What is a humiliation kink?
Humiliation of the erotic type can be very arousing. People who derive sexual pleasure from being humiliated in certain ways, can come to see themselves as having a humiliation kink. I would certainly put myself into this category, but this is something I have taken time to uncover, rather than it being obvious to me. Those who enjoy humiliating others for sexual pleasure might also consider themselves to have a humiliation kink.
In any case, whether humiliation is your kink or not, it is quite commonly enjoyed in Dominant and submissive relationships, and it often forms an integral part of the power exchange. Being used sexually, being objectified, or being treated as lower in status than your partner could all be seen as humiliating to some. Being punished for minor infractions and misdemeanours, being asked to follow a set of rules and rituals, and having to ask permission for privileges would be other examples.
When does it become humiliation play?
Whether or not something becomes humiliation in an erotic or BDSM sense, is really down to perception. What works for one will not work for another. What is seen as Dominance and submission varies from person to person. It makes sense, then, that whether or not something is experienced as erotic humiliation, or merely as part of the power exchange, is down to the way it makes a person feel.
Often, for those who experience sexual pleasure from the humiliation itself, things will go further than the sorts of acts outlined above. For many who are not into humiliation as a kink, they can see this sort of play as being on the edge of what is safe, sane and consensual. While physical pain or discomfort is accepted as a more mainstream way to invoke sexual pleasure, many are still cautious of doing the same with emotional pain or discomfort.
But what sorts of humiliation work and how do you know what to try?
As I have said, different things will work for different people and so there has to be lots of discussion beforehand. Being humiliated in the right way, in the right context can be really hot, but used in the wrong way, it would just be hurtful and might even cause harm. Because the stakes are high, many tend to steer away from more complex forms of humiliation play, unless they know their partner really well. Often, erotic humiliation will be born from exploring your fears, although these may be more subconscious than conscious ones.
We tend to have fairly good defences to keep us safe, so these need to be unpicked in order to explore what lies beneath. In real life, there is usually no way we would allow ourselves to be exposed or called names, for example, but within a sexual context, it can feel liberating to be pushed to tolerate it. Because there is an underlying fear, we often feel the beginnings of a fight or flight response – increased heart rate, flushed skin, tense muscles etc as the body is pumped with adrenaline.
Creating fear and excitement
Because the risk of danger is not real (we feel deep down that we are safe) these signs are interpreted in a sexual sense as part of the excitement and anticipation. We keep going and are able to give up more and more control, opening ourselves up to further manipulation through the humiliation and the effect it causes. In order to know what will work, you need to have an understanding of that person’s trigger points. What will make them feel scared but excited, without actually harming them psychologically?
A humiliation kink is like any other: it makes a submissive feel vulnerable and a Dominant feel in control. These are things which arouse us and allow us to press forward. For someone with a bondage kink, they know that nothing horrible is going to happen, but they feel excitement and a manageable amount of fear at the prospect that it might. The same comes with humiliation and emotional play.
Getting inside the head
Humiliation is psychological, so often the words used are crucial. Even where it is based around actions – the submissive is made to wear a sign which says slut – being reminded of the fact that they are wearing the sign will keep them rooted in that moment. For me, being made to wear a sign or called names wouldn’t work, but to be told, “You know that I am going to make you come in front of everyone, don’t you?” would totally do it.
At the end of the day, humiliation is about getting inside the head of your partner. As a submissive, I would say that this is the ultimate in terms of control. For HL to control my thoughts is huge, and with that, my body will follow. I will try to fight it, as someone in bondage will strain against their bonds, but I know that in the end I will do as he has asked, in the same way that someone bound knows they will not get free and must ultimately let go of their own will and surrender to the Dominant who is in charge.
More about humiliation as a kink
Clearly humiliation is one of my kinks, so I have a whole category of posts on it which I have linked at the bottom (just click on the embarrassed face below!) This includes fantasy/fiction pieces, as well as examples of our own humiliation play. I have also written about the sorts of things that you might want to try in my first post about Humiliation. My own triggers are around the fear of being exposed and the rejection that would follow.
I have traced back where this comes from and I have explored it in the posts Do you really want to hurt me? and The Thrill of Shame. The post More About Erotic Humiliation explores how it plays out and I explore why the cognitive dissonance that goes alongside it is pleasurable in Emotional Masochism. If you want to know more about the emotional side then you might also want to read Emotional Play and why it’s on the edge.