Humiliate Me, Daddy ;)
“You’re a fucking slut. Pathetic. Useless. Weak.” I spit on their face and hold their arms down as they squirm beneath me.
They’ve asked me to hold them down, to say each of these exact things to them, even to stay hydrated so I might spit on them periodically. This has integrated into the wide repertoire of our sexual activities at their request. The only part of it that gets me off is that it gets them off. Their eagerness to be on the receiving end of verbal and physical humiliation, and that it was never a hard limit for me, means that it’s something that I’ve willingly engaged in.
As a kink, degradation and humiliation play involves verbal and/or physical acts that work on systems of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Actual humiliation is about the real or perceived threats to status and dignity in a manner that destabilizes conceptions of self and image management.
When these notions are played with in the context of kink, they can be erotic, cathartic, and empowering.
What’s shame got to do with it?
Shame and embarrassment are pervasive emotions that can act as effective extensions of social control. Although it could be argued that both are related to personal judgements about identity, those judgments are deeply connected to understandings of social normative expectations.
A Canadian social psychologist named Erving Goffman wrote about embarrassment in his work in the 1950s and 1960s. He saw it as a central emotion in social life because of its motivating power in adherence to social organization and control.
Humiliation draws on emotions of shame and embarrassment for ridicule and degradation by someone else. It’s a demonstration of power over another and is often used for social harm. But shame and embarrassment are important emotions when thinking through humiliation because the latter doesn’t work without the former.
It’s also why this type of play is very specific to the people engaging in it. Embarrassment isn’t universal and there will be different asks and limits for individuals.
They might include elements of play that are verbal, physical, or a combination of the two.
But, why would I want that?
If humiliation is punishment, abuse, and oppression, then taking control over its meanings and power can be both titillating and healing.
By making the humiliation consensual, the rejection aspects of shame and embarrassment, as well as the social mechanisms for control can be fucked with.
But this type of play also comes with risks that may not be accounted for in the same way that risk assessment and management accompany physical play. Because we don’t want our kink rooted in harm, there’s considerations with the play.
By starting slow with specific asks and low room for improvisation and interpretation, you can control variables and minimize potential for harm. Communicating clearly with your partner around language and asks is an important part of creating safety in play.
Hard limits with psychological play are particularly important for harm reduction. If there is something that may be triggering, it’s important to control for this.
“I swear I don’t actually think these things.”
Yeah, no fucking duh. If you actually believed them, it wouldn’t be very erotic. It would be mean and have the potential to compound oppressive harm.
I say this like it’s obvious, but the above is a direct quote from me in a scene.
Humiliation play can turn you on, but it shouldn’t be about you as a Dom(me). Dominance demands a care for the vulnerability willingly given by submissives. And any sort of play requires feelings of safety for exploration.
Alright, I’m in. Summarize, please.
- Humiliation kinks are about an erotic embarrassment that may have physiological and pleasure-laden responses but are not universal in form or content. Listen to your partner’s requests.
- Be very clear in limits of what might be harmful, potential triggers, etc. For example, “I love when you call me a slut, but don’t use the word bitch. I hate it.”
- Have protocols for what to do and aftercare if something comes up unexpectedly.