Punishment vs Funishment

First, a small housekeeping note – my post about kink and people with histories of abuse is coming, but I’ve been condescended to as much as I can stand just now and need a little break before I post anything else that’s likely to result in patronizing douchebags setting up shop in my comments.


When people talk about wanting to be punished, they tend to be talking about one of two very different things.

One, there’s what I think of as ‘serious’ punishment – that is, d/s dynamics that include agreements to give and accept punishment for certain infractions, also known as domestic discipline. The sub may enjoy having clear rules and consequences for breaking them, and be delighted to have that type of dynamic with their dom, but the intention is not for them to directly enjoy the punishment, although they may be very happy to feel like they’ve atoned for whatever they’ve done wrong.

Two, there’s ‘fun’ punishment – that is, sort of a punishment-themed scene that involves no actual wrongdoing on the bottom’s part or real unhappiness about the bottom’s actions. In this case, the intention is for everyone to enjoy the “punishment”, which is really just a fun little role-play to set the scene and give the top an excuse to do things to the bottom (I say ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ here rather than ‘dom’ and ‘sub’ because I don’t know that having a d/s dynamic is absolutely necessary to enjoy a punishment-themed scene). Some people enjoy very serious looking scenes which can lead to some confusion about which kind of punishment they actually want, but if they have any self-awareness it should be possible to figure out whether they want a scene or a serious punishment dynamic.

Because the ‘my kink is better than yours‘ thing seems to come up over and over in different ways, I want to be clear that fun punishment is not a somehow ‘lesser’ kink than serious d/s dynamic punishment. It’s annoying when people aren’t clear about which one they mean, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a game of bad student/angry teacher and then going about your day.

If people can explain which one they’re talking about there’s no problem, but frequently when newbie kinksters ask about punishment they have no idea there is more than one type of punishment. Because of that, just about every thread about punishment I’ve seen starts with everyone trying to figure out which definition of punishment the original poster is working from.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were different words for serious ‘this is the way we resolve conflicts’ punishment and sexytimes ‘you’ve been a bad boy, go to my room’ punishment? Then we could get to the meat of a question immediately instead of having yet another boring discussion about the differences between serious punishment and fun punishment. I know, I know, that’s a pipe-dream, but I’ve got to try 🙂

As it happens, there are different words: punishment and funishment. The thing I love about the word “funishment” is that even if you’ve never seen it before, you can probably tell it’s a combination of the words fun and punishment and guess what it means. Unlike other stupid made-up words that irritate the shit out of me, “funishment” is actually useful because it describes a completely different thing from “punishment.”

Help me out, people. If you mean funishment, use the word funishment. I’d much rather talk about your actual question than have to drag answers out of you to figure out what you’re really asking.

5 thoughts on “Punishment vs Funishment

  1. I use the term funishment a lot. And I agree with you. I wish everyone did. But to be honest with you, I just assume most people mean funishment when they say punishment and I’m rarely wrong. In my experience, a lot of Dominants issue funishments even when they intend to punish.

    • But to be honest with you, I just assume most people mean funishment when they say punishment and I’m rarely wrong.

      I completely agree. What really gets to me is people who keep insisting they really for really real want punishment when they’re obviously talking about funishment. I firmly believe that people who can’t tell the different between fantasy and reality have no business experimenting with kink. They’re just going to end up hurt and/or disappointed.

  2. It’s a lovely word which I have only just discovered. I keep away from punishments but love funishments from my wife. The word has delivered me from the dark world of BDSM.

    • The word has delivered me from the dark world of BDSM.

      Not to be a jerk, but I am so tired of people who insist BDSM is totally dark and TWisTeD and eeeevil. It’s just a pervy hobby, can we all chill the fuck out?

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