When we think about great sex, a positive and pleasure-packed experience is what often comes to mind. However, for some out there, it’s something a little darker that does the trick! All thanks to two little words: humiliation and degradation.
You’ve probably heard it and seen it. Perhaps it was while watching porn. Perhaps it was while watching a blockbuster film of a certain shade of gray. But erotic humiliation is yet another powerful way to spice up your sex play.
From exploring power dynamics to testing emotional boundaries, it’s something that – albeit may sometimes feel extreme – can open up a whole new world of intimate possibilities with the right partner.
Interested? Thought so. Let’s do a deeper dive:
FIRST OFF, THE BASICS
In a nutshell, erotic humiliation/degradation refers to getting aroused from the cocktail of emotions that come with being teased, demeaned and degraded. Humiliation includes belittlement, commands, sexual stimulation, etc. Degradation includes insults, name calling, – the works.
On the mild side of the spectrum, it looks like someone calling you a “stupid little baby”. On the extreme side it looks like getting hogtied and orgasm-tortured while everyone at the sex party points and laughs. These acts under normal circumstances are the sorts of things that usually make people feel uncomfortable or shamed, but erotic humiliation completely flips the switch on those core emotions, plus so much more.
Although erotic humiliation is popular within the BDSM scene, it’s also worth clarifying the two have a few stark differences. Unlike some kinky interests, erotic humiliation is not about the humiliation-causing acts themselves, rather the emotions they elicit. Humiliation is a form of submission, but not all submission has to entail humiliation/degradation tactics.
WHERE’S THE PLEASURE?
One person’s pain can be another person’s pleasure. Sexiness is subjective. It’s hard to pinpoint from where the appeal 100% stems. Sure, it’s easy to associate humiliation with that one embarrassing day in sixth grade gym class. But for many it can be a supremely, surprisingly freeing and healing experience.
A huge element of sexual exploration is getting to dip your toes into things that are sometimes considered taboo. In the world of kink and fetish, there are endless types of power dynamic. Whether it’s a Dom/sub, DDlg, or furry play, carrying out something that safely and consensually pushes the boundaries of human experience can feel liberating without a doubt. This is especially true when doing it with a trusted partner that’s on the same page as you.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
What sets this one apart from some other fetishes is the fact that it’s subjective AND doesn’t even have to be inherently sexual. Since the name of the sensuous game is feeling humiliation, everything from the dialogue and physicality, to level of overt sexuality depends on those involved.
Some people find receiving it hot, others enjoy dishing it out, and sometimes it’s a mix of both. The humiliation can happen in public at a sex party, or in the privacy of your own sex dungeon. Despite the fetish looking different from situation to situation, the one non-negotiable is both partners truly knowing each other – and what words, tones and actions will actually drive it all home.
SAFETY FIRST! (& HOW TO DO IT)
In addition to being on the same page with your partner, the other golden rule of erotic humiliation is that consent, as always, is absolutely everything.
Ahead of jumping into the hot and heavy action, having a candid conversation about what you how you want to engage in humiliation and degradation is the hands-down best way to kick things off. When playing with your emotions erotically, the experience can go in many different directions. It’s good to discuss and establish mutually agreed-upon boundaries, as well as have a safe word in your back pocket just in case.
After it all goes down, you additionally want to allow some time for aftercare and not be afraid to talk about the experience in general. Not only will reflecting upon the experience help you figure out how you felt about it, but a joint debrief can definitely reveal what worked as well as what didn’t for improving upon moving forward.
When it comes to any fetish, you ultimately just have to do you. But knowing they are an insanely interesting way to explore some of the most basic building blocks to any healthy relationship…well, it just keeps things all the more interesting, right?
Alex Anderson is an LA-based lifestyle designer proactively raging against the cultural grain. By day she works in television production, and by night enjoys writing, sewing and seeking guidance from the stars. She also finally has an all black kitty named “Cher.” You can follow her alt-lifestyle blog MSFT Living and on Instagram!