Again, please make sure you're communicating with your lover throughout this process. Please read our sexual negotiation article, as well as traits of a submissive and traits of a dominant.
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There’s been lots of talk about kink during Shades of Grey September. Recently, I was approached to write about a certain brand of kink that, up until recently, hadn’t been discussed much. It happens to be the kind of kink I enjoy and it’s called erotic humiliation.
OK, It's an uncomfortable topic
In the realm of BDSM, humiliation can be an uncomfortable topic. Everyone is used to spanking, flogging, even bondage. These subjects can sometime seem, dare I say, pedestrian.
Unfortunately, I don’t particularly enjoy pain play. Not on it’s own anyway. Even with an experienced dominant, I only come close to the edge, but not over it. What takes me to that place involves hands intertwined in my hair, my head pulled back, being forced to my knees, being told what I can and cannot do, having to ask or even beg for release and it all starts with the words “Are you my dirty whore?”
Separate sex from "real life"
It’s not just pain or forceful dominance. The power is also in the words, in the triggers. In the real world I don’t approve of the words “whore” or “slut” being used to shame. I also don’t like being told what to do.
Tell me not to do something, say something or wear something and I’ll immediately want to do it. In the realm of play, though, the things I can’t abide in real life become eroticized. These words strongly delivered are a turn on. I long to be told what to do. I want to give my Sir complete control of me and enjoy every “Please, Sir” and “Thank you, Sir” I utter.
I’m aroused by the fear of being punished for not completing a task or forgetting to ask permission. These triggers are strong and can even work when written. I’ve been reduced to a wet mess with just a text. It’s not about the smack on the ass or a cane across the thighs. It’s about the power exchange. It’s the ultimate mind fuck.
What is erotic humiliation?
At its core, erotic humiliation is about using embarrassment, fear and shame. These aspects can run the spectrum from verbal to physical. It’s also important to note that humiliation and dominance are not exactly the same thing.
Humiliation doesn’t always involve being ordered about. Strict humiliation without dominance is when words and actions are used to belittle not to dominate. The dominant, in the absence of dominance, is sometimes called a Humiliatrix. Personally, I like humiliation along with dominance and good dose of bondage thrown in. It’s less about embarrassment for me than it is about giving up control.
The 2 kinds of erotic humiliation
Erotic humiliation itself can be broken down into varieties of verbal and physical forms.
Verbal humiliation can mean the use of words like slut or whore; being mocked, ridiculed or have appearance belittled; use of racial or ethnic slurs; asking permission to eat, to go to the bathroom or to have an orgasm; not allowing sub to leave the dungeon or house; treated like a pet or an object; being treated or scolded like a child; made to use honorifics such as Master, Mistress, Sir, Ma’am or Daddy. An example would be using demeaning language with the sub either in a forced feminization, a pet play or slave scene.
Negotiation, negotiation, negotiation
Humiliation, just like pain play, requires discussion and negotiation beforehand to state desired play, set limits and agreement on safe words. It is important to establish a clear safe word in play where words like “no”, “stop”, “ow” or “help” can be part of the scenario. You also need to decide whether it will be played out as just a scene or be part of everyday life. Communication is also very important when multiple partners are involved as in open relationships. Different partners could have different rules and boundaries. It helps to have a Top that you trust & feel comfortable with. Erotic humiliation is about discovering erotic triggers. Constant communication on both sides of the D/s relationship helps to know not only what works but also what doesn’t.
Don't forget about aftercare
It can be difficult to understand why someone would find the eroticization of humiliation such a turn on. It can look frighteningly like abuse from the outside. It’s important to know that both the dominant/ top and the sub/bottom are engaging in play that arouses the other.
Humiliation is not just about pleasuring yourself but your play partner as well. The sub tells the dominant what they would and would not like to do, and vice versa, so it is always consensual.
Even rape play that looks non-consensual was negotiated ahead of time with safe words and limits. Aftercare is just as important here as it is with pain play. Erotic humiliation is a mind game so there should be comfort and reassurance afterward. We'll talk more extensively about aftercare soon. For now, just make sure you again tell each other how much you care about each other and be extra-specialy-nice.
Let's not analyze
There is also a temptation to psychoanalyze the origin of these desires. I recently read an article by ABC News where psychologists tried to determine the origins of fetishes. They were convinced that certain events in childhood must kick off the fetish.
Humiliation is sometimes described as a kink and sometimes fetish. This may be because paraphilias can be incorporated into play. It’s a slippery slope trying to figure out how a kink or a fetish manifests itself. I’m not a big fan of this kind of analysis. I believe the reasons for what turns you on depends on many different personal factors. Not every foray into kink or fetish has to do with childhood trauma. It could just feel good and work for you or your partner.
Don't be afraid to negotiate & experiment gently
Do a little researching, a little soul-searching and start slowly if need be. There are books that cover the subject by authors such as Tristan Taormino and Midori plus lots of erotica for inspiration. You can even find classes on erotic humiliations at popular adult stores, fetish events and dungeons (which we'll talk about). Humiliation is different things to different people. It may take both conversation and experimentation to find what works for you.
Originally posted on Live on the Swingset.
Life on the Swing Set and contributes to Sexis Social at Eden Fantasys and other sites. Find her on Facebook as Miko Technogeisha and on Twitter as @Technogeisha.
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