March/April 2003
Trubled Times
Picture Herefor those times when you're having troubles
by Celeste aka BitaTruble


I'm in a quandary - I'm somewhat new to the bdsm life, although I'm now recognizing traits within me that have lead to me being here all along....(and it is truly wondrous!) I'm in a relationship that is developing into a long term one, with an experienced sub (although she'll top at times, I really inspire her submissive side), and have one problem. Although I don't relish the idea of punishment for her (but I do recognize its place and necessity at times), I do know that consistency is a must. My problem is in coming up with appropriate punishments. I've pondered a good bit, and scoured the net for ideas, but have had very little luck.

Do you have any online references that might provide me some guidance? And if not, then book versions would be welcome too.

Thanks for your time and any assistance you may offer - I appreciate it.


Dear J,

Ah, punishment. The bane of existence for any number of submissives. Bane, that is, when it isn't for fun! From your questions, I'm going to assume that you mean it as a means of correctional behavior modification rather than a means of play for fun. The latter is pure joy and used as an excuse for sessioning. The latter is also not a part of my particular lifestyle. Living in a 24/7 relationship and having a Dominant who needs no excuse to play, punishment is only used as a form of correction. You have specifically asked for ideas and my main advice is to always let the punishment fit the 'crime.' Overreacting and severe punishments for slight digressions will not garner trust in your submissive. In the end, they will be so afraid of punishment that the lifestyle will no longer hold the joy and fun that it should.

The main problem with websites and scouring the net for ideas is that you just won't find a lot out there. Your mind is going to be the best tool you have to come up with appropriate punishments for your submissive. Since you've asked, I'm going to let you borrow a little bit of my mind to help you out. It's a scary place, but not to worry, this won't hurt a bit. ::chuckles::

Basically, there are only two types of punishment. Corporal and denial. Corporal is, simply, physical while denial may include such things as denial of dignity, denial of personal time, denial of your attention, dismissal, etc. Which one you use will be up to you, but do keep in mind that when you deny your submissive sex, unless you are in a poly situation, you are also denying yourself. Hardly fair since You didn't do anything!

Ok, onto some specifics. I'll start off with some minor infractions and a couple of punishments that might fit those utilizing both a corporal punishment and a denial punishment then move on to some major infractions. Since I don't know exactly what sorts of infractions you've found yourself up against, I'm going to be very general here and it's your job to fine tune anything you might think can fit into your situation. Hopefully, if your submissive is anything like myself, you'll find little need to punish at all because she'll be just so damn good. ::grins:: The first thing you need to do is make or buy a toy that is to be used ONLY for punishment, never for pleasure. A good wooden paddle, a polypropylene hog slapper, a buffalo hide flogger.. whatever it is, she should be made well aware that it is the punishment tool and when it comes out, it should make her cringe, not only because she hates it, but because she knows it only comes out when she's done something to bring something less than harmony to Your life.

Minor infractions:

Coming home late

Corporal - 5 whacks with her least favorite toy for every minute she's late for a first offense. Double for a second offense then add on 5 for every offense thereafter until you get her trained to be ON TIME. When there are circumstances beyond her control, a traffic accident for example, keep in mind she will only resent being punished for that which she has no control over, but every day traffic should be accounted for and can be a punishable offense. Just getting lost in time because she's chatting with friends should not be used as an excuse for being late.

Denial - deny her freedom of movement by putting her in a corner, nose against the wall or some portion thereof for being late. A good rule of thumb is 15 minutes minimum, then 5 mins for every minute that she's late.

Leaving lights on in empty rooms

Corporal - have your submissive hold out her arms at her side and let her hold a lightbulb in each hand. Sounds easy? Not a corporal punishment? See how long you can hold those arms out. ::chuckles::

Denial - Deny her the use of electricity for any but the bare essentials. That means she can cook your gourmet meal while she's eating a cold sandwich for dinner. No computer, no blow dryer, no lights to read her favorite novel by .. you get the picture.

Running up phone bills

Corporal - Your submissive like to chat on the phone for hours on end to Germany? A whipping with a phone cord, one stroke for each minute over her allotted time will work wonders to quench her gabby desires for chat.

Denial - don't let her use the phone for specific periods of time.

Burning dinner

Corporal - hey, scat happens, but the fact is, if you are paying attention to what you are doing, you don't burn dinner. A little wax on the clit may get her focus back where it should be.

Denial - a can of cold beans is full of protein and raw vegetables are better for you than cooked. Neither may taste as good as cooked, but these is punishment.

Major infractions

Mouthing off (disrespect)

Corporal - Start off with making her get into a cold bath or shower. Then a sound spanking with your punishment tool on a wet bare bottom. If that doesn't get an ouch out of her then she's so much of a masochist that you might be better served with a denial punishment.

Denial - gag her and make her stand in a corner for a specific time frame. Do not allow her to speak to you again until she's ready to both apologize and refrain from being disrespectful. Mouthing off in a disrespectful manner should not be tolerated although friendly banter can be encouraged. Time outs work just as well on adults as they do on children. If she continually disrespects you then you have some major problems which only major communication will solve. If it's occasional mouthing off, then let the punishment fit that crime.


Is your submissive withholding the truth because she's planning a major birthday bash for you? Give her a break and let her do that. Is she lying to meet Dudly Dom for clandestine affairs? Kick her in the ass and dismiss her. You don't need a liar and you can't have a relationship with one. Harsh words? Not at all. Truth is truth and you can't trust a liar. It is 'just' as important that you trust your submissive as it is they trust you. Lying is the sign of a major problem in the relationship. She's not trusting you or your judgment enough to tell you the truth and you'll never be able to believe anything she says. Nuff said.


Once the cats out of the bag, it doesn't make sense to try to shove it back in even if it's to drown the cat. Intentionally outing you to someone is cause for dismissal. Accidentally outing you is cause for major punishment. Either way, the damage to You will be done.

Denial - take away her collar for a specific period of time and make her earn it back. Do not engage in any BDSM activities with her until you have communicated, fully, the importance of privacy and discretion. Start a dialogue asking her how she would feel if you crossed a hard limit and let her know that by outing you, she has done that very thing.

The list goes on and on but there are some things that you should always keep in mind. Number one, discipline is not punishment and your submissive should be very aware of the difference. Second, never punish while you are angry. If you need a time-out, take one then get on with taking care of business. Threats are not effective and if you fail to follow through on one, you won't be taken seriously when you ARE serious. You are not her buddy, you're not her pal. You're her Dom. There is great pleasure and joy in that, but there is also incredible responsibility. Don't punish her if you have failed to make her boundaries clear. Set down the rules, in writing if you have to, so she won't have to wonder if something is ok. Expect her to use good judgment. Punish should be consistent, as you well know, but so should praise.

Thanks for the questions, J, and if you have specifics areas or specific infractions which you'd like to discuss, my mailbox is always open.


Part II:


Thanks so much for the information - your ideas are really appreciated.

I probably should have provided a little more background information - I'm developing what will likely be a long term, 24/7 relationship with my sub (it's 24/7 already, the rest is in development). She's been in the life for about 5 years, and I've been interested for quite some time, but not active until recently. We both fit together quite well on a lot of bases - philosophically, religiously, careers, interests, household ideas, decorating, food and wine, you name it. So we're developing a lot of importance to each other.

Part of this is learning curve, I know. But in my desire to nurture and guide her, I must also be consistent and reasonable with her. This is part of my interest in learning (or at least getting an idea) of what viable punishments are; both to let the punishment fit the crime, as well as to provide the boundaries and guidelines that I know (and she has expressed) she needs. I can quite easily separate playtime versus correction/punishment time. I relish the former, and respect the need for the latter but am not real excited by it.

I'd already planned to get a punishment-only device. I'm not motivated to find reasons to punish her, but I must also be consistent in dealing with unmet (and reasonable) expectations. I feel that if a circumstance arises which is not working, I need to define my expectations (not necessarily punish out of hand unless something is particularly egregious). If my expectations are clearly defined (and understood, and verified at the end of the conversation) and are then violated or ignored, that is basis for punishment.

My belief coincides with yours - overreaction and overly severe punishments, for otherwise simple issues, are foolish and unnecessary. I have no intent to beat her just because I can - that is insane. However guidelines are something else, and measured evaluation of the circumstances is as important as an equally measured response to them. Flogging because she likes it is one thing - flogging (or paddling, or whatever I come up with) with the specific device because she's errored and knows it....that is different. I'd much rather be her dominant to guide, nurture and cherish her, than to place her in an environment of mistrust and fear. That goes nowhere for either of us, and just sets the scene for continued failure.

Part of the problem is that I work out of state, on a 3 week on, 3 week off rotation. When I'm home we're able to spend a lot of time together; when I'm at work we can talk every night but there's no chance to see each other (I work quite far away). One thing that is detrimental, in our circumstance, is overt separation. While my work can keep me from contact for an evening, that's not a problem, she understands. I would not punish her through lack of contact because I am gone on this schedule, I think that would be unfair. Other things are required.

In this case, she has expressed a desire to write in a journal to me. I thought this was a great idea, and bought her one for the purpose, with the instruction to write for 10 minutes a night, more if she wanted (10 minutes being reasonable in my eyes so as not to monopolize her life, but to bring an opportunity for focus). She's missed a couple of nights - once I commented on it and her need for focus. Once was at my direction due to a particularly long work day (and I told her to note that in the journal). Yesterday wasn't particularly event filled, and she missed her writing. So I left her email instructions tonight - write "i will focus more acutely on my duties" 25 times...left handed. THEN do her nightly writing. THEN she can call me. We'll discuss the circumstances - if nightly writing is too much, if my expectations are too high. If they are not, and she commits to writing, and forgets again....then punishment will be a bit more severe. I feel this fits the crime rather well - not overly severe, but not a "remember to write blah blah". Somewhere in between.

I have probably droned on enough for one evening. Thank you very much for your information and opinion - they coincide with my own, and give me a lot of food for thought. Your time is greatly appreciated. I feel a bunch of different things with this relatively new discovery of myself - in some sense the sea is so vast and my boat so small. In another, a great sense of inspiration and opportunity. I vacillate between the two, but feel good doing so, and know that this IS the path I'm supposed to be on. And who knows? Perhaps the universe has smiled on my sub and I together. :)

Take care, and thank you again!


Dear J,

When I was younger, one of the punishments my mother inflicted upon us children was to copy words and definitions out of the dictionary. Depending on the severity of the transgression it could be anywhere from 100 words to 1500 words. I think I got through the M's before leaving home but my oldest brother was up to the S's. ::laughs:: The thing is that I will never forget those punishments for as long as I live and I know a bunch of words that start with the letter K that I'll never use. If her purpose was for me to remember the punishment, then that was, most certainly, fullfilled. Here's the thing though.. I don't remember 'why' I was punished. In other words, the punishment became more important than the transgression. I tried to avoid doing things to garner that punishment rather than avoiding things just because it was better that I do so. I sort of see your example in that light. Writing out that sentence with my left hand would be something that I would remember and if that's your purpose then I think that will work. What an incredible opportunity you have, however, to make her punishment more productive. Do you want her to remember to write in her journal so she doesn't have to endure more punishment, or do you want her to remember to write in her journal because it's something that will help you gain further understanding of her and your time apart from her? If the sole purpose is to get her to write in her journal, then you will accomplish that with the punishment you have dictated .. in time. She may get up to 1000 lines before all is said and done, but, eventually, she will remember just to avoid it.

What if you took a different tack with her though. Instead of 25 lines of the same sentence, what about a couple of pages of 'why' as in an essay. Why she thinks it's important to write in her journal. How writing in her journal effects her submission to you and what she thinks you may get out of her obedience to your directive. How does she think her failure to remember is going to affect you and how it reflects on your Dominance of her submission. After writing that, being naked in front of you on her knees and reading her essay outloud to you would go far to helping her to remember 'why' she was punished rather than the fact that she 'was' punished.

Just a thought or two .. as always, the choice remains with you and there's just not a lot that you can do 'wrong' here.

Good luck!