Punishment and funishment are a dynamic duo of kinks to include in a dynamic, especially for a sadist-masochist combo. Punishment is the type of response a submissive wants to avoid having to experience, whereas funishment is role-play that is yearned for because of the pleasure and intensity it can bring.
Basically, punishment a rule or protocol has been broken and there is real a correction needed, and funishment—is all about keeping the fun times rolling.
The problem is, since funishment is the role play version of punishment, the two can begin to overlap and things get dicey. You never know if your submissive is enjoying or learning from punishment, and whether funishment is still fun. By keeping a clear line drawn between the two in your dynamic, you can keep the kinky times rolling, and growing, as both kinks bring you and your partner closer.
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Punishment may seem clear cut: someone breaks a rule, they get punished and, hopefully, their behavior changes. To a degree, it can be that simple, but you have to truly understand your submissive. Punishment, if being used correctly, should not be something the submissive enjoys—or at least something they do not enjoy to the intensity or in the manner its being done.
For example, a masochist like me does enjoy pain—but we may not enjoy all pain. You get out a flogger, or a paddle, and I’m in bliss, but you tell me to go grab the belt and my mind goes to a completely different place. It is not excitement stirred inside of me, but a snap into the reality that I disappointed my Dominant and now have consequences to face. So by just changing the implement, you go from a play session to a punishment.
Choosing your Punishment
A crucial part of keeping punishment and funishment separate is choosing which actions will be used for each. This is where getting to know your submissive on a deeper level and having an open dialogue about punishment is crucial.
While punishment is corrective because your submissive doesn’t enjoy it, it also has to be consensual. You have to find a gray area between kinks your submissive enjoys, and their limits. This gray area is where you discover, discuss, and consent to certain punishments.
Let’s go back to my belt example. Yes, I consent to belting for a punishment in my dynamics, but we also have discussions about the extent to which I consent to being spanked. Some people may not consent to bruising, or may only consent to belting on the butt but not the back of the thighs. Or, in my case, I consent only to leather belt whippings, nothing with studs or metal on it, and no braided belts. It’s all in the details.
While many times we think of punishment solely as impact play in BDSM, there are non-physical punishments. This is useful to keep in mind when playing with a masochist because the non-physical punishments can be key to separating punishment and funishment. Keep punishment to non-impact activities, and funishment to impact play.
Non-physical correction is still complex though and requires discussing the details. For example, orgasm control can be punishing, but the discussion has to occur about whether orgasm denial or forced orgasms are consented to and corrective.
Or you can use corner time or some sort of position holding (i.e., Humble, Floor, etc), but you will want to discuss lengths of time consented to, can it occur in the same room as other kinksters if they are around or should it be in private, and whether the Dominant needs to stay in the room with the submissive or if the submissive can be left alone. Again, it’s all in the details.
Another important aspect to remember with punishment, is it will lead to negative emotions as much as it leads to positive outcomes. Someone is being corrected for doing something wrong, so this is going to cause an emotional response usually of guilt, remorse, and even anger at self.
For some, going through the punishment can help relieve the intensity of those feelings by bringing forgiveness in, but aftercare is crucial to make sure punishment stays positive. This does not mean the punishment is enjoyable, it just means comfort is provided after because the punishment was something not desired.
What aftercare looks like is just as unique as what the punishment looks like. It is something that brings a sense of comfort, forgiveness and calm back to the submissive. Frequently, aftercare involves some sort of nourishment and/or hydration. In fact, a small piece of chocolate is scientifically proven to counteract the drop from punishment. Even just getting your submissive some water, or a little snack helps, especially if it is a more intense punishment where adrenaline can lead to blood sugar drops.
But beyond the science part of it, it is about reconnecting in a positive way and providing forgiveness. Think of cuddling under a blanket, going on a walk, or any sort of activity that is calming, peaceful, and helps you feel the love and affection of one another.
Ask your submissive for ideas, try out a few different ones, and see which works for your dynamic. Aftercare doesn’t have to look the same every time, and it’s important to allow the opportunity for your submissive to ask for a different kind of aftercare if they need it. What truly matters is that it is used every time punishment occurs.
Now that we got my least favorite term out of the way, it’s onto one of my favorites: funishment.
Funishment is usually a kink of a brat, or someone with some level of masochism. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean they enjoy physical pain, it could mean they enjoy a level of degradation and humiliation, but more on those details later.
The important thing with funishment is it should be enjoyable for both parties, which again comes with negotiating and discussing the kinks you both enjoy, and the kind of role-play you find enticing. Again, this is role play of a punishment, not actual punishment, which also means it should be role play of a misbehavior, and that is where the murkiness comes in. How can misbehavior and punishment, even role play, be fun? It’s all in the details.
I have made the mistake in dynamics of not pre-negotiating which misbehaviors are funishment worthy and which are punishment worthy. A “misbehavior” in funishment is sort of like imaginary misbehavior, or a better way to think about it is it’s misbehavior in the naughty, sexy sense. It is something small that doesn’t break a clear set rule and isn’t used in disrespect.
In my past dynamics, it was things like a slow bratty eye-roll, saying “And if I don’t”, or even an “I’ll think about it.” Again, there is a difference between this done in anger, and those done in desire. That’s also why it is important to either have a list of flirtatious misbehavior or, what has worked better in my dynamics, a list of behaviors that are never to be used to be bratty or funny.
This makes the line between being a brat and being disrespectful very clear. An eye-roll with a flirtatious smile is a lot different than rolling your eyes after your Dominant gives you feedback or directs you to re-do a task. Or in being a brat and having a little attitude, but when corrected stopping, versus continuing on with the behavior when it is no longer fun, flirtatious, or enjoyable for your Dominant.
This is why funishment is used with brats. It provides a reward for appropriate bratting which creates sexual tension between the two and leads to enjoyment, and keeps them from wanting to over-brat to the point their Dominant is disrespected or hurt and true punishment occurs.
Choosing a Funishment
Choosing a funishment is similar to choosing a punishment—it comes down to knowing your partner and their likes and dislikes in kink. For funishment we are keeping it fun, so obviously we are sticking to the kinks they like. The ones that are arousing, and get their heart beating and body tingling in all the right ways.
Usually, funishment is seen in the form of impact play, but I have also seen dynamics engage in funishment through orgasm control and even forms of degradation and humiliation. What’s important is to make sure your partner enjoys it, which also means reading their body language and energy at the moment. What your partner once enjoyed in kink, may not be something they are currently in the mood, either because of their mood, how their body is reacting, or just because kinks change. So make sure to keep funishment fun, and choose something your submissive enjoys, but that also fits the punishment role play.
A Note on Aftercare
When discussing funishment in your dynamic, you need to negotiate whether aftercare is needed. This really comes down to what your submissive needs and the feelings funishment brings up in them. I can engage in funishment and not experience any kind of negative feeling, but I can also go through funishment and experience drop almost immediately after. That’s why in my dynamics, I negotiate for aftercare to still be incorporated. Granted, this sometimes is in the form of after sex cuddling, but sometimes those are the best. Talk about it with your partner, check in with their needs, and never be afraid to give some aftercare just because.
Combining without Confusion
Punishment and funishment can both be incorporated in a dynamic (at different times of course), but it takes being cautious of the potential for them to get mixed up and murky. When funishment is used while you are still pretending it is punishment through role play, but even pretend life can become real, and real punishments can start to be more fun than they are corrective.
The danger in that is twofold: one, it can swing the other way and funishment feels punishing, and it can also make it so punishment no longer serves it’s purpose because it becomes fun. That is why it is important to clearly distinguish one from another in practice in your dynamic and there are several ways to do so.
Use Completely Different Activities
With impact play being something frequently used as funishment with masochists, some couples choose not to use spankings as a form of punishment, that way it is clear when something is being done for correction, and something is being done for play. Or if orgasm control is funishment, the same thing applies, it is never used as punishment.
Things can’t always be as cut and dry as completely eliminating something as a form of punishment, but that is when you modify the details for punishment vs funishment.
All in the Details
The details of the kind of action used can open the door to so many kinky possibilities. To simplify it a bit, let’s focus on the top 3 types of play used in both punishment and funishment (and which easily lead to the two getting blurred together).
- Impact play: The most common way to distinguish the two in impact play is to have some implements specified for punishment and some for play. You can also have a certain number of strokes which is a minimum for punishment, or have a certain ritual when it comes to punishment. Perhaps punishment occurs in a certain position, certain room, certain time of the day, there is corner time after punishment, or perhaps you only make your submissive count the strokes during punishment.
- Orgasm control: This is one that is often difficult to keep as punishment because people can start enjoying it. Some ways I’ve seen it work is as punishment there is no release with orgasm denial, or there is a mandated number of forced orgasms if that is what is used. Again, though, when you are dealing with orgasm and release, it can be easy for it to go from corrective to fun.
- Humiliation/Degradation: It may seem strange for these to be used as funishment, but it is actually quite common. Usually, it’s objectification, body writing, or some sort of humiliation-related pose when it comes to funishment, but as long as your submissive enjoys it, and it’s negotiated, it’s fair game. Just make sure again that what you use to funish, you do not also use as a punishment.
Setting the Scene
The last way you can keep them separate is by treating the moment differently. This gets both you and your submissive in the right headspace. If you are correcting your submissive, they need to understand it is not a time to joke around and play. Your tone, body language, and the words you use can help communicate that.
In my dynamics, there was a very clear difference between “Go to the room” when said for discipline, and when said for foreplay. And once we were in the room, the two looked drastically different. In punishment, my Dom was stricter in tone, he was speaking in a way where I knew I had messed up (sometimes this was even when I misread the queues and tried to brat when it wasn’t the time). There was no playing around when he came in the room, it was I’m correcting you and we can get to the cuddling after.
Funishment, on the other hand, there was time taken to get to the impact, it was playful, and my body reacted a whole different way. Let’s just say wetness came from my eyes in one, and other places in the other. Wetness indication can be a good test of if funishment is still fun, and punishment isn’t too enjoyable.
Some other ways to set the scene are using corner time at the start, during, or end of punishment. You may have your submissive go get the implement for a funishment session, but in a punishment setting, you go get the implement while your submissive waits in a certain position (or vice versa). Or in a funishment setting, there may be a more intimate touch or playful dragging of an implement across the skin to build anticipation before the impact.
Using Your Voice to Set the Scene
Setting the scene isn’t always about the physical space, it is also about setting the scene in terms of energy and mood. The key tool for doing just that, is the Dominant’s voice.
There is a very clear difference between when my Dominant would say “Bedroom, now!” in a commanding voice versus “You better start walking to the bedroom brat” in more of a playful tone. It was the clearest way I could tell when I had stepped over the line from bratting to disobedience or disrespect.
And the tone was drastically different during the punishment itself versus how he was in a funishment setting. During punishment there was a command and authority in his voice. Not anger or anything to instill guilt, but clear, short statements like “Stay in position,” “I didn’t hear a count,” and some sort of strong, short, but very impactful dialogue about the behavior which had led us to the punishment situation.
Again, this was all in a very stern, straightforward, he means buisness type tone. Funishment was oh so much more enjoyable. There was a strength behind his voice still, but a softness too. The phrases were all meant to tempt and excite.
Phrases like “So you got a naughtry streak about you today, do you?,” “Are you sure that was 10, I’m pretty sure it was 9,” and even the power in the pauses between strokes where it was simply his breath filling the air. Feeling the tingles yet? That’s when you know the tone of the funishment is just right.
Even with the best of intentions, lines can start to get blurred. While this can lead to problems if continued, it also can easily be corrected at the moment, if it is caught.
If your submissive starts to get sass during a punishment, a quick verbal correction or warning, for example saying “This isn’t play, it’s punishment,” can snap a submissive back into the right headspace. Even adding onto punishment, or starting the punishment over at another time when they can be more serious, can be effective to get someone into the right headspace. This is when impromptu corner time, kneeling, or time alone in a room can allow for space for both the submissive to get in the right headspace, and for the Dominant to calm any frustration they have from the submissive being too playful.
However, if you find yourself having to re-direct your submissive on their focus during punishment, or if you as a submissive find yourself getting mixed signals during funishment or punishment–it’s time for a deeper conversation to be had.
When confusion in punishment vs funishment arrives, the conversation can be initiated by either side of the slash. At the beginning of this year, I had my Dominant sit me down for one of these conversations, and I have to applaud him because he truly showed the heart of a loving, caring Dominant.
In the conversation he pointed out the specific behaviors he saw which were showing him I wasn’t taking punishment seriously, nor was I learning or growing from it. He opened the floor up for me to share not just things I could change, but also how he could act differently during punishment to clearly set the space as a corrective one. In the end, we put a pause on funishment and it was a privilege I had to earn back, and we chose three specific punishments which would be used that way those actions were clearly tied to infractions.
What if it is the submissive who feels off, though? How does that look? There are two sides to it. In one case, a submissive may stop feeling enjoyment from funishment because it too closely resembles true punishment; and in the other, punishments may seem to be too playful from the Dominant side.
It can be hard in both cases for the submissive to approach their Dominant and ask to have a conversation, which is why it is also important for the Dominant to keep an eye out for any behavior changes like apathy, timidness, and even frustration around funishment and punishment.
Any sort of changes in reactions either emotionally or physically could be a sign that something is off in how your submissive is feeling. Again, if this is in the moment, it is best to take a pause and discuss it then, as opposed to pushing through the funishment or punishment and doing more harm than good.
Now let’s say the submissive realizes it after the fact. In that case, I have always found it best to be straightforward with the need for a conversation. Clearly stating how I am feeling about funishments or punishments and opening the floor for discussion. Things like, “I wanted to see when we could talk about the last impact session we had. I am still feeling a bit uneasy from it” communicates a clear need for the conversation and a specific instance to discuss.
Discussing punishments that don’t seem to be effective takes even more courage because you have to in a way ask for your Dominant to be tougher on you, but the times I have had those conversations, the improved punishments have always made me a better submissive and person.
Again, I approach the conversation with a clearly stated reason, not just saying: “When you have time can we discuss our punishments?” In many instances that can come off as you want to get out of punishments, but instead stating: “Lately I’ve been feeling like I need a different kind of correction to change this behavior I’m struggling with” communicates that you desire to change your behavior and improve, you just need a different method to do so. From there the conversations should be open and honest–with both sides of the slash providing ideas and negotiating potential changes the partners could make to their punishment/funishment routine.
This can be anything from changing the type of funishment or punishment used, to putting punishment or funishment (or both) on pause until a later time. Approach the discussion as an opportunity for you both to grow as a dynamic, and to explore new avenues of strengthening your bond.
Wrapping it Up
By Bratty Ann
Bratty Ann has been in the Dominant/submissive lifestyle for 4 years serving as a slave, a pet, a submissive, and, of course, a brat. She has developed a deep passion for the lifestyle and for educating others on keeping it safe, sane, and consensual. Her favorite topics to educate on include domestic discipline, taming brats, and mental health in BDSM.
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