Humiliation play is like the old saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What is severe humiliation to one submissive might not be a big deal to another. The key is to understand what humiliates your submissive safely and what “can permanently damage his or her psyche or breaks any hard limits.”
Humiliation is a great way of punishing an errant slave.
Surely, it is more of a punishment that the usual “spank me because I am a bad girl” scenario. After all, since most submissives love to be spanked, how can this be considered punishment? (I know there are those that claim it is the intent of the spanking that determines whether it is pleasurable or painful; this is open to debate. I have recently covered this issue in a kinkweekly.com article.) But, to use it effectively, one must comprehend the dynamics and scope of humiliation and utilize it with care.
For example, I had a submissive whose ultimate humiliation, and fear, was being made to wear a baby pacifier in public. (This is a good one!) Just the thought of that baby toy stuck in her mouth while shopping at Ralphs would turn her into the most obedient submissive you could imagine. Yet, another submissive I knew had absolutely no fear of the pacifier. In fact, she insisted that it would make a cool fashion statement. Once, she even carried one in her pocket and put it in her mouth just to make her fashionista point – in a fancy restaurant!
I have seen a submissive forced to stand in a corner, facing the wall, with a dunce cap on her head at a play party. (Another good one!) Yet another submissive I was with stated that this would be her hard limit; that it would bring back horrid memories of similar treatment by her baby sitter. Humiliation, as we said, is in the eye of the beholder.
Humiliation can be every bit as extreme as any type of BDSM Edge Play
Even though humiliation is primarily a mental type of play, it can be every bit as extreme as any type of BDSM edge play. Displaying a submissive with degrading signs draped on him/her is one activity that comes to mind. Writing demeaning slogans on a naked submissive can be extremely mortifying. The Dom/me must know the submissive’s limits and psyche before writing “slut” all over his/her naked sub in front of others. One should never treat humiliation lightly simply because there is no physical pain involved; mental pain can be even more searing. Ideally, humiliation as a training technique should be only used by experienced Dom/mes.
Most submissives react differently to humiliation in a public venue than to humiliation in front of their lifestyle peers – at a play party, for example. Calling your sub a demeaning name at Target might take on a whole different, and far more serious, internal meaning to the sub than using the same words at a BDSM play party. Thus, it is important that you recognize the difference between “vanilla public” and “BDSM public” humiliation and always take this into consideration. With very rare exceptions, one should never degrade your submissive around family, friends or coworkers.
As to humiliation play – as opposed to using it for training — it is difficult to negotiate strict hard limits when it comes to degradation play; it is not as easy to codify as flogging, for example. You should have a safe word – but safe words are much easier to use when an actual pain threshold is passed. In humiliation play, by the time you pass the threshold, you might already have caused some psychic damage; it could be too late for a safe word. In humiliation play, the key word is play. Be careful not to cross any psychic lines.
Thus, you must keep all these factors in mind whether you are using humiliation for punishment, training or just for play!
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.