I hope you have been enjoying Rika’s Lair, my monthly column dedicated to thoughts and experiences regarding power dynamics in Service-Oriented D/s relationships. Look up “Ms. Rika” in the search box for links to all my articles in KinkWeekly!
I’ve participated in a lot of discussions regarding the use of humiliation and degradation within power dynamics. Many consider the fact that many submissives enjoy being humiliated or degraded as being a paradox. I don’t see it as a paradox, I see it as a very rational, and expected, reaction. Here’s why:
I tend to think most people who enjoy humiliation, don’t enjoy humiliation itself, but LOVE being humiliated. In other words, it’s the fact that someone else is deliberately humiliating them that gets the chemicals flowing.
I’ve talked about it before – I believe that there is a process of rationalization whenever we willingly and voluntarily accept something from a partner that isn’t what we normally would desire. We must justify, to ourselves, why would allow this to happen to us. This is true when a sub is punished, or “tortured” (non-abusive), or required to do chores, follow protocols, or any number of other things. The fact that power dynamics are consensual, leaves out abusive / truly-forced reasons – leaving only the rationale that the dominant has the authority to inflict this upon the submissive – and, upon accepting that authority, leaving the submissive feeling “helpless” to resist.
So, voluntarily accepting something from a dominant that we normally would not accept, triggers a feeling of being under the dominant’s control and authority. That’s something subs want. That’s something that makes their submission feel more real. Subs don’t have to enjoy the activity – but they absolutely enjoy feeling the dominant’s authority.
This is behind my assertion that punishments always reward submissives…even if the punishment is something that they hate…and that people who think that you need to make the punishment severe enough for the sub to change their behavior to avoid it, are fooling themselves. The more the submissive dislikes the activity they feel compelled to allow, the more “real” the authority feels and the more titillating the experience. See my previous article entitled, “Punishment Is Always a Reward” in Kinkweekly, for a more in-depth discussion regarding punishments.
Humiliation is something most of us would try to avoid. It’s not a pleasant experience. But if a sub allows a dominant to humiliate them, they stimulate the feeling of submissiveness and powerlessness under the authority of the dominant. It promotes the dominant to a more powerful position in their mind, which is arousing and enjoyable.
There is a Yin to that Yang: Dominants are afforded the opposite end of that rationalization: They know that the submissive would normally avoid humiliating situations. However, they are not only allowing themselves to be humiliated, they’re do voluntarily within the context of their power dynamic. The rationalization that the dominant must have the authority to levy the punishment, supports the dominant’s feeling of control and power. Humiliation becomes a playful experience. How much can a dominant push a submissive? How far does that rationalized-authority extend?
In this light, it’s obvious why humiliation is desirable – and what the submissive and dominant may gain from it. It’s not a paradox at all. It makes complete sense!
Ms. Rika is a lifestyle dominant, educator, and author; living in the suburbs of NYC with her husband/slave. She has written several popular books on her approach to adding Dominant-Centric, Service-Oriented D/s to relationships. You can find her books (in both print and eBook formats) at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/msrika), or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iStore, Books-A Million, Kobo.com, or anywhere books are sold. Search for “Ms. Rika”. Write to me at Ms_Rika@hotmail.com