Discipline As Fantasy

Is the kind of real discipline that some folks crave in their kinky lives unique to the scene?

I hear from and read about lots of folks, primarily in the spanking community, who say that the kind of discipline they seek in their lives is something that helps them attain goals and change certain behaviors for the better. I’m not doubting this one bit. After all, even a placebo is effective if the recipient wants it to be. The thing that I find odd is how this sort of discipline, especially spanking, is completely opposite the way effective discipline in the vanilla world works.

I’ll illustrate with a little story. When I was in college, I was elected the head of a student run club. The school provided a weekend of management training for us where we learned a bunch of techniques for getting the best out of people in your group. One exercise involved a game of ring toss. The managers were divided into two groups, one given the instruction to be harshly critical of their team of players, the other to be encouraging even when people failed at the task. After we all did the exercise, it was interesting how all the people in the harsh group ended up disliking the game, their teammates and their leader while the opposite was true of the teams with “nice” leaders. In my business life, I’ve learned through years of mistakes that I can often have a smoother path ahead if I’m willing to see things in terms of solutions while lending the my counterpart some empathy. I don’t have to yell or insult or physically assault a coworker to get him or her to do something my way.

This is why it seems so strange that in the kinky world, people see the physical punishment as a motivator when the analog in the business world would be treated with contempt by the receiver. Is the fact that this desire for discipline, even if real, is tied in with a richer fantasy life than those in the vanilla world can afford? I wish I had a real answer to this but I’m afraid I don’t. For some reason, the real discipline provided in the form of spankings, etcetera work for kinky people.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

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8 Responses to “Discipline As Fantasy”

  1. I love this topic. So much so, that I should be eating dinner but instead, I’m stuffing my pie hole with Veggie Booty while I type. (VB is like organic Freetos for adults.)

    So, in this world, discipline is actually a positive instead of negative. It means, “Hey, I see you. I see what you’re doing and it’s not ok. You’re breaking a commitment you made or you’re doing something self destructive.”

    Sometimes, there is insight involved, as in “Do you get why that’s not ok? It’s not ok for the following reasons…”

    It’s very personal, intimate, tailored attention and it differs from random meaness or out-of-the-blue criticism. It’s actually a form of encouragement by some sort of loose mutual agreement that the sub needs it and the Top wants to provide it.

    I would argue it’s an ammendment of the way discipline was actually doled out at some other point in our lives. It’s like, this is how it should be done; here are the parameters; let’s go. Let’s fix it to our liking.

    I think there are richly textured vanilla dreams. (I have many of my own.) Discipline works for us (sometimes) because we find it reassuring, encouraging, and simply satiating. We perceive it differently than others.

  2. Randomish thoughts follow:

    I had a real struggle with this due to my social services background. In my mundane world, punishment tactics are not just deemed ineffective but *unethical*. It is still a bit of a struggle for me to wrap my head around this kink from the top side, though not as much as it once was.

    One question that occurs to me though….do you find yourself combining the discipline with more mainstream management/behavior mod techniques? I definitely do. This may be totally contrary to reality, but I have taken to viewing punishment as a *need* that keeps the person in a favorable head space. It is sort of an occasional maintenance thing like pruning a tree (versus the frequent watering one must do). In between punishments I can use more conventional tactics to elicit behavior change. It is my job to tell what is needed when.

    But this may just be an inaccurate rationalization on my part. Shrug.

  3. In the world of my own making, punishment is the tactile proof that someone cares about what I’m doing and where I’m going.

  4. In order to examine this issue, I think you have to start from the basic axiom that if someone has a sexaul fetish for discipline and is practicing that within the context of a fetish relationship, then there is a built-in positive reinforcement, for the person who fetishizes the discipline, and a very powerful positive reinforcement at that.

  5. I find this to be a confusing issue. If I’m watching one of those film clips in which the top promises the bottom that he’ll make her sorry, my natural reaction is one of aversion. Even as a kid, I always felt that the need to use physical discipline was an admission of failure on the part of the adult. It’s hard not to see it the same way now. Of course, that’s not the kind of discipline you’re describing, Rad, and working toward a goal in that way really does seem to work for a lot of kinky people. I’ve often wondered if the closeness, trust and arousal of a spanking just help to take the edge off those little failures, keeping the person trying to make the change from feeling that they’re too far off the track and should give up. If that’s the case, it probably wouldn’t work for the non-kinky.

  6. I agree with Susan, and I also agree with Indy that it can be quite confusing and complex.
    Obviously, I love to be spanked…and am always “up” for it..but..when it’s discipline…I don’t know.
    At the end of the day, I just hate to anger or let down anyone who cares about me..in whatever way, especially when they CARE enough to spank me.
    Anger, punctuated with the kind of spanking that I wouldn’t want repaeted, IS a great motivator.
    I don’t get to have the ‘luxury’ of dropping the ball in my life with regards to important issues just because I have a kink..and crave discipline. There are plenty of “nicer” spankings I can aim for…….

  7. I would like to add that it is a very unique pleasure/motivator indeed to hear ” good girl” as well as ” bad girl”…from time to time.

    It’s all still D/S and therefore ( I know you hate this phrase, Rad): it’s all good.

  8. Thanks to everyone above for your thoughts on this topic. I find it a very interesting divergence between the spanking and vanilla worlds. I find it especially fascinating that something that would probably cause resentment is seen as a positive reinforcer in our world.

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