BDSM Basics: 5 Things You Should Know About Erotic Humiliation

Erotic humiliation aka humiliation play isn’t for everyone. It’s a very distinct kink that works well for some and is a major hard limit for others. As with everything we do in BDSM, no two kinksters will experience humiliation play in the same way or want the exact same thing.

Whether you’re brand new to the kink or you’re exploring with a current or new partner, there are a few things to keep in mind.

(For the video version, in case you prefer visual/audio, scroll to the end.)

Always talk about it before you play.

Just because one person likes to hear, “You’re my little whore, aren’t you?” doesn’t mean everyone does. Never engage in verbal or physical erotic humiliation until you’ve discussed it with a partner first. For those who enjoy it, they often enjoy very specific things or words. You can’t assume you know what someone else likes. And one person’s good time is another person’s very serious trigger and/or hard limit.

If you’re the submissive or bottom, try not to be too shy about admitting you like what you like. And if it feels “humiliating” or “embarrassing” to tell your partner you’re into it, enjoy that moment of unplanned kink!

Erotic humiliation exists on a spectrum.

We say it all the time, and we’re saying it again. Everything we do is on a spectrum. If all you like is one specific word that mildly embarrasses you, that’s still erotic humiliation. If you love being spat, shat, and pissed on while people look on and laugh, congrats, you’re at another end of the humiliation play spectrum. You don’t have to apologize for liking only a little play or very, very specific play.

Humiliation play is both words and deeds.

Maybe you prefer words over actions or physical actions over words. There’s no right way. I like face slapping for both the impact and the humiliation of it. We play with words (John Brownstone loooooooves dirty talk) a lot. But many, many forms of play fall under my hard limits, including things I already enjoy (like name-calling). Personally, I can handle “slut” or “whore” but “stupid,” “fat”, “pig”, and “cow” are definite hard limits for me. I also enjoy being made to crawl or kneel (when my body will let me).

There is a real risk of harm.

Anytime we get physical with each other, you risk injury or harm. That’s the nature of all BDSM. But people forget that words can hurt, too. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a big fucking lie. Some of the most painful injuries many of us endure are the words hurled at us that we can never forget. (Myself included.) You might not know a word is a trigger until it’s said. Do your best to talk to each other to figure out where the line is, but also know play might need to be cut off because you stumbled into painful and dangerous territory.

Aftercare and follow-up are important.

You’re playing with feelings when you engage in erotic humiliation just as much as you’re playing with the body. Whatever aftercare looks like in your dynamic, it needs to be followed. If your play was really physical, help your submissive/bottom clean up and put themselves back together — as much as they allow you to. (Everyone’s aftercare is different, y’all.) Check in with each other because humiliation play can leave both partners raw on an emotional level, too. For me, part of what makes erotic humiliation enjoyable is because I know John Brownstone will whisper sweet, loving things in my ear when we’re done, reminding me that I’m his very good girl.

More resources to help you learn more:

Humiliation as a Kink (podcast)

What is Humiliation Play (blog post)

5 Things About Aftercare

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