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BDSM.

Such a short acronym, and yet it encompasses so very very much.

Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission, Sadism & Masochism.

When I was young, I knew I was kinky. I liked bondage, giving and receiving. I had fantasies, which I never admitted to my ex (and first lover), about being tied to an altar, fucked by a long line of anonymous men in hooded robes. In another favorite, shared (for many years) only with a BFF when we were both in middle school, I was tied up so that a waterfall hit my clit, forcing me to have orgasm after orgasm. I got turned on by the idea of forced sex, the stereotypical “rape fantasy” that most men (including too many in the BDSM world) don’t understand at all. But somehow, the power exchange inherent in most of those fantasies escaped my conscious notice. I certainly never envisioned anything approaching what I now know to be power exchange, or willing submission.

Further on in life, my fantasies evolved. More things that I never would have found appealing in my younger years began to hold fascination for me. One such fascination was with domination—although I can’t remember fantasizing about being dominated. No, I fantasized about dominating others—a male friend I knew to be freaky brought out a playfully dominant streak in me; but it was a girlfriend who aroused strong feelings of dominance, protection, and control that I’d never experienced before.

During many years in the goth scene, I danced around the edges of BDSM. I wore the gear–a collar, gauntlets, a slave bracelet, and fetish boots–because I liked the way they looked; there was no more to it than that. I knew that some of our club friends were into it, and it intrigued me, but not enough to do anything about it. Tormenting my male friend with a real, made-in-england horse crop was always fun and sparked some Domme-y feelings, but beyond teasing him, I never acted on them. There was a boy who clearly wanted to be my slave, which amused me to no end, but again, I never let that go anywhere. And although I still fantasized about bondage I never, never had any submissive urges.

All that changed when I met my husband and Master. When he touched my arm, the night we met, I felt an electric charge. That started a fascination which, months later, finally led to spending our first night together. He was muscular and furry, and very very masculine, and it turned my dial to 11. We talked for hours and I learned about his background, what he had overcome, what he had done for himself, and my respect and arousal grew. The night culminated with my very first experience of cock-worship: the size and weight of him, his scent, his taste, the way he held my head and fucked my mouth, all took me to a place I’d never been before, and I wanted more. I wanted to please him, I wanted to do whatever he wanted me to do, because it felt right, it felt good, and it was fucking hot. It was the kind of passion that I’d always wanted but didn’t think I would ever have.

My life of submission to him began that night.

I loved submission, and I hated it. I reveled in it, and I fought it. I felt so right when it was happening, but at other times I would punish myself for wanting it. Since childhood, I had hated being told what to do. I didn’t want anyone to have authority or control over me. I associated control with the abuse of power, especially in relationships between the sexes. It was very hard for me to change that way of thinking, but eventually I realized that control and domination could exist without taking away my will. That control didn’t mean abuse. That control didn’t mean being hurt. That control could give me power and freedom that I had never known in my life.

Years passed. He tied me up, he spanked me on occasion, he dominated me so naturally and thoroughly that my desire to make it official, to be his sub, became overwhelming. And, finally, I came out. I told him how I felt, and I asked him if he would be, officially and formally, my Dominant. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I think, because it meant being brutally honest—with him, and with myself—and admitting my formerly unacceptable (to me, anyway) need to submit to him. I was happy and excited when he said yes.

I really thought it would end there. I adored bondage and control, impact and sensation play, clips and clamps, vibrators and dildos—basically toys of any type. But I didn’t want pain, I didn’t like it, it didn’t turn me on. I knew I would never add the “S&M” part of the acronym to my list of interests.

Well. Never say never.

Over the past 18 months or so, we’ve been exploring pain. It turns out that my darling Sir is a bit of a sadist! But that’s okay, since I seem to be a bit of a masochist. Learning what our limits are in that area has been illuminating. He likes to give pain, but not too much; I like to receive it, but not too much. There’s been more sting in our play. He spanks a little harder, for a little longer than he used to. We’ve found out we both get off on nipple, breast, and cunt spanking and flogging. I feel an incredible sense of pride that I can take what he gives me, even if I don’t “enjoy” it the way I do other activities. It takes a little longer, but it can still feel good, it can still get me into that lovely endorphin-fueled sub-space. Adding a little S&M into our own private mix has been exciting.

The one thing we have never incorporated is punishment. Part of this is, I think, because of the way our dynamic unfolded. At first D/s for us was “just sex,” but even when it expanded to encompass most aspects of our life together, we still didn’t go in for rules and protocol. And without rules and protocol, there’s no real need or mechanism for punishment.

Since I started my blog here at WordPress, I’ve been reading about punishment and discipline much more frequently. Sometimes it’s all in good fun (ooh, you’ve been a naughty girl, you’re going to get a spanking!); sometimes it’s a matter of structure and a reminder of everybody’s roles, as in domestic discipline practices. And I found myself becoming intrigued and fascinated with the idea of punishment.

Over the years, I’ve occasionally felt the lack of clear rules and consequences. Our dynamic has been–pretty much, he’s in charge; pretty much, I follow instructions. Occasionally he’s not, or I don’t, and nothing much really comes from that except maybe an argument or his disappointment in me (and my disappointment in myself).

But I’ve realized, over the last couple of months, that I want rules, and I want consequences. I’ve spent a good amount of brain power trying to figure out why I want that. And the biggest reason, I think, is that I fuck myself up. And I fuck us up. It’s not deliberate; I’m not a SAM or a SAS trying to “earn” a spanking. But there are times that I can’t make or let myself submit—EVEN WHEN I MOST WANT TO.

If you’ve read Crime & Punishment, then you’re already familiar with a really, really good example of this. I get unhappy, or hurt, or angry. I don’t want to, but I do. And then I lash out. I get mouthy, disobedient, disrespectful, and I make us both miserable. And there is always a reason for it: Feeling neglected, feeling unloved or unwanted, feeling that Himself doesn’t want to be my Sir anymore. Getting stuck in my head and thinking about things I want that he won’t do, thinking it means he doesn’t love me, thinking I’ll never get whatever “it” is. Feeling dissatisfied. And sometimes, when that happens, I can just talk to him about it, and it gets resolved. Other times I cry and wail and sob and when he gets me calmed down enough we talk about it, and it gets resolved. But sometimes, nothing works. Or we’re in a situation where I can’t, or won’t, just sit down and talk about it. Or I get into that bad, dark place where I feel like I have to fight and be angry and I can’t stop myself.

That’s it, the big thing: I. Can’t. Stop. Myself.

I get hateful and bitchy and whiny, things that I hate in other people and even more in myself. But when I’m there I’m stuck and helpless.

Probably none of this makes any sense to any of you. Or maybe it makes sense to all of you. I don’t know, all I know is I hate it, and I hate what it does to us.

It happened again Saturday.

I’d gotten angry and hurt in the morning: I misinterpreted something he said, which felt critical and disapproving to me, even though that’s not what he was feeling or communicating. It always puts me into an edgy place, when that kind of thing happens. We went on to have a very good day together, but part of my was holding on to that hurt and just wouldn’t let it go. Then, when we were out Saturday night, he did something that hurt and upset me. I made some snippy comments and refused to open to him or talk to him. I had a good mad on, and I didn’t want to give it up. I insisted I wanted to leave.

Fortunately, he doesn’t give up easily, and he insisted that we stay. After sitting together a few minutes, I was able to figure out how to explain what was bothering me. Although it felt to me like I had a valid reason to feel that way—because, you know, emotions generally feel logical—I knew, objectively, that I was being unreasonable. I was mad at myself for reacting the way I did, for ruining the happy good mood we’d both had before. I was ashamed and embarrassed and I wanted to make amends, but I couldn’t figure out how. Apologizing didn’t really help; forgiveness from Himself didn’t really help. I gradually got back to a better place, but I felt my misbehavior acutely and couldn’t let it go.

That’s my other big problem. I can’t stop myself, and then I can’t let it go. I can’t forgive myself and so I can’t believe that he forgives me either.

I kept thinking about what happened, and what it would take to make it right. And I came up with:

Punishment.

Discipline.

Contrition.

Forgiveness.

I have talked to Himself a bit about some of the domestic discipline blogs I’d been reading. I’d even mentioned “maintenance spankings” as something I was interested in, to help reinforce our roles. But I’d never outright said, “I want this.” And I’d certainly never said, “I want you to punish me.”

I felt like I needed it, but I was scared to ask.

If he agreed—how bad would he make it? What if I couldn’t take it? I knew failing would make me feel even worse.

If he refused—then what would I do to make it right? And how would I stand the humiliation? Because for me, there is always humiliation in asking for something and being rejected. For me, it’s a rejection of me, not my request. With the self-loathing I was already feeling from the day, I wasn’t sure I could stand any more.

And I was having so much trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that I even wanted this. I was still struggling with the whole “Daddy” thing that had sideswiped me. Wanting Himself—my Daddy—to punish me? Isn’t that…sick? In a bad way?

But I did want it.

And it was important. In fact, it felt like the most important things that had come up for me, for us, in a long time. I needed it to make things right.

So I screwed up my courage, and I did it.

I talked to him again about the domestic discipline blogs I’d been reading, and how I thought it might help me to have that in our lives: Help me to be obedient at those times that I wanted to so badly and couldn’t make or let myself do it. Help me to apologize. Help me to make amends and let it go. Help me to understand that he loves me enough to give me what I need for myself, and for us. Help me to believe that he forgives me when I’ve screwed up.

Then I asked him to punish me—for me, for us. To help me remember who and what we are to each other. To help me get past it when I get stuck, when I can’t do what I need on my own. To make it okay again when it goes bad for awhile.

I’m not talking about a full-on beating, or a scene, I explained. Just whatever you think is right. It might just be 5 or 10 swats with your hand, it might be a hard flogging; deciding the punishment would be up to you.

He didn’t answer right away, and I braced myself. I was so sure he was going to say no. I was trying to figure out what I would say, what I would do when it happened. How I would keep myself from crying and begging. How I would keep from making a complete fool of myself—again. How I would get through the humiliation. Then, finally, he said:

“This is something you really want?”

Yes, Sir.

“And I would pick the punishment?”

Yes, Sir. Although, I couldn’t stop myself from saying, I would prefer that it not involve ice cubes.

He paused again. Then, sternly:

“Go get the crop.”

Relief and joy flooded me. And fear and loathing, because I didn’t think he was going to use the nice slappy leather end on me. That wouldn’t be punishment, because I like the nice slappy leather end.

I brought him the crop and kneeled in front of him on the bed.

“I am going to punish you now. You are going to get five strokes with the crop for being disobedient and disrespectful today.”

Yes, Sir.

The first strike across my ass brought searing pain, and I cried out. The second made me scream out loud, and the third made me cry. By the fifth stroke, I was sobbing uncontrollably.

He laid down the crop and pulled me into my lap, stroking my hair and my back, holding me close while I cried.

“Do you feel better now?”

Yes, Daddy, I sobbed. Thank you.

“Are you crying because you’re being punished for your behavior, or because it hurt?”

Both, Daddy.

“It’s okay now. It’s all over, and you’re forgiven.”

I felt the most wonderful sense of peace wash over me then. I believed, really believed, that I was forgiven.

He stroked my hair and held me.

When I had stopped crying, he let me worship his cock. I sucked and licked and loved him, thanking him with my tongue and my mouth for understanding, for giving me what I needed, and for making it all okay again.

Thank you, Daddy. I love you.