On the Ethics of Erotic Humiliation

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by Mr. Yours Truly


Pathetic, beta, cuck. Piece of shit? (Really?) Pig, dog, worm, bug, and asshole. Ladies and gentlemen, I think it’s time to get real.

I like a little ribbing and loving humiliation as much as the next person, and maybe more so. I like being physically and emotionally at the feet of my Domme. I like serving and worshipping her, I like genuflecting and ingratiating myself to her power, I like relishing and basking in her glory. And I love it when she teases and bullies me. But for some, that sort of thing isn’t nearly enough.

There are people (I’m sure if you’re reading this you know what I mean), for whom submission revolves around and hinges upon but one thing: the assertion, appreciated most earnestly by themselves, that they are lowly, pathetic, servile, and in all other ways equivalent to scum.

It’s the difference between submission and masochism, and it’s the emotional component of that distinction. This is one I’ve drawn frequently in the past, and it’s one I feel should be enunciated clearly here.

The “BDSM” acronym, as my readers may well be aware, is an overlapping four letter initialism that actually refers to six things:

  • Bondage and Discipline
  • Dominance and Submission
  • Sadism and Masochism

All too often, it’s the S&M third of those six components that gets all of the recognition, attention, and press. In other words, both in pornography and in the popular appreciation, S&M often is kink, and much of what is out there caters disproportionately to that persuasion. Now I am not here to judge or condemn anyone for the way they play consensually with consenting and competent partners, but I will take the opportunity to declare categorically that it is nothing that I, as a bona fide kinky person, have an interest in.

I don’t want emotional pain and denigration and degradation and nastiness any more than I want blood and scat and needles and all of the other extreme masochistic play. So where does that leave me? Where, with a desire for the fun and enjoyment of a little playful erotic humiliation, do I go for humiliation I can trust?

To start with, let’s go over what I want (in an ultimate sense) from the people I play with. When all is said and done, and at every step along the way, I have a need to be respected and valued and appreciated and loved. I need to know, not just feel, that, regardless of the context, my partner not only cares about me and my wellbeing but holds me in high regard and high esteem. Moreover I work very hard to earn and be worthy of that status, and I certainly don’t want it to go out the window when it’s time to play.

So where, then, does humiliation come in in that context?

For one thing, it’s important to recognize that in all this sanctity and majesty and pomp there is a very real and important place for a sense of humor. An active and dynamic sense of humor is critical to what I think of as good humiliation play, and it’s conspicuously missing from what I regard as too much. When it’s degrading there’s often nothing funny about it, and if there is the sub is certainly not in on the joke.

In all humor, there is a conspicuous defiance of expectation and an interplay between what is real and what is said. What this means for humiliation play is that there is an extent to which my Domme can say “mean”, embarrassing things to me, and poke fun at me, and I’ll be able to know that she’s kidding. I’ll be able to know it’s in jest and I shouldn’t take it to heart because that’s not what she’d say if she really had to say what she felt.

In this, I can trust her, and it’s a good feeling to trust, especially when that’s pushed and stretched just a little bit. It’s almost as if her jabs are a test, and to be able to feel myself doubling down on that trust is a nice thing, and it’s something we can share. What this process grants us is a modicum of license and freedom, a release valve that assures us we’re not scrutinizing each other too harshly, that our skins our thick, and that what we’ve built together isn’t subject to misinterpretation and spontaneous unfounded accusations. It illustrates that there is room for error, and it’s a way of showing that neither of us is being too strict with the other.

Now some would say that this much is true of denigration play too, but while that may in some sense be the case I think there’s a point to be made on the subject of what promotes that kind of tacit forgiveness and willingness to be pushed.

I think what I value in humiliation play is the idea that when I’m seen for what I really am in a sexual context my partner is generous and accepting of that, even if those things are expressed in a way that relies on what I’ve described above. If she calls me a “slut”, she’s recognizing the abundance of my sexual drive; if she calls me a “dirty little footslave”, she’s recognizing the essential nature of my orientation to her feet; if she calls me her “bitch”, she’s recognizing our relationship and what I give and will accept from her.

In all of these things and more, however “mean” or bullying they may seem, I feel seen, and seen generously, and seen with love. I feel validated and accepted, and even that it’s our little secret that I’ve chosen to share with her. She’s had the opportunity to discover me, and she’s specifically rejected the opportunity to hate me for what I am. She’s decided to be generous and kind in her heart, regardless of how she expresses that or what she says.

What, then, are we to suppose one is recognized to be when it comes to degradation? When one is called by the names and associated with the things listed above? When one is equated with the things on that list? How are we to believe that the kind of love and generosity I’m describing can embrace those things?

For some people, again, I suppose that what I’m saying still holds true. But that leads me to the other point of distinction– when I arrive at that place of demonstration and exposure and being witnessed, what is it that I want myself to be?

When I get to that place in humiliation, there’s something in it that invites me to look at myself through her eyes, and by proxy through the eyes of others in general. She takes the place of what the world might think of me, and together we judge those things implicitly. What, then, can I own about myself and love about myself through her eyes?

A “slut”? Hell yeah I am, and proud of it. A “footslave”? Her “bitch”? There’s nothing I’d rather be. Paradoxically then, what humiliation engenders in the ultimate sense, is a common and cooperative pride in what may otherwise, unfairly, embarrass me. It’s a way of soothing my anxieties about how I will be interpreted as a person, even if that means taking back the words and rubbing my face in them. And the fun of it is being pushed and stretched and teased into proving that that’s exactly what I am.

So why would I want that to revolve around worthlessness? Repulsiveness? Inadequacy? Abjection? Or shamefullness? What good is there in supposing myself to be these things and trying to appreciate myself in that? To whatever extent any of those things are true, in any case, it’s my duty as a human being to change them. It’s something that if I can recognize, to my sincere horror, there must be a moral onus upon me to reject them and make myself otherwise. The last thing I would want to feel if I really believed any of those things were true, is pride.

But this leads me to my real point, which is what I think to be a fair question that any sub who feels this way should ask themselves– is that what you need to be in order to glorify a woman?

In all dominance and submission there is, by definition, an imbalance between top and bottom, but the question in this case is not how far apart the two parties are relative to each other. The question is where do they stand in the world they make together?

I, for one, refuse to feel less than because I put someone else higher than myself. I refuse to imply that in order to make her great I have to lower myself as a human being. I am not a beta, I am not a cuck. I am a god among men and I want to be ruled by a goddess. I am a king who abdicates my throne to my queen, to give her that place of power and become her footstool and servant. I am great, and in order to serve her I must allow and encourage her to be greater.

This, I think, provides room for honor. Not just for me, but all the more explicitly for her. What achievement is it to dominate the lowly? What victory is it to conquer the weak? And why, if you truly believe women are wondrous, would you accuse her of only being capable of that, or fail to provide opportunities for her to do more?

I think implicit in the idea that a man has to be degraded in order to serve is the idea that without that condescension his woman would be powerless, and that is one that I reject from whole cloth. It’s a vile assertion that I refuse to accept. And I think the women we celebrate deserve better. They deserve our faith, and our trust, and they deserve to be equipped and enabled and empowered by us on their journey. The goal of submission shouldn’t be to become servile to the shallowness and mundanity of what they automatically project; it should be to embrace their potential, to elevate them to their rightful place, and to be inspired to awe by their magnificence.

You don’t love a tree by burying yourself beneath its roots; you’re meant to look up, and watch it climb into the sky. And if you’re lucky you’ll get to climb with it, using its strength for support as it takes you to vistas and ecosystems you couldn’t begin to imagine.

Like so much in kink that’s misunderstood, it’s not about the pain and the distress and the humiliation. It’s supposed to be about love.


© 2019

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