During erotic embarrassment and humiliation class I sat on the spanking bench with my skirt hiked up and my legs spread. My panties were already off - they’d only lasted a matter of minutes. In my mouth was a dog toy made of rope. It was functioning like a gag, and when I was asked questions I could barely mumble my answers around it, without fear of letting it fall. I was drooling a bit, but the rope collected the moisture. I watched as next to me the instructor was putting nipple clamps on the other model. She had a rubber gag in her mouth, and drool was dripping down her chin and onto her chest.

“You didn’t think this through,” The instructor had said to me, after reading my list of hard limits. When he was planning his class he checked with both of his volunteers about what he couldn’t do - but we never discussed what he would do. I think the surprise is part of the fun. And anyway, I’d rather not know. Details would make me anxious, but without anything concrete to fear, the anticipation is exciting.

I teach a lot of classes that include a live demonstration - certain things are best learned in a hands-on capacity. So it’s only fair that I take a turn now and then as the demo bottom. When a friend told me he wasn’t sure who he could get to demo for his erotic embarrassment and humiliation class, I volunteered right away. Little did I know I’d end up on the floor of the classroom, in front of about 50 people, masturbating myself to orgasm while getting slapped in the face.

After all that was I embarrassed?

Maybe a little. Thanks to my theater background I’m not too worried about making a fool of myself for the sake of a good show. That’s what makes me the best/worst demo model for this kind of class.

But there was a lot more going on than just making a spectacle of myself. Erotic embarrassment and humiliation taps into a wide world of psychological play that can go to intense and dark places. And just like people have limits for physical play, limits for psychological play are absolutely essential.

When negotiating for this kind of play, you need to know what someone’s emotional triggers are. We all have them, but some are buried deeper than others. What about words or names you do or don’t want to have used? Some people want to work through trauma, such as reclaiming the names they were called in elementary school or beyond, while other people would rather leave those scars untouched. You can call me a slut until you’re blue in the face, and I won’t be bothered. For others, it might be a crushing blow. Everybody is different.

Erotic embarrassment and humiliation aren't all about calling someone names

erotic-embarrassment-humiliation-class-2Positive affirmations can be embarrassing too. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do during a BDSM scene was kneel in front of a mirror and say nice things about myself. For many people it’s complements, rather than insults, that are difficult to receive.

Even asking someone to tell you what they want can be embarrassing — and empowering at the same time. Having to state our desires may bring a blush to our face, but when we’re heard with compassion it can be a healing act, too.

For those who just want down and dirty play, your imagination is the only limit (within negotiated boundaries.) What about having someone act like a dog while barking and playing fetch? Or wearing diapers and wetting themselves? Other people use math problems or spelling tests as torture (my personal nightmare.) Playing with humiliation can be a great way to push yourself in new ways, and to explore more extreme kinks without extreme pain.

Like all forms of kink play, aftercare is essential

Maybe even especially so. When you’ve torn someone down it’s important to put them back together again. Both parties need to hear that they’re good people and that their partners like them. Snuggles and positive affirmations go a long way after you’ve gone to dark places together.

So when you’re looking for ways to spice up your sex or your kink, don’t overlook the psychological forms of play. Just do so cautiously, with negotiation, and plenty of time for cuddles at the end.


Stella Harris is an author, educator, and coach who focuses on sex, kink, and intimacy. Through her writing and teaching she explores the complex world of love and lust and strives to help people explore their sexuality safely and free of shame. You can learn more about Stella, or schedule a consultation, on her website or follow her on Twitter @stellaerotica

images by tight rope und andyspb via Flickr with CC BY 2.0 license



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[…] Of course, she didn’t know that there was no one sitting in close enough range to hear her. All she knew was that I told her to read a story—one which made her think of me doing all those lovely and terrible things to her—and her obedience was hot for both of us. There is something about those pink cheeks, that catch of the breath as the submissive chooses to move past discomfort and obey, that makes it such a wonderful form of play. […]

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Very interesting and so true! I love to be stripped collared, made to bark and play fetch. Btw thanks for using the pic of me being used as a table! I hope you will find some of my other pix of use. Best regards

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