Posted in Couples
June 12, 2015

“That’s all you have? I am not impressed”: Erotic Humiliation 101

By Isabelle Drake

Erotic humiliation can take many forms; verbal, such as scolding or name calling; animal play, making the submission eat or drink from pet bowls; erotic objectification, requiring the submissive is used as furniture, or  any form of sexual embarrassment. Obviously, the spectrum is vast but the basics are pretty simple: it’s any time a consensual person is turned on by being demeaned or demeaning others.

Typically the person being humiliated is in a submissive role, the person administering the scolding or other embarrassment is dominant. However, it is important to note that note all BDSM relationships have humiliation as an element and those that do are likely to consider it edgeplay and thus use a safeword and extensive advance negotiations.

The range of possibilities for humiliation is as vast as the possibilities so the key to successful humiliation is to know what a specific individual finds offensive. Practitioners of erotic humiliation emphasize the that a high level of trust and communication will enhance the overall experience. Those who are being humiliated seek pain, not injury, and so the person administering the humiliation must be both skilled and attuned to the submissive’s individual needs. For example, a person being forced to call another ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ may find that objectionable, and thus humiliating, while another may not. A person who enjoys ponyplay will most likely not be humiliated by being told to trot around a room while others watch.

The theories that seek to explain why erotic humiliation works focus on the physiological and emotional responses to humiliation. The area of the brain that responds to emotional pain, including humiliation, is the same as the one that responds to physical pain. Thus, humiliation is a very strong emotional trigger. That emotional trigger requires a significant amount of mental manipulation as the person being humiliated finds a way to “deal with it.” One method of “dealing with it,” or managing the emotional pain, is to disassociate, to set aside ones normal identity. This break from identity leads to a temporary loss of self-awareness, loss of focus on oneself as seen by others and ultimately relaxation. This combination naturally enhances sexual pleasure. And so, when a person is humiliated to the point of loss of self-awareness, and physical pleasure is introduced, the likelihood of ultimate sexual release and satisfaction is achieved.

Recent research emphasizes that those who participate in masochism are “normal” and that the practice may be a response to the “overgrown selfhood of modern Western society.” That is, humiliation play is a healthy and productive way to deal with everyday stress because it allows the person being humiliated to set everyday identity and experience sexual pleasure in a pure form.

Like to see some of this in action? The French film Belle de Jour is an erotic humiliation classic. The main character, a doctor’s wife, feels disconnected from her husband and seeks relief from her emotional pain. She begins a double life: call girl by day, proper Parisian housewife by night.

The film, starring Catherine Deneuve is a visual feast. The trailer gives you a taste. The whole thing is worth hunting down. I suggest watching it twice. The first time for the story, the second to catch the subtle things you missed the first time.

Guys, want to be talked down to by some hot ladies?

Try: Humiliatrix

Ladies, want to info on how to humiliate guys?

Check out: Verbal Humiliation and Domination 101

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  • Post authorKemberlee

    There was a Bones episode which featured pony play — Death in the Saddle. Very interesting that the writers and producers agreed on using this fetish as the plot. Maybe it will open the doors to other commercial programming showing alternative lifestyles.


    Reply to Kemberlee
    • Post authorIsabelle Drake

      I’ve seen that one. Once you start looking for “it” (erotic humiliation) you’ll start seeing it more and more. It would be interesting to see people’s attitudes change.

      Reply to Isabelle Drake
      • Post authorMadeline Iva

        I’ve seen that one too! Small world, eh?

        Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorrebeccablackwords

    Great post – thanks. I was just talking about erotic humiliation the other day and basically admitted that I don’t fully understand why it’s a turn on. But this goes a long way towards explaining – it’s interesting. I really want to watch that film now too.

    Reply to rebeccablackwords
    • Post authorIsabelle Drake

      thank you! Do watch the film. It’s worth the effort of hunting it down. You might also look forvThe Story of O if you haven’t already seen/read that one.

      Reply to Isabelle Drake
  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    It sounds almost zen, undergoing a temporary loss of self–or is it loss of attachment to our egos and all its attendant baggage that sounds freeing–as it brings us into the here and now? Letting go of everything but the present moment is what romance is all about, yes?

    And there was an article the other day on how some us may be tweaked towards sadism — more than they had previously thought. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/everyday-sadists-take-pleasure-in-others-pain.html

    Reply to Madeline Iva
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