Reading across the blogosphere you will encounter these words almost synonymous to each other: Discipline and Punishment. The words are far from the same however some dynamics treat them the same. In fact, for the longest time, I have used the word punishment when I mean discipline. It’s even possible that Master has used these words interchangeably as well. I’ve done some thinking to try to sort out what these two words mean in our dynamic and how they are employed. I have a preference for clearly defined terms and boundaries so these two words are worth defining.

There is also the camp that believes that punishment (lowercase) is the play form with impact toys or spanking and that Punishment (upper case) is the correction of bad behavior. I’m going to be referring to the latter form in this post. The P/punishment debate can very well take up another post.

As to what I believe discipline is, I’ve now been able to categorize the things that Master does to keep me in line, the smaller corrections and the weekly maintenance with the black book are my discipline. Essentially for us, discipline is part of the training. I can’t be a perfect submissive right from the start and part of molding my behavior has to be correcting me when I put a toe out of line. I have to admit that at first, he was disciplining me all the time. Learning the rules and not being a smart ass was really hard for me. It’s not second nature yet but I feel that it will get easier.

Discipline comes in all shapes and sizes. For our relationship, it’s apology, corner time and cane strokes. I get corner time for most of the infractions that warrant more than my proper apology. I hate corner time. I think what I hate most about it is that I’m not getting any attention. I have to sit and just count the seconds in my head and watch the kitties sit around my feet wondering when I’m going to move so that I can play (unless you’re Max, then you just want my seat). I’m terrified of canes and so when Master directs me to get the cane I almost shiver and my heart gets faster. It hurts and it scares me. Which is the point.

Punishment though is a different beast. Punishment is for very severe infractions. I consider this to be things that could be deal breakers or relationship-enders. Punishment of this caliber should be rare or not at all. Things that make the dominant decide if punishment is the way to go instead of release are personal. I’ve read many dominant comments on this topic and a lot of them choose release.

The one punishment I’ve been through was really rough. It’s been almost 2 years. I remember it like it was just last week. I thought our relationship was done for. I had broken his trust and I didn’t know how to gain it back. I’m happy to say that I have.

Keeping these things separate and defined for us is good for our continued growth.

What do you say? Are they defined differently for you?