Behavior Modification Thirst For More

Behavior Modification: My Thirst for Self-Improvement

My nose sits uncomfortably close to the smooth baby blue bedroom wall and my eyes are drawn to the tiny spider that’s edging its way to the corner. I’m itching to shift my weight from foot to foot and stretch my arms toward the ceiling, but I don’t. Instead, I sigh inwardly and mentally run through the events that led to the extended period of corner time I’m enduring.

Corner-time might not sound difficult to deal with, after all, how hard can it be to just stand still? Well, for me it’s exceptionally difficult, it’s not only a waste of my time, but it’s also very dull. I’d go so far as to say I detest it, but that’s sort of the point – corner-time isn’t meant to be a walk in the park, it’s punishment for my misbehaviour.

Sharing Is Caring

My nose sits uncomfortably close to the smooth baby blue bedroom wall and my eyes are drawn to the tiny spider that’s edging its way to the corner. I’m itching to shift my weight from foot to foot and stretch my arms toward the ceiling, but I don’t. Instead, I sigh inwardly and mentally run through the events that led to the extended period of corner time I’m enduring.

Corner-time might not sound difficult to deal with, after all, how hard can it be to just stand still? Well, for me it’s exceptionally difficult, it’s not only a waste of my time, but it’s also very dull. I’d go so far as to say I detest it, but that’s sort of the point – corner-time isn’t meant to be a walk in the park, it’s punishment for my misbehaviour.

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When I’m Good, I’m Very Good, But When I’m Bad…

As a submissive in a 24/7 D/s relationship spanning over twenty years, I’d say I’ve earned my stripes (and not the bright red ones from a good caning – although I relish those too)! Every day I serve and obey, and I do it all with a willing heart and a big smile….most of the time. What can I say? I’m human, I make mistakes, and have a bratty edge that occasionally gets me into trouble.

My Sir knows this and is keen to help me to shape myself into a better person – this is where behaviour modification comes into play. Thankfully we aren’t talking about Stepford-wives-style conditioning, you won’t find me perfectly coiffed and fully made up at 6.30 am with a tray of cupcakes at the ready. Behaviour modification isn’t about creating the perfect submissive, it’s about enhancing the good points and diminishing the bad.

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Embracing Consensual Domination

Behavior modification can best be described as a form of consensual domination, so how does it work? The Dominant uses reinforcement and punishment to reduce undesirable behavior, replacing it with something considered more appropriate.

As with all aspects of a D/s relationship, consent is key. Both the Dominant and submissive need to buy into behavior modification for the concept to work effectively. It might not the most popular kink on the block, but behavior modification is an integral part of the dynamic I share with my Sir.

Behavior modification feeds into my passion for submission and my thirst for self-improvement. There are things I want to do better, there are goals I want to reach and I know there’s always room for improvement on the serving and obeying front.

I’m keen to improve and have committed to walking this path or self-improvement with gusto, and in return, my Sir delivers motivation and reminders, by way of positivity, rewards, constructive criticism, and punishment.

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Positive Vs Negative

Let’s be honest, human beings are a complicated bunch. With a mass of tangled emotions combined with the unpredictable nature of day-to-day living, it’s little wonder our behavior isn’t always exemplary. However, scientific research indicates that it is possible to modify behavior. So maybe we can break those bad habits and form better ones.

For this, we turn to operant conditioning, which is a fancy way of saying reinforcement and punishment can be used to switch negative behavior for positive. Let’s delve into the concept a little more deeply by examining positive and negative reinforcement, and positive and negative punishment:

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Carrot or Stick?

I guess we can simplify things by calling this the carrot and stick approach, with the carrot being the reward and the stick being the punishment. How both are used will depend on your dynamic.

Some Dominants and submissives prefer the stick to be the main motivator, believing that good behavior should come as standard, rather than be rewarded. If the submissive obeys and serves adequately the Dominant will be happy, and some feel this should be reward enough for the submissive.

The stick (punishment) also acts as a firm deterrent and reinforces the power exchange dynamic. I understand the logic behind this, I appreciate the structure of knowing what I should be doing and accept there will be consequences if I do something to displease my Sir.

However, I must admit, I am also a fan of a juicy carrot or two! Rewards can be powerful and propel me to do my very best. I love receiving extra snuggles or being whisked out for a romantic lunch as an unexpected recompense for doing well.

In truth, there’s no right or wrong approach. Both the carrot and the stick can help the dominant and submissive to achieve behavior modification targets. Sir and I embrace a mix of both tactics, and this seems to work well for us.

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What Can Behavior Modification Be Used For?

We’re starting to get a feel for the ins and out of behaviour modification, but what can it be used for? It’s fair to say we are all unique, we have our own agendas, targets, and limits. Thankfully, behaviour modification is a versatile tool and it can be used in a variety of ways, to shape your D/s relationship for the better. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Break Bad Habits

Bad habits are easy to form but can be hard to shake. Whether you’re a nail-biter, swear too much, eat too many sweets, never put petrol in the car until the light starts blinking, or always seem to be late for appointments, behavior modification can draw your attention to resolving those persistent faults.

Improve Performance

I work for myself as a freelance writer, which can be tricky as I am one of those people who gets “easily distracted.” Even if I have 3000 words to compose by 5 pm, you could still find me browsing for a new pair of shoes at 3 pm - deadline, what deadline? My Sir is well aware of this and has kindly set some rules to help me self-regulate. The result? I’m working harder and smarter, and consequently, I’m getting more done.

Instil Diet and Exercise Regime

We all know the drill, if we eat the right foods, drink lots of water, and work out regularly we will be fit and well. If only it were that easy! Temptation waits around every corner, but with a few parameters, it’s easier to resist. The dominant can e.g., insist on three exercise sessions a week, limit the intake of fatty foods and advocate the submissive drinks eight glasses of water per day.

Enforce Etiquette and Protocol

Behavior modification can be useful in establishing the correct etiquette and protocol. This could relate to how the submissive addresses their Dominant e.g., Sir, Master, Madam, etc. Or to ensure the submissive always presents themselves correctly i.e., wears the correct collar.

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Despite the long-standing relationship I share with my Dominant, there’s always plenty to learn. Sir likes to keep things fresh by changing things up sometimes too. In the past, he’s instilled clothing restrictions, which required me to be naked at home, and speech restrictions - only speaking when spoken to (which proved to be nigh on impossible for me, a confessed chatterbox). As you might imagine, I incurred more than a few punishments trying to accomplish the latter!

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How To Implement Behaviour Management

It’s not a good idea to look at a whole host of areas for improvement, start with one – otherwise, you could both end up feeling overwhelmed. Once you’ve pinpointed your focus area it’s time to draw up a plan of action. Here are a few things that might help you on your way:

Setting Tasks

Tasks should line up with the target, for instance, if the goal is to improve physical health the tasks could include exercising for a set number of times per week. Tasks should be discussed and agreed upon by the Dominant and submissive and can be set and reviewed every month. The submissive performs the task in line with the instructions. If the task is missed or not performed adequately the submissive incurs punishment, if the task is done particularly well there might be a little reward in store!

Monitoring Progress

The submissive can chart their progress by writing a daily journal. I have a bullet point journal that I like to fill in, it covers all sorts from notes on tasks to how I’m feeling. I find it’s a good way to reflect on challenges, and it’s also useful when discussing progress with Sir. We find weekly discussions work well, and we talk about how things are going and if we need to make any changes. It’s a good opportunity to discuss any concerns and celebrate any achievements.

Outlining Consequences & Rewards

You also need to decide how things are going to work in terms of consequences and rewards. There are plenty of punishments a creative Dominant can issue to a wayward submissive – a sound spanking may jump out as the obvious one – but there are plenty of others. We’ll explore a few ideas later, but this is the time to discuss boundaries and limits.

As we’ve already mentioned, not all couples favour the carrot approach, preferring to err on the side of the stick instead. If you are venturing down the rewards route you could think about a token system (perhaps a sticker chart or coin that can be collected). When the submissive has reached a certain number it’s time for a special reward.

Positive Reinforcements and Rewards

If you decide to go down the carrot route there are plenty of goodies to put a smile on the face of a submissive. Incentive ideas include:

Sex and Orgasms

TLC can come in many forms; one way is to ensure the submissive receives undivided sexual attention. Great sex and knee-trembling orgasms can prove to be a real motivator.

Choice of Kink Scenario

How about giving the submissive a taste of power by allowing them to outline their ideal kink scenario – then playing it out.

A Surprise Gift

Gifts are a great way to reward and incentivise, be it a pretty pair of earrings, lacy undies, box of chocolates, or even a new sex toy. Everyone gets excited by a gift-wrapped box, especially if it’s sporting a big bow!

Plenty of TLC

Lots of cuddles, oodles of kisses, a relaxing massage, a bubble bath – there are plenty of ways to pamper a well-behaved submissive.

Date Night or Day Out

From a meal at a fancy restaurant to a day out at a country park, a fun date makes the submissive feel special and spurs them on to do even better.

Restriction Reductions or Time Off

This one might be considered a little bit contentious, however, it’s something that works for my dominant and I so I’ve included it. If I perform particularly well, Sir might allow me to skip a particular chore the following day, or he might soften a restriction e.g., a mobile phone ban for three days might be cut to two.

Negative Reinforcements and Punishments

Let’s move on from the soft and fluffy side of behaviour management and get down to the nitty-gritty. There are plenty of creative and effective punishments a Dominant can use to shape the behaviour of their submissive, here we explore a few:

A Sound Spanking

Whether administered as maintenance, funishment, or punishment, I regularly receive a robust over-the-knee-knickers-down spanking. If the submissive is a fan of impact play (like me) you might argue that spanking doesn’t qualify as a suitable punishment. However, my Sir changes tactic depending on the occasion, so punishment is very different to funishment!

Sir begins by delivering a lecture (always uncomfortable to listen to) and then it’s over the knee for at least six hand smacks on the bare. This is followed by a further lecture and then a further six smacks (at least) with an implement of Sir’s choice (usually one I’m not keen on, such as a leather belt). I’m then left to stand in the corner or kneel on the floor (knickers still down) to reflect on my actions. There’s no fun interaction, this is punishment pure and simple. The session often ends with an apology from me and a promise to improve. I may receive a brief cuddle, or I may be sent to bed early, either way, the outcome is the same. I have a red backside, tears in my eyes, and feel sorry for letting myself and Sir down.

Writing Lines

This sounds innocuous enough, but it drives me insane with boredom (and hurts my wrist and hand depending on the number of lines I’m writing). If the submissive is new to writing lines it’s a good idea to start with a low number and a relatively simple sentence.

A repeat offender should be requested to write a higher number of lines and/or a more complex sentence. For maximum impact, the Dominant can insist on neat handwriting, and if not considered good enough, the sheet could be torn up, with the submissive told to repeat the exercise. Frustrating, annoying, and an excellent deterrent!

Orgasms Denial

It’s a shame for the Dominant to miss out on sexual play just because the submissive has been misbehaving. So why not engage in sexual fun, minus the release of an orgasm for the submissive?

Extra / Tedious Chores

This punishment works best if the dominant picks a chore the submissive dislikes, or a task that’s pointless e.g., unpairing all the socks and repairing them again, re-folding clothes, etc.

Restrictions

There’s a wide range of restrictions a Dominant can impose including instructing the submissive on what (if any) clothes to wear and forcing the submissive to ask for access to cash/cards. The Dominant can also impose eye contact and speech restrictions, all of which can be humbling for the submissive. Taking things up a notch, the Dominant could even impose toilet restrictions, requiring the submissive to ask for permission to use the bathroom, or a bedtime could be set (earlier than normal), which provides the submissive with additional time to dwell on their misdemeanours.

Loss of privileges

Most of us spend a significant amount of time glued to one device or another, be it a laptop, mobile phone, tablet, or television. Losing the ability to use that device for a set time can prove very effective. To take things a step further to the Dominant could impose a loss of freedom – the submissive cannot leave home unless permitted (work, appointments, etc can be attended, but no fun shopping trips, lunches out, etc).

Time out

We’ve already touched on corner time as an effectual consequence. This can be further enhanced by asking the submissive to hold a position e.g., hand on head, nose to the wall, etc. Time out can also work well, banishing the submissive to a step for a set time, or making them simply sit on a chair in a quiet room can work wonders!

Caging and Confinement

Harsher than time out (so perhaps a worthy consequence for defiant submissives) we have caging and confinement. My Sir happens to own a dog cage, which I’ve spent time sitting in once or twice. Well, not really sitting – I can crawl in and then end up in a semi-kneeling, semi-foetal position trying to get comfy. Needless to say, it’s not comfy, and I dislike being in captivity!

Humiliation

This one isn’t for everyone, but providing you’ve both talked over limits and boundaries, humiliation techniques can be powerful. Be it licking dirty boots clean, being made to wear inappropriate clothing, objectification (being made to act as e.g., a footstool or ashtray), etc. there are plenty of degrading ways to punish a submissive.

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Is Behaviour Modification for You?

As with all of the wonderfully eclectic kinks you’ll come across, some will spark your interest and others will switch you off. That’s the beauty of D/s relationships, they are all unique and should be carefully crafted. The Dominant and submissive can set the path for their own journey, for my Sir and I, that includes behavior modification, but the concept might not be right for you.

From my point of view behavior modification has worked very well. I have met several goals over the years and am currently working on my fitness levels. Sir has implemented an achievable timetable involving yoga, running, and clubbercise (I do love waving my glowsticks)!

I’ve wanted to work on my fitness for a long time, but things seem to get in the way. With Sir dictating that fitness is a priority I feel more able to pursue my goal. Will I slip up? Perhaps, and if I do, I will happily accept the consequences (unless it’s corner-time, in which case I can’t promise I won’t inwardly sigh with boredom whilst facing that boring baby blue wall again)!

By Astolaine

A submissive in a 24/7 TPE marriage spanning twenty years, astolaine strives to serve and obey her beloved Sir. However, she does have a playful, bratty streak - which occasionally gets her into trouble. A fan of exploring the bright, bold world of kink, astolaine and her Sir regularly indulge in play, attending parties and events to complement their dynamic.

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