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Discipline & Punishment ~ subtle behaviour modification

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I had been thinking about the prompt 4thoughts and decided that I didn’t really know too much about discipline and punishment. But then again, perhaps I was wrong…

Musings about everyday Discipline and Punishment

It seems most relationships work on a transactional basis – an exchange of sorts. The more balanced the exchange, the healthier the partnership. In the past I have been involved with a couple of men who let me rule the roost. It can be a nice place to be, temporarily. However, after a while my respect for them began to dwindle and I knew that together we were not a good match.

Of course with any transaction there needs to be give and take. But this should come from both sides. And even applies if you are in a D’s dynamic. The Dom needs to care for the subs needs, just as the sub wants to please the Dom.

Discipline and punishment role play can consensually be used as part of a relationship in ways that both parties enjoy. This can work for daily activities and sex sessions. But I do wonder, is being told you are going to be punished and agreeing to it – for the sake of sexy capers – really a punishment? And what about consensual discipline? Can such a thing still be discipline if you are agreeing to it?

Definitions ~ online sources

Discipline ~ The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience.

Punishment ~ The infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense

Everyday life

Surely, real discipline and punishment is carried out on a day to day – very general basis – where perhaps either party is not even aware it is occurring.

It may be the little things. For example:

Alex is cross with Harley for not having done their share of the chores. When they go to bed Alex punishes Harley by refusing sex. Alex may actually be pissed off which would put a dampener on their sex drive anyhow. But if Harley is feeling horny, then they will think their needs are being denied and punished. A simple scenario. But perhaps next time Harley may well not neglect their share of the chores.

And so, Alex has successfully modified Harley’s behaviour with discipline and punishment.

In every day life discipline and punishment only works in situations, like the example above, when the punishment is equal to the deed the person is being disciplined for. If Harley forgets to take the rubbish out and as a consequence Alex refuses to interact with Harley for a week – and perhaps also does not share meals – then Harley will soon get fed up of Alex’s pre-madonna ways.  Harley  won’t adapt in a positive manner at all because the punishment being dished out by Alex is too extreme for the crime. Harley will probably just carry on behaving badly, or possibly worse.

Acceptable conditioning

I think what I am saying here is that everyday discipline and punishment is often in play within a relationship as an acceptable way to modify behaviour. It has not really been consented to. But never the less, is recognised as part and parcel of a partnership.

I am fascinated by plots in movies, books and plays – such as Gas Light. Stories that feature someone inflicting a continued drip of minor psychological digs at another person. They continue until the victim has become so on edge or anxious they feel as if they are literally going insane or they break down in some way. This type of situation could actually happen in real life because the gradual manipulation is a slow burn of small things – systematically carried out. Not noticed until the damage has been done.

Within society, behaviour modification –  via discipline and punishment – can be carried out lawfully if a crime is committed. But is also in play on a more subtle level to manipulate and distract people on a day to day basis. After all, influencing behaviour is central to government public policy.

What say you?


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