What’s the difference between a BDSM play spanking and one administered as punishment? I’ve written that the difference is intensity; the punishment spanking is more painful. I’m not sure that’s correct. Plenty of play spankings, including ones I’ve given and received are harsher than the punishment spankings I’ve received from Mrs. Lion. I know others whose play spankings routinely bring tears. In fact, Mrs. Lion’s play spankings have been harsher than her punishments. We get feedback from some readers who are horrified that I get beaten for punishment. These same people support and enjoy play spankings.

I think that the reason play spankings can be harsher than punishment is intention. In a BDSM scene, both top and bottom want to play. The top knows that the bottom will enjoy her spanking. He has a safeword he can use if he wants her to stop. It’s fully consensual and under the control of the bottom. The top is performing a requested service for the bottom.

In our female led relationship with discipline, spanking is a punishment. It’s also something I get in BDSM play. The punishment spankings are different to both Mrs. Lion and I. Physically, the two spankings are almost identical. Mrs. Lion starts with lighter hits and works her way up to very hard ones. Interestingly, Mrs. Lion’s play spankings (at least up to now) tend to be harsher than the punishment variety.

There is a real difference. While both spankings are consensual — I agreed to our FLRD — the actual consent for the play spanking is given immediately before the scene begins. In the case of punishment, there is a very good chance I would not agree to being spanked when Mrs. Lion decides I need to be beaten. It doesn’t mean the spanking isn’t consensual. Punishment is part of our agreement to live a FLRD. However, at the time I don’t want to be paddled.

Mrs. Lion is acutely aware of this difference. I can be pissed off that she wants to spank me. I may glare at her during the beating. It’s abundantly clear that at the time I definitely don’t want to be paddled. That doesn’t mean I don’t consent to the spanking. Our agreement covers consent. I just don’t want to be punished at the time. Later, perhaps the next day, I may look back on the beating as a hot expression of Mrs. Lion’s control.

It’s taken her a long time to get where she is in terms of beating me. She’s definitely advanced to Lioness 2.0. But I know that it’s difficult for her to spank me when she knows I don’t want it. Even though she knows that at other times I would welcome the beating, administering it to an unhappy lion is very difficult.

Fixing this isn’t as simple as affirming that the punishment is fully consensual. She loves me and doesn’t want to make me unhappy. The old saying that this hurts me more than it hurts you, isn’t as silly as it sounds at first hearing. It does hurt to intentionally make someone you love unhappy. It’s incredibly difficult to do.

In the context of our power exchange, making me unhappy by punishing me is a very good thing. It’s exactly what I want. If I want to avoid this unpleasant experience, all I have to do is be obedient and follow my rules. In a very real sense, I’m responsible for the spanking. I realize that. Mrs. Lion is working on learning it too. Based on my recent experience, she’s learning very well.