In this article I will refer to the Dominant as masculine and to the sub as feminine, as this is my preferred situation. The majority of this article goes for female Dominants and male subs as well.
The words slave and Master
Although I used the word slave in the title I chose not to use it furthermore. To me personally this word has an association with forced slavery as we knew it ages ago and I therefore prefer the use of the words sub or submissive. Even in 24/7 relationship I like to refer to the partners as Dom and sub rather than Master and slave.
For me there is no BDSM when there is no exchange of power. A sub empowers her Dom to be at his disposal as he sees fits within certain limits. With this power comes however the responsibility. From that moment on it is the Dom that carries the responsibility and he should care for his sub. This exchange of power can be minimal (just blindfolding) or totally: the sub allows (without any limits) the Dom to use her anyway he wants to.
BDSM is a game
I often refer to BDSM as playing a game. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t a serious matter and that it is all a game, role play and not real. The reason I call it a game is because – in my view – both players get fun out of it and because it is bound by rules. If I call it a game I mean the same thing that others might call a session.
In BDSM pain has a different function and meaning than in the world outside BDSM. For the outsider this is hard to comprehend. The actual pain is – within BDSM – seen as a positive stimulus. Pain will however be seen as negative when dished out to a sub as a correction. So it is not the stimulus as such that is negative, but could be negative once added as a correction. Read elsewhere on this site about pain.
Correction, punishment and lust
In the world outside BDSM these three are considered the same. Within BDSM there is however a distinctive difference between the three. Outside of BDSM everybody will regard 30 lashes with a stick as a punishment. For centuries it was an official punishment, it was meant to be a punishment and it was called punishment. It was a negative thing and meant to correct ‘wrong’ behaviour.
In BDSM 30 strokes with a cane are not necessarily a bad thing. It is something erotic that (sexually) arouses both parties involved. It could however also be a punishment for bad behaviour or a correction in order to learn. We are still calling it a punishment nevertheless.
It would – for that reason – be confusing if we would call the correction of wrong or unwanted behaviour punishment, even if it is called that very often. In this article we will refer to:
· Lust: if we mean the dishing out and receiving of (pain) stimuli in function of enjoyment for both
partners to enjoy; and to
· Correction: if we mean the dishing out and receiving of (pain) stimuli in function of avoiding wrong
behaviour and to stimulate good behaviour; and to
· Punishment: if we mean the disciplining of a sub in order to punish for (deliberate) bad behaviour
or not being obedient
Note: In international literature the term punishment is often used where correction is meant. We will use the word correction but use the abbreviation P (for punishment) to stay in line with international standard use.
John likes to end each session with Ella with 17 lashes with the cane. He really enjoys using the cane and he knows Ella enjoys it too for it makes her very horny. This is clearly a case of punishment as lust stimulation.
John wants to teach Ella to count from 1 to 10 in Norwegian, his native tongue. Ella knows nothing of this language and names each number just once. Now he takes the cane, lets her count the lashes and starts all over again each time she makes a mistake. This is a form of correction. Ella doesn’t make these mistakes on purpose it is just a learning experience.
The other day John repeats the number and Ella knows them by heart. When he picks up the cane again to make her count again in Norwegian she resists and makes mistakes on purpose and refuses to say: “Thank you Master.” These are deliberate mistakes and punishment is in order.
The differences between these three definitions are extremely important in BDSM training. The sub should never be unclear about the reasons pain is inflicted upon her; whether it is as a form of: lust, correction or punishment.
In this article we will use a lot of examples, mainly from BDSM, to clarify things. We will do so introducing Ella and John. Ella is a sub and John is a Dom as well as Ella’s trainer.