In BDSMhumiliation is one psychological technique a top may use on a bottom. It is generally considered edgeplay because it touches strong emotional buttons.

The word humiliation comes from a Latin root meaning earth. To humiliate someone is to bring him or her down low to the ground.

Humiliation is a highly subjective issue, and depends greatly on context. Although there are many examples of humiliation as a technique, success in training all depends upon the slave and what they find personally to be most degrading. While in a dominant-submissive scene or relationship, the submissive takes a subordinate role and may be called “slave”, “boy”, “dog” or something similar. The submissive may also make displays of subservience, such as lighting cigarettes, walking a pace behind the dominant, only speaking when spoken to, etc.

Humiliation play can involve physical and/or verbal methods. Some seek to be demeaned by acting a role, while others enjoy to be ‘tonguelashed’ and to be constantly told of their low status, and even be made to repeat this back to the humiliator. One example may be as simple as having a slave call their Master “Sir” or “Master.” For some, this in and of itself is utterly humiliating, while other slaves may find that is not humiliating whatsoever. On the flip side, having a slave wear a collar and perform submissive acts in public or within the confines of a scene with other people may seem humiliating to some, but normal and natural to others.

However, a dominant may take care over insulting the submissive. Terms like “fat”, “ugly”, “stupid” or “worthless” could be considered abuse if this is not part of the understanding the top and bottom have negotiated for their role play scene.

Depending on the roles and persons involved, terms like “slut”, “tart”, “bitch” and “whore” may or may not be considered humiliation. For some people, such names are a way of achieving ego reduction, entering bottom space, or getting over sexual inhibitions.

A classic technique to put a submissive into bottom space is to combine humiliation with pleasurable physical sensation, including sexual stimulation. Someone who is already inclined to be subby can often be put into a very submissive mental state by simultaneously turning that person on physically while humiliating them.

Sexual roleplaying may or may not involve humiliation. For example, one bottom who plays the part of a dog may enjoy being mock-forced into it and the top will emphasize the lowness of the bottom’s status as an animal. Another dog-player would rather play the role of the dog without any element of humiliation.

One such form of sexual roleplaying is objectification, where the bottom is cast in the role of an object.

It is also widely accepted that there are individuals who seek humiliation as a form of emotional release, thus, doing things like eating out of a dog dish, being forced to always kneel, displaying oneself or being forced to cross dress, are just methods a Master can use to bring their slave that much wanted emotional release.

Humiliation may be reinforced by being in public or in front of other people. This may include being made to go out in very scanty or revealing clothing or cross-dressed.

Terminology and overview

The person being humiliated is often called a bottom, and the person who humiliates the bottom is often called the top, though these are standard terms used in general dominant/submissive role play and are not specific to humiliation interests. The top, if female, sometimes is called the humiliatrix. Other common names are slave and sub/submissive, for the bottom (irrespective of gender), and Master/ Dom (male top), and MistressDomme (female top).

Humiliation is not the same as dominance: the devotee does not necessarily seek to be ordered about. However, elements of erotic humiliation may be part to a number of dominance based activities. Humiliation comes into its own as a sexual force when the devotee seeks the humiliation over and above the means: when being spanked is primarily valued because of the belittlement involved, for example. Humiliation therefore encompasses a range of paraphilia, including foot fetish, shoe fetish, body worship, spankingbondage, and most BDSM styles. It can be as basic as the desire to kiss and massage feet as a precursor to sex; and it can be complex, involving roleplay and public displays of subservience. It can also be for a set period of time (a “scene”) or an ongoing facet of a relationship. The humiliation is not intrinsic to the act or the object. Rather, it is semiotically charged by the shared attitude of the partners engaged in the act. They invest specific acts, objects, or body parts with a humiliating aspect.[2]

Means of humiliation

Many scenarios may give rise to sexual humiliation. Some scenarios may be based on verbal abuse and others on physical aspects, for example:

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.[3]
  • 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.
  • 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.[3]

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)).
  • Dresscode (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.[3]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.[5]
  • Feelings of humiliation are key to many of those engaged in klismaphilia.[3]
  • Feederism

Some sexual humiliation involves physical inflicting pain, but much of it is far more concerned with ridicule, mocking, degradation, and embarrassment.

Sexual roleplaying can involve humiliation. For example, one person might play the part of a dog because he or she enjoys being mock-forced into it, and the top might emphasize the lowness of the bottom’s status as an animal, whereas another person might play the role of the dog without any element of humiliation, simply as an expression of an inner animal or playful spirit.

Psychology of humiliation

Humiliation in general stimulates the same brain regions that are associated with physical pain, the inference being that humans evolved to remember social rewards and punishments as strongly as they recall physical reward or pain in response to their environment. As with any form of pain experimentation in a sexual context, consent and (paradoxically) a high degree of awareness and communication are needed to ensure that the result is desirable, rather than abusive. For example, a submissive may enjoy being insulted in some ways but be genuinely crushed and devastated if humiliated or insulted in other ways.

Humiliation play is also connected to sexual fetishism, in that non-sexual activities may become sexualised by association with arousal, and also may be associated with exhibitionism in the sense of wanting others to witness (or being aroused by others witnessing) one’s sexual degradation.

For some people, activities such as name-calling are a way of achieving ego reduction or getting over sexual inhibitions. For example, between gay people, terms usually associated with homophobia may be used, such as faggot anddyke.

As with all sexual activities, some people have sexual fantasies about humiliation, and others actually undertake it as a lifestyle or in a scene. Sexual fantasies relating to mild humiliation are common. Some humiliation roleplay (pup-play and age play in particular) is combined with loyalty and care-giving to the extent that these fetishes can be seen as exercises in trust rather than primarily a humiliation fetish. The desire to be beneath the other partner during intercourse, the idea of “getting caught” (as in having sex in the garden or woods), and mild rape fantasies (in which the people imagine themselves to be forced in ways they would like, and which are different from any real form of rape) are mild emotional games that emphasise status, vulnerability, and control. However, for most people such ideas remain fantasies; the people would have strong reservations about the fantasies’ being made public, or engaged in with a partner in real life, however erotic the idea may be. When someone reveals a fetish to a partner, this usually is a result of great trust. However, the desire to be humiliated may be a motivating cause for confession, in that the act of confessing can itself be humiliating. Many people worry about being ridiculed for their fetishes, and such ridicule from their partners could be psychologically catastrophic. Therefore, many people use online humiliation (in which thehumiliator and others are involved via the Internet, using chat, email, websites, etc.) as a compromise between exhibitionism and reality on the one hand, and safety and anonymity on the other.

Online humiliation

Online humiliation is the desire to be seen in a sexually embarrassing context on the Internet. This practice allows the submissive to seek fetish partners from across the world.

Common methods of online humiliation:

  • Public pillory
  • Embarrassing photographic or video assignments for submissives, who must humiliate themselves on camera, etc.
  • The requirement for submissives to keep online journals detailing personal information, such as masturbation frequency and details.
  • Verbal abuse
  • Publicly bidding for items that reveal their fetishes.
  • Money slavery, in which the submissive must buy the dominant gifts and pay the dominant’s bills and taxes
  • Homework slavery, in which the submissive must do the dominant’s homework or occupational work
  • Repetitive assignments, such as copying the phone book, etc.
  • Forcing the submissive to post pictures of himself or herself online
  • Humiliating the submissive by changing his or her stats on social sites

These practices can be conducted through chat, webcam, e-mail, BDSM contact websites, and proprietary virtual spaces such as Second Life.


Extreme humiliation is called degradation. It can involve a wide range of activities, such as human toilet play. The boundary between degradation and humiliation is unclear. It has been suggested that degradation can have a more long-lasting negative affect on a victim’s mind than humiliation, and so it is often beyond people’s limits of what is acceptable.

References and further reading

Related entries

Other Posts that Might Interest You:

  • No Related Posts

24 responses to “Humiliation”

  1. Steve

    Hi lunaKM. What you’ve said is interesting, and my gf and I have had a long conversation about it. The upshot is that I would like to experiment with playing a sub role, on the basis that I enjoy doing many of the things that would be classed as sub activities. My gf is less sure about playing a dom role though she does agree that she enjoys me doing the things that a sub would do for a dom. Basically she enjoys lying back and being pleasured, and by that I mean she enjoys ‘receiving’ more that ‘giving’. For instance she loves receiving oral or being rimmed but is not that keen on doing it back, whereas with me it is the opposite. She also enjoys that I will do edgy or risqué things to pleasure her, but she would not want to do those things in return. So we are quite sexually compatible.

  2. Tara, wh

    I really don’t get this humiliation thing- putting the submissive in bottom space, it is more likely to drive to ‘top’ space. I will argue and fight like a feral dog. it takes all my self control not to hit Master if he calls me a slut or anything degrading what I find most difficult is when he wants me to be self demeaning, how do yo and others do that, it is going to be the thing that ends this relationship.

  3. Nancy

    Tara, perhaps at heart you are more of a Domme than a submissive.

  4. Steve

    A few years ago I read about an allied soldier who was in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The guards treated him terribly. He didn’t know how he would manage to withstand the constant daily mistreatment. They starved, him, beat him with sticks, tortured him, forced him to perform sex acts on them, even used him as their toilet. But then he realised that the only way to survive was to train his mind to enjoy it. So as bizarre as it seems that’s what he did. It was the only way he could think of to survive. So in a BDSM relationship, to be a good bottom, that is what you need to do. You must totally enjoy it.

Leave a Reply