Speaking of Punishment Scenes
Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com
You've been a bad boy. A bad, bad boy.
And you deserve to be punished.
That sort of thing is music to many a kinky bottomboy's ears. In the
wonderful world of bondage and discipline, the discipline dished out is
often framed as punishment for something. Or other. Or just about anything.
"Daddy is so disappointed in you, son," is liable to be followed by an
over-the-knee spanking, a vigorous paddling, or some other deliciously
painful or humiliating punishment. From between gritted teeth, the wayward
lad promises to behave. And both guys are in hog heaven. But what makes
punishment scenes so cock-hardeningly hot?
"I think it's all about guilt feelings," says one nasty Dad. "Not guilt for
anything specific, maybe, or perhaps guilt for a whole lot of things. Guilt
for being queer, for being kinky, for being the kind of man who enjoys
punishment scenes to start with."
That's echoed - from the other side of the fuckfence - by a masochistic male
who says, "I like pain, but when that pain is framed as punishment,
everything becomes super-emotional for me. A good scene can bring up so much
in my head and in my past, and leave me feeling relaxed and cleansed."
Still, punishment scenes aren't supposed to replace psychotherapy; they can
also be plain old nasty fun.
Not every punishment scene is fantasy-framed as a furious father waling away
at his disobedient son, of course. Masculine icons from the hard-edged
professor to the even harder-edged drill sergeant can prompt naughty boys'
hard-ons. And sometimes punishment scenes work best when no heavy
role-playing is involved, just two guys going at it more or less as
Punishment scenes, whatever they may look like from the outside, have an
ambiguous element of "Don't throw me in the briar patch, Br'er Fox." Which
is to say that rough treatment of one sort or another is precisely what
the bottom wants. So what kind of punishment is that? After all, it is, in
a sense, a reward for "bad behavior," and some sly scamps have even been
known to misbehave just so they can get another dose of discipline. Tricky,
Even that conundrum oversimplifies matters. When it comes to power, pain,
and prick, guys often feel decidedly ambivalent about things. Punishment
scenes, even more than a lot of other S/M-related fun, can play with those
mixed feelings, and play hard. And because those feelings can cut so deep,
it's important for a discipline top to maintain an awareness of limits -
both physical and emotional. In a hardcore punishment scene, the bottom can
end up in tears. But, of course, there's good crying and bad crying, and we
all want to leave the bedroom feeling better, now don't we? It's a situation
where, if you're playing with a stranger, the use of a safe word - a
preselected word that basically means "stop" - might well be wise.
Whether the discipline is as mild as a tongue-lashing or as rigorous as a
real lashing, great punishment scenes - like all good sex, for that
matter - require self-knowledge, trust, and sensitivity. That might sound
awfully high-flown for a spanking from Daddy, but for those devoted to
discipline, nothing else comes close or strikes deeper.
And if things go awry? "I remember one scene at a sex party where my
bottomboy insisted on misbehaving.and not in a fun way," remembers
Discipline Dad. So what did Daddy do? He inflicted the ultimate punishment
on a bottomboy aching to play: He just walked away.
Simon Sheppard is the co-editor of Rough Stuff: Tales of Gay Men, Sex, and Power (Alyson Books)
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