Joy likes to be spanked. Oh, I don’t mean that she necessarily enjoys the physical pain, but the whole spanking process—baring her bottom, being taken over my knee, the helpless feeling of being smacked on the behind–really energizes and arouses her. And fair enough—it energizes and arouses me as well. A good spanking can provide a wonderful bit of foreplay before sex begins in earnest.

However, spanking can be used for another purpose. Sometimes in a Dominant/submissive relationship, a correction is required. Perhaps the submissive has forgotten a rule, or failed to complete an “assignment”, or violated a ritual. Or perhaps they are testing the bounds of their relationship, verifying that the Dominant is, indeed, paying attention and willing to enforce the rules that are in place. Or possibly they just need to feel a display of strength…of Dominance…from their partner. Regardless of the motivation, part of the compact between Top and bottom in a D/s relationship is that the Dominant will act to bring the submissive back into line when they transgress. Both partners, by the way, desire this—it is a key to Dominance and submission in the first place.

Spanking for discipline should feel very different than spanking for pleasure. An erotic spanking is fun—it leverages the two partner’s arousal and the submissive’s ability to mingle pain and pleasure to create sexual intensity. Spanking for discipline needs to avoid doing the same thing, or it loses its effect. A correction should not be fun—if it is, it encourages more of the same behavior that necessitated it in the first place. It should not be horrible either, but instead focused on delivering the message that the behavior was out of bounds and should not be repeated.

All that is easy to say, but how exactly does one make a disciplinary spanking different from an erotic spanking? After all, they both consist of the same basic actions. The spanker’s hand (or other spanking implement) is brought down across the recipient’s ass, creating brief pain (Joy says that “it smarts”) and a loud “thwack”. Where is the differentiation between the two?

Physically, there is little difference. I don’t recommend spanking your partner harder, for instance—if anything, I’d suggest not being quite as rough on them as usual, as you don’t have the same level of sexual excitement present to temper the pain. It is possible to reserve a specific tool for use as a disciplinary instrument—Joy and I have a belt we use, for instance—to help draw a line between play versus correction. But other than that, I make no physical changes for a disciplinary spanking session.

I’d be tempted to suggest that you do your best to ramp up the feeling of Dominance during a correction, using it to reinforce the message you want to send. But ramping up the feeling of Dominance is also really fun to do during a play spanking session, so in the end, I don’t think that’s a differentiating factor either.

No, there are only a couple variances between an erotic spanking and a disciplinary spanking, but they are important ones. The first is the sexual component. An erotic spanking generally leads to sex of some shape or variety, and the awareness of impending sex permeates and changes the experience for both participants. Because of this, I find it important to ensure that a disciplinary spanking does not directly lead to sex, and that I avoid behaviors that create sexual arousal (e.g. playing with nipples, a finger that wanders up between the legs, kisses and caresses, etc). Not following this policy creates a risk of muddying waters best kept clear, and making the correction too enjoyable.

The second variance, and probably the most important one, is the atmosphere of the disciplinary session. I’ve said before that when it comes to BDSM in general, atmosphere matters! Where an erotic spanking may feel playful, a disciplinary spanking should feel serious. Lingerie and bondage may be key elements to the atmosphere of a play spanking, but they are not important to a disciplinary spanking. The focus should be on the message you are delivering to your partner, and the spanking itself should reinforce that message.

Your message should be delivered using effective, vanilla, coaching techniques—they are perfectly applicable. Your goal should be to reach an agreement with your partner that their behavior was incorrect, an understanding of what good behavior looks like, and a committment that they’ll try their best to exhibit the good behavior going forward. I use the “four w” mnemonic myself, asking Joy the following questions:

  1. What was done wrong?
  2. Why was it wrong?
  3. What’s the right thing to do?
  4. What will happen if the wrong thing is done again?

I generally reserve the physical spanking part of the process for the beginning of the session, when I am looking for an admission of the mistake and the reason why it was a mistake. By the time we reach the third question, additional spanking is generally unnecessary and frankly counter-productive—that’s the “healing” part of the process. It is perfectly appropriate and, in fact, good practice to engage in hugs and cuddles after all four questions have been completed (but remember the no-sex rule, or you’ll be sorry).

I have one other important note before I conclude. Before you begin this disciplinary process (or any disciplinary process), be sure you are in the right. Ask questions and understand fully what happened and why it happened. There are few ways to look more foolish than starting down the path of a correction and discovering you are wrong, and doing so will undermine your relationship with your partner. Once you have a complete understanding, make a decision on whether a correction is required or not. If you make a fully-informed decision that discipline is warranted, proceed with determination.

Enjoy yourself,


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