Thursday, July 31, 2014

Round Table Discussion - Discipline vs. Punishment #Spanking #RoundTable #SpankingRomance

Thanks to Thianna D for bringing this topic to the Spanking Romance Reviews Round Table Discussion.  Discipline vs. Punishment, are they different things or just different shades of the same thing?  I know what my gut reaction is to the two words, but I wondered if my gut was wrong, so I looked up their definitions.

From their definitions alone, I'd say that punishment is a component of discipline, though I use the terms interchangeably in my writing.  Discipline is broader than punishment since its definition includes training, as well as other activities used to improve a skill or behavior as well as punishment.  As in the case of maintenance spankings, I see them as a form of discipline, not punishment.  They are intended more as impetus for continued good behavior and a reminder, not to address a wrong.  Punishments are administered after a transgression occurs.  They are intended to address something specific that needs correcting, and as adverse therapy, they are meant to be uncomfortable or painful.

As for abuse, I maintain that abuse lies in intent, not in the action. If the intent is to cause fear, injury or harm in a way that makes a person feel debased and useless (and it is not being conducted as a humiliation scene in BDSM), I think the interaction qualifies as abuse.  Abuse can be mental as well as physical.  I've written a couple of articles on DD and BDSM and abuse, which I'll provide links to at the end, but the paragraph that I think explains the difference best is this:

BDSM allows individuals of similar interests and desires to give vent to their predilection through mutually satisfying means.  By this definition, BDSM is not abuse, even if humiliation plays a part.  Personally, that's difficult for me to accept because I view humiliation as destructive and have difficulty understanding how someone could achieve any satisfaction from being humiliated.  Abusive spouses wish to inspire fear and deep psychological uncertainty in their partner, not sexual fulfillment.  Domestic Discipline participants, on the other hand, desire to establish a paradigm of mutual respect and accountability through a communicated set of rules that both are expected to follow.  The intent of a Domestic Discipline relationship is to establish or maintain respect through the administration of more traditional values.

So, if the intent is to offer another pleasure, and both participants are willing, even if pain and humiliation are employed, the activity should not be considered abuse.

As for my personal activities, I can't say my husband and I are true DD practitioners.  There's an element of it in our marriage, but no actual discipline or punishment is meted out.  I'm not sent to stand in a corner, and I am not subject to receiving serious spankings, but then I'm really a very good girl, so there's no need for such methods.  I adore and respect my husband, and I tend to bend to his authority, even when he's doing it just to test or irk me.  So, I can't say the subject of discipline and punishment is appropriate for our marriage.

So, when it comes down to writing or living it, I'd have to say I live it only in my mind and fantasies, but I write it in my dreams.

Thanks again to Thianna, who has her kinky blog at  Now go visit the other authors participating in this discussion by either going back to Spanking Romance Reviews, or clicking one of the links below.  And thanks for stopping by.

Other articles I've written on DD, D/s and BDSM that touch on abuse:


  1. A very informative and enjoyable read. My wife has rules, but like you, she rarely gets punished. Stil I think the mutual respect has been helped to grow because of the disciplined life we lead. As for abuse, very well said.

  2. Great post Kathryn. This is s great question and I enjoyed reading your perspective. To me, punishment is a component of discipline also. Very informative post.


  3. Yes, I would say maintenance spankings fall under discipline because they aren't a punishment for anything really. I think it's weird that punishment and discipline are obviously very different but I had never thought about the differences before this topic!
    I agree the everything lies in the intent when it comes to abuse. You have to have a certain level of trust in any relationship and if a person is using that trust to do you harm-- physical or emotional, then it is abusive.
    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  4. Funny that we all tend to use the words interchangeably, but each of us recognizes a difference. I think it is because there are not many synonyms for discipline. An author's challenge!

  5. Interesting that you bring up humiliation. That's one of my hard limits (and extreme triggers), but I know it turns others on like crazy.

    btw - I love this line: "The intent of a Domestic Discipline relationship is to establish or maintain respect through the administration of more traditional values."

  6. I love humiliation. I love reading it, writing it and experiencing it. We all have our kinks. That's one of mine.

    1. We each find pleasure in our own way. And you're right, we all have our kinks and not everyone shares the things we find enjoyment in, but that doesn't make them wrong. It just makes them ours.

  7. I was debating trying to come back later and comment, even though I'm already reading the morning after due to poor health yesterday, but I decided to give it a try. I already had thoughts in my head, but I admit that paragraph that starts with "BDSM allow individuals..." stung in such a way that I had to re-read to manage a comment other than "BDSM and DD also have similarities." I like what you have to say about maintenance spankings; that was one thing I kept repeating to my Master- about encouraging good behavior- as a piece of maintenance spankings and why I was begging for them to be part of our BDSM dynamic.

    1. I'm certainly glad you came back and posted your thoughts. When I said BDSM allows, I was trying to say why I don't consider BDSM to be abuse. I never meant for the statement to be hurtful in any way. Nor did I mean to imply that humiliation play wasn't acceptable, merely that it was a practice I really didn't understand, though I think Megan took offense at that statement. Words are powerful, but I never mean to hurt or sting anyone with them. So, if I said something that upset you, I apologize. It truly wasn't my intent.


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