We now know that emotional/psychological abuse can scar for a lifetime, but for some people, those words are exciting to play with. When engaging in humiliation play and degradation, certain words, names and insults may come with a bit of damaging history, so how do you go about keeping your humiliation play hot while being humane? Cameryn Moore gives some thoughtful advice for the careful kinkster. 


After decades of discussion, kinky folks have relatively good foundations about how to negotiate the give and take of physical pain and other sensations. We have developed standard frameworks for understanding the risks inherent in a broad spectrum of BDSM; whether we talk about Safe Sane and Consensual (SSC) or Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK), we can be very thoughtful about the nuances and dangers of everything from tickling to CBT. We know the physical games can hurt, if not handled properly.

Humiliation Play. Sissy laying on a bed
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” -- said some asshole when psychological trauma was not considered a thing.
 

What about the psychological games of humiliation and degradation?

First of all, include the psychological components in your pre-kink discussion. You can find any number of charts and guidelines to help you and your play partner(s) negotiate what you want to do in a play session; look to see if your type of psychological play is included. If not, here are some things to consider:
 

  1. Agree in advance 
    Discuss in advance about what words, names and phrases are right, and what's okay to hear or to say - and what should never happen. Do not assume that any kind of abuse is okay. Someone may be down with having their dick size compared to a cotton swab, but don’t you dare call into question their skills as a parent. Someone else may be fine with being spat on and being called a slut, but if you insult their weight, they may just knock you to the floor and storm out. What makes some kinds of humiliation and psychological abuse work, and others not, varies from individual to individual, just as tolerance for physical abuse does.
     
  2. Use safe words for humiliation play
    Remember that safe words or other safety signals are as appropriate for stopping psychological play as for physical actions. We're used to thinking of physical blows as more severe than anything words can do, and it’s true that physical impacts can have the element of permanent physical damage, but if someone tells you to stop with the name-calling, just do it and don’t try to be cute by prolonging it.
     
  3. Be mindful when in non-kink spaces
    Be especially careful about humiliation play and degradation out in public non-kink spaces, and don’t start such games unless the bottom has given specific consent to that.  Many people would never do things in public that they jump on in private. Other risks of bringing your mind games out into public are, you non-consensually involve bystanders in your kink, which should be a big no-no. And, if someone does happen to overhear you calling your lover a disgusting pig, well, you're going to look like an asshole, aren’t you? Keep your play between you, and ramp up the just-our-little-secret squirm factor, by leaning in and whispering the abuse directly into your partner’s ear.
     
  4. Set clear boundaries 
    Set those boundaries clear, at the beginning and end of the session, and if you are the top for this play, be very careful about not using any of the same humiliating words or dynamics, even in jest, outside of the scene. This maintains your in-scene focus and helps you keep the “abuse” from accidentally getting out into the rest of your life with this person.
     
  5. Pay attention to body language
    While in the scene, the top needs to pay more attention to body language than they might during strictly physical activities. One of the great things about humiliation play is that it can be incredibly low-key and nuanced while still being effective. But this means that the bottom’s responses may not be as dramatic as shrieking or sobbing.  If you aren’t getting enough information from them about how things are going, a well-phrased question -“you like that, don’t you, slut? - can both get you your feedback AND further enhance the humiliation.
     
  6. Make time for aftercare
    Finally, make plenty of time for aftercare, especially if the bottom/submissive needs it. Humiliation play can be incredibly cathartic, and in my experience, consensual humiliation during a scene leaves me feeling even rawer and needing comfort than just having my ass beaten with a belt. So leave room afterwards to have that conversation: what does the bottom need to hear or feel to bring them back? How does the top feel after dishing out insults or other humiliating words or actions that maybe they have never even thought before?  If you're just starting to explore humiliation play, you might not know all the questions to ask beforehand, but you definitely will afterwards.


Hungry for humiliation play, desperate for degradation? Log on to Fetish.com and find kinksters like you.

 

Talk about humiliation and degradation in the BDSM forum on Fetish.com
Article image: Jen Sissy. Flickr Creative Commons - Public Domain


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