As I return to my punishment kink, I’m running into a problem that’s been there since I first started getting spanked as an adult: getting punished. Yes, I know. Getting punished is sorta the point, right? And a part of me really likes the getting punished part — or at least the before and after. But for another part of me it feels profoundly unhealthy as it heightens my primeval fear of being bad.
I’ve had this obsession with being good since I was little. My mom left her first husband when I was four, and brought my sister and brother and I to the town she was from and the church she grew up in. And though it was the late 1970s, and I was just a wee thing, I could sense a certain level of contempt people had towards her — one of the few divorcees in our church — and us, her children. From the very core of my being I so wanted these people to know I was good. A good Christian. A good citizen. A good girl.
Since then I’ve lived my life wanting God to know I was good. Pastors to know I was I was good. Teachers to know I was good. Doctors to know I was good. And any failure, no matter how small, left me terrified that I would yet again be the recipient of contempt.
Once I began exploring my spanking/punishment kink, I found that there was also something thrilling about being bad. I found a disciplinarian. I set deadlines and goals and when I fell short, I got spanked. I loved having something other than stigma as a consequence for failing. And I loved having structure and a sense of relief that somebody was going to help me be perfect.
But I’ve always had this sense of dis-ease about it also. Unlike everyone else, it seems, spanking never absolves me of guilt but just underscores how bad I am, i.e. I’m so bad I have to be punished. It’s almost like how self harm works for those with SH/SI in that it becomes a way to feel physically just how bad I feel emotionally about failing.
But, I mean, it’s not like you can have punishment without shame and guilt involved on some level, you know?
True, it’s the behavior that’s bad not the person. And my partner is indeed very caring even when he’s stern. There is always a lot of time cuddling afterwards which helps me know I’m loved and accepted regardless of my faults. Frankly, the buzz I get from that cuddling is one of the big things that I missed during our hiatus and ultimately brought me back to my punishment kink.
But somehow the minute we reinstated the discipline regime, all I could focus on was how much I failed (doing it over the phone sans cuddling was probably not the best idea). I could talk to myself positively and tell myself how most of the time I was doing very well. But being hit with a wooden spoon or a hairbrush instantly negates all of that.
Honestly? I know I respond to reward and encouragement better than punishment. But reward and encouragement don’t provide the same level of sexual and emotional buzz that punishment does.
So, is it possible to get the buzz without the trauma?
Perhaps the answer lies in confronting the issue directly. Of using punishment as an opportunity to transform guilt and shame from something sickening and terrifying into something exciting and arousing. Of using punishment to remind me that failure is an innate part of being human while perfection is not. That punishment coming from someone madly in love with me becomes a means of not just sexual expression, but also freedom to finally be bad — to be fully human — without that primeval fear.