Saturday, February 10, 2018

"But why?"

Recently a couple of very long comments were posted by Anonymous to A Kind Dom in response to the post punishment and domestic discipline. The questions she asked seemed to be too far reaching to respond to in another comment - and also worthy of wider discussion. So I am posting the comments here as an Uncle Agony post. The commenter wrote:

Hello, Pygar, I am quite new with even knowing what BDSM is, stumbling across accidentally at in the last month or so. Your blog seems more contemplative and introspective than most and questions assumptions, so I am hoping that you can help me (and other vanilla people like me) get more insight into BDSM (and power exchange in particular) that simply does not make sense to me as a non-practitioner. I hope this question gets seen as it is replying to an old posting. I will check back here to see if any response...

What I didn't get for a while is why the sub participates at all, at first. Why be subject to someone? Now I see examples that for some people it is fun to feel like they want things done for them as escapism (which in some cases and lighter reading seems to be the case, like bedroom-only submission). Others apparently feel the NEED to serve others more than wanting to have things happen to them in the bedroom. . More surprising still to me is that this come across as NEEDING to get hit and are unsatisfied if their Doms (in some cases husbands and wives) are not into "impact play" ENOUGH -- they actively want to feel pain, and not always as masochists. Etc... It strikes me as an odd constellation of attributes that do not seem connected to each other... service vs being controlled vs wanting to be treated meanly or painfully in the moment (still in good fun like a scene) with impact play... But I get the various reasons, disparate as they seem.

Anyway, this is all background to my main question, which is about punishment and why people who choose to participate in power exchange let themselves agree to be punished... Here are some things I think I DO get: I see husband/wife blogs where wife beats husband but he LOVES in a consent-nonconsent kind of way so it is a kindness to him (or vice-versa) and ultimately actively enjoyed (after the moment of pain at least), where it all seems like good mutual fun and definitely not punishment. Fine. I also subs who want to give their all for their Doms -- they serve to please. Fine. Also where subs want impact play . Fine again. What I do NOT get is the REAL punishment thing. I understand after I got some replies that it is consensual (or should be). Sub has consented or even negotiated it. But that does not mean the punishment is not damned painful still from what I see.

What I don't get is the sub mindset that has them consent to it in the first place. WHY would a sub consent to extreme unpleasantness for human failings where a vanilla relationship the might deal with (just) the partner's disappointment or need to promise to improve to their spouse but not be receive significant (often physical) pain? Or for things that would not even be considered a transgression in a vanilla relationship? I have read blogs where multiple strikes of the cane (or crop) is the punishment... serious ouch? Here if I am a sub who wants only to serve someone and make their life better. I also agree to be corporally punished if I screw up? Why not just walk away from entering this relationship in the first place? why would I want a Dom like that (and this one is NOT a rhetorical quetion, as obviously many subs DO like a Dom like that, lost of very happy sub bloggers talk about punishment and yet seem to love the relationships...).

Also people are punished for simple things... forgetting to do chores, accidentally erasing a recording, getting angry, whatever... I do not sense in may cases that is proportional, or fair. Fine: Dom/Sub can be inherently unbalanced/unfair (you want someone to tell you what to do and you want to obey), but why would someone sign up for that (the punishment dynamic aspect I mean)?

What I do not get is all the SERIOUS references to this terrible thing (for a sub) that cannot be enjoyable (blogs say it should be VERY unpleasant to be a reminder in future, etc.), so where is the fun in that?? I would run for the hills! Supposedly the Dom hates to give it too (usually I read that), etc... sub must endure it as it is for her benefit in the end, etc. But generally in psychology, praise and positive reward gets better results anyway that negative consequences.

Are subs so screwed up that they feel they need to agree to be chastised this way (no offense to any sub intended, this is a rhetorical question and my thinking is that the answer is NO they should not need to feel to accept this). Does they somehow get off on the idea of being punished, it is somehow part of the kink of the whole thing so they ultimately like it? Or are they desperate for a Dom and tolerate it for this reason (yes, consensually, i know, but enthusiastically?)

Why would a sub agree to something so singularly unpleasant with someone she wants to have a good relationship with? I would think this would make subs resentful. This absolution/atonement thing (sub needs it / requests it to feel better) can't be the main reason can it? Surely some subs can make a mistake and just feel like "oops sorry I will do better because I care for you and agreed to be obedient" instead of kicking themselves emotionally over it forever... Why get so upset if I had reason to disobey one time? Surely the Dom is imperfect too and for minor infractions he just slides by...(for major ones I imagine the sub might walk away just like if your spouse cheated on you, etc., but to me that should stop the BDSM agreement completely anyway so it is a moot point).

And even more seriously, a number of bloggers and bdsm sites report they in soe relationships the sub cannot even use a safeword during punishment. What kind of consensual and mutually gratifying is THAT? Even consensual-nonconsent play needs a safeword, but punishment does not? This is going into the risk of forcing people if you ask me. What next, if non-consent can my Dom LITERALLY force me into restraints to apply a punishment and not let me safeword out? Does this happen? Is there still any consent left with no safeword? It seems a very slippery and dangerous slope to me, and seems accepted not only in a lifelong relationship where a safeword is disallowed with a wink-wink because a husband and wife really know each other's true tolerances for years anyway. I simply cannot bend my mind around that one (no safeword) case not running the risk of being abusive (should the sub want to stop it) or VERY close to that risk...

Anyway, maybe Doms really think it is good because they get the submissive to do what they want or "improve", but do all subs need such improvememt? Probably no more than your average person, who doesn't have to suffer painfully for it. Surely they do not all feel so bad about themselves (subs are strong and feel good about themselves I also read!) that for every screwup they need to accept this... sorry I am ranting and rambling but help us vanilla folks get an answer to "what am I missing here?" Thanks anyone for reading and replying thoughfully... I hope nothing I wrote was deeply insulting to anyone, it was not intended in that spirit, but truly to try to understand something I just do not get. People choose this, and many seem to love the overall lifestyle, even as they claim to us (or themselves) that seriously unpleasant punishment is OK because the Dom/me says they screwed up (and MAYBE the sub even agrees). But why?

I was a bit overwhelmed at first by the range of questions and issues raised. However the core one seems to be about the acceptance of punishment in a Domestic Discipline relationship.

There will clearly be different answers to all of the questions from different people. Yes, some do get off on the pain that comes with much punishment, others dislike the pain but love the way if makes them feel controlled and submissive, others just like to please their partners. There will be other reasons too - and for many it may well be a combination of such reasons.

Other interesting and contentious issues are also raised - such as consensual non-consent, the use or not of safe words and the danger of it all slipping into the realm of abuse.

So readers. How do you respond to these questions? Anonymous has clearly done a lot of reading but still has some genuine questions. Can anyone help explain?

Perhaps she just needs to dip her toe into the water to discover for herself...