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Public Humiliation

Updated: SEPTEMBER 21, 2022
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on September 21, 2022

Public Humiliation is a form of power exchange play in which an individual becomes aroused by being embarrassed and degraded by another person in view of others. This type of consensual humiliation play can take many forms, including verbal and physical acts that are imposed and performed in the presence of others. Some public humiliation acts are overt and known by others; others are hidden but known by both individuals. Either way, humiliation play can be a more controversial type of BDSM scene.

Public humiliation play is frequently associated with BDSM and is often enacted by people in a dominant and submissive (D/s) relationship. Anyone of any gender or sexuality can partake in these activities.

Public humiliation can take many forms and is often connected to other kinks and fetishes. People who are interested can have intersecting interests such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, bondage, cuckolding, role play, deprivation and more. Combining aspects of other BDSM activities into public humiliation activities and scenes can height the experience for both the submissive and the dominant.

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Verbal public humiliation can be performed in a variety of ways. Dominants can embarrass their submissives by insulting them, demeaning and degrading them, and mocking and belittling their intelligence and physical appearance. Some people enjoy being called specific names, such as bitch, slut, pervert, loser and more - anything that both mortifies and excites the submissive. These verbal cues can be spoken out loud for others to hear or they can be whispered or texted covertly.

Physical public humiliation provides the potential for many different types of play. Submissives can be made to wear specific clothing that challenges their sexuality or gender, can be bound or led by a leash, worship the dominant's feet, or be forced to kneel or sit on the floor beside their dominant. Punishments, such as spanking or slapping can be administered if the submissive does not behave in the way the dominant expects. This is decided in the terms of their D/s relationship. Many of these acts can also be performed subtly.


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More About Public Humiliation

Public humiliation is a divisive kink that divides those who are in the kink community and those who aren’t. Even some in the kink community are uncomfortable with bringing an emotionally-charged act such as humiliation into the public sphere. Even movements, such as Pride, struggle with whether to allow kink, including public humiliation activities, at public events.

Both sides can present strong arguments. Those who are into public humiliation play may argue that their own sexual well-being and advancing positive sexual education are important. Those who feel public humiliation play should remain behind closed doors may suggest that these acts can be triggering or cause trauma to those who have experienced similar acts in an abusive context. Which individual or group's needs trump the other is impossible to determine, but does warrant significant further discussion.

Dominants and submissives who want to take the next step by moving humiliation play outside their bedrooms and homes can do so in a safe but accepting place: a BDSM sex club or fetish party. These events offer the opportunity to explore, in the presence of other like-minded people, kinks, fetishes and various types of play. It is important to know and understand the rules of the space to ensure your desired public humiliation acts are allowed, but these events can offer even more opportunities including public nudity, spaces for role play, incorporating others, and potential spaces for urination humiliation and more extreme physical punishment acts.

As with other types of BDSM - perhaps even more so because of the emotionally-charged aspects of humiliation play - clear and enthusiastic consent is critical for all participants. It is very easy for humiliation to go from being a sexually-charged and exciting pleasure to a painful hurt. Communication is critical before, during, and after public humiliation scenes to ensure everyone still feels good and is satisfied. Regular check-ins during play can ensure that participants remain on the same page throughout a scene. Considerate aftercare following a scene is also important.

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