|OMG, it's also Friday the 13th. Yikes.|
A friend of mine, and a fellow author, wrote an intersting guest blog article a few months back where she said submission for her "lies in accepting that you may be told to do something you don’t enjoy, and you have to go ahead and do it." She went on to add, "For submissives in the real world…submission is often the bowing to things that take us out of our comfort zone in a drastic way. When your Dominant tells you to do something, the act of submitting is to do it. But what if he tells you to do something you don't like? What if you hate being tickled—really hate it—and yet he wants to string you up and tickle you as a punishment? You might balk, wheedle, complain, but, if you really want to be submissive, you submit. You know it's something you will truly despise, but you do it anyway. Assuming you have a responsible and sane Dominant, he might take you out of your comfort zone, but he won't be asking you to do something that is illegal, harmful or immoral."
So, for her, submission is agreeing to do something she hates on occasion, because her Dominant demands it. The example she gives is for a punishment. Now, I agree, to be effective, a punishment needs to entail an activity the submissive does not find enjoyable. If she has an orgasm eating chocolate candy, she wouldn't consider an order to eat her favorite chocolate bar a punishment. Perhaps if her dominant insisted she gobble down ten or more of them, she would. However, and this is where it becomes a bit of a sticky wicket, would an order to eat ten or more candy bars be considered harmful? It's certainly not healthy, but unless she's a diabetic it wouldn't be fatal, either. So, why would a Dom want his sub to do something that wasn't good for her health? What constitutes harm?
Webster's dictionary defines harm as "physical or mental damage: injury." What is harmless for one person could indeed be damaging to another. So, harm (outside of severe bodily injury or mental devastation) is personal. If a submissive's Dominant cares for her well-being, he is not going to insist she do anything that would harm her, although he may want her to submit to an activity that will bring her pain or discomfort, physical or emotional. Since each person's tolerance level is different, a responsible and sane Dominant needs to know exactly what his sub's limits are to determine how best to stretch them without breaking them, or her. So, this is the point where it personally gets uncomfortable for me. When is enough, enough?
If a Dominant is responsible and sane, but also a sexual sadist, doesn't he always want to take things one step further the next time? If his sub hates to be whipped, and he feels the best way to punish her is to take a crop to her butt, the first time he may choose to stop when her backside reaches the proper shade of pink. The next time he may go for a deeper color or prefer to leave a tiny welt or bruise. The next time he doesn't stop until he sees he's left either a slightly larger welt or several more tiny welts. The next time…. As I said, when is enough, enough? Is a sexual sadist ever truly satisfied with keeping things at the same level, and never progressing on to the next step?
Again, a sexual sadist's satisfaction is also personal to the individual. Every person, unless they are truly insane, has lines they will not cross. Hard limits. Since a submissive's limits are set by her Dom, if only because he determines how long and hard to stretch or push her and when to stop, not she, a sub needs to know exactly which lines her Dom will not cross so she can trust him not to push her beyond her limits of tolerance. Pain is relative. It bothers me when a person does something painful to another person and insists it didn't hurt. How do they know? Even if the same thing was done to them, their pain tolerance level could be entirely different. So, who is right? To me it is the person experiencing the pain, not the person delivering it, who is the true judge of what is painful, unless the dominant really can read minds.
This brings me back to a Dominant ordering a sub to do something she hates because he enjoys watching her struggle. He gets pleasure from it, so he demands she submit. As my friend said, "You might balk, wheedle, complain, but, if you really want to be submissive, you submit. You know it's something you will truly despise, but you do it anyway." I'll add because he is your Dom, and your job as a submissive is to give him whatever he wants, even if you don't want to do it. But is that right? Knowing that the person I'm attempting to please wants to punish me, simply because he enjoys watching me suffer, would make me question his motives. As a submissive, I would expect my Dominant to want what is best for me, and I would need his motives to be of a grander scale then simply getting his jollies from watching me squirm when he punished me. If I suspected that was all he wanted, I doubt I would submit. There needs to be a lesson involved, in my opinion. Discipline dispensed as a correction should primarily be used as a negative reinforcement, not a joyride for the Dominant. I also believe a Dom's punishment should fit the transgression.
I heard a story of one Dom, whose sub kept mouthing off at him, so he chose to punish her by making her hold a live goldfish in her mouth. I'm not sure how long he made her do it, but I hope it wasn't long enough to kill the innocent fish. I do agree, in this case, that the punishment fit the crime. The small wriggling carp on her tongue should serve to remind her for a while that she's not supposed to wag it at her Dominant. I'm sure the experience wasn't pleasant, and she no doubt wanted to rinse her mouth out immediately afterwards, if he'd permit it, but the penalty he set wasn't harmful to her, and hopefully wasn't too harmful for the fish, so it served as a teaching lesson or a reminder.
He wasn't being cruel or sadistic, in my opinion, but he was making a point. Did he enjoy the faces she made as she struggled to keep her mouth closed? Maybe, but he didn't do it for that reason. He did it to teach his sub, who also happened to be his wife, a lesson. So, I guess that's where the dividing line is for me. If the Dom's punishment is meant to reinforce a point and teach a lesson, then I think the sub, who knows what she did was wrong, owes it to him to obey. But if he's just doing it to get off because he enjoys watching her suffer, then I think she needs to find a new Dom.
So, in the chocolate example I gave, I could understand a Dom ordering his sub to eat a large amount of her favorite chocolate if she wasn't supposed to have any, and he caught her snacking behind his back. You really can have too much of a good thing, and insisting she eat up her supply until she felt sick could get her to end up hating the high-calorie treats. It might not be healthy for her short term, but if it kept her from cheating on her diet, then both he and she would consider the punishment worth it, even though she might hate doing it at the time.
However, I have difficulty understanding how punishing someone by tickling them, when they really hate to be tickled, will teach a lesson. I suppose it could be considered the same as spanking. If the sub enjoyed being spanked, but hated to be restrained and tickled, then tickling her could serve as sufficient motivation to correct undesired behavior. I guess as long as the imposed penalty serves to curtail undesired behavior, then the sub owes it to her Dom and herself to submit to his will, even though she really dreads what he's insisting she do. Perhaps that's what it all comes down to. Is the punishment being given with the sub's best interests in mind? If so, then let the punishment begin. Subs, you need to do what you don't want to do, and dutifully submit to your loving Dom.
A Dom's point of view: