This is a somewhat complex subject, but what it boils down to is that a submissive expects to be taken care of. A part of her psyche that is saying, “There’s someone bigger and stronger in charge of me. I can relax because he’s handling things. I’m safe in his hands, because he cares for me.” That part of the mind can be buried quite deeply, especially in the day-to-day bustle of one’s life. This is why punishments, especially physical ones, are used so frequently. On a very primal level, a submissive knows that someone who has enough mastery of her to swat her tail and make other demands, must be in charge.
A submissive has a contract with her brain, so to speak. In return for onerous demands, sometimes humiliating treatment and possibly a good deal of physical pain, she gets to sink into a hazy realm known as subspace. This is where she can lay aside her burdens because someone else has picked them up… including the care of her own person to some degree. Just like a competent manager can’t go on vacation without someone to take over the reins or a parent can’t relax unless they know their baby-sitter is sufficiently skilled, so too a submissive can’t truly relax into this blissful state unless she trusts her dominant. Part of this trust is that the submissive knows that when she abdicates control over herself, that the trust will not be abused. If one is constantly worried about betrayal or incompetence, one cannot relax fully.
This is why aftercare (the time after a command has been obeyed, or a punishment given out) is so important. This is the time to pet your sub and tell her she has done a good job when obedient. This is also the time to rub salve on that sore butt and let her know that you still love her even if she messed up and that you continue to keep an eye on her. All this adds to the framework of submission. The master is watching out for me. The master is taking care of me. The master loves me and is keeping me from wrong decisions. If a freshly whipped sub is simply dumped without this aftercare period, it’s like a splash of cold water instead of the warm cocoon she was expecting. The layer of trust that allows subspace to flourish is frayed or broken by abrupt transitions to ‘regular life’ or simple indifference.
Submissives want their dominants to check up on them. They really do want to be punished when doing something wrong. Deep inside, this lets them know that he is watching out for them, he cares, and his firm hand is holding the leash.