7/25/2011

When Punishment Brings Restoration

I've always cognitively understood why subs on DD websites would post things like, "I just want him to punish me!" but I can't say I ever really understood on an emotional or instinctual level.

My mind can logically accept that some women want to be punished. They want the catharsis, they want to feel they've had their consequence and it's over and all is forgiven, or maybe they just want to feel taken in hand by their husbands. I read on a lot of DD blogs how after a spanking or other punishment, couples regain their intimacy and are able to make love or have a loving, cuddly evening together because the air has been cleared, negative emotions have been dealt with and talked out (or beaten out *wink*), and there is a feeling of relief.

But I'd never really felt that way.

I either felt angry after a punishment, or angry because he wasn't punishing me. If he punished me, I'd sulk, thinking, "How dare he act like I'm the only one wrong?" or "He's such a jerk, ignoring my misbehavior and being inconsistent for days, and then trying to take back control out of nowhere!" Punishment never really resulted in the return to emotional intimacy that DD websites described.

I think punishments, whether spanking or not, have several goals:


  • Remorse. The Dom gives a negative consequence (lecture, spanking, written assignment on what she did wrong) to encourage or even force the sub to see the error of her ways and feel remorse. Without remorse, there can be no change in the future, so I think it's necessary a good punishment end with remorse.

  • Justice. I have a rigid black-and-white view of the world. Things being unfair or unjust bother me like an itch under the skin. If I've wronged my husband, receiving a punishment in measure with my offense can make me relax because all is right with the world again.

  • Emotional Catharsis. A lot of DD and CDD websites advocate spanking until the woman cries. I don't know if that's necessary, but I think once a man fights through the anger, pain, and stubborness and finally breaks that final barrier, there can be great emotional healing. I know several DD couples who use spanking as a way to basically "beat" a bad attitude out of the woman, clear the air of negative feelings, and restore marital harmony.

  • Intimacy. Instead of sulking and fighting all night, quick and decisive punishment stops a bad behavior in its tracks. Instead of letting a woman leave the house, lock the door, or scream at him all night, a man takes the issue in control, deals with it, and they can put it behind them. Intimacy and harmony are restored. (Yes, I've heard of women who needed two or three or even four spankings in a night before their attitude finally changed!)

  • Reinforcement of Boundaries. Fights inevitably become power struggles between the two people. Punishment is a clear way to reinforce that the HoH is in charge and the woman is not. Instead of struggling for power all night, the couple can accept the way things are and get to the business of talking about their issues and resolving them within their pre-agreed-upon boundaries: man in charge, woman as helpmeet.

These are great goals, but I'd never really understood. It had never happened to me. Maybe the punishments didn't come consistently enough. Maybe I'm too stubborn and hell-bent on being right. Probably... both?


Either way, I'd never felt remorse and we rarely felt intimacy after. He felt like I wasn't on his team and I felt like he wasn't being consistent.


Last night, for the first time, a punishment really worked with me. We'd had a bad fight. We'd both said some mean things. We were both exhausted and drained.


We stuck it out (meaning: he didn't get mad and leave and I didn't get hurt and shut him out), which took a lot of effort for both of us. It's harder to stay in a room and fight with someone you love for 4 fours than it is to storm out and go feel self-righteous.


But we stayed.


And we talked.


And our talk went up and down, closer to resolution and then farther away, but we kept at it.


Finally, finally, exhausted and in the wee hours of the night, we had talked it all out. We'd both aired our grievances and apologized. We'd both shared how hurt we were and both tried to compromise and say we would work on some things.


It was time to go to bed.


After a fight like that, even after we've apologized and forgiven each other, I just can't have a good night's sleep. There is just too much negativity bottled up in me after all that. I will have a terrible night with nightmares. I will wake up upset from residual bad emotions. It will ruin my day the next day as well.


As we laid there, drifting to sleep and cuddling, I suddenly understood. I wanted him to punish me. I wanted him to take me in hand and show me that my bad behavior was not acceptable and would not be tolerated. I wanted him to clear the air between us. I wanted to feel close to him again. I didn't want our night and tomorrow to be ruined. I wanted to restore our relationship.


It's hard to admit that to your husband. But I rolled over and traced my hand up and down his stomach. I admitted how I felt.


He was willing. He was very, very willing.


The air felt charged with erotic tension as I waited for him to decide what to do. He said he didn't want me to whine or complain or tell him he didn't punish me enough or he punished me too much. With bated breath, I promised that I would open myself to his authority. He could punish me as he wanted to. I would not complain or criticize.


I felt.... open. Submissive. I wanted things to be right between us. I was sorry for hurting him. I wanted him to punish me for it so I knew he was my head and authority, and so the air could be cleared between us.


I didn't like all the punishments he chose. But when I whimpered, he reminded me softly, "You said you would open yourself to me." And so I did.


He punished me in several different ways. Some were, frankly, highly erotic for both of us. Some were not. I accepted them either way.


There was a change in my Dom. He took the power I gave him and he wielded it. He seemed more strong and self-assured. He knew what he wanted. He told me what I'd done wrong as he punished me. He told me how he was going to punish me. He asked me, "What did you do wrong today?" He made me, in the middle of being punished, list off the things I'd done that were disrespectful or hard-hearted. Listing them while being punished was powerful for me. It made an immediate connection in my head between my behavior and the punishment. I couldn't play the victim or pretend that he was the jerk here.


When I needed a break to be cuddled and reassured, he was quick to oblige. His strong arms held me as I curled into his neck and cried about how sorry I was. He kissed me and told me he loved me and that he was sorry, too. When I was done being reassured, he put me back in position and kept punishing me.


It meant a lot to me that he didn't just cut the punishment short because I was sorry. He was loving and gentle, but firm. He insisted on giving me every bit of that punishment I'd deserved. If he had relented, I'd have felt cheated. I wouldn't have had that emotional catharsis. I would have questioned his authority ("Can I manipulate my way out of things just by acting sorry? Why isn't he following through on what he said he'd do?"). But he gave me 100% of the punishment he'd decided was fair for me and told me I'd be getting. He didn't slack off or relent. It made him seem so strong and masculine in my eyes.


Often, punishments to me seem too short. I feel they're too lenient for whatever I've done. Not this one.


At one point, I asked him, "Why aren't you being punished? You were wrong, too."


He looked down at me, seeming big and strong in my eyes. I felt a little in awe of him.


He didn't seem threatened by my question. "I'm sorry, too," he told me. "But I answer to God. God will punish me. You answer to me."


My heart felt washed clean. I breathed huge sighs of shuddering relief. Everything was right with the world. Everything was fair. I was being taken care of. My bad behavior was being dealt with decisively and strictly. My husband loved me and I loved him. We were on the same team. Intimacy was restored. I felt... grateful.


When he was finished, he brought me water and made me drink it. I cuddled up next to him as close as I could get. He tenderly wrapped the blankets around my naked body. I was seized by a fear this might not last. He reassured me.


Whispering loving words in each other's ears, curled around each other, we drifted into peaceful sleep.

4 comments:

Lea said...

This is perfect. I have a bit of a fear of being punished, but at the same time, I think I need it. I need to know that I will be held accountable for my actions, and that I can't get away with things, just because I shed tears, or feel remorse. It's not enough.

SBF said...

Punishment was exactly what was lacking in my last relationship. He felt I had done wrong but was unable to talk to me and tell me why and then punish me as he had promised in the beginning of our relationship.
We didn't survive, in the end I felt like he let me down.
Great posting, thanks :)

sensualfreak said...

I fear punishments and that might be because I don't really feel like I have submitted to anyone. I have a LDR relationship and wait for the day I can physically interact with him. But this post gives me a better understanding.

Also, I love this quote "But I answer to God. God will punish me. You answer to me." May I use it?

Sexperts said...

@Sensual, Sure! Just please link back to my original. :)

@SBF, I think a lack of "holding subs accountable" is a common theme in a lot of DD and CDD sites. You're not alone!

@Lea, "It's not enough." Exactly. This is exactly how I feel! It's not enough to feel bad because that doesn't keep me from making bad decisions in the future. There are many things I am good at self0control with, but many other bad habits that I just can't seem to break on my own. That is when I look to him to step in and handle the situation.