What Are BDSM Punishments?

BDSM punishments can be as fun or as serious as you want them to be.

What Are BDSM Punishments?

What Are BDSM Punishments?

What Are BDSM Punishments?

7 minute read

Whether or not your relationship already features power dynamics, punishments can be a fun way to incorporate BDSM (bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism) and experience new sensations in the bedroom. In fact, playful punishments are known in the BDSM community as funishments, and with good reason. If you think you might be interested in giving BDSM punishments a try, here’s what you need to know before getting started.

How do BDSM punishments work?

Before engaging in BDSM punishment, it’s important everyone involved has communicated their wants, needs, and boundaries. Partners will agree on who plays what role, what the limits of that role may be, and what the dynamic is. In some relationships, punishments are used to reinforce a dominant/submissive power dynamic. The dominant partner sets rules for their submissive, who is then rewarded or punished based on how well they behave. Possible punishments may be decided by both partners beforehand or chosen by the dominant to suit the nature and severity of the “misdeed.” For instance, speaking out of turn might be punished with the insertion of a ball gag during sexual activities, rendering the sub unable to speak. The goals of punishments in this context are to keep bad behavior in check and encourage the submissive to improve in their role. To establish this kind of dynamic consensually and safely, there are few guidelines to consider. 

What are the rules for BDSM punishments?

Fun and healthy BDSM depends on informed consent and established boundaries beforehand. This becomes particularly important when pain or humiliation are involved. Punishments should be desired by both the giver and receiver, and there shouldn’t be any big surprises. If you want to start incorporating punishments into your relationship, these are some general guidelines:

  • Introduce the idea of punishments to your partner. Talk to your partner about the prospect of sexual punishments and check whether they’re also excited about it. Instead of introducing discipline as an abstract concept, you might start by asking if they’d like to try spanking you (or being spanked!) during sex. 
  • Communicate needs and boundaries. Figuring out what both partners are okay and not okay with before punishments will ensure the experience is fun for everyone. For example, you might be turned on by barehanded spankings, but less interested in receiving a belt whipping. If humiliation is involved, be sure that the activities are degrading in a fun way — some name-calling might be desired while other words can be genuinely hurtful. You might also consider agreeing on a safe word so the submissive partner can pause or stop the punishment whenever they’ve had enough.
  • Punishments should have a reason. If you’re in a dominant/submissive relationship, there might be explicit rules in place that result in punishments when broken. But if not, try to create reasons why you’re punishing your partner which you both find sexy. This could be as simple as telling your lover they’ve been naughty before launching into a spanking, or making them apologize for behaving in some way you didn’t like. Whatever it is, make sure your partner finds your reasons for punishment exciting — this isn’t the place for insults or serious disagreements. 
  • Do your research. Some punishments require more preparation than others. If you want to experiment with more intense forms of impact play, for example, become educated about where you should and shouldn’t hit your partner to avoid injury. Likewise, with bondage, make sure you know what you’re doing and how to safely untie your partner afterward. Avoid any punishments that could be potentially dangerous, and don’t try new things without any warning.
  • Adjust as you go. Just because your partner asks for a certain punishment doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily like how you deliver it — or they may find that something is more painful than fun after all. Leave room for the submissive partner to speak up about what they like and don’t like during a scene, and adjust as needed. Likewise, if you find that you feel uncomfortable degrading your partner in some way, let them know.
  • Consider aftercare. Aftercare involves taking care of the submissive partner’s physical and emotional needs following a BDSM scene. Take time to ask them how they felt during the punishment, if they’d change anything next time, and what they need from you now. Following up a punishment with some kind of reward — like gently cuddling, or massaging the area that was hit — shows your partner that you care about their pleasure. If humiliation was involved, they may need reassurance that the name-calling doesn’t reflect how you truly feel about them.

What are the types of BDSM punishments?

BDSM punishments can be broadly categorized as either painful or pain-free. Painful punishments typically involve direct touch, like impact play, rope tying, handcuffing, etc. Pain-free punishments are often less straightforwardly sexual in nature. Some people are excited by the feeling of humiliation, for example, which can be triggered by different verbal or physical acts of humiliation, depending on what they personally find demeaning. 

What are some BDSM punishment ideas?

Here are some categories of punishments and ideas for getting started:

  1. Impact play: Impact play involves striking someone with your hand or an instrument like a paddle, belt, whip, cane or flogger. For beginners, a barehanded over-the-knee spanking before sex is a great place to start.
  2. Bondage: Bondage involves the use of restraints. As a punishment, this could mean tying the submissive partner in an uncomfortable position, like on their hands and knees, and forcing them to stay in place for a set amount of time. 
  3. Restrictive punishments: Restrictive punishments involve the dominant partner temporarily taking away something the submissive likes. This could mean sex toys, TV privileges, or behavioral restrictions, like forbidding the sub to make eye contact for a set amount of time.
  4. Humiliation: This involves humiliating the submissive partner, based on whatever both partners find degrading, yet erotic. This might mean having the submissive partner write words like “slut” on their body in marker, ignoring them while receiving oral sex, or having them serve as a human footstool — there’s plenty of room for creativity based on what kind of humiliation your partner prefers.
  5. Servitude: This is a form of humiliation, servitude involves performing submissive tasks for a dominant partner. That might include serving drinks, giving a foot rub, or otherwise taking orders for a set amount of time.
  6. Roleplay: Certain forms of roleplay can be used as a form of punishment. Forced ageplay, for example, involves treating the submissive partner like a young child. This might mean having them take a time-out in the corner, crawl instead of walking, or use a sippy cup.
  7. Orgasm control: This is when the submissive partner may only touch themselves or reach orgasm with the dominant partner’s permission. This could take place during sex or be applied as a rule for masturbation sessions.
  8. Orgasm edging: Edging involves working up to orgasm and then removing all stimulation before you climax — or, “go over the edge”. As a punishment, one partner might allow the other to masturbate and edge a certain number of times, never achieving gratification.
  9. Chastity belt: A chastity belt is a metal device that locks around a person’s genital area, designed to restrict sex and masturbation. Versions for both male and female genitalia are available and can be used as a form of orgasm control.
  10. Long-distance punishments: If you and your partner are far apart, there are still ways to incorporate discipline. Micromanagement, for instance, involves the dominant partner closely monitoring daily activities or assigning tasks. The submissive partner might be expected to text what they’re doing every hour, ask permission for everyday activities, like using the bathroom, or be instructed on when to masturbate.

What are some BDSM punishments for female partners?

While most punishments can be performed on all sexes, you might be interested in discipline specifically suited to female partners. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Vibrating panties: Wearable vibrators — those that can be inserted into the pocket of your underwear —  are often quiet enough to wear in public without anyone noticing. As a humiliating punishment, the remote control can be given to the dominant, who controls when the vibrator turns on as well as the intensity of the vibes.
  2. Ben Wa balls: If wearing vibrating underwear in public doesn’t appeal to you, Ben Wa balls are a more discreet option. Also known as Kegel balls, the small, weighted balls are made to be inserted into the vagina — then, by clenching around them, they strengthen the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles, enhancing sexual pleasure over time. Having your partner go about their day with the balls providing subtle stimulation can be a fun way to keep them feeling turned on and a little embarrassed.
  3. Gender roles as roleplay: If your relationship normally rejects gender roles, introducing them back as sexual fantasy can be fun — as long as both parties are into it. For instance, having your girlfriend dress up as a French maid and scrub the floors, or be your “Stepford wife” for the day.

What are some BDSM punishments for male partners?

Likewise, if you have a male partner, you might be interested in punishments specific to male bodies. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Pegging: Pegging involves a female penetrating a male with a strap-on. If your partner is interested in exploring anal penetration, using a strap-on can be a way to inverse roles during sex and allows the penetrating partner to try out dominating positions.
  2. Cock-and-ball torture: This involves applying pain or constricting the penis or testicles. This might include light penis flogging, using a cock ring to delay orgasm, or genital bondage. (Just avoid anything that could do actual harm!)
  3. Feminization: Playing with gender roles can be fun for male partners, too. If your male-identifying partner is normally quite masculine, they might enjoy taking on a more feminine appearance or performing traditionally feminine tasks like cooking or cleaning for the day as a form of humiliation.

As long as everyone involved is on board, using bondage and discipline can be a great way to incorporate kink into your sex life, and experimenting with different types of punishment can help you and your partner(s) figure out what you’re most into. So be safe, but have fun!

Ali Mercieca

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Ali Mercieca is a freelance writer and recent Psychology and Philosophy BA graduate based in Northern Ontario, Canada. She's passionate about sex education and encouraging healthy kink / BDSM.

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