There are some pretty bad derogatory words in the English language. Ones then when uttered make people cringe and cry, scream and object (often loudly). So when I entered the BDSM scene 10 years ago I was on the fence about how these same terms can be used in a positive way, or at least in a way that wouldn't make me hide under the covers. You see, I used to have humiliation and degradation on my hard limits list. Being an obese woman, I've been ridiculed my whole life. I didn't see any way that I would enjoy feeling embarrassed and ashamed as a form of play.

That has since changed.

Humiliation vs. Degradation

My biggest hurdle was understanding that there was a difference between how I was treated outside the scene and how things could be within the context of play and a relationship. If done correctly and in the security of an established relationship, a bit of humiliation is hot, at least for me.

Humiliation and especially erotic humiliation is the intentional use of words and actions to cause embarrassment, shame or psychological discomfort. For me, I may enjoy being insulted in some ways but be genuinely crushed and devastated if humiliated or insulted in other ways. For example, I can't stand the word bitch. It gives me a terrible revolting feeling. It's completely bad for me to be called a bitch. But call me a slut and I'll swoon.

The other side of the humiliation coin is degradation. I am personally not able to handle degrading play because I can't disassociate the play from real life. So to experience something degrading will come with me after the play is over and has a negative impact on my self-esteem and relationship. Degradation is saying false truths to people to lower them and slander them. Its intention is to break down a person. It's like calling me a fat pig just because I'm overweight. It's an attack on my person.

The line between humiliation and degradation is a very fine one and everyone places that line in different places. I've only given you my interpretation of where that line is for me. Many could say that the "fat pig" comment falls solidly into humiliation, but for me, it's in another league altogether. That's why the line is different for each person.

Wikipedia has a fantastic list of examples of erotic humiliation:

Verbal humiliation

  • Animal play, which describes the submissive as a pet, dog, girl, or bitch; making the submissive eat and drink from pet food and water bowls.
  • Verbal belittlement, with such words as slaveboygirlmissy, and pet.
  • Insults and verbal abuse, such as fatuglystupid, and worthless.
  • Degrading names, such as slutshitbitch, and whore.
  • Racial and ethnic slurs.
  • Slighting of body parts and behaviors, such as disparaging or cruel references to breasts, facial appearance, genitalia (including size), buttocks, and slighting of such mannerisms as walking, responsiveness, and standard of self-care.
  • A requirement to ask permission for everyday activities, such as going to the toilet, spending money, and eating.
  • Forced repetition, such as the submissive's being obliged to repeat commands that he or she has been given and to confirm them.
  • Forced flattery, such as agreeing that every decision that the dominant makes is wise, correct, and justifiable, while additionally praising the dominant's physical and personality traits.
  • Mockery, derision, and ridicule.
  • Scolding of the type commonly reserved for children.

Physical humiliation

  • Ejaculating, spitting, and urinating on the submissive's body, especially the face.
  • Servitude
  • Forced sexual degradation, including such acts as erotic massage, cunnilingus, analingus, and fellatio.
  • Detailed accountability and control (micro-management) as to time spent and activities done, including lists of jobs to do, precise directions as to how the job is to be performed, and exactly how to act and behave.
  • Real Humiliation is the act of making a person carry out specific tasks which involve other real people who are not aware that there is a task or dominant relation issuing the task in the background.
  • Specific rituals and affectations to be adopted. This includes displays of subservience, such as lighting cigarettes, walking a pace behind the dominant, speaking only when spoken to, kneeling or prostrating oneself in front of the dominant when expecting orders, eating only after others or on the floor, and low-status place to sleep.
    • Body worship, including such activities as kissing or licking the dominant's feet, boots, buttocks, anus, vulva, etc. to express acknowledgment, subservience, shame, and even positive emotions (such as happiness and excitement).
  • Deprivation of privacy, which may include the submissive's never being able to leave the room in which the dominant is present without permission.
    • The dominant watches while the submissive uses the toilet.
    • The submissive's being forbidden to leave the house or 'dungeon' in general for the duration of slavery or servitude, etc.
  • Discipline (BDSM), including erotic spanking, slapping, whipping, restraint, and other BDSM activities (such as cock-and-ball torture (CBT)).
  • Dress code (BDSM): prescriptions and proscriptions of clothing, even in public.
    • For women, a common example is being mandated to wear only bikinis or lingerie.
    • For men, forced feminizing and cross-dressing.
    • Both sexes may be expected to go completely naked, with decorative objects such as collars, diapers, bands, tiaras, and cuffs as the only exceptions.
  • Erotic sexual denial, including the use of a chastity device.
  • Wearing of external signs of "ownership", such as collars.
  • Public humiliation, in which the submissive's friends or family, or strangers, are aware of or even witness the treatment.
  • Erotic objectification, in which the submissive is used as human furniture, such as a footstool.
  • Embarrassment.
  • Forced anal penetration, with dildos, anal plugs, and similar objects.
  • Cuckolding, a mostly heterosexual fetish in which the dominant woman has sex with a man outside of the relationship while the submissive man may or may not be present. If the man is not present, he might help her choose what clothes to wear when she meets the other man, or they might get together afterward so she can tell him about it, either while having sex or in addition to withholding sex. If the man is present during the cuckolding, he may or may not be allowed to pleasure himself while watching. The cuckolding may or may not be followed by sex between the couple. Another variant of the cuckolding fetish is that a heterosexual couple fantasizes that another man has already impregnated the woman.
  • The submissive's having to ask permission to orgasm during sex or masturbation.
  • The submissive's being forced to wear a gag or restraints on the body.
  • Forced masturbation in a humiliating manner.
  • Feelings of humiliation are key to many of those engaged in klismaphilia.
  • Feederism

Name Calling

Being called sexually derogatory names in play and sex is often hot for me. I find it mildly embarrassing, sure. But that's part of why I like it. Let's take, for example, the title name, slut. Removing all the negative connotation of the word, how do you describe who a slut is to someone? They are sexually free, open to anything, willing to experiment, love sex, wanton, desired, desirable, indecent, wild. At least that would be my description. To be called that by KnyghtMare is affirming what he loves about me when it comes to sex.

Can you embrace erotic humiliation? Is there anything listed on Wikipedia that you enjoy but never considered as a part of humiliation? Why and how so? I'd love to hear your comments.

Is erotic humiliation a part of your play? Where does the line between humiliation and degradation exist for you?