Punishment vs. Funishment

The topic of punishment has long been debated within the BDSM community. Some see punishment as unnecessary cruelty, while others see it as simply a part of what we do. Understanding the uses of punishment and how to make it effective within your relationship is therefore essential.

There are those who confuse punishment with funishment. Now, I know, funishment isn’t really a word, but the concept is very familiar.

Simply explained: funishment is mock punishment, where the submissive asks for or desires to be “punished” for some perceived wrong doing and in receiving the “punishment,” the submissive’s need for play/attention/desire is fulfilled. It is a game between Dominant and submissive. At times the Dominant may “punish” the submissive for breaking arbitrary rules, and both understand that this is simply a game, a role-play, leading into play. The “you’ve been a bad girl so you need to be punished” type of play is very familiar in our world. But this is play and not true punishment.

Punishment is not fun. Punishment is not desired. Punishment is meant to correct behavior or to resolve a conflict.

There are several aspects to punishment which make it effective.

First, the submissive must fully understand the behavior/action that is being corrected and what they should have done differently. Without this part, the punishment is, in My opinion, cruel as well as ineffective.

Second, punishment should never be administered in anger, this is simply abuse.

Third, once the undesirable behavior is discussed, and punishment is administered simply and fairly, forgiveness must be given. In using punishment in this way, not only is it effective, but it also offers closure and resolution, allowing you to move forward. Once this process is over, both parties should strive never to refer to it again. The subject should be closed.

The physical punishment should only begin after the situation has been fully discussed. If you are not done with your anger, if you are not yet ready to let it go, then physical punishment should not be administered. Punishment, administered when both parties have a cool head, is an effective way to allow the submissive to move forward without guilt or further repercussions, and to allow the Dominant to move forward and forgive.

But what happens when it is the Dominant who is in the wrong? We make mistakes as well. So how do We resolve them? Depending upon your dynamic, punishment can also be used to resolve the mistakes of the Dominant.

In our relationship, My submissive takes My punishment for Me. If I am wrong, we discuss the issue, how I will do things differently in the future, and then he takes My punishment. This helps us resolve the issue and move forward. By taking the punishment for Me, he is acknowledging that I am forgiven for what I’ve done. If the situation is not fully resolved between us, he is not capable of submitting to this punishment, but once we have discussed and resolved, the physical punishment gives us closure. Let Me warn you, however, that this is not an easy thing to do. Punishing him because I am wrong, is very difficult for Me. But like any punishment, it deters from repeat offenses.

Methods of punishment depend on your dynamic. Punishment can range from corporal methods of spanking, paddling, or caning to assigning undesirable tasks or corner time. I’ve been told that one punishment that many abhor is simply standing in the corner, holding a dime to the wall with one’s nose, adding a squatting position, or some other physically difficult-to-hold position can increase the level of punishment. 

I'm a firm believer in allowing the punishment to fit the crime.  For instance, if he doesn't make the bed, then he is not allowed to sleep in it.  He can sleep on the floor.

Funishment methods are only limited to one’s imagination. In the end, the same methods can be used for each, but as with anything, intent makes all the difference. It is very difficult to enjoy a paddling when one knows that they have upset their Dominant. So long as the intent is clear, so too is the difference between funishment and punishment.


Copyright 2012 Mistress Nerissa


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January 03, 2017

Great article.

Tony Conrad

July 28, 2017

Thank you for the article. I think what we have in our marriage is funishment as the spanking is always fun and erotic never punishment or even domination although it may look like it. We may not be normal in our marriage as my wife is the one who spanks.

Kelly Robinson

November 02, 2018

Wonderfully stated! This was very recently the subject of a quite heated argument in a lifestyle Facebook group that I belong to. Someone posted asking if anyone else makes their Daddy mad because they like punishment. My response, as a generally well behaved little kitten was that punishments arent meant to be enjoyed, their sole purpose is to teach us a lesson or correct a behavior. For this reason, I get spankings as rewards, NOT as punishment! Dont get me wrong, my partner and i do engage in funishment from time to time, but the intent is always made crystal clear as to which is which so no unnecessary harm is done. Thank you again for the great article, would you mind if I share it with the aforementioned FB group? (Heck, it might even help boost sales if I mention your site and your fabulous selection of BDSM play things ♡) p.s. I love this site and everything it has to offer!! Keep up the great work! ❤❤❤


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