- version 1.0
In other articles I have
mentioned the idea of "Punishment Lists." While doing a rewrite of some
material it occurred to me that I have not done a very thorough job of
explaining the idea behind such lists. And, as I have recently been asked
for some ideas about punishment, it seems natural to combine the two into
Often, when a Dominant makes
up a punishment on the fly, a detail or two gets missed. This often
results in the punishment being either more or less severe than was
intended. One way to limit this is to prepare a list of possible
punishments ahead of time. This way the Dominant can take adequate time to
think through all the consequences a punishment may have. Once the
Dominant is sure they fully understand the dynamics of a specific
punishment, they can then decide it if should be added to their list or
not. When the need for a punishment presents itself the Dominant can focus
on using punishment as tool to correct behavior rather than having to
evaluate the possible effects of the punishment. This reduces the
likelihood that a punishment will have unintended results.
The list itself should
include a rating of each punishment's severity, as well as, the specific
punishment. The rating scale is rather arbitrary, but a simple 1-10 scale
works pretty well.
Here is where things get a
bit more complicated. There are actually several ways to use a punishment
list. The first is to have a list of 10 punishments (or however many you
like) each slightly more severe than the last, so that you have one
punishment for each level of severity. When used this way the Dominant
simply picks the level of severity appropriate to the misbehavior in
question. It is a good idea to record the level of severity you assigned
to the particular misbehavior so that you can keep consistent.
A variation on this first
method is to have several punishments for each level. For instance, if you
have 10 levels of severity you might have 3 punishments of each level for
a total for 30 punishments. Under this system once you assign a level of
severity for an infraction, you still have some flexibility to match the
punishment with the crime. If you favor this system it is important to
make sure that all the punishments listed under a particular level are
actually equal in severity.
Another way to use punishment
lists is to have a list of all level 1 punishments. With this method, you
use 1 punishment from the list for level one, 2 punishments from the list
for level two and so on. This is a very flexible way to do things and
avoids the risks associated with harsher punishments by simply stacking
lesser punishments to get to the desired level of severity.
Of course, there are many
other ways punishment lists can be used. These lists are not intended to
straightjacket the Dominant, but rather, they are meant to provide
consistency. Consistency is more important than severity when the intent
is refining behavior.
What follows is a collection
of punishment ideas along with a few comments about each of the
suggestions. It is my hope this will provide the some creative fuel for
Dominants developing their own list of punishments.
This can include things
such as cleaning the stove, cleaning blinds and windows, scrubbing the
floor with a toothbrush, detailing a car, etc. The Dominant can make a
list of chores and rotate through them to avoid re-cleaning a recently
cleaned item. Chores assigned as punishments should not include chores
that are part of the submissives normal duties. It is important to
distinguish normal chores from '"punishment chores" or the submissive
may start to view all chores as punishment
This punishment is can be
effective for dealing with a submissive that has become too vanilla in
manner. Because of social conditioning this punishment tends to stress
the position of the submissive relative to the Dominant.
This is an old standard. It
gives the submissive time to think about the infraction. The length of
time can vary from few minutes to an hour or more. It is suggested that
the Dominant try this punishment for themselves, to get a sense of how
difficult this punishment may or may not be for the length of time in
If you are going to use
striking as a punishment it is critical to differentiate punishment from
play. To this end, it is worthwhile to separate punishment toys from
play toys to keep the line between punishment and play clearly defined.
Punishment of this type should not include a warm up and, it should be
harsher and of much shorter duration than play. I would suggest using no
more than three strikes; as drawing punishment out into more strikes can
make punishment overly similar to rough play. Because there is a
practical limit to the severity of this type of physical punishment, it
is best used for minor to moderate infractions. Lastly, the Dominant
should attempt to deliver this type of punishment with the same level of
firmness each time it is used; do not let anger influence the firmness
of the strikes.
This punishment is helpful
when the Dominant wants the submissive to think about or research a
subject. It is recommended that this punishment be used intermittently
rather then regularly to keep the act of writing from taking on a
This is a very classic
punishment that combines giving the submissive time to think about the
infraction with mild physical discomfort. If the length of time to kneel
will exceed 20 minutes it is recommended that a full 5 minute break be
given after every 20 minutes. Kneeling for too long on a hard surface
can cause nerve damage. It is also good to keep in mind that some
submissives may not be able to kneel 20 minutes because of physical
considerations. It may be that some submissives need to do cycles of 10
minutes of kneeling and 5 minutes of rest.
Kneeling on a hard surface
can be made more severe by dropping a handful of uncooked rice on the
floor where the submissive is going to kneel. Once the time period is
done the submissive can be instructed to clean up the rice as part of
bringing the punishment to a close. This is another punishment where is
suggested the Dominant try it for themselves to get a feel of the
punishment. The same cautions and time limits apply to this as when
kneeling without the rice. The Dominant should also be aware that the
rice sometimes causes marking of the skin. Lastly, do not use instant
rice as it crumbles and defeats the purpose of using rice.
Obviously some common sense
is required with using food restrictions a punishment. Being sent to bed
without dinner is a certainly not going to cause a healthy individual
any harm. However, denying a diabetic food after they took their insulin
could result in death. One suggested way to use food restrictions is to
deny the submissive sweets for a period of time (days/weeks) as a
Restriction of recreational
access to things such as the computer or TV can be useful motivators
when they can be enforced. The restriction can be total, where the
submissive is not allowed any access to the items, or it can be limited
to a certain amount of time. There is a wide range of options under this
A brief cold shower can be
used as a rather impressive punishment. There are several points to keep
in mind when using this as a punishment. First, tap water varies in
temperature depending on the time of year. A small difference in
temperature makes a huge difference in the severity of the punishment.
Next, it is important to define what is meant by "short". Less then 5
minutes is generally quite safe for any fit person; however, 30 seconds
can be quite attention getting. This is another 'try it before you use' it
type of punishment.
This one generally speaks
for itself. It gives time for calming down and for reflecting. This is
often a good choice when the Dom wants to avoid adding stress to a
Being restricted to home
can be a relatively effective and low stress punishment. External
factors greatly affect the harshness of being restricted to home. This
means that the same punishment is more or less severe depending on what
else is going on in the submissive's life at the time. Being restricted
when one has already bought tickets to a concert is more significant
then being restricted when one has no plans.
Speech restrictions can
range from requiring the submissive to speak in third person to
requiring the submissive to not speak at all for a period of time. When
silence is used as a punishment it is helpful to have the submissive
carry around a notebook and pen so they can convey necessary
information. Requiring a submissive to speak in third person is an
effective way to make the submissive aware of self-centered behavior.
Many times a submissive may not be aware of how just often they refer to
their own opinions and desires in casual speech.
Apologizing in a public
forum stresses humility. The Dominant must carefully consider the
reaction of those who are going to hear the apology.
If the Dominant controls
the finances in the relationship restricting spending money can be used
as a punishment. This is same as a parent withholding allowance and
generally works best over shorter terms such as a week to a month. When
it becomes longer then a month the punishment starts to become the norm.
A good old-fashioned
lecture can be an effective punishment. The lecture should include what
specifically was wrong with the submissive's behavior and why it was
wrong. The lecture should also include what the submissive should have
done under the circumstance and why. If the submissive is required to
maintain a physically stressful position during the lecture (such as
kneeling) then the Dominant must also keep in mind cautions associated
with the physical position such as time limits.
As odd as it may sound to
some, the simple expression that the Dominant is angry at the submissive
often carries a fair amount of punishment value. However, a fair number
of submissives are inclined to view criticism and/or the expression of
anger as an indication that the Dominant does not care about them. This
can be nightmare of a problem and it is one that Dominants should always
keep in mind.
It is my hope that at the
very least this writing has provided some thoughts for consideration on
the topic of discipline as it applies to a D/s relationship.