Humiliation Play: Things to Say If Your Partner’s Into Sexual Denigration

Published: APRIL 13, 2023
Words can be a potent sexual tool, but there’s a lot to learn when it comes to using them well. And most importantly, getting off on being humiliated doesn't make you -- or anyone -- a "horrible little person."

You horrible little person, how dare you ask me, of all people, to teach you about the arousing whys and exciting hows of consensual denigration?


Joking aside, humiliation play, as consensual denigration is also called, is -- and will likely remain -- an extremely popular sexual activity.

READ: Think Humiliation's a Turn-On? Here's How to Talk to Your Partner About It.

So let's delve into the roots of this undeniably appealing type of play, go over a few of the most well-known types and styles and, from there, dive into some suggestions on how to safely try them for yourself.


What is Humiliation Play?

In broad terms, humiliation play is a branch of BDSM wherein partners derive sexual pleasure from being, well, humiliated -- either physically, such as being collared in public or spanked in front of other people, or emotionally, such as being the recipient of verbal degradation.

Equally as important as defining what humiliation play is, though, is defining what it isn't. No ifs, ands, or buts about it: Degrading someone without their explicit consent is, and will always be, abusive -- particularly due to humiliation play's potential ability to inflict severe, not to mention permanent, emotional trauma.

READ: Finding Healthy Attachment After Trauma.


In fact, humiliation play is so risky that, even after spending days, weeks, months or however long you need to establish as many emotional safeguards as you can imagine, and how to respond should things go wrong, I still suggest you take things very -- as in extremely -- slowly.

This includes taking plenty of breaks and doing a lot of check-ins during play -- not only for the person being humiliated, but also for those doing the denigrating.

As arousing as humiliation play can be (and often is, because you're playing with someone's mind and soul on top of their body), you must be extra careful.


As with physical BDSM, a humiliation play scene should end with everyone feeling better than when it began. Unless, of course, you mutually agree on something else beforehand.

Positive vs Negative Humiliation

If you're interested in potentially engaging in humiliation play, a good place to start is by examining whether you're into "positive" or "negative" humiliation.

Positive humiliation may sound sort of like a put-down, but is really affirming. For instance, "You're a wonderfully dirty slut” or "Only a sex-obsessed tramp like you would forget to do the laundry."


Negative humiliation is more disrespectful -- like, "You're a pathetic little creature" or "Of course you disappointed me."

Positive and negative humiliation are not interchangeable and should be negotiated before starting a humiliation scene. Mistaking one for the other, if only briefly, can be emotionally devastating.

READ: The Basics of BDSM Negotiation.


Types of Humiliation Scenes and How to Use Them

Turned on by being put down? Lucky you: There's an infinite number of uniquely different humiliation play scenes to explore!

Here's a selection of the most tried-and-enjoyed humiliation play scenes and words and phrases that might work for each:

Slut Humiliation

An age-old classic, referring to someone as a slut can be affirming or not, depending on context or how it's voiced. Slut is also gender-neutral, making it an excellent word to humiliate anyone -- if they consent to be called one, of course.

Here are some examples of things to say for this type of humiliation:

  • "Get over here, slut."
  • "You're nothing but a slut, aren't you?"
  • "Sluts like you are only good for one thing."


Forced feminization, also known as "sissy training," involves working with a submissive's desire to act or appear more female. Usually applied to male-identifying people as a form of counter-masculinity punishment, feminization scenes may involve wearing feminine attire and demanding stereotypically feminine behavior -- such as washing, cleaning or performing oral sex.

Here's what to say:

  • "Such a pretty little lady."
  • "What a fuckable tramp you are."
  • "Girls should only speak when spoken to."

READ: I Feel Pretty: A Guide to Sissy Play.

Small Penis Humiliation

Small penis humiliation typically revolves around denigrating the size, or expressing the uselessness of, the recipient's genitals. Occasionally, these scenes may include physical chastisement, as in having a person expose themselves or having their shortcomings inspected and denigrated.

What to say:

  • "Who'd want such a tiny dick?"
  • "Get that little worm away from me."
  • "You call that sorry thing a penis?"

READ: Cocktail Weenies: Small Penis Humiliation 101.


A facet of age play, during which those participating pretend to be an age other than their real age, infantilization play frequently entails physically and emotionally treating a recipient as an infant: like forcing them to wear diapers or spanking them. Infantilization may also refer to acting somewhat older, as in role playing as a pre-teen or adolescent.

It's crucial to note here that infantilization is not the same as pedophilia; those who engage in it are not interested in sexual relations with children. Infantilization involves consenting adults role-playing as other ages. If it doesn't, it's not infantilization; it's rape.

Here's what to say for infantilization play:

  • "You're a filthy, filthy baby."
  • "Such a pitiful little thing."
  • "Do you expect me to clean up this mess?"

READ: Help! My Partner Is Into Ageplay!


More of a general catch-all than a specific type of humiliation play, the term "denigration" applies to various sexual activities depending on what everyone is into and consents to participate in. As noted above, denigration can be either affirming or disrespectful, but with the caveat to not violate any agreed-upon terms.

What to say:

  • "You're nothing but an awful little creature."
  • "Pathetic, you should be ashamed of yourself."
  • "What an amazingly hungry beast."

Why Are People Into Humiliation Play?

It's a serious, and I mean serious, understatement to say that the reason some people find humiliation sexually and/or emotionally stimulating is complicated.

Though the consensus seems to point to a couple of possibilities, Dr. Justin Lehmiller identifies humiliation play as a form of masochism.

"The idea behind learning theory is that if an individual has repeated prior experiences in which pleasure and pain co-occur (or, if pain happens to coincide with a particularly powerful orgasm), an association might be learned that the individual then seeks to repeat in the future," Dr. Lehmiller writes.

READ: Why Pain Makes Us Horny: The Process That Turns Pain Into Pleasure.

This theory can be extrapolated to emotionally intense sensations, like those involved in consensual denigration/humiliation play: If emotionally intense experiences in the past coincided with feelings of intense pleasure, an individual might enjoy similar emotional sensations in the future.

There's also the idea that humiliation play is, as Dr. Lehmiller writes, a way to leave yourself behind: "....sexual pain may be a way of helping you to lose yourself in the moment," he explains.

Aftercare for Humiliation Play

Humiliation play scenes require a great deal of aftercare for those involved to process the experience emotionally. Even if both givers and receivers feel it's unnecessary, time should nevertheless be set aside to explore everyone's feelings because humiliation play is known to unexpectedly trigger memories of abuse, bullying or other emotionally traumatic experiences.

Here are some suggestions for practicing aftercare:

  • Talk about the experience together. What feelings did it bring up? What did you enjoy? What did you not enjoy? Are there certain words/phrases you'd like to explore more or avoid in the future?
  • Engage in non-sexual physical intimacy. Snuggle; massage each other; make out.
  • Refuel. Sex of any kind takes a lot out of you! Have a snack and grab some water.

READ: 5 Tips For Practicing Intentional Aftercare.


Words can be a potent sexual tool, but there’s a lot to learn when it comes to using them well. So tread lightly, communicate before, during and after your humiliation play scene and, above all, remember a scene is just a scene: Getting off on being humiliated doesn't make you -- or anyone -- a "horrible little person."

M. Christian

M.Christian is an author who has been published in science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and even nonfiction, but it is in erotica that M.Christian has become an acknowledged master, with stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and in fact too many anthologies, magazines, and sites to name. M.Christian's short fiction has been collected in many bestselling books in a wide variety...

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