In the Kink of the Week introduction, Molly talks about the separation of “punishment and faux-punishment aka funishment into two separate topics”. Now, I kind of see the distinction, but I’m not so sure it’s quite as clear cut as that.
So, when we talk about “funishment”, I suspect we are looking at the “Oh, look what I did tee hee, I’ve been ever such a bad girl and need to be spanked, tee hee” somewhat reminiscent of a 1970’s Carry On film, or saucy seaside postcard type scenario, whereupon the submissive finds themselves across their Dominant’s knee and get their arse (bare or otherwise) playfully swatted before being admonished with a “don’t let me catch you doing that again, young lady” kind of scenario (please note I am writing this from the perspective of me being the one getting their arse tanned, please use your own identity descriptors where relevant).
I will admit, I regularly engineer situations that result in me ending up in just that position, i.e. bare arsed, over Master C’s knee and getting my arse cheeks turned a rosy red by whichever means He deems fit. Now, yes, this is intended as fun; I enjoy being spanked, but Master C will only ever dispense discipline, even in “fun” situations, if I give Him a genuine reason to do so. It’s one of His things, but He will never hurt me without there being a reason for it being necessary, so if I want to feel His hand or belt, or some other implement on my arse, I have to do something to merit it, however playfully intended it may be.
Effectively, what this means is that even when done primarily in a fun way, in the context of our relationship and our dynamic, they are still punishments, albeit minor ones for minor infringements. Further, knowing my tolerance for and enjoyment of pain, Master C doesn’t hold back when delivering admonishment in these cases. He may not reduce me to tears, but my arse will definitely sting after any form of corporal punishment He applies.
But this brings us to the crux of the matter. I’ve mentioned this before, but within the context of our dynamic, we tend to speak less of punishments and more of consequences. Transgressions on my part require me at accept the consequences of my actions, and those consequences and the level and method of discipline are determined to be appropriate to the scale of my misdemeanour.
By way of example, simple disobedience on my part may, depending on what I’ve done, result in a spanking, or the punishment may be that I am not permitted to come for a particular period. Sometimes the orgasm deprivation is made worse by the fact that, rather than edging me Himself, Master C will instruct me to essentially edge myself and deprive myself of orgasm.
Another example may be that misbehaving with a member of our sharing circle might result in some form of humiliation, e.g. being required to wear Master C’s, or some other member of the group’s cum on my face while performing services for our guests, or it could result in me being bound to a chair in the corner and having to watch, but not participate in a group activity.
Meeting up with “The Other Guy” without first informing Master C may earn me a moderate thrashing with His belt, sucking off and/or fucking one or more random guys on a night out is more likely to earn me a caning.
We don’t have a fixed tariff of punishments, and it is always the case that, as a rule, unless I have displeased Him beyond measure, I will always be required to suggest what I believe an appropriate degree of sanction will be. Master C may agree with my assessment, or He may not. If He does not, His own assessment may mean a harsher or more lenient level of correction than the one I initially proposed. For my very worst transgressions, the ultimate sanction is, of course, the cage.
The point of all this is that, for us, punishment is never simply arbitrary; I am not going to get thrashed mercilessly for not bringing Master C a cup of coffee in a timely manner. Similarly, being involved in a drunken threesome with two complete strangers is never just going to earn me a gentle paddling of my backside. For us, discipline/punishment has to be, to a degree, transactional; there has to be a degree of appropriateness where the punishment is befitting of the behaviour being punished.
The problem lies in the fact that, ultimately, I never actually learn my lesson. At a very deep level, I not only enjoy the kiss of Master C’s belt, the caress of the flogger or the bite of the cane, I yearn for it. For me, even the harshest form of discipline is itself a form of funishment; which ultimately makes it impossible for me to truly separate the two.