Most D/s articles on the Internet talk about punishment in terms of spanking. “If you do not obey, I will spank you.” But how does this work if the submissive or slave actually likes to be spanked? Kind of like”please don’t throw me in the briar patch.” Here we will catalogue punishments you can actually use in the real time training of a slave/submissive.

First, Let’s start with some basic punishment principles. It is always important to gear the punishment to the infraction. Let the punishment fit the crime. When a minor infraction gets a major punishment, you are sending the wrong signal. Try to administer punishment as closely as possible to the time of the infraction. In this way the sub/slave will not only be properly and predictably disciplined, but will also respect his/her Dominant. Never let a punishment cause injury. Never, ever use a hard limit as a punishment. And, finally, always start the punishment with a lecture/explanation.

There is a debate as to whether punishment sessions should have safe words. Some Masters/Doms/Dommes allow them, others do not. It is a matter of preference, style, how well the Dominant knows the submissive and, of course, how experienced the Dominant is. Those Dominants who do not allow safe words should always err on the side of safety. My feeling is that in the beginning of a D/s relationship, use safe words all the time – in play and in punishment. As should all novice Dominants. As the Dominant?s knowledge of the submissive – and as the submissive’s trust in the Dominant grows – safe words can be done away with. Carefully.

There is also the question as to whether punishment is necessary in the training of a sub/slave at all. There is no rule that says there must be punishment in a Master/slave or Dom/sub relationship. Some can envision a slave so instinctual she needs no punishment to serve flawlessly. And surely some subs/slaves can respond perfectly to praise alone. Different (flogger) strokes for different folks. But as The Punishment Manual is intended only for those Doms who use punishment as an integral part of their sub/slave training, the point is moot.

There are two sides to the discipline coin – physical punishment and mental punishment. (Of course, there is a mental component to physical punishment; so when I refer to “mental punishment” I mean that which does not include any physical contact.) Physical punishment is the most obvious weapon in the Dominant’s training arsenal. But the Dom’s disapproval is also a powerful weapon — as is any number of mental punishments. “The pen is mightier than the sword” has its analogue in D/s – “the word is as mighty as the lash.” I have seen in my time, that a balanced combination of both physical and mental punishment, along with praise, to be the most effective way to train a submissive or slave.


  1. Find the “butt-beating” implement that your submissive dislikes. If he/she hates the paddle, the cane or a particular flogger in your collection, use it. Look no further, you have found the perfect tool of discipline. When your submissive or slave commits an infraction that requires punishment, bring out the paddle or cane (or whatever implement is on the sub’s “un-wish” list) and administer punishment.  But keep out wary eye out for signs that the submissive is actually enjoying the “punishment.” Make sure you do not let the submissive get into subspace. If you see the submissive hitting “space,” stop. And tell the submissive why you are stopping.  Clever “bratty” subs have been known to misbehave in order to get a good beating. This might be fine for role-play, but is counter-productive if you are seriously trying to train a submissive or slave. If this is the case, switch to another form of punishment.
  2. For very serious infractions, severe punishment might be in order. This, of course, is not to be attempted by beginners or those with new D/s relationships where the dynamics are not yet established. The cane is perfect for this kind of disciplining.  A ball gag is also effective when severe punishment is called for.
  3. Hair pulling is a great way to get your point across. Especially when verbal disapproval accompanies this action. A good hair pulling session with a “what did you do wrong” question and response routine is awfully effective. In the following pictures, the hair pulling is accompanied by a swat with the hairbrush! This is a lesson not soon forgotten!
  4.  A very popular punishment for a mouthy submissive is the age-old one of washing the mouth out with soap. This has worked for the last hundred years and will probably work for a hundred more!
  5. Although I will cover humiliation as a mental punishment in Part Two, there are some physical punishments that can be humiliating. Being forced to wear a baby pacifier in public can be a reinforcing experience. The picture I have chosen here is one of a submissive wearing a butt plug with a ponytail. Being made to display this toy in public at a BDSM play party setting can be humiliating, depending on the situation.
  6. “Sensory Deprivation” is perhaps the single most “unforgettable” punishment a Master/Mistress/Dom/Domme can mete out. Being tied and left alone – especially when ballgagged and even blindfolded — for a period of time is another punishment the submissive will not soon forget!
  7. “Corporal Punishment” is a combination punishment – it encompasses both the physical and mental side.  Corporal punishment can be altered in many ways – but the major point is the question and response during the punishment. For example — “Does sub/slave know why he/she is being punished?” “Yes, Sir/Ma’am. I have shamed Master/Mistress by (reciting offense).” You can incorporate this Q and A technique to just about any physical punishment.  Here the submissive is chained to a spanking bench, which is ideal for administering corporal punishment.
  8. A variation on the sensory deprivation theme is being kept in a cage. Depending on the submissive’s fears (if it is a hard limit, avoid this as a punishment), this can be the one thing the submissive fears most. Requiring the submissive to eat out of the bowl is another aspect of this punishment that can be quite humiliating. Again, the objective is to know and understand your submissive or slave. To repeat – if caging, eating out of a bowl or humiliation in general is a hard limit, this is not a punishment you should ever use.
  9. There is really no limit on what you can use as punishment. Sometimes play that is enjoyable can be used as punishment when done in a disapproving manner or on another area of the body. For example, wax play on the buttocks might be one of your submissive?s favorite activities. But when applied to the breasts, she might hate it. In this case, use it!

These are just a few examples of the types of physical punishments that can be used when training a submissive or a slave.

The true aim of all punishment is to imprint your displeasure on the sub’s mind so that he/she will not repeat the offense. So ultimately all punishment has at its core a mental aspect to it.

I have had some used on myself and others have been designed by other Doms i’ve spoken with. You should not confine yourself to those listed here. The only limit is your imagination and your understanding of your sub’s psyche. For example, I was once made and example of..i had to watch my least favorite movie of all time – the incredibly boring “Room With A View”, at one sitting with no breaks. Though its effects on my behavior proved to be of shorter duration than a session with the old cane! This adds fuel to the debate as to which is more effective – physical or mental punishment.

The most important part of any punishment is the mental part. All physical punishments should be preceded by a lecture explaining what the submissive did to displease the Dom, Domme or Master. Explain what the submissive is being punished for. This is essential. I would also give the submissive a chance (if he/she so desires) to explain why he/she thinks the punishment is unwarranted. Most likely, this will turn into a brief excuse session. But keep an open mind. If you, as the Dominant, are mistaken or you misinterpreted the infraction, be big enough to admit it. You will grow in stature in the submissive?s eyes. The lecture is indispensable to the proper discipline of a submissive. It is as important as the penalty itself. These lectures or explanations should precede all punishments — whether physical or mental.

There are some Doms who use the lecture as a punishment in and of itself. Some submissives respond strongly to disapproval. Since the object is to train the submissive, the Dominant should not need to use physical punishment — or more severe mental punishment — unless necessary. My father had an expression he used whenever he severely punished me (as a child…no jokes, my friends.) “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” This should apply in D/s as well. Use the least painful punishment (mental or physical) that will accomplish the task. If a lecture works — and that is all that is needed — by all means use that as your primary tool of discipline.

The parent/child model holds true in that many punishments mimic those used in grade school. Requiring your submissive to hand write a given phrase – such as “I will not disrespect Master in public” — a hundred times (or more) works wonders. I know a Dominant who required his submissive to write, “I will not answer Master’s business phone with a Hello?” five hundred times. Since he did not specify “hand written,” she used the copy button on her computer. So make sure you specify “hand written.” (A clever
sub was she!)

Another old school punishment is the classic “dunce cap” routine. There are innumerable variations on it. Standing in the corner for a given period of time – an hour or two, for example – is one version. Making the submissive literally wear a homemade “dunce cap” (make the sub make it) is not only humiliating, it borders on the totally devious. Use this latter one with care since humiliation is not to be used for every submissive?s discipline. If humiliation is a hard limit, don?t go there. Even for discipline.

Speaking of humiliation, punishment based on humiliation (if applicable) can be awesome. Making the submissive wear a baby pacifier in public is a humbling experience. If the submissive has been mouthy, an entire evening without being allowed to speak will do the trick. A very extreme humiliation – use with care – require the submissive to wear a sign stating her offense at a BDSM play party. Or just make the slave watch and not participate (if he/she likes to play publicly) at such a BDSM party. Yet another one – make the sub or slave eat out of a bowl on all fours like a dog. (But make sure the sub or slave does not like this; if he/she does, use another punishment.)

Isolation is another mental punishment. Making the submissive stay in a small room or closet with no link to the outside world for a couple of hours can be maddening. And one a submissive might not ever wish to repeat. But make sure the submissive cannot sleep through it. Standing up can make sleep all but impossible.

A less severe form of isolation – especially in the information age – is suspending the slave’s computer, email, telephone or television privileges. This is one form of isolation that is quite effective as a punishment.

Complete sensory deprivation for a period of time is yet another variation on this isolation theme. Ball gagged, blindfolded in a dark room – add sleep deprivation (wake the sub/slave from time to time) and you have a totally diabolical punishment. Use with care.

If your slave is trained for housework, then punishments such as re-folding towels that were done sloppily or being made to eat off dirty dishes that were improperly cleaned are widely used. The “let the punishment fit the crime” imperative is a wise one to follow.

Then there are those unique punishments you devise yourself. These are the most fun. And the most bonding – because they are unique to your relationship. I was tied up in a room and played The Weather Channel LOUD for an hour. I hate the weather channel! I doubt if i live to a hundred i will ever forget that one. (hated that more than watching “Room With A View”!)

Just keep in mind that even mental punishments can have their dangers. To repeat, never use a hard limit as a punishment. But if you use your imagination and maintain a sense of what is fair, the use of mental punishment to train a submissive or slave can be as effective as physical ones. And when used in combination with physical ones…WOW!

Finally, no matter what punishments you have used, do not forget aftercare. A punishment session can be exhausting for the submissive, both physically and emotionally. Thus the same procedures for post-scene aftercare apply for mental punishment sessions as well.


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