are significant differences between corporal punishment
and the infliction of pain for the giving of pleasure:
technique, reason, and effect come to mind right away.
A person can endure a significant amount of pain from
a whip, strap, hand, or paddle if their application begins
slowly and builds to a higher, faster, and stronger level.
This technique is used when the spanking or whipping is
meant to give pleasure to either partner. "Warming
an ass" prepares it for heavier discipline as the
body adjusts itself to increasingly higher levels of pain.
When the discipline begins at a higher level of intensity,
the pain is much more difficult to tolerate.
During the times that pleasure is the reason for the spanking,
there is (usually) a warmth, camaraderie, and intimacy
that is lacking when the punishment is for the sake of
punishment. At such times, caressing, kissing, foundling,
and stroking are often intermixed with the application
And lastly, discipline feels different and effects a slave
or bottom differently. Whereas many bottoms enjoy a paddling,
most will do their best to avoid the paddle when it is
applied as a punishment.. Strange as it may seem, the
purpose and technique create a wholly other experience
when the top wields a whip as a means of correction or
Many novices (and some not so new to the scene) think
that both forms of discipline are the same --- but they
aren't. Discipline is a significant tool in a master's
repertoire, but it is one that is often misunderstood
Real discipline "works" best in relationships
that have continuity to them. It is meant to alter behavior.
That doesn't mean that paddling and such can't be part
of a short term scene. It certainly can be, though intense
discipline demands a level of trust not easily reached
in a fleeting encounter. Rule making, breaking, and the
subsequent "punishment" are often part of the
role-playing that occurs in SM encounters. I'm not going
to presume to tell two (or more) people what should happen
in their SM scene, but such discipline has a different
"flavor" to it.
Some tops impose rules during a scene in order to create
a reason for punishment. Likewise, some bottoms break
the rules in order to "force" the top to punish
them. In either case, if the scene works, then it is right
for its participants. But all too often such artificiality
is uncalled for. The simple recognition of rights and
reasons can eliminate the need for such "play-acting"
I mean is this: if a top wants to spank, paddle, whip,
or otherwise warm up his bottom's bottom he doesn't need
to use rules to gain "permission" to do so.
As the dominant partner with a consenting bottom, he already
has that permission. The sake of the top's pleasure is
reason enough to proceed. In a real master/slave relationship,
the top is in control and that is ground enough for him'/her
to do as s/he feels, within the limits or sanity, safety,
2000 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
But the vast majority of Leather scenes never approach
the intensity of a true master/slave relationship. Most
of the time, the Leather scene is simply an acting out
of fantasy. The "scene" is kept in the realm
of play, and is seldom, if ever, allowed to effect one's
life and lifestyle. That's the way life is, and it's liable
to stay that way for a long time to come.
The problem with imposing rules in order that they be
broken, or breaking rules simply for eliciting discipline
is that both cases set up a scenario for failure.
At a recent "novice night" I was asked about
a top who piled rules upon rules in order to make his
bottom break them. It seemed he wanted force the bottom
to deserve a punishment. The bottom, for his part, found
it frustrating, since his intention was to please his
"master", an unlikely job since the rules were
impossible to keep.
The bottom would have been very happy to please his master
by receiving the discipline. There was no need to force
it on him. He was willing to endure it for his master's
pleasure. Instead he felt a strong sense of failure since
he couldn't keep all the rules his master had imposed.
As Larry, an experienced master says, "You don't
need to break a rule for me to punish you. I'll do it
just because I want to do it. If you want a paddling,
don't fuck up, just ask me for it and you'll get it."
Larry can speak that way because of his own self-confidence.
He recognizes the rights and responsibilities inherent
in an SM relationship and is comfortable with the gratifications
The best SM scenes are learning experiences. Discipline
is a useful and necessary tool. With it a master can teach
his slave how to behave and can help him modify his behavior
to give greater pleasure to his master. Early on in their
relationship, Jim, Larry's slave, often came prematurely,
much to his master's displeasure. The application of a
heavy black belt across Jim's ass cured that habit very
There is more to the Leather scene than play-acting. It
can be more than pleasurable. Like all relationships,
SM can provide an environment for personal growth and
deep meaningful relationships. When two people come together
with mutual respect and understanding, they open themselves
to a world of miracles and delight. No matter what connotation
you give to the word "rod", use it wisely and
it will reward you immensely.
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