Can a punishment spanking be unfair? Yes. Is it always in the best interest of the relationship to argue that it is? Maybe, maybe not.
In my post last week discussing the myriad conflicting feelings that can arise after a punishment spanking, I neglected to clarify that I was specifically talking about a consensual DD relationship in which the HoH has earned trust from the disciplined partner. When I talked about the effects that the person being punished (let’s just say HoH for the person responsible for disciplining in the relationship and PBD for the person who is being disciplined in that relationship) may experience, claiming that a punishment was not “fair” was meant to refer to the knee-jerk, angry response that accompanies a great deal of punishments whether the actual punishment was fair or not.
However, many people pointed out that truly unfair and downright injust (as in morally reprehensible) punishment spankings do exist. DD is a great vehicle when used properly. When used badly, it can be little more than a smokescreen for abuse. Yes, I said abuse.
When the PBD claims that a punishment spanking is unfair, this can mean any number of things.
- It hurt my bottom and my feelings, and I am upset.
- You didn’t do this in exactly the way (such as using the right implement/position/number of strokes/setting) that would make me happy for exactly the reasons I find acceptable, and I am going to make sure you know of my displeasure.
- I acknowledge that I broke a rule or did something wrong, but I made an effort not to do so or to complete a requirement. My effort should be good enough, so the punishment is unfair.
- I am legitimately angry or upset about a certain portion of the issue that got me punished, but I refuse to accept responsibility for my accompanying inappropriate behavior (shouting, throwing a fit, sulking, storming off, refusing to communicate, breaking rules deliberately, etc.).
- I feel childish or dependent in being made to follow discipline, and I am going to show that I am my own person.
- My HoH is not punishing me in a way that fits my expectations, so I am angry and confused.
If we are honest with ourselves, the bulk of DD power struggles fit somewhere in the range of these reasons. Does that mean the HoH is always fair, always correct, always kind, or always in the right? No. But that is why we call it “submission”.
Don’t get me wrong. All of these reasons can seem oh-so-very reasonable in the heat of the moment (pun not intended). As I said last week, punishments are powerful. They stir up lots of secondary emotions of shame, resentment, and anger. It is impossible for any HoH to completely fairly discipline all of the time.
However, the topic for today is a punishment that is truly, objectively unfair. Cara gives this hypothetical example:
I read an advice column recently in which the husband had an affair with his wife’s friend. They used to socialize as a couple with her and her husband. The affair ended, and the “friend” and her spouse are divorcing. The woman’s husband now insists that they socialize as a threesome with the friend he had affair with. The wife has been going along with it, but when they come home she feels very unhappy at having had to make nice with the other woman.
Now, this isn’t a DD marriage. But let’s assume hypothetically that it is. And let’s assume the couple and the “friend” go out as threesome, after which the wife comes home bitchier than hell. And she gets spanked for it.
In a D/s or BDSM relationship, it is possible that this type of punishment would be allowed and even seen as normal. There are some proponents of DD who would feel that this is acceptable. Let’s assume, however, that this is not D/s or BDSM or the type of DD relationship in which…ahem…”free” love…is tolerated.
What would be the difference here?
* * *Fundamental violations of personal boundaries and dignity* * *
Another example. Let’s say, again within a DD relationship, that the HoH orders the PBD to do something that violates one of those personal boundaries. Take your pick. The PBD refuses, perhaps with or without grace. The HoH slaps the PBD in the face, issues threats and profanity, and gives a spanking as punishment.
Some might find this kind of scene fodder for fantasies. But in a normal, workaday DD relationship? Not going to cut it. I hesitate to give examples because it sounds like judgment of those who enjoy these types of fantasies, but let me be clear again that this is within the context of a consensual DD relationship.
When the PBD claims that a punishment spanking was unfair, not as a way to “top from the bottom” or to brat or display petulance/obstinance/pride but to send up a red flag that boundaries have been crossed, here is what it might look like:
- I clearly said that this relationship should remain non-sexual (and no, DD relationships do not all have to be marital or sexual), and the HoH is touching me in sexual ways or repeatedly making sexual overtures/innuendos despite my requests to stop.
- The HoH repeatedly punishes me in ways that make me feel bad (examples might include name-calling, hair-pulling, face-slapping, public humiliation, or threats of abandonment) and says it is my responsibility to say if I don’t like something.
- The PBD (yes, PBDs can violate boundaries, too) goads me into punishment but then blames me for doing it. Then he/she criticizes me for what I try to do and insists that I should follow what someone else is doing.
- The HoH uses DD as a way to make me give up or start something that I find morally, ethically, or personally wrong (such as Cara’s example in accepting a relationship with the husband’s affair partner).
- I am in fear of or have experienced physical injury due to the spanking. While everyone’s pain threshold and acceptance of marking differs (some mark at a handspank and others very little even with a heavy paddle), punishment spankings should inflict the necessary amount of physical pain without causing any damage. Sorry, “But it’s going to hurt a lot!” doesn’t count. Spankings are supposed to hurt. 😉
- The HoH chastises/shames me for a violation that I have already been punished for instead of forgiving me for it. (Exception would be to explain why a new rule/restriction is put in place or why permission is being denied for a request.)
- The HoH does not give me any emotional support (which may or may not include aftercare–lack of aftercare for a punishment is a feature of some DD relationships) or instructions how the PBD can avoid similar punishments in the future. Or the severity of the punishment so far exceeds the original transgression that it inspires terror rather than learning.
There is no universal extensive list of boundary-violating punishments. Some people might be fine with one or more of the above examples. As PBDs, however, the temptation to claim that a punishment is “not fair” for one of the six orange reasons is a dangerous practice. No matter how careful or responsible the HoH tries to be, it is possible that the PBD’s boundaries may be violated. “It’s not fair” needs to be reserved for situations in which it truly is a game-changing affair. You might remember the story of a little boy who cried wolf… 😉
In short, it is always possible for a punishment spanking to be unfair. If so, it needs to be addressed. But in order to be listened to during this crucial moment when a punishment spanking actually is unfair, the PBD needs to refrain from pulling the fire alarm whenever someone lights a match.
And thus concludes episode two of “Ask Ana”. 🙂