I remember reading a paper for an education course which proposed that punishment was ineffective and unnecessary. The argument was that it is an awareness of natural consequences and social norms that teaches, rather than arbitrarily imposed restrictions. There was much class discussion on this topic. It was a radical concept for many of us, though after mulling it over it did make sense. Growing up, the knowledge that I had hurt or disappointed someone was a much more effective teacher than any specific imposition.
So why do I crave this as an adult?
I think it has something to do with the need for closure. You can tell me that it’s fine, but I think I know better. I know that you’ve been hurt, and need some assurance that it really truly will be ok or I will continue to beat myself up over it. You can say these things, and my logical side can agree, but somewhere deep down I will have my doubts. I need this kind of physical affirmation that whatever it is that I’ve done hasn’t made you hate me. I need to know that you are affected by this, and that you want to help me change, but that you do still care.
And I think this helps explain part of the less serious spankings as well, at least from my perspective as a submissive. Yes, I want to be punished, but I don’t want to have to misbehave to earn the reassurance of a spanking. I would hope we could enjoy this kind of intimacy without negative connotations as well. Though with or without the punishment aspect, it’s really the same thing in many ways- the reaffirmation of our roles within a relationship, the assurance that I am valued and cared for. And, of course, the assurance that I value your opinion and trust your guidance- in things serious and silly- or even for no reason whatsoever.