An awful lot of people describe their dynamic as having a strong punishment component, and many posts are dedicated to describing those punishments. On the other hand, I've seen relationships described along the lines of "punishment is not part of our dynamic," or statements to the effect that, "punishment is not a necessary component of all power exchange relationships." Still others talk about punishments being reserved for very large issues or rare occasions only.
We do not have a punishment component to our relationship. If I am annoying enough, he will ignore me or otherwise not give me what I would like. That's pretty effective. The overall changes in how we interact have eliminated a lot of the petty nastiness or mean words that used to crop up from time to time. And I've found that, for the first time in our marriage, he now expresses his disappointment in me when he feels it. That alone is enough to make me stop and look at what I'm doing or saying.
I have very conflicted feelings about this topic. To start with, these are my feelings about this. I have in fact never asked my husband how he feels about punishment. Among other things, it makes me feel very un-grownup, in a not nice, immature way, to think about going to him and asking him how he feels about the idea of punishing me. That's not a feeling that I've come to terms with.
From a fairly young age, I was pretty much left on my own as far as my behavior was concerned, no real monitoring, no accounting. I have managed my own behavior ever since, so the idea of being accountable, beyond in the 'natural consequences to one's actions and words' kind of way, is odd for me to consider.
There are times when I feel out of balance that I crave more control or maybe domination from him. I need him to impose himself on me. I don't think that punishment would be meet that need though, certainly not something contrived for the moment.
My emotional state has been an occasional issue. I think that is another post for another day really. But it happens periodically - not every time, but a few times a year, that I become irrational and have a total emotional meltdown. It's short lived, but intense, and he has no patience for dealing with it. He recognizes it for what it is, but it's never pretty. However, since I really can't control it, I'm not sure a punishment, or threat of one, would make any difference.
The punishment component, or really lack thereof, in our relationship, means that I've not been "forced" to do or stop doing anything. Everything has been my choice. I go along or I don't (so far - I do). I'm not sure what would happen if I didn't. Would he back down? What if there were a really big issue? It's one area of conflicted feelings for me: part of me does really want to know, at least that he would not back down, if not what form that would take; another part of me rebels at the idea of such a thing, and thinks I have managed quite successfully for many years now, thank you very much.
I think one reason I do want to know how he would react to a big problem is that I wonder how much there is an unspoken, "you asked for this, if you stop complying, that means we're finished." I realize that this is questioning his dedication to what we have agreed to. But the niggling feeling is there, and I'm not able to parse out in my brain how much my compliance is based on my own commitment, vs. fear of him deciding he doesn't believe I'm really committed. Of course, him walking away would be quite a punishment, so... round and round goes the logic.
Then there is the fantasy angle. Punishments and discipline, when written about in an erotic way, clearly meant to arouse and entertain, do just that. I am susceptible to that, but I am also fully able to separate fantasy from reality.
So, would I want him to come after me if I really did something to hurt him, myself, or our family? I don't think, I can't imagine, he would be moved to consider the idea of punishing me for anything less. On many levels, it would be reassuring to know that he would. On the other hand, if I had done something that horrible, there would be larger issues at play.
I have read many peoples' thoughts on this, and I feel the same conflict as many. I am a grown up. I have been responsible for myself for a long time and nothing has happened to suddenly render me incapable of continuing to behave appropriately, do what I ought, and manage myself. On the other hand, I have put many aspects of myself in his hands, and this was part of the package.