Four Ways to Punish Your Submissive

“What are some ways I can punish my submissive?” is a super common question in kinky circles. And usually the answer it gets is some brusque version of “Figure it out for yourself.”

That answer has a point. It is true that it’s best for the choice of how (and whether) to punish to flow out of the unique desires of your partner and yourself.

But sometimes you just want some ideas to jumpstart your imagination! So here’s a selection of ways to punish a partner who needs punishing.

Make sure that any punishment you use fits within the consent that your partner has given you!

Pain

You could hurt them.

The archetypal kinky punishment is a spanking. There are myriad options for paddles, whips, crops and all sorts of other impact implements to add leverage and intensity to a beating. Some people attach special significance to certain kinds of implements. Maybe being smacked across the knuckles with a ruler makes them feel like a naughty schoolboy. You can even build up significance around one specific implement by using it exclusively for punishment beatings; so that “Go get the punishment stick,” takes on a ritual weight in your relationship.

A nice thing about beatings is that their severity is neatly quantized. You get to assign a number of strokes to fit the crime, and you can do things like “That’s five from the cane, and if you give me any more lip it’ll be ten.” You can add drama by having your naughty partner count the strokes as you deliver them, or make a ritual apology after each one lands.

There are lots of kinds of pain other than beatings, too.

  • Strap a dog’s shock collar around their thigh, way high up where the skin is tender, and you can punish them with the push of a button. Good for instantly correcting them the moment they misbehave.
  • Put gravel in their shoes or make them kneel on scattered grains of rice.
  • Rub capsaicin or menthol on their mucous membranes.
  • Put clamps on their sensitive bits. You can scale the punishment both by how many clamps and by how long they’re left on. This one’s good for long distance power exchange: you can have them put the clamps on themselves while you watch on video, and have a conversation about how they’re going to do better while they suffer through their punishment.

Deprivation

You could take away something that they will miss.

They don’t get their favorite food or their favorite TV show for some period of time. Or they don’t get to orgasm. Or they have to sleep at the foot of the bed rather than in it. Take away all their sexy clothing, or take away all their comfortable clothing, whichever one they’d miss most.

The worse their misbehavior, the longer the deprivation. It’s a good idea to start with pretty short durations. You want to make your point, demonstrate your authority and make them sorry⁠—without the deprivation going on long enough that it becomes just plain annoying.

A lot of traditional children’s punishments are deprivation-style punishments, and so they can fit nicely with ageplay and Daddy/Mommy style dynamics. Taking away their toys (whether that’s their vibrator or their video game), limiting their phone time or sending them to bed without supper can be punishing and also reinforce the feeling of being like a naughty child. “Corner time,” where they have to stand quietly in a corner facing the wall while they think about what they did wrong, can be a surprisingly impactful form of deprivation.

Humiliation

You could use shame to punish.

For many folks, being embarrassed is a much scarier threat than being whipped.

  • Make them write what they did wrong on their body, send you a picture, and wear the words under their clothing until the marker fades.
  • Make them write a humiliating confession as their Fetlife status update.
  • Was their behavior infantile? Make them use a diaper.
  • Get a dunce cap, or a shirt that says “I’m a fuckup,” and make them wear it when they’ve been a dunce or a fuckup. Depending on your dynamic they might wear it only in private with you, in kinky social contexts, or even out to the grocery store.

Punishments that you’d give to a misbehaving pet can have a special edge of humiliation, and complement pet play dynamics. Swat them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, or give them a squirt from the spray bottle. Grab them by the scruff of the neck and literally rub their nose in what they did wrong. Making them eat from a dog bowl on the floor might be punishing, though if they’re really into pet play that might be a reward!

Ordeal

You could make them accomplish some arduous task. An ordeal gives your partner something to succeed at, which can be a way of wiping away the failure that led to them being punished in the first place. They show their strength, courage or devotion through the ordeal, and afterward they can feel good about themselves and even more committed to their submission.

  • Dig a hole and fill it back in.
  • Scrub the floor with a toothbrush.
  • Hand-write “I will always obey my Owner,” two hundred times.
  • Carry an uncooked egg with them at all times for a day (or a week) to prove that they can pay attention.

Military-style discipline dynamics lend themselves well to ordeals.

  • “Drop and give me twenty!”
  • “Get those boots shined so I can see myself in them!”
  • Hold perfectly still at attention while enduring an extended, graphic, merciless reprimand shouted right in their ear.
  • Shoulder a heavy pack and run up the mountain and back.

There is so much more to say about punishment! How to decide when to punish, how to make punishment fit the misbehavior, the difference between corrective punishment and play punishment and so much more. There’s a whole chapter on it in The Dominance Playbook.

But if you just wanted some ideas, now you’ve got a few.