I was bent over the bed with his belt being applied to my ass at the time those words were spoken.
But he was right, and i did know it wasn't a punishment. It was a re-set though. And i needed it.
I had been increasingly cranky over the day. Not snarky. He knows that if he ignores that, it dies pretty quickly from a lack of attention. But i was moody and withdrawn and pouting and rebuffing his attention, which he hates much more than smart-assed or even snarky.
I know he has learned how to spank me in a way that cuts through the foul mood. It's not erotic and it's not taking me off to a happy place. It starts out harder than a long session of impact and pain would, but never moves into that kind of intensity either. He stopped - i thought too soon. I wanted it to ramp up and go on a much longer time. But that wasn't the purpose this time. And he was right. I got up mellowed and happy to be close to him. I apologized and thanked him.
I think this kind of pain gives me something to be pissed and cranky at: it lets me build up those emotions, focus them at something, then release them altogether. It also greatly reassures me that he wants me a certain way and cares to help me be there.
I know the topic of punishment, especially using pain as punishment in a D/s relationship, is debated and is unique to each set of people involved. I know it is possible to produce an altogether different type and level of pain than would happen during play, enough that it would be punitive and cause aversion. I am certain he could do this.
But i also know that i have a relationship to pain that i don't comprehend at all and am only beginning to see the shape of. And i know there are a lot of switches in his head (good ones) that get flipped in inflicting pain on me, but i won't even try to guess at the overall lay of the land in there. I have no idea if his view on punishment is a philosophical thing, or a desire not to complicate an already complex use of pain between us, or something else, or a combination.....
Whatever i think or guess might be good for me or that i think i want doesn't matter. He doesn't use spanking or other real pain as punishment. He may tweak or swat or pinch or bite to get my attention or emphasize a point, but as a consequence or a deterrent or retribution, no.
In the end, it probably doesn't matter what you call this kind of spanking - punishment maybe, reminder, re-set, attitude adjustment, maintenance.... in the end (yes - a pun) it works. And, contrary to how i've approached everything else, I haven't felt compelled to understand and label and second guess this. I've been able to go along and even be thankful that he seems to have figured out what works for us.