|The 5 P's are: Power, Pain, Property, Pleasure and Punishment.|
Here is hoping for discussions on a series of old articles of mine:
I was asked about the difference between spankings as erotic vs. discipline or punishment.
One of the first steps in making progress down the BDSM 'road' is to understand just how much there is to learn and unlearn about yourself and the vanilla, one-size-fits-all understanding of human sexuality. It is a lifetime's work.
Actually there are many 'kinds' of spankings, just like all infliction of pain in our lifestyle, both erotic and discipline or punishments. To maximize enjoyment or the desired effect requires that you understand what kind is needed or desired. So, spanking or any infliction of pain can be simple and straight forward for eroticized pain purposes. Or it can be to 'establish' or 'prove' to the subconscious, for both Top and bottom, that a 'real' Power exchange has occurred. Bondage is sometimes for that too.
Anyway, spankings, etc. can then be as playful, erotic punishment or mild, 'real' punishment for playful 'brat' behavior. Or it can be for real punishment for more serious breaches of the 'rules', in search of Atonement in a Power exchange relationship. And often it may begin as one and become another such as when the 'brat' goes beyond simply 'earning' play punishment to really breaking a 'rule' that requires more serious, real punishment.
Punishment, REAL punishment is, indeed, a sensitive subject: spanking, paddling, whipping, standing in the corner, whatever.
I like to think of it in terms of the 5 P's: Power, Pain, Property, Pleasure and Punishment. These are the spectrums or axises of different interlocking fetishes that make up the broad grouping of fetishes we call BDSM.
POWER, the Erotic Power Exchange (EPE), for one 'scene', one night or a lifetime, is the main fetish for us and the one that is common ground for all BDSM. I will leave discussion/debate of non-erotic power exchanges for another time and place. But PAIN, the enjoyment of inflicting and enduring eroticized pain, "s/m", sadomasochism, that is the second most common fetish, but NOT universal, in the 'lifestyle' we call BDSM. The third 'P' is PROPERTY, or what has become better known as "D/s" or 'M/s'. All variations on dominant/submissive, Master or Mistress and slave or sub. Property is the 'feeling' involved. An enduring erotic power exchange really, a Property 'relationship'. The fourth, PLEASURE, can involve a large number of special pleasure fetishes from shoes, boots and feet to 'toys', fisting and any other 'strange' pleasures that commonly tie into other BDSM fetishes but mainly Power and Pain or even 'fake' or 'play' punishment.
But PUNISHMENT is often the most problematic and most misunderstood of the 5 P's.
Play 'punishment' aside for a moment; REAL Punishment is a fetish itself in many ways. A submissive's real desire to be lovingly, but firmly corrected and improve how they go about their life... losing weight is a common one. Real Punishment is generally limited to D/s or Property relationships, enduring power exchange relationships. We see it in age play, of course, but it is common in many other types of D/s, M/s relationships.
In D/s, M/s, when done properly, REAL Punishment often fills a need to prevent a common problem in ALL intimate relationships: for two people there is no tie-breaking vote. Thus a 'fight' often results in a false apology (I'm sooo 'sooorrrryyyy'!) and a false acceptance of the apology just to move on. But it remains unresolved and festers until, in combination with many other such 'fights', the relationship dies the death of a thousand 'paper cuts', fighting the same ol' petty fight.
If done wisely and HONESTLY... REAL punishment can have an ATONEMENT effect. A real punishment, a real apology and real acceptance so that the relationship can move on with both parties having some confidence that the matter is resolved.
This often requires a RITUAL that each relationship must develop. A special 'place', 'confessional', style, 'tool', or whatever works, to set the stage for the 'transformation' that only real punishment can accomplish. You can see all this in other settings like in the Catholic Church's rituals or on the ball field when the coach sends the wayward player on laps around the field in view of all the other players. It can involve public humiliation and other mentally painful methods.
But REAL Punishment is always tricky and unique to each such 'event' and each relationship. You might call it the hardest of the BDSM skills to learn for both sides but it can pay the highest 'dividends' in making for successful BDSM relationships and lives. As always, communicate, communicate, communicate first and work hard to leave overt anger out of it. But ALWAYS proceed with extreme caution!
"Twenty years of experience can turn a man into a Master, or it can turn a young jackass into an old jackass."