Think Humiliation’s a Turn-On? Here’s How to Talk to Your Partner About It

Published: AUGUST 19, 2016 | Updated: FEBRUARY 15, 2022
Humiliation can be really exciting but it's also a taboo topic, which can make it really hard to address with a partner.

"You're a silly little boy with a tiny little cock. Who would want to sleep with you?"


"See how wet you're getting when I spank you? You're a slut and you love it."

In normal circumstances, these words would be considered abuse. They're hurtful and humiliating. But to certain people, hearing this in the context of sexual and/or BDSM activity is actually a big turn-on.

Humiliation, by its very nature, is a topic that few of us feel comfortable bringing up. But if it's part of your desires, why should you stay silent? Playful humiliation (the kind that turns us on and gets our juices flowing) is definitely different from true, hurtful humiliation.


First, What Is Humiliation?

Humiliation means "to feel very foolish or ashamed." It's that feeling when you want to crawl into a corner and make everyone forget that you exist. It's turning red like a beet and being unable to speak a word.

But to some people, certain kinds of humiliation are very erotic. Being called names, being paraded around on a leash, or being asked to eat or sleep on the floor, for example, are situations that can bring on a very powerful arousal.

Some humiliation can be light-hearted and almost common, like women enjoying being called "slut", "whore" and other demeaning words. Other kinds are more involved, sometimes with whole scenes planned around the humiliation (private or public) of a submissive.


So, Humiliation Turns Me On. Now What?

Humiliation can be a difficult topic to discuss with your partner because of how delicate it is. Asking someone to degrade you can make them feel bad because they don't feel they can do it. Because it's mostly mental-level play, it can be hard to manage if your relationship is more casual.

The first thing to do is to be honest with your desires. Hiding them in shame helps no one, especially not you. You want to feel shame for fun, not for real. Just ask them to listen without judging, and tell them that having these desires doesn't necessarily mean you are asking them to do it.

If you and your partner have good communication skills, this part should go fairly well. There might be some reaction on their part, like "I couldn't do that to you!" or "But I love you, I don't want to make you feel degraded like that!" Or, they could be totally into it.


If they aren't sure what you mean by "erotic humiliation", you could show them some pornography that you like that touches on that fetish. Although we all know that porn is not real life, at least it gives them an idea of the kinds of things that turn you on.

How Do I Introduce Humiliation into My Sex Life?

Just as with any kinky activity, starting slow is always a good idea. One small thing could be to have your partner call you dirty words during sex. "Whore", "trollop", "sissy", "slut", and other slurs work well and are easy to integrate in your regular dirty talk.

At one point, you might want to start integrating some humiliation activities as well. Classic examples include eating or drinking off the floor, being led around by a leash, sleeping at the foot of the bed, having to kiss shoes or boots, or other acts that put the submissive in a vulnerable position. Again, there are some acts that you might like more than others. Look at your regular fantasies and the kind of pornography you enjoy for some hints.


While all these acts can be done in private, one of the most powerful types of humiliation is public humiliation. Things like being offered sexually to a group while being tied, being called names in public, etc., can be very powerful and transformative experiences for a submissive who enjoys humiliation. This kind of activity, however, requires a lot of preparation, very deep trust, and the care of an accepting community. (Read: Wanna Act Kinky In Public? Here's How to Do It Incognito.)

What Should I Keep in Mind with Humiliation Play?

Humiliation play is considered edge play because of how quickly it can turn into a truly hurtful situation for everyone involved. A submissive might have been humiliated beyond the erotic feeling it brings. A dominant might feel very guilty for hurting their submissive.

Pre-scene negotiation is very important with humiliation play. A dominant must understand what turns you on, and when to stop. It's important to keep the humiliation on the surface, mostly about a person's sexual behavior. Humiliating someone by degrading something very important to them - their work, their role as parent, their religious values - can do a lot of emotional damage. Never let someone degrade the core of who you are.


Safe words and regular check-ins are important as well. A good dominant should ensure that you're still in the scene and not being humiliated beyond your limit. (Learn more in The Basics of BDSM Negotiation.)

The post-humiliation scene aftercare will also require special attention. You should feel like your dominant values you and appreciates the trust you put in them. If you feel like your dominant hates you or is laughing at you, the scene was not managed properly. A debrief is very important, whether the scene was successful or not.

Humiliation Can Be Hot

One reason why some people find humiliation arousing is because they feel they can still be loved even while doing the most degrading thing they can imagine. In the end, the session makes them feel powerful and loved, rather than diminished and hated. It's like rising from the ashes: "I'm strong enough to take it, and I come out more self-aware and self-loving as a result."

Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is orignally from Montréal, Canada and is currently living in Victoria. She speaks and writes fluent French as well as English. She loves to write about a variety of topics, from home decor and social media to books and sex.

She currently doesn't have a pet, but she's working on that. In the meantime, she's learning to write stories and hopefully novels so that she will one day see her name in...

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