This video post answers a question I got recently about the line between punishment and abuse.

A year ago I did a post about BDSM and abuse and in it gave you an idea of what the difference was between consensual BDSM and abuse. A couple weeks ago I was asked if there was a line between punishment and abuse.  This, of course, gave me the thought that the only reason this person is asking is that they think the punishment they just received went too far. So, can punishment go too far and enter abuse territory?

The short answer is yes.

In all BDSM exchanges, there is a level of consent and negotiation that happened prior to the activity or relationship. This also includes punishment. Couples that enter into power exchange relationships with an element of punishment should discuss what sort of punishment will occur and to what level. A submissive who has consented to be disciplined has a right to know what punishment may occur for infractions.

Many D/s relationships have a level of control given to the Dominant for discipline purposes. However, if the punishment in your relationship has not been discussed or negotiated or you never consented to give that control to your Dominant, now is the time to sit down and talk to them.

Much like the comparisons between BDSM and abuse, over the top punishment can bring about the same symptoms.  If any of the following things can be answered in the affirmative, you may be in an abusive relationship.

  • Are you afraid of your Dominant? Do you fear to make a mistake because he is quick to anger?
  • Does your Dominant punish you while angry? Does their anger drive them to do more intense punishment than what was agreed upon?
  • Does your Dominant ever ignore the negotiated plans for punishment and do something that is against your limits?
  • Do you feel isolated and alone because your Dominant won't let you talk to friends or others?

Any of these things can be stressful in a relationship, but even more so if you are afraid of how your Dominant will react. If you think you might be in a dangerous relationship, get out and seek help.