to avoid punishments even when I know they’re deserved because I hate them so much (roleplay situation being something else entirely). I used to lie / shade the truth more before P became so good at questioning more closely and making the punishment for lying so terrible as to make me too anxious about being caught to lie effectively.
    I can understand / know how the resistance is a problem too. Because having to punish me isn’t fun for P either and me making it harder still can be discouraging to him. I have to remind myself sometimes that while a little “testing” is maybe understandable, it also isn’t very nice and can leave him feeling like I don’t trust him.
    On thing that did happen several years back that makes a difference to how I react to having to be punished is that I promised to obey P when he decided that I’d merited being disciplined. I still argue / whine and try and talk my way out of the punishments, but it’s outside our agreement (if such a formal word could be used for the informal conversations that made up how discipline works for us) to make him have to drag me to the corner or over his knee or whatever. That isn’t to say I don’t kick and struggle during punishments. I do. I can’t help it. But, say, locking myself in the bathroom and refusing to come out or making P chase me from room to room would feel as unfair and as much a betrayal of the way as it would for me to use my safeword simply because I didn’t want to be spanked.
    Forgive me if this doesn’t make sense or if I missed the point of what you were writing. But it triggered that memory and these thoughts for me.

  5. sparkle

    Dyke Grrl,
    This ended up being a rather longish introspective comment because I’ve said before that I don’t want punishments, but I sometimes need them. And I’ve said that I don’t need a disciplinary relationship but I want one. I don’t think I’ve ever explained these statements well enough to myself or anyone else so your entry kind of got me pondering and clarifying…
    1) Before Chris, I *always* eroticized punishment, whether for serious, real events or for flirtatious playfulness. It didn’t matter, it all turned me on. But once I was actually *in* a relationship where I was/am subject to discipline, the dynamic changed a bit for me. In theory, the idea that I’m in a disciplinary relationship – that I’ve invested my partner with a certain amount of power over me – is erotic. In practice, my Inner Strong Female is mortified when I actually do something so irresponsible that a serious punishment is warranted. In fact, I probably try to downplay things (like burning the london broil, and burning myself) so that I don’t have to confront my horrified inner self. In some respects, it’s easier to say I didn’t deserve it, or that it really wasn’t that serious, etc. Does this have anything to do with why you fight something that you’ve agreed to before?
    2) I am quite emotionally dependent on Chris. He’ll agree with me on this ;). The fact is, I have invested him, whether he wants it or not, with a large part of my emotional well-being, even without considering the kink. So I have to agree with Iris that we tend to cede a good portion of our emotional well-being just by being in a relationship. Adding discipline to the equation doesn’t really add to that power exchange (for me). In other words, without impending punishment, I tend to be emotionally fragile and guilt-ridden when I’ve done something that truly disappoints or upsets Chris. The reality is that the punishment actually eases the inner angst, because I’m not wondering if (by some impossibility) he’ll shut me out, or turn me away or (worst) ignore me and the situation altogether.
    Putting together these two thoughts … means that when I’m in the middle of an incident and the ensuing punishment, the erotic is often lost. First, I’m emotionally wrung out or uncertain – the punishment does a lot to soothe those nerves – and second, I’m mad at myself over whatever caused me to get in trouble in the first place.
    Given these two realities, what I actually experience as erotic are the fantasies of discipline, reminders that the structure is actually there, and what Chris calls ‘playful puinshment’. In fact, we have one rule in the bedroom with a fixed consequence. The consequence is something he enjoys SO much that if I break the rule I forget about the two problems above because he’s enjoying himself so freaking much. And making Chris happy makes me happy.
    I guess what I’m saying about your original entry, Dyke Grrl, is that wanting discipline and needing it are two separate things. They may be interconnected at some level, but reality and fantasy are not the same and what works for our fantasy and sexual lives isn’t always applicable on a day-to-day basis.

  6. Dyke Grrl

    Thanks for the replies. You all got the point exactly, and it’s really validating to see I’m not the only one who goes through all of this. It’s one of the best things about having the Punishment Book, and other blogs: seeing that other people feel pretty much the same way.
    I’d post a more coherent response, but my inner children went on strike last night, refusing to be “good” and therefore refusing to go to bed anywhere near on time. And they won’t nap, either. **Sigh**

  7. Natty

    I’m not sure that I have a whole lot to add to this thread except that one of the things that I’m realizing — which will probably be included in another “kinks in my kink” post — is that there are limits to a disciplinary arrangement between two adults if they are both to remain adults. I think that’s the point Sparkle was making at the end of her comment. It’s just that we don’t know where those limits are until we test the boundaries, and it means doing some things that may not really work in the end. Ultimately it really is all about what works, whether that be behavior modification or emotional comfort/stability for both partners.
    “I used to lie / shade the truth more before P became so good at questioning more closely and making the punishment for lying so terrible as to make me too anxious about being caught to lie effectively.”
    ::wry grin:: I’m finding that long-distance relationships are very amenable to this. And so far, A. hasn’t always yet figured out how to question me closely enough. I don’t ever *lie* outright. But I’m so very good at being very vague…

  8. Dyke Grrl

    We’re realizing a couple of things. Natty, your comment about the limits to a disciplinary arrangement between two adults if they are to remain two adults… well, I’m finding that if we behave as though my inner children (child parts) are actually children, they behave much better. We are both getting better at recognizing when they are active, me with being a little more clear, and W with seeing it happening. It helps, but it complicates discipline, because we’re still ambivalent about using physical punishment with someone who acts and thinks like a little kid. (It works, don’t get me wrong; and it makes all of me feel better and more secure. It’s just that it seems a little wrong to do something to the apparent child that we wouldn’t do to a real one.) So, for us, some of the issue is actually accepting that we’re *not* always dealing with a situation of having two adults.
    As to lying… I’m a rotten liar, it shows on my face and in my voice almost automatically. However, I’m a very good fail-to-mentioner. And if W doesn’t bring something up, or otherwise hold me accountable, then I am often inclined not to mention it. (Right now, it’s with bedtimes; I hadn’t been going to bed until quite late, and asked for some help. Why I did this right when I really do have stuff I need to do, all day and all night, I don’t know, because my usual resistance to bedtime is even higher if there are a ton of things I really do need to get done!)
    So what did I do? I snuck *out* of bed after W. fell asleep. I felt guilty, so I didn’t even stay up that long, but still… (Perhaps I should confess to her, but that would mean going to bed even *earlier*, and that would just be aggravating!)
    I’m just glad we haven’t come up with a punishment for failing to eat, because I just don’t have the mental energy to figure out something to eat and then to stop doing whatever I’m working on long enough to eat it. Ironically, part of what I’m doing is baking and packing up cookies!


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