An experienced Dominant once defined the difference in this way: Embarrassment is something you do to yourself. Humiliation is something that someone else does to you. I’m still thinking about that one, but it’s an interesting way to compare the two.
Verbal Humiliation attacks a person’s humanity; that trait that we call pride. Whether done in a hurtful manner or in a consensual format, it pokes fun at our dignity. Telling a humiliating story about something a person has done or using words to cause a person embarrassment about something demonstrates that the Dominant has the power to make the submissive tolerate the situation. The Dominant usually enjoys the display of power and the submissive enjoys the relinquishment of that power.
Physical Humiliation is about the same power exchange, but in a more obvious way. A Dominant might demonstrate his power over her by making her wear something that she is not comfortable wearing, forcing her to display her body in a way that she is uncomfortable with, or do something that illustrates his ability to control her. When giving a submissive an order to do something humiliating, be patient. There is a period of time that is required for this to sink in. She will likely take a few seconds to believe that you actually said what she thought you said, a few more seconds to convince herself that she must obey this order, and more time to summon up the courage to actually act on it.
Many Dominants make the mistake of taking this inaction to mean that they have gone too far, and will often retract or soften the order in some way. This robs the submissive of the opportunity to demonstrate her submission. Be patient! In the negotiation process, discuss how much resistance she is likely to have to acceptable humiliation and how to handle that resistance. Make sure there is a safeword or safe statement that she can make to indicate that this is beyond her ability at the present time.
It is not necessary that anyone else actually witness the humiliation. Sometimes, simply performing in front of the Dominant is humiliating enough. Another option is to have the submissive perform a humiliating feat in private, while threatening to repeat it at some future point in public. Just be careful not to threaten too often without actually following through on the threat. Your credibility must be maintained. Her anticipation of this future event will probably be as powerful as the actual event. Good examples of public humiliation in the vanilla world might be having the submissive wear some clip, clamp, plug or bondage under her clothing while having dinner. Although completely unseen, the presence of observers will probably cause fantasies of discovery. A common ploy is to tell a submissive to leave the restaurant table, go to the ladies room and remove her panties.
Now a word about Degradation. The water gets very muddy at this point. There is a fine line between humiliation and degradation..
I define Degradation as any humiliation that attacks the self esteem of the submissive. What one submissive considers only mildly humiliating may be very intensely degrading to another. Communication and negotiation become extremely important when playing with this form of psychological control. Common forms of degradation include puppy play, pony play, human furniture and scenes that include a verbal attack on the submissive’s appearance, intelligence or integrity.
There is some debate about whether becoming human furniture exceeds the boundaries of degradation. Since humiliation is about playing with the human dignity, to take away the humanity of a subject may make it impossible to further humiliate or degrade that subject. Animal play allows the submissive to retain part of her ability to communicate, therefore allowing for the possibility of feelings of humiliation.
In any form of psychological play, the most important thing to be aware of is Land Mines. A Dominant can easily trigger a bad reaction through no fault of his own by recreating a situation that brings back a memory of a truly terrible experience. At this point, the submissive is suddenly reduced to a sobbing, incoherent puddle in the floor and the Dominant has no idea why. Don’t try to find out! Not now! The important thing is to bring her back from where you sent her. Hold her, comfort her, rock her, make her feel safe and tell her that everything is okay and that you are sorry. Don’t try to get her to answer questions until she is completely out of the tailspin. Other submissives will disassociate. Suddenly they just aren’t with you anymore. They recede far into their memories and become non-communicative. Treat this the same way. Hold them and comfort them until they come back to you. As long as they are in no physical distress, you should give them some time to recover before panicking yourself. Take some time before you force her to talk about it... but do talk about it. It’s important to understand what happened so you don’t hit the same trigger again.
Just remember that in humiliation play, like any other form of edgeplay, accidents can happen. Both of you have to be willing to accept that and move forward without placing blame.
SOME HUMILIATION EXAMPLES
· Act as objects (furniture, ashtray, footstool, art, etc.)
· Address Dom’s as Sir, Ma’am, etc. — I don’t consider this slave training humiliation only good slave behaviour
· After sex, making sub lick off your cum and her juices from your penis - well for me it’s not humiliation
· Age play
· Anal plugs under clothing — for some slave’s this is effective slave training humiliation for others it is just fun or feels good.
· Ask for drink, food, cigarettes, etc. — this is natural
· Bathroom use control — this is natural
· Blindfolds — by itself I don’t consider it slave training humiliation
· Bondage that exposes body and/or places in odd positions
· Boot worship at odd moments — this can be effective slave training humiliation if used in public
· Caged in private and alone
· Carrying a doll or toy around — can be effective slave training humiliation in public
· Crawl on all 4s
· Cum or urinate into their food — effective humiliation for many
· Curse words (Whore, Slut, Worthless, etc.)
· Dancing/stripped tease
· Displayed in cage
· Eat from a pet dish
· Eat from floor
· Eat without utensils
· Earrings that don’t match
· Eye contact restrictions
· Feed submissive from hand
· Foot worship
· Forced nudity
· Forced masturbation where Master chooses in public places
· Forced shopping for BDSM toys
· Forced slave auction
· Forced to go to bathroom in front of others
· Golden shower
· Inspection of body cavities in private
· Inspection of body cavities in public
· Ignoring slave
· Handcuffs in public
· Handcuffed to a shopping cart while shopping
· Harem–serving with others
· Having food chosen for her
· Having clothing chosen for her
· Hold ping pong ball or coin against wall with nose
· Human Garbage Can
· Lead on leash
· Leave bathroom door opened
· Leave note with embarrassing instructions
· Made to urinate in front of others
· Maid services
· Make sub wear underwear that you’ve urinated on
· Nipple clamps under see thru top
· Orgasm control and/or denial
· Pet roles (act like a dog, cat, etc.)
· Presenting in private and public
· Scat play
· Send shopping with note and hand it to clerk
· Serve others (supervised or unsupervised)
· Shave head
· Shave pubic hair
· Slap face
· slave positions (kneel, stand, etc.)
· Spanking (public)
· Speech restriction
· Stand in corner
· Swallow urine
· Suck dildo in car, so others can see
· Take pictures or videos
· Tattoos (temporary)
· Verbal abuse
· Wear cat collar with bell on ankle in public
· Wear diapers
· Wear Masters cum on your face without wiping
· Wear no bra under see thru top
· Wear no panties under see thru clothes
· Wear collar everywhere
· Wear clothes that are ripped or mismatched.
· Wear a sign around neck or write on body (slut, slave, etc.)
· Undress in front of others