Reader Q&A: Books, punishment, & humiliation

Some of these have questions been languishing in my inbox for a while (sorry about that, lovely question-askers). I keep saying that I love getting ‘asks’ (I do!), but then I hoard them like a little treasure trove in my inbox. I have that dilemma of deciding when the ‘asks’ become weighty enough for a blog post, and then I forget to keep track of how many there are.

I should just stop thinking that I can respond in a timely manner!

Regardless of timeliness (or not!), here we go…


Dear Ferns,

Can one ever have to many books? A friend of mine noticed your book sitting out and immediately asked “are you into that BDSM stuff”? I couldn’t find the words I just said ” sure”. Do you think that was cowardly?

Hello there,

Firstly, thank you for buying my book (and the hard copy no less…!)!!! Happies! *smile*

“Can one ever have to many books?”

No, one can never have too many books. For me, I love my kindle, and have many MANY as-yet-unread books on it, but they do not have the same resonance and gravitas for me as real paper books that have heft and weight and smell.

“I couldn’t find the words I just said ” sure”. Do you think that was cowardly?”

‘Sure’ is most assuredly a word, and not a cowardly one.

But even if you had shrugged and changed the subject or said “That’s none of your business” or any other thing, I would not think it cowardly. We are under no obligation to share our personal and private lives with anyone. If you choose to do so, then I think that’s great. If you choose not to, then that’s perfectly okay also.

I think ‘Sure’ was a truthful and forthright response. Good for you!



On Punishment“: Relationships rest on a foundation of respect,reciprocity, cooperation, and compromise.Psychology is a dark twisted path, rank with the smell of desire, fear, and capitulation. Because we are cocoons, physicality becomes the battlefield upon which these forces collide.

Here’s my point: punishment must be physical. Authority can not survive defiance or dereliction; it devolves into coercion or dormancy. When punishment does not implicitly reestablish the disparity in power between the parties, it tears the threads that bind. Retribution, expiation, equilibrium. When forcing your sub to perform pointlessly repetitive tasks, have you repaired the rupture? the reciprocity?.

Why eschew physical punishments when they are replete with psychological opportunity to rip away the scales that protect, and to know what lies beneath? And if D/s is ultimately the possession of one body by another, why not command that body to sweat, and wiggle, and betray its secrets?

Hello there,

Why? Because it doesn’t work for me.

I partially explained it in the post you mentioned:

I don’t use anything that gives him my energy and attention, and I don’t use anything that creates a bunch of work for me. Those sorts of things are not ‘punishment’ to me.

For me inflicting pain is about intimacy and lust and desire and affection and love, and that’s something special that we share. When we have had an incident where something has gone awry and we are dealing with it, I don’t feel any of those things, so I have zero interest in interacting with him in such an intimate way, or in giving him my energy and attention. Add to that the fact that I don’t want to mix up ‘what we do for fun and pleasure’ with ‘penance for wrongdoing’.

And yes, what I do works for me and mine: That’s why I do it.

You obviously have a strong attachment to corporal punishment, and that’s great if it works for you and yours. It doesn’t for me. That’s about compatibility. There is no ‘should’ about it.



Hello Fern,

First I’d like to say that your blog has been an eye opener for me. When I first ventured into D/s as a new Domme I got scared and a bit put off. When I found your blog it gave me hope. ‘Yes, a Domme with feelings and insecurities like any other person!’. A lot of your posts have helped me express and explain how I feel to new dates (and subs). Also explain to them what they can expect from me and a person and Domme.
So thank you for that.

What I wanted to ask was how you dealt with humilion play when you first started?
I’ve noticed that a lot of submissive men ask for this or enjoy this. While I have fantasized about this I can’t seem to perform when neccecary and get “stage fright”. I choke and feel uncomfortable doing this.
How did you cross that bridge when you first started?

Thank you for everything.


A fellow Dutchie newbie Domme.

Hello there fellow Dutchie *smile*,

Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. I completely understand how off putting so much of the content around femdom is and I’m really glad that you felt some kinship when you found me. That makes me happy!

Erotic humiliation is a very personal thing, and it’s really not my thing, but I think I have a decent understanding of it as a form of emotional masochism. The primary images we get of it as ham-fisted name calling (worthless pig!, small-cocked loser!) is the equivalent of portraying sadomasochism as being about smashing someone in the head with a hammer. At its best, humiliation play is tailored specifically to hit his buttons and it’s often nuanced.

Firstly, don’t do things you are uncomfortable with just because a submissive wants it. If it’s not your thing, it’s not, and that’s about compatibility. However you do say that you fantasise about it, so maybe it *is* your thing and it’s just about building up confidence (completely understandable). I’ll say that I think being unsure about it is is good and healthy because it can cause a lot of unintended damage if you run at it without care.

There are a million ways to humiliate someone, and you have to really get to know the person well to find the right buttons. That means lots of talking, and flirting around with it to tease out how it works for him. My last had a thing about being a slutty boy, and also about being obliterated, being a ‘thing’ not worthy of care or consideration, a tool for my use.

When I went there with my last, I pictured gently probing around in his brain with a sharp stick, and watching very carefully what happened when I pushed a little. The wrong spot would invoke no reaction, or a puzzled kind of sting. If I hit the right spot, I could SEE it in his reaction, a blushing, aroused terribleness. Super hot.

I never yelled or called him typical ‘humiliation-porn’ names. It was more of a gentle mocking tone where I would nudge him into his head space and I could carefully see where he was in it. With him it was a kind of “If it wasn’t for your mouth, I could replace you with a sex toy” kind of thing.

If I thought I was getting it wrong, I could very easily withdraw or redirect. Like any kind of pain, he could take MORE of it when he was turned on, but even then I had to be careful because the aftermath could be ongoing hurt if I hit it too hard, or got it wrong, and he could carry the emotional badness around for a long long time afterwards.

Midori does some classes on erotic humiliation that are very highly regarded, and her book has a chapter on it (I haven’t read it). Also google ‘erotic humiliation’ for resources. Might be worth a look.

Best of luck!



There are more in my inbox, but this post is now really long! More to come. I promise!

Want to ask me something? Pop on over to my Ask Me page and do it: even if I’m slow, I WILL get back to you! It’s completely anonymous, even to me, so nobody will know it was you…

Loves: 3
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  1. On humiliation: I find just describing what I am doing, verbalizing it out loud, to be humiliating. “Whose crawling on the floor now?”, “Oh, your bottom is getting so red!”, “So tied up and helpless.” Things like that get me going. I think the “worthless worm” comments are silly and take me out of head space. Also, for me, avoid painful realities, like being fat, or bald, or ugly; those might work for others though, but not me.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective.

      It really is unique to each individual (as are the ‘no go’ zones), so it’s really useful to hear what other people have to say about what works (or not) for them.


  2. Hi Ferns:

    I love this quote: “For me inflicting pain is about intimacy and lust and desire and affection and love, and that’s something special that we share.”

    I totally relate to your approach regarding corporal punishment. I adore being whipped, caned, paddled, spanked etc. HM knows this. Punishing me in this manner would be a bit like punishing a dog by giving him bacon. It wouldn’t make much sense and it would do absolutely nothing to discourage the behaviour towards which it was directed. In fact it might encourage said behavior.

    When HM and I engage in corporal it is a form of lovemaking. While HM doesn’t have a set of punishments she dishes out for specific infractions her displeasure is usually punishment enough for me. She can be pretty darn scary when she’s angry! And ignoring me is just the worst! Gosh I really hate that!!! So yeah if you are going to punish someone it makes sense to do something they really dislike instead of something they love.

    I also love certain forms of sexual humiliation. Not sure if I really processes them as humiliation though. I have a slavish heart and just seem to be wired differently than most other folks. Much of my blogging and interacting with other kinksters seems to be about me searching for a diagram of my own schematics.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, hmp (I managed to miss it somehow).

      I am much like you in all of that.

      I can imagine doling out an unpleasant version of the smacky things, but it just doesn’t work for ME. It puts the onus on me to *do* stuff to and with him when I’m probably not feeling like giving him all that attention (if nothing else, that *attention* feels like a reward).

      Nope. Not happening.


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