Making Sense of the Humiliation Fetish

Posted by Mistress X on

Mistress riding her slave
Picture this. My fresh sub is kneeling on the floor. He’s in nothing but the sheer yellow panties I ordered him to wear, his cage visible, hands behind his back, eyes fixed on my patent black stilettos.
He’s in this position because, sadly for him, he asked to be unlocked one too many times. And now comes the punishment.
It begins with some light name calling.
“You’re a rude worm. How dare you question my authority. You sad little fucker. Don’t you trust your Mistress?”
I pause to let that sink in and check his response. He flinches. He’s uncomfortable, but he took the scolding. I continue.
“I control your cock, not you. If you can even call that thing dangling sadly between your legs a cock. It’s so small, shriveled, and pathetic. Thank goodness it’s in a cage and I don’t have to look at it right now.”
I spit on the floor in disgust. A small moan escapes his lips. A signal that my humiliating words are stirring him up with equal parts arousal and frustration.
To complete his punishment, I step in a tray of mustard (which I prepared earlier) and order him to lick my shoes clean. How awful for him. But also, what a beautiful thing we’ve discovered during that exchange.
It turns out he has a budding humiliation fetish. As we chat over tea and cake (our aftercare ritual) I check in to make sure he’s okay with what I said. He is, but confesses he was surprised that he felt his cage tightening in response to my words and his punishment.
Discovering that being humiliated turns you on can be a shock, just as it was for my poor sissy sub. The revelation of it all can even cause confusion. Why would any reasonable person want to be called horrible names? Or have their body insulted? Or be made to do things that are degrading?
From a young age we’re taught that feeling humiliated or embarrassed is a negative emotional state. Having your status lowered in front of others, or merely imagining another person’s judgment, can cause feelings of discomfort. But what conditions are needed to prompt feelings of humiliation? And how can it be used during a BDSM scene?

Understanding Humiliation and How It’s Used in Play

Most of us use humiliation and shame to mean the same thing. Both emotions result from transgressing a societal norm. But Danish philosopher Dan Zahavi argues there are differences, and describes them as ‘porous emotional cousins’.
In his paper Shame, from the Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Emotion, Zahavi uses the following two scenarios to distinguish each feeling.
Scenario 1: As you’re leaving school, two notorious bullies accost you. By threatening to beat you up if you do not comply, they make you eat a slug.
Scenario 2: You’re visiting a friend. At one point, she has to run an errand. While alone in her apartment, you suddenly notice her diary. You cannot withstand the temptation and start to read it. You get so absorbed that you fail to notice her return. Suddenly, however, you realize that she has caught you in the act, and is looking at you with disbelief in her eyes.
Pink cage in smoke
He argues the first scenario evokes feelings of humiliation because of the degrading treatment dished out by the bullies. The person being humiliated won’t want to share the encounter with others and believes their humiliating treatment is unjust.
The second scenario emphasizes feelings of shame. It reveals an unpleasant personal truth: untrustworthiness. Identifying a personal flaw can lead to feelings of shame (Why am I like this?), and a desire to correct any wrongdoing.
The two feelings are different. But there’s a point of overlap. It occurs when the person being humiliated lets the degradation affect his identity. Zahavi argues a person is often subjected to humiliating treatment because the perpetrator wants to manipulate their self-esteem and self-appraisal.
This is when humiliation can turn to shame.
And a Dom can use this during a scene to highlight times when a sub has transcended an agreed rule within the relationship.

Why Being Humiliated Can Feel Sexy

Erotic humiliation is a form of consensual BDSM, and can be explored in a number of ways as I’ll soon explain. But to help my sub better understand why people enjoy being degraded for sexual satisfaction, I talked to Katie Evans, a psychotherapeutic counselor who specializes in gender and sexuality.
“People may enjoy erotic humiliation for a number of reasons,” Katie said. “For some, kink is a way to reframe traumatic experiences and gain empowerment. But erotic humiliation can also be enjoyed as an escape from the pressures of regular life.”
“Humiliation play involves trust and vulnerability, and these are both things (when experienced in safe ways) that can help us develop deeper connections and closer bonds.”
Katie Evans, Psychotherapeutic Counselor
High-powered and high-pressured roles at work, or shouldering family responsibilities, are daily must-dos for many of us. “Letting go of all this in a contained way and being at the mercy of another in a way you consent to can be seductive,” Katie said. But sometimes the enjoyment of humiliation play “comes down to good old fantasy and fun.”
Being consensually taunted can even have positive effects. “Any kind of kink play can enhance a relationship between consenting adults, as it can build intimacy. Humiliation play involves trust and vulnerability, and these are both things (when experienced in safe ways) that can help us develop deeper connections and closer bonds,” Katie said.
Katie also argues that sexualizing humiliation and embarrassment can take some of the fear out of them, giving us a greater sense of control or power.
Three metal cages

Erotic Humiliation Comes in 4 Styles

1 - Physical Humiliation
Reducing someone to an inanimate object (usually furniture) such as:
  • A chair.
  • A footstool.
  • A side table.
  • A lamp stand.
  • An ashtray.
  • A toilet.
Physical degradation can also involve:
  • Spitting.
  • Slapping.
  • Spanking.
  • Restraining the sub in undignified positions.
2 - Roleplay Humiliation
Roles considered to belittle or symbolize weakness in the fetish community include:
  • Dainty maid outfits.
  • Babyfication (diaper-wearing).
  • Sissification and enforced feminization.
  • Pet play roles that involve eating out of bowls, sleeping on the floor, and being kept in a cage.
3 - Verbal Humiliation
This is where the Dominant partner says insulting words and phrases to belittle and embarrass their slave, and the slave finds it arousing. It includes:
  • Name calling.
  • Body shaming.
  • Small penis humiliation.
  • Negatively commenting on sexual performance, or their inability to do something properly.
4 - Public Humiliation
Whether it’s an audience of one or many, subs who consent to public humiliation get off on doing something unexpected in public spaces. With this form of humiliation, it’s important to realize the general population aren’t aware of your games and haven’t consented to join in. If you think your idea for public humiliation will make others feel uncomfortable or negatively affect them, don’t do it.
With that said, some ideas include:
  • Being made to sit and face a wall, no matter where they are.
  • Being scolded and belittled in front of others (another Dom, slave, kink audience, or waitstaff).
  • Wearing something unusual or embarrassingly eye-catching in public.
  • Being shouted at loudly, drawing attention.
  • Spanking them while at a BDSM club.

Chastity Cages and Humiliation Play

As a Dominant with a love for male chastity cages (obviously), I regularly use them to humiliate. They’re versatile BDSM tools that are useful for physical and verbal humiliation. (Physical because the cock is restrained and rendered useless.) And long-term wear can lead to chastity shrinkage: the phenomenon of the penis shrinking temporarily from not being used.
Sissy cages and accessories
Having what ‘makes you a man’ removed from sight is only part of it. Vocalizing its uselessness crosses from physical BDSM into verbal degradation.

Keeping It Sexy and Consensual

Humiliation play relies on engaging in a negative emotional state. Before play starts, Dominant and submissive should understand:
  • What each person wants to get out of the experience.
  • What style of humiliation the submissive is open to.
  • Any words, phrases, or actions that are off limits.
  • Why each person finds erotic humiliation sexy.
  • What safe word system they’ll use.
For greater peace of mind, you may want to contractualize the rules. This can be reassuring, as you both have something to refer to if anyone feels the boundaries have been pushed or crossed.

After the Scene Is Done

Humiliation play can stir up a lot of feelings and emotions (which is kind of the point). Really mean stuff can be done or said. Building in some aftercare time can help you both decompress, wind down, and reaffirm you actually enjoy playing with each other.
Build in some aftercare time. This can help you both decompress, wind down, and reaffirm you enjoy playing together.

13 Erotic Humiliation Ideas for Beginners

Understanding what this fetish is, the different forms it comes in, and how to play safely can help you decide what sort of erotic humiliation challenges you’d like to try. To get you started, I have 13 ideas that are perfect for BDSM beginners.

1 - Part of the Furniture

Assume the role of a footrest, chair, or lamp stand. These are 3 of the easiest forms of furniture to become.
Funny story. I knew one Mistress who made her slave perform lamp stand duties for 3 hours while she sat comfortably on her sofa reading her favorite Stephen King novel. To make sure the sub adhered to his duties, he stood in a circle of flour. Between chapters, the Mistress would check to see whether the flour had been disturbed. If it had, he was to be punished.

2 - Collar and Lead

Wearing a collar isn’t humiliating. It symbolizes a Dom’s ownership of a sub, which can be affirming and comforting. But what can be embarrassing is being leashed. This may be a punishment as it removes even more of the sub’s freedom and sense of self.

3 - Uncomfortable Fashion

Time for a wardrobe change. Used to briefs and boxers? Then you should be ordered to wear frilly and super-feminine underwear, ideally to the office. Oh, and shoes are very overrated. You’re to be barefoot for a day. Ready to up the risk factor? Then put on a maid outfit to do the grocery shopping, or have your Dom choose an equally outlandish get-up designed to attract public attention.

4 - Asking Permission

For subs who need reminding who holds the power, they should be made to ask permission when they want to:
  • Use the bathroom.
  • Have something to eat.
  • Leave the room.
  • Sit down.
  • Speak.
  • Climax.

5 - Name Calling and Verbal Insults

Choose words that make their skin crawl. For example, a lot of people are disgusted by the word ‘moist.’ (I don’t understand why.) So when name calling, saying ‘you’re a worthless, moist anal slut’ will have a greater effect than leaving it out.
Verbal insults should also judge or criticize something about them or what they’re doing. For example, if they’ve been performing maid duties and have clearly slaved over a meal, the Dominant may comment on how it tastes bland, or looks like slop. Or if humiliating their sexual prowess is okay, belittle their cock size, ability, and stamina.

6 - Begging for It

If there’s something the submissive really, really wants, have them beg. Things are always sweeter when you’ve had to work hard to get it.

7 - Made You Look

People avoid eye contact with those who are above them. Let your sub know their place by forbidding them to make eye contact with you during your session. The consequence is punishment. Of course, as the Dominant you should spend the entire time trying to get them to look at you.

8 - Remove Any Privacy

Going to the bathroom is no longer assured private time. When your sub asks to go to the bathroom, watch them. Or leave the door open.

9 - Pretty Nails

Challenge ideas of gender by having a male submissive paint their fingernails and toenails, and leaving the color on for the day. This can be a good, subtle introduction to public humiliation.
To make this work, Dominants should have their slave perform as many actions as possible so the nail polish is noticed. For example, have them hand over the cash or card to the clerk when paying for things, or take them to a jewelry store for a ring fitting.

10 - Sleep on the Floor

Ideally at the foot of the bed, just like the pet they are.

11 - Table Manners

Ban the use of dinnerware or cutlery. Replace them with a dog bowl or children’s feeding accessories and cutlery. Increase the humiliation level by commenting on how messy they’re getting, and how awful it is to see them drop so much of their food when they must be very hungry.

12 - Put on a Performance

Got a slave who sweats when making public speeches? Have them perform a story, poem, or stand-up routine for you and your Dominant friends. Naturally, you should critique their show afterwards.

13 - Childlike Scolding

Nothing will make someone blush faster than telling them off, especially when they think they’re doing a good job. The scolding may involve shouting or quiet disappointment, complete with tutting and eye rolls. (Isn’t that the worst?) This is another good way to ease yourselves into public humiliation games, with the Dom scolding the sub in front of someone else.

When the Play Ends

Unless you’re in a 24/7 Dom/sub relationship, your erotic humiliation play will eventually come to an end. Set a signal so you both know when play ends. For example, it might be once you leave the bedroom (assuming you’re only indulging in BDSM play within your home). Or perhaps it’s after completing a certain activity (such as shopping or having dinner) or at a certain time (the end of the day).
Remember to decompress with an aftercare routine, and discuss what you did and didn’t like. You can then start planning what you want to do next, and how you might further explore erotic humiliation.
Have fun!

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About The Author

MISTRESS X

LTC’s most popular author, Mistress X is known for bringing fun and games to the LTC blog. Along with a healthy dose of discipline and the expectation that those who choose to play with her will be obedient little locked-cocked slaves.

In her own words

“Hello sweetie, I’m Mistress X, originally from San Fran but now presiding over dungeons and play spaces in New York. My Mistress style is best described as playful kitty with a barbed-wire collar. By which I mean I’m affectionate and very frisky (spirited, even), but cross me and your actions will be met with utter disdain. 

I prefer the term Mistress to Dominatrix (Dominant or pro Dom is acceptable), and I’m just as eager to nurture and teach the finer points of chastity and BDSM as I am dishing out challenges for the LTC community. Ready to play? Because I am. And I hate to be kept waiting.”

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