This post is part of an effort to provide a glossary for novice submissives of words commonly seen across this site and in the BDSM community.
Depending on who you talk to, punishment can mean different things. Some people have different meaning if you capitalize the P or if you don't. Others use it synonymous with play. I try my best to differentiate it on this site when it is used. Here's the definition I apply to the word punishment.
Punishment is the physical and mental correction for disobedience or a violation of rules. The act of punishment is not pleasurable or meant to be fun for either party. It does not mean the same thing as play or role-play punishment. Most submissives try very hard never to be punished (or punished infrequently) as it has a very negative connotation to the relationship and the progress of the submissive in learning what is expected of them.
Some common punishments are spanking and the use of other impact tools, grounding and removal of privileges, writing lines or essays and the silent treatment. Anything can be a punishment if it will work to correct the poor choices of the submissive. Punishment, as evidence of the examples, does not have to be physical in nature. Some practitioners believe that you can not use physical punishment on a masochist and others believe that it is possible. I think on a person to person basis this decision can be made but not on a stereotypical scale.
There are a few essays here on Submissive Guide about punishment.
- Are Discipline and Punishment the Same?
- Coming Clean: Admitting Disobedience
- When Does Punishment Go Too Far?
- Ask SehAnru | Taking Punishment With Grace
- You've Been Bad; Now What? Curing The Post-Infraction Funk
- A Lesson in Control with Self-Punishment
- Banishment as a Form of Punishment - How Do You Cope?
- Handling Guilt from Mistakes and Punishment