Chris (of sparkle and Chris) and I have been having a conversation lately about what he as a top gets out of the punishment dynamic. We thought it made for an interesting post, since we talk a lot about what the bottom gets out of a discipline/punishment arrangement, but we don’t hear about the other side very often (or if we do, it’s from an unrealistic Tops Are Superior Creatures perspective). So we compiled our discussion into a post and present it here for your reading pleasure. It’s not a complete, polished dissertation, it's rather unfinished and in process, in fact, but we’re very interested in your thoughts on the matter.
Iris: So I have to admit that even though I probably should be, I am not completely dreading my upcoming punishment. Don't get me wrong, I am dreading it. But I also crave that intensity and intimacy and I've so missed it with you. I've missed it with M too recently, but in some ways it's harder to achieve with him. We have other life events pulling at us and he's less of a natural disciplinarian than you are, so I'm a bit wary of setting up the punishment dynamic with him sometimes because I don't want to drain him too much. With you I get the sense that it feeds you in some way, perhaps in the same way it feeds me: not an entirely pleasant way, but a satisfying way.
Chris: It was interesting to read you say that you’re not completely dreading the punishment, because I have to admit that I feel the same thing. As we discussed last week before the texting came up, I know we both miss that dynamic, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say a part of me was a bit excited by the fact that you are in trouble. I have a hard time admitting that…maybe that’s why I’ve always been so adamant about not “enjoying” punishments. But, there is a part of me, like you say, which does feed off of that dynamic. I think we’re both on the same page there. We don’t like the actual event…but we both like the situation and what it represents. For me, as I’ve said before, it’s largely the trust. We share something very close and special in that punishment context, and I feel very close and focused on you before, during and after a punishment. That’s not to disregard the other, more fun times…but there’s a connection there that is unique to our shared roles, and nothing else (save maybe a very long, intense scene) which can compare to it.
Iris: I am with you 100% about “enjoying” punishments. It feels like a slippery slope to go down, doesn't it? And yet I too would be lying if I said that I didn't get a great deal out of it. In TTWD there is an assumption that the bottom is getting something out of it–perhaps even that the bottom must be the initiator of the relationship. And there is much truth to that. But we don't talk about what the top is getting out of the situation. Maybe because it feels like we shouldn't, maybe because the idea of the sad-that-I-have-to-do-this-young-lady-but-it's-for-your-own-good top is so pervasive. But in truth, in long-term relationships (either marriages or relationships like you and I have), there has to be mutuality. A top doing something for a bottom that doesn't feed the top is ultimately unsustainable. So it seems obvious but slightly taboo to talk about it. And I want you to know that I understand your feelings and that they actually make me feel better about our relationship. One of the hard things about M being a disciplinarian for me is that it doesn't feed him in quite the same way. He does get something out of it, but I always feel like those things are more happy byproducts than actually related. So it is very precious to me that you are fed by this in a similar way.
Chris: I think my biggest concern with admitting to liking giving punishment is that it then feels like I'm somehow encouraging misbehavior to get what *I* want. In other words, if I tell you I like punishing you, then you're more likely to get in trouble to give me what I want…which I know is silly. It's almost like the flip side of the old argument that you can't punish someone who's into spanking because it's what they want. We both know that's certainly not true from the bottom's standpoint…so I suppose the argument holds no water from the top's side either. Interesting…I'd never really thought of it that way until I just wrote that. Something of an epiphany, I suppose.
You're right, of course: the "I'm doing this for your own good", "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" argument is somewhat pervasive. I guess I can agree with the first part somewhat…that is something of the crux of punishment, after all (the bottom wanting/needing it). I've never bought into the second one much, though I guess that does also fit in with the whole not liking it aspect. But you're right in that we both need to get something out of it in the larger picture, and I know we both do. That's why we’re still doing it 4 years and 350 miles later, despite all the inherent difficulties.
Iris: Absolutely. So can I be so bold as to ask what you do get out of TTWD? For me it creates stability and security, it re-equilibrates me when I’m off kilter, and mostly, it makes me feel deeply loved. But what about you?
Chris: Good – and tough – question. Obviously, there are different things I get out of it in different settings and with different people, so I’ll limit it to the punishment aspect with you. I think the biggest thing I get out of it is knowing that you trust me enough to let me punish you when you need it. I know you don’t enjoy the spanking and hairbrushing itself, and the fact that you do trust me to do it anyway is something I cherish. It does definitely create a closeness, intimacy and yes, love that doesn’t necessarily manifest in other ways. Beyond that, even during a punishment I enjoy the physical aspects of spanking and your reactions. Those reactions are very different from a fun spanking, but they feed the punishment fantasy as well without being “fake”.
Iris: Your trust and care are cherished and valuable pieces of this equation for me too. We have to have mutuality in this, otherwise it wouldn't work. Thanks for doing this post/conversation with me. Obviously we're not going to resolve this issue in a few exchanges, but I think this is a good beginning.
And what do you all think?