cw: D/s topics including punishment and discipline; kink honorifics including “Daddy”; mentions of self-harm; mentions of childhood physical and emotional abuse; mentions of non-punishment impact play
They don’t like to punish me, and I rarely need punishing. They prefer to reward good behavior—a glass of chocolate milk, candy, a cute keychain, praise. Praise is my favorite, I think. I like being their good girl. I like when my efforts are acknowledged.
Punishments come in many forms, and they always have an extra purpose. Writing an essay helps me hone my writing skills and to cement concepts in my head. Sitting in the corner makes me feel small, and gives me a chance to calm down if I’m overwhelmed—as I often am, my anxious brain whirling. Taking away my “good girl” tag means I have a chance to earn it back. A few days’ ban on social media means I’m not exposing myself to news that will propel me into depression and more overwhelmed thoughts.
Daddy doesn’t like punishing for punishment’s own sake, they say. They want things to be constructive. They want to build, not destroy.
Spanking is never a punishment in our house. We were both hit as children, by mothers who chose not to control their anger. Damien doesn’t react in anger, but waits to calm down first. They’re terrified of hurting me.
Spanking is never a punishment in our house, because I crave it and want it. And if it was a punishment, it may no longer be a pleasure, and they won’t take away that joy from me.
We’ve established rules, because we both like the structure. We have protocols to which we adhere. I call them “sir” or “Daddy” or “ma’am” at home, or quietly call them “ma’am” when we’re out, unless it’s inappropriate to do so. I ask permission to leave the room, unless there’s an emergency. I phrase my requests as requests and not demands.
When I slip up, I’m not punished, but they remind me of our rules. Sometimes they sit me at their feet in the proper position (legs crossed, hands folded, as little fidgeting as I can manage) and impart the importance of them: we chose this life, and I agreed to the rules.
After, sometimes, I lay my head on their knee. “Thank you for reminding me, sir. I love you.”
“I love you, too, Pommy.”
Punishment is reserved for worse offenses, not for little mistakes. Deliberately disobeying instructions. Arguing when they try to gently correct me. We’ve agreed that these behaviors need to be addressed, and so they are.
Without punishment, I will sometimes punish myself, and drown in despair. I’ve refined my ability to punish myself. Thanks to therapy and a good support system, I haven’t physically hurt myself in years, but in my own mind sometimes I’m vicious, tearing myself down and picking apart everything I said. Reminding myself that I’m unworthy of love, let alone attention, let alone the kind of focus that’s required from a dominant/submissive relationship.
A punishment from outside of my own brain still leaves me crying, but there’s a relief to it. They care enough to correct my behavior. They care enough to hold me after and make sure I’m okay. And it’s done. Whatever I’ve done is over. I hand them a hand-written essay, they read it, and tell me I did well. All is forgiven.
When I sit at Daddy’s feet after a moment of misbehavior, sobbing, there is rarely punishment. There’s love, and a gentle admonishment against my tears—not because I’m not allowed to cry, but because whatever sins I think I’ve committed were not worth it. They tell me that I’m too cute to be sad. They tell me silly things until I smile again.
I behave better, after that.
Like all things in our D/s dynamic, punishment is negotiated, and can be stopped at any time if I give my safeword. I might complain about writing an essay by hand, or even argue when I shouldn’t, but only once have I given a safeword during punishment. This was early on, the first month or so of our dynamic, and I was scared because even though I asked for them to have power over me, sometimes it still scared me.
I’m no longer afraid.
On occasion, a sense of perfectionism permeates me, and I think I’ve done something wrong when I haven’t. They’ll correct some minor mistake—I’ve forgotten to put the butter in the fridge, I’ve mixed up which item they want off the shelf, I’ve made the wrong tea. Somehow, I decide that means I’m Wrong, that their correction is discipline or punishment in and of itself, because I should have done better. I should know better. I should be better.
They tell me, patiently, that mistakes are mistakes. They’re correcting me so I can remember next time, and if I don’t, it’s okay. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sometimes I remember this. Sometimes I don’t. It’s a process; everything’s a process. But that’s a correction, too, not a punishment. I can remember next time, and if I don’t, it’s okay.
A few weeks ago I dropped a glass jar. It shattered into a million snow crystals, and I stood, dumbfounded, on the kitchen rug. (All at once I’m a clumsy child again, tears welling but not spilling, expecting yelling, swearing, maybe an acidic “Nice job” from a mouth that never once said that in earnest.)
Daddy hurried to the kitchen. The first thing they said was, “Are you okay?” followed, without provocation, by “No one’s mad.”
No one’s mad. They helped me clean it up, and even though we kept finding glass for weeks, here and there, even though they cut their foot on a stray piece almost a month later, it was still all right. I wasn’t punished or corrected—it was a simple accident. I’m okay. No one’s mad.
Whenever I’m punished, or disciplined, or corrected, they never tell me I’m bad. They rarely even tell me my behavior is bad, even when it’s not very good.
“I’ll be better,” I tell them, sometimes, after I’ve been punished, or disciplined, or corrected, because I want to improve, even if I can’t promise it’ll never happen again.
“You can never be better,” they say. “You can do better, that’s all. You’re still my good girl, no matter what.”
I like being their good girl. I like when my soul is acknowledged.