We know that some people are delighted by bodily sensations others would avoid, such as jumping from an airplane or being beaten with a bullwhip. So it should come as no surprise that some folks get an erotic thrill out of the sorts of feelings others would avoid: things like embarrassment, jealousy, shame, and fear. This truth is at the core of erotic humiliation play.
I want to emphasize here that erotic humiliation can and should be play, just like other forms of kinky sex-play. Both outside observers and participants in erotic humiliation play arguably have a greater tendency to see these sorts of activities as dangerously "real," as opposed to say, someone getting tied up or receiving a spanking. However, it's entirely possible for a dominant to say something like "you pathetic little worm, you're useless to me!" while actually having feelings of respect and even love toward the person so addressed.
Here's an example from my personal life. My relationship with my slave Tia has, over the course of our time together, grown more and more in the direction of what I might call, emotional impact play. Tia has all sorts of fantasies of physicality but the reality is he doesn't have a very high pain tolerance. He also has a fastidious streak that borders on the obsessive, which seriously gets in the way of his willingness to comply with "icky" things like anal training.
He's much more resilient and responsive when it comes to play that involves, say, taunting him about the size of his penis. And since I'm all about getting the (squirmy, deeply aroused and devoted) response I want - rather than being focused on specific activities - we've grown to a place where our play now involves lots of teasing about his silly little cockette. I particularly like the term "cockette" because it's a homophone for "coquette," an archaic term for an incorrigible feminine flirt. This idea also fits very nicely with our manner of play and demonstrates that erotic humiliation need not be crude or brutal but can also be delivered with finesse.
Indeed this sort of play covers a wide spectrum from the mildest playful embarrassment to deep degradation. And it should be noted that people's reactions to specific words and other triggers can be very strong. Communicating with your partner(s) about what is and isn't a turn-on is important no matter what sort of sexual activities you plan on engaging in. But nowhere is this more true than with erotic humiliation play.
For instance, my standard practice with all new submissive prospects is to ask them what words and phrases especially push their buttons. Words, rather than say, rope or paddles, are often the primary tools of erotic humiliation. Thanks to this fact humiliation play easily lends itself to cyber and long-distance domination.
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