What You Should Know About Humiliation Play

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Exploring the Potential of Erotic Embarrassment With Humiliation Play

What You Should Know About Humiliation Play

Exploring the Potential of Erotic Embarrassment With Humiliation Play

Does the sight — or the sensation — of flushed cheeks and red ears make you…quiver? Does the idea of temporarily stepping outside of “normal” and into the “taboo” make your pulse quicken? Have you ever felt ashamed or embarrassed — and also deeply aroused?

If you answered yes to any of those questions — or even if they sparked a little curiosity in you — you might be interested in exploring something known as ‘humiliation play.’

A form of sexual engagement that doesn’t need to involve any actual penetration, humiliation play is all about engaging the participants’ minds, figuring out which buttons make a person convulse with erotic embarrassment, and then pushing the hell out of them.

In order to help you better understand the ins and outs of humiliation play, AskMen spoke to some leading sexperts, educators, writers, and creatives throughout the kink world and beyond. Here’s what they had to say:

What Is Humiliation Play?

Humiliation play is a variety of kink where embarrassment and erotic desire intersect.

And while it falls under the broader umbrella of BDSM, if you think humiliation play is simply “spanking with insults,” think again. Not only can humiliation play take on a variety of different forms, but when practiced within a safe and supportive relationship, it can be fun, cathartic, and even transformative for everyone involved as well.

Humiliation play can be entirely verbal or incorporate both verbal and physical elements; but either way, it all starts in the mind, according to professional Dominatrix and BDSM expert Alicia Zadig, author of the book Yes, Mistress: Why Men Crave Female Domination.

“Erotic humiliation is a mind game, a ceding control and a thrilling dance of power and surrender,” Zadig explains. “For many men, this form of masochism isn’t just satisfying and pleasurable, it’s transformative.”

“The excitement lies in playing with and breaking taboos — things outside of mainstream social norms you’re not supposed to want or like — and exploring the forbidden,” she adds. “It’s about finding empowerment in vulnerability, a concept that resonates deeply with the modern man’s pursuit of authenticity and self-discovery.”

Mark Cunningham, a licensed marriage and family therapist, AASECT-certified sex therapist, and psychedelic therapist, has a similarly holistic take. For some, he says, erotic humiliation “may be a way that they tap into their own inner landscape or their relationship with their critic or other wounded parts that they may carry in an entirely new context of sexual or erotic play, and this can be validating or healing.”

He clarifies, however, that for some the erotic aspects of humiliation may not be connected to any particular lived experiences. Like so much of our desires, it can also be a bit of a mystery.

The appeal of humiliation play is just as diverse as the individuals who seek it out; and so it’s never wise to assume anything about a person’s “real life” based on their participation or preferences in the world of BDSM — or sex in general.

Midori, a world-renowned sexologist, educator and author of The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage and Wild Side Sex, suggests that we might also see humiliation play as a “temporary removal of societal performance of self.”

“In the context of a safe and supportive structure, such as with a lover, humiliation play allows you to explore the dissonance between the tone of [your] desire with what society imposes,”she explains. And it’s thus not without irony that “erotic humiliation can remove a person’s sense of shame and self-punishment.”

However, speaking of punishment in the general sense, Midori says “it is important to understand that ​​BDSM is not about pain, it’s more about finding thrill in more intense sensations — like spicy food.”

And at the end of playtime, you are still you: “The house of self still stands — that which is removed for play is put back,” Midori explains. “So, humiliation play is not a denigration but more like a vacation for adults looking to shed their societal armor.”

Jane Boon, author of the femdom thriller Edge Play, agrees: “The underlying truth with erotic humiliation is that it requires a deep understanding by the top of what brings a lump to the bottom’s throat and makes them squirm. It is an exquisite experience of being fully seen — especially for those things you rarely share because they are viewed as shameful.”

Exploring Different Forms of Humiliation Play

Humiliation play can take on many different forms and tones — and it’s all down to the subjective desire(s) of the persons involved.

Zadig explains: “In the world of BDSM, humiliation practices are as varied as they are intriguing. From verbal humiliation to public displays, each form has its unique appeal. What’s fascinating is the personalization of these practices. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. It is a carefully tailored experience that can be both psychologically intense and unexpectedly liberating.”

In terms of specific “genres” of play, Zadig explains that erotic humiliation “can incorporate almost any act” including:

“spanking/flogging or any form of disciplineobjectification/being treated like human furniturefeminization and emasculationstrap-on playpegging and anal play (including wearing butt plugs)body worshipshoe/boot/foot worshipforced masturbation“CFNM” (Clothed Female Nude Male) or submissive nude while the Dominant remains clothedwearing a collar and leashbeing ordered to crawl on hands and kneeschastity trainingcuckoldinggolden showerspublic play or exposurespittingface slappingand so on.”

According to Todd Max Carey, director of the groundbreaking feature-length BDSM documentary film tOuch Kink, “The first and most important thing I learned about the fetish world is that you could watch two people — heck you can watch 20 sets of two people doing exactly the same activity — but every single one of them is having a unique experience.”

Zadig agrees: “Erotic humiliation is a very personal thing. What one person finds humiliating, another may not.”

This seemingly endless variety of possibilities is, of course, all the more reason for partners to communicate openly and transparently about their desires, boundaries, and any concerns they have.

According to adult performer Miss Brittany Andrews, aka Mistress Mommy, “One of the biggest prevailing myths about humiliation play and BDSM in general is that all submissives are into being humiliated. Wrong! Just because you are submissive does not mean that you wish to be treated in a way that presents itself with degradation and humiliation.”

Andrews continues: “Many submissives prefer to be appreciated and rewarded for their worship and service” to their Dom — with no humiliation play in the mix.

Put differently: “for one person, [humiliation] might be asking your partner to wear your panties under his power suit; for someone else, it’s dirty talk,” Midori explains. “Because humiliation can take so many forms, you absolutely need to ask.”

There you have it: always ask, never assume.

What Is “Small Penis Humiliation” and Why Do Some Men Enjoy It?

Exactly as it is described, SPH is the verbal erotic humiliation of a willing male participant about the size of his penis.

“SPH is a paradoxical yet intensely erotic experience,” says Zadig. “It plays with societal norms of masculinity, turning perceived ‘weakness’ into a source of arousal.”

And here’s the plot twist: men of all penis sizes can find SPH gratifying.

“I’ve had many clients who enjoy SPH but have a larger-than-average penis — even pretty large. It’s not about the actual size, but rather the psychology,” Zadig says.

“SPH play varies for each individual,” she continues. “For some, it can be about eroticizing something they feel self-conscious about, while for others it can tie into the fantasy of being a cuckold and that their partner desires other more well-endowed men who are more capable of pleasing them.” It can be about the ‘masculinity’ aspect and how men are taught since childhood to ‘be a man.’ SPH toys with that.”

“Men often have heavily internalized the pressure to perform and be the leader and initiator,” Midori adds.

SPH blows all of those societally conditioned expectations out of the water and allows the participant temporary liberation.

How to Begin Safely Exploring Humiliation Play

“Exploring erotic humiliation play with a partner requires a foundation of trust and communication. It’s about understanding and respecting each other’s limits and desires,” Zadig explains. “Start with an open conversation about what you’re curious to explore. Set clear boundaries.”

She adds: “Find out what types of humiliation would be sexy and a turn-on and find out about hard limits and areas that would be an instant turn-off. It can be as simple as an action you have your partner do or do to them, a name you may use, or a physical position that feels exposed.”

Carey agrees, adding: “Successful kinky play always starts with careful negotiation, where both partners must be open and fearless about their likes and dislikes, without judgment.”

Now, if you’re feeling tongue-tied, Midori suggests asking your partner:

“‘How do you want to feel?’ And then: ‘How do we get there?’”

Midori also points out that “planning a BDSM scene is not unlike picking out a movie,” because in both of those instances, “you are seeking a kind of emotional state and planning for it.” Except instead of debating sci-fi vs. rom-com, Midori suggests you ask each other: “What makes for a ‘hot, sexy, squirmy, uncomfortable sex situation’ that you both would enjoy?”

Additionally, while safe words are a great basic practice, going beyond a mere “safe word” allows you to empathize more deeply with each other’s experience as the scene progresses.

As such, because of the nature of humiliation play, Midori also suggests that partners should ask each other:

“What do you look and sound like when it’s good for you? And what about when it’s bad for you?”

“It’s all about communication, communication, communication,” Andrews agrees. “And gentlemen, communication also includes listening.”

The Importance of Aftercare in Humiliation Play

That being said, the communication doesn’t stop just because the scene has ended.

It’s vital, Carey explains, for participants to “check in afterward, in what’s called aftercare, to ensure things went as planned. [Aftercare] is critical in maintaining healthy relationships.”

No matter what your idea of aftercare is, never skimp on it. If you want to cuddle, fine. If you want to go for a walk, that’s fine too. Just do something that helps you come back to reality.

“Aftercare is going to be different for everyone,” says Midori. “Aftercare is what each individual requires to regain a good equilibrium.”

And this is also true whether you topped or bottomed; in fact, it’s erroneous to think that the Dominant is not just as deeply impacted by what happened as the submissive is.

“Aftercare is important, as it helps maintain the emotional and psychological balance post-play,” Zadig explains. “This journey can be incredibly enriching, offering a deeper connection and understanding between partners.”

Being Ashamed of Finding Humiliation Play Arousing

“If you are ashamed of your love of being shamed or doing the shaming I would recommend looking at The Harvey Institute’s Six Principles of Sexual Health, and then exploring how these are showing up in yourself or in your relationships with those you love or play with,” says Cunningham. “I would invite you to look at your relationship with shame and self-compassion, and perhaps explore this in therapy.”

Cunningham adds: “I would also invite those struggling with sexual shame of their kink to find a community like a BDSM Munch group, or meetup group for poly/kink groups so you can start destigmatizing your experience, or find supportive books like Sacred Kink by Lee Harrington, or Existential Kink by Carolyn Elliot to explore some shadow work as it relates to your desires.”

Midori also points out the importance of keeping humiliation play in its proper context. “Think of a hot humiliation scene as an ‘ordeal’ in the hero’s journey,” she says. “You come out at the other end [to the person who loves you] and you put your armor back on.”

If you’re afraid of “political incorrectness” in a humiliation scene, or concerned about using language that you or your partner would [normally] find offensive, take heart: dirty talk is yet another aspect of play time that can be negotiated to your comfort — or discomfort — levels.

“For example, you can tell your partner: you can call me a slut, but not a whore,” Midori clarifies.

Moreover, Midori suggests that some people find it empowering to “reclaim” the use of what are otherwise derogatory words — but again, ultimately it’s down to what you and your partner agree upon.

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Source: AskMen


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