Self-punishment is punishment that is inflicted by oneself. Self-punishment comes in different forms and for very different motives, such as:

  • religious penance
  • erotic BDSM
  • pathologic forms (self-harm)

Religious self-punishmentEdit

Flagellants, from a 15th century woodcut.

Examples of religious self-punishment:

  • Self-flagellation
  • Cilice
  • Self-imposed chores
  • Self-imposed repetitions of prayers
  • Sleep deprivation

See also Mortification of the flesh and the article Easter and spanking for self-flagellation traditions on Good Friday.

Erotic self-punishmentEdit

Self Spanking, artwork by Februaryleaf (2009).

Many BDSM toys and forms of BDSM play designed to bring pain or discomfort can be easily used on oneself, such as

Pathologic self-punishmentEdit

Deliberate self-harm (self-injury or self-poisoning) is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue without suicidal intent. Unlike BDSM play which follows the SSC principle, these are neither safe (injury results) nor are they done for erotic pleasure. Typical forms are:

  • skin cutting
  • burning
  • scratching
  • banging or hitting body parts
  • interfering with wound healing
  • hair pulling (Trichotillomania)
  • the ingestion of toxic substances or objects

Self-harm is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as a symptom of borderline personality disorder. However patients with other diagnoses may also self-harm, including those with depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and several personality disorders.

See alsoEdit


  This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Self-harm. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Spanking Art, the text of Wikipedia is available under a copyleft license, the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.