April 11th, 2013
Once more, with feeling. Two humiliation play classes, one emotional masochism class, several blog posts, several more emails, and various verbal discussions. And it is still on my mind. Well, let’s get it out here and see if I can reach any conclusions today.
Objectification – “the treatment of a human being as a thing, disregarding his/her personality or sentience. Sexual objectification – the practice of regarding or treating another person merely as an instrument (object) towards one’s sexual pleasure.” (Wikipedia)
Objectification in play, can have two different formats. You can be used as an object – a lamp, furniture, a sex toy. Or you can be treated as a thing with no regard, or even disdain, for your personality, sentience or worth. These are two very different things. The first, being used, for me, is not at all humiliating, or degrading, though it could be for others. Being used is something I rather enjoy. The latter is specifically about humiliation and degradation, something I am struggling to define my interest in. First, we get into the semantics of those words.
“Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It is an emotion felt by a person whose social status has just decreased.” (Wikipedia) “Erotic Humiliation is the consensual use of psychological humiliation in a sexual context, whereby one person gains arousal or erotic excitement from the powerful emotions of being humiliated and demeaned, or of humiliating another.” (Wikipedia) “To reduce to a lower position in one’s own eyes or others’ eyes.” (Merriam Webster)
Degradation – “decline to a low, destitute, or demoralized state” (Merriam Webster), or “the process of deterioration of characteristics of an object with time” (Wikipedia), or “treat or regard (someone) with contempt or disrespect.” (Google)
Basically, as a form of play, these are about bringing someone low, treating them and making them feel like something less than they are. (Yes, yes, you can’t ‘make’ anyone feel anything, how about, creating an environment that encourages them to feel that way?) I looked these up and provided the definitions I found, because I was having trouble in my own head, with my own understanding of the terms. Humiliation is feeling bad about yourself, your actions, your thoughts, your desires. Degradation is being torn down. Degradation is generally humiliating, but humiliation doesn’t have to be caused by degradation. The two do go fairly well hand in hand.
So, why are these things stuck on my brain? We tried it, it went horribly wrong. And we eventually figured out the problem: I was not fully separating self from scene. I am a writer and my own worst critic. I am a perfectionist and cannot stand failures in myself. It seems like playing with humiliation and degradation would be a bad idea. But I am a(n emotional) masochist and I’m stubborn. I don’t even like failing at failing. (No, that isn’t called succeeding.) I enjoy being beaten to a pulp, physically and mentally. I find it cathartic and stress-relieving.
So, I keep coming back to – okay, so you want to play rough? How can you do it safely? Which seems counter-intuitive right off the bat. ‘Can’t do that.’ ‘Too dangerous to self and relationship.’ ‘Why would you want to feel like that?’ And on and on. Is it just a case of wanting is not so pleasing a thing as having? Is it like the interrogation scene? What I really want is the challenge and this is the easiest way to label it? Probably. I love being challenged, mentally and physically. (Hmmm, what kinds of other mentally challenging play could I do?)
I’ve also gotten a recent inkling of kink as ritual ordeal, to come out the other side stronger. And this definitely seems like something that would be good for me – to face all the negative feelings about myself and come out the other side knowing that those feelings are false and wrong. (Not to mention that I should really get better at dealing with and accepting failure.) I am working to become stronger and more independent than ever before, and so this idea appeals to me on a personal growth level.
There we have it. A much better exploration of where my head is at with all this than I’ve managed in quite a while. Hurray for having my head back on straight again.
February 7th, 2013
One of the first things they talked about was the different levels of humiliation play. You could play lightly with being shy, or a little harder into embarrassment, or harder still into shame, or further into degradation, or go all the way into objectification. Or you could run up and down the ladder in one scene. The first couple are about things you’re doing – shy about talking about sex, or embarrassed by being naked in public. In shame, you’re digging more into the person, the brain – feeling like a bad person for what you’re doing, or that you’re enjoying what you’re doing. Degradation is deeper tearing down of a person – being Told you’re a bad person, or a slut, or worthless. Then, you can get all the way to objectification – being treated like an object, with no rights, no voice, no humanity – you have become a piece of furniture, a thing to be used, or not worth using.
The next thing he talked about was how to create these scenes. How to find things you can humiliate a person about. Mostly here, he talked about conversations, and reading body language. If a person’s eyes dart away and back, or they blush or bite their lower lip. This could be something to play with. You can also tell what level of humiliation they are at by body language. When a person reaches shame, the eyes tend to stay down, and the body language turns away. Degradation and objectification lead to even more closed and small body language. He also talked about it being important, once you start down this road, to not let up or balk at the first sign of resistance. The bottom/sub generally wants a strong top/dom, not someone who is going to back down at the first argument or tear.
The third most important thing, in my opinion, that was discussed was reconciliation after the scene. You have to both recover from a humiliation scene, and it can be a lot more mentally taxing than other types of scenes. Some pretty horrible things can be said and felt. It is of utmost importance to remember that you love each other and that you played that way because you both enjoy it, and it gives you pleasure. You also have to figure out what kind of aftercare you require beyond these reminders. In the class, he said he has to leave her alone for 20-30 minutes because she reacts in anger, and has to come down from there on her own. For me, I need verbal reassurance and physical connection. Chocolate is never a bad idea either.
January 17th, 2013
They led her, one on each side, down the dock. It was humiliating, but it was nothing compared to what would come next. She’d been caught trying to pick a fight again and he was not going to be happy. She could feel him watching her, those piercing eyes boring into the top of her skull. She kept her head down all the way there, even when they stopped and she felt him land in front of her, having lept off his perch.
”What now?” he asked her guards.
”Your girl’s picking fights again. Two this time, tried to get one of them to be a lookout.”
He flipped a quarter to each of them. “Tell them thank you, and she’ll be around to apologize later.”
They nodded and left her there.
”Look at me Krys.” His voice was hard as stone.
She lifted her eyes to his, and could not help but take a step back at the anger shining there.
”What do you think you’re doing? You know they aren’t allowed to fight you.”
She dropped her eyes, and he slapped her, just hard enough to bring her attention back to him, and loosen her tongue.
”They think I’m weak, sir. They don’t respect me. I’m just your girl, not one of them.”
”And this is how you think to earn their respect? By getting them in trouble with me? By tempting them to disobey direct orders? Did you ever think that it’s only making them think less of you? Keeping you apart from them?”
She stared at him, he was right, of course he was.
”You want to fight someone, you fight me.” He stepped in close, so that they were nose to nose. “Do you want to fight with me?”
”Then, knock it off, because next time, you won’t have a choice.”
He pointed to a nearby crate that was about waist high, and she went over to it, her face flushing with embarrassment. She bent over, putting her palms on the top of the crate and spreading her feet to brace herself. He joined her, putting his left hand on the small of her back and hefting his walking stick in the other.
By five, there were tears, by ten she could barely get the numbers out, by fifteen she was wet, and by twenty she was fighting back moans. He grabbed her hair and pulled her back upright, then marched her away, his grip on her hair keeping her fully aroused.
”You will apologize to those two, when we’re done.” he whispered in her ear.
He led her off to the warehouse loft where they always went after he punished her publicly, or to punish her privately. Today had required a public scene, but it didn’t always. When they arrived he released her.
”Pants off, hands and knees.” He said to her, voice softer now, hungry.
”Yes, sir.” She stripped off her pants and got down on all fours.
He knelt down beside her, stroking her bruised ass.
”Why do you do these things? You know I hate to embarrass you like that.”
”I’m sorry, sir.” she shivered at his gentle strokes.
”Promise me you won’t do that again?”
”Yes, sir, I promise.”
”Good, girl.” He smacked her bare ass with his hand. “Very good, girl.” He smacked her ass again.
”Thank you, sir.” she gasped.
He spanked her bare, bruised ass, while she moaned. Bringing them both back to full arousal after the scolding. Squeezing and spanking her tender ass, while she arched and and groaned. He dipped his fingers lower, finding her dripping wet.
”Do you want me?” he breathed
”Yes, sir, oh yes, sir.”
”Show me.” he said, dropping his pants and turning her to face him.
She took him in her mouth, sucking hungrily while he continued to smack her ass. He shoved himself deeper into her mouth, and she accepted him eagerly. His hand in her hair guiding her as he wished. Then he pulled her away and spun her around again, sliding in to fuck her.
”Oh, thank you sir.” she groaned.
”Such a good girl.” he moaned as they fell together on the floor.
May 27th, 2012
The other day, I was asked “Do all true masochists orgasm from pain?”
After snickerting at the word “true” for a moment, I answered masochists enjoy intense sensation. Each in their own way.
Later, I felt this deserved a bit more thought and discussion.
Dictionary.com: Masochism is “gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc.”
Midori has forever changed the phrasing in my head to be “intense sensation” instead of “pain.” She’s right. Pain is too broad. My elbow hurts right now, I’m not getting gratification from it. But intentional intense sensations, I do. I like that deprivation and degradation are included in the dictionary definition. Emotional masochism is just as powerful.
Orgasms are not the end result of intense sensation for me, they are simply one way for me to direct the energy created. A way I enjoy, certainly, but when I’m with a partner, only when allowed, or so directed. Yes, sometimes it turns me on so much I want an orgasmic release. Yes, sometimes it is so intense I want to orgasm to channel or focus the energy somewhere. But certainly not every time, certainly not for all intense sensation.
And that’s just me. I’m sure there are folk out there that it does exactly that for. That all intention intense sensation causes them to orgasm, or to want to orgasm. I’m sure there are folk out there that humiliation causes orgasm for, too. Or sensory deprivation; I enjoy it but it’s far from orgasmic for me.
October 13th, 2011
Last night’s class was on Humiliation Play. After, toy asked me about it. Said she was alright with teasing, but not the harder stuff, and was that what I liked? I fumbled around a bit, talking about last year, what went right and what went wrong in my head. And I think I only vaguely answered her question as my mind ran through a lot of things. So, I thought I’d try to pull it all together here, and form a more coherent opinion of my relationship with Humiliation Play.
Humiliation is on my Hard Limits list. It is not something I will even consider with most people. It can be emotional, harsh and potentially damaging. At its lightest, it can simply cause an anger response that is not generally conducive to that type of scene. At its harshest, it can leave you in a puddle for days or weeks. During the class last night, some of the examples were simple, but a lot of them were harsh enough to make some of the attendees wonder what they had signed up for.
We talked about several different types of play last night. Mental humiliation. Physical humiliation. Positive, arousing experiences. Negative, tearing down experiences. It all depends on your interests, turn-ons, and goals. Personally, my interests run the gamut, but weigh more heavily to the physical and positive side. Mental, and negative humiliation interest me as well, but only in certain frames of mind, and can be very tetchy to even attempt.
I volunteered an example last night of physical humiliation. I offered up a memory of holding his flashlight in my mouth and drooling all down it, and being forced to do so and let the drool form a puddle on the floor. I have a thing about messy bodily fluids, especially my own. And not only was I being dehumanized into a lamp to serve a purpose he wanted, I was also forced to drool all over the place because the noise of me trying to prevent such was “more annoying to him than the drool.” I like being used for useful purposes. I am turned on by serving him, whether actively and mentally, or physically as a tool. My faced burned with embarrassment at being told to quick sucking in the drool, and then being teased about the pool on the floor, but I had been doing what he told me to do, following instructions, and being useful, so I was happy.
I’ve had other scenes of being used, in various different ways. Being told I’m only good for that thing, or being made to say it myself. Being degraded for my “only use” being that single purpose, or for liking what was being done. Called names that related to the activity, being forced to call myself those names. In other times, in other spaces, those things would and have bothered me, but deep in that type of headspace, it just turns me on more and more.
The other side of humiliation play, I don’t get into so much. It’s harder, harsher, and more dangerous. It gets more personal, more deeply mental, more emotional. It digs deep into your brain and your self and can leave lasting marks if not done very carefully. Even the above stuff, can do that, but, for me, this is so much touchier. There are two reasons I will go to the dark side. One, I need to work on a personal issue. I want it shoved in my face and for him to make me stare unblinkingly at it until I can really see it. Two, I want to be crushed. I want a release so deep and satisfying, that nothing else will do. I’m not entirely sure the first reason is an entirely healthy reason to do humiliation play, but it makes sense to me.
The trick with both of these, is planning. Both parties knowing what is wanted or needed, and being prepared for it, mentally, physically, and time wise. By that last I mean, neither of these are quick scenes, and both are going to require a decent amount of aftercare, most likely on both sides. As for mentally, triggers are especially important to identify, and discuss before (possibly during) and after. In the first, going after something specific, is likely to have its own triggers, you have to be prepared for them to be pulled. In the second, there might be triggers you want to avoid, or triggers that are okay to hit to get the desired result. Communication is very important, but even with the best, be aware that you might stumble across hidden triggers, and know how you are both going to handle them.
I mentioned aftercare just above, but it is important in any kind of humiliation scene, even one that was completely arousing and enjoyable. We talked last night about the importance of knowing what you need for aftercare, both top and bottom. Last year, we created a ritual that was supposed to be our aftercare. The intention was to get rid of any negativity from the scene and transition back to reality. It had all the elements we thought were needed, and we worked to remember to do it every time. But somewhere in the mix, it wasn’t always enough. There were other things going on, I’m not trying to simplify what happened, but part of it was that I was not always successfully making the transition. It wasn’t enough aftercare to get me out of that headspace and into normal. I needed more. Point here being, figure that out. If you aren’t coming fully out of the scene (the presenters pointed out last night that a warning sign of this can be hyper-focus on a negative detail of the scene), figure out why. Figure out what else you need. Make sure you get it. Don’t feel like you’re overly needy or being a burden. If you are going to play this way, you have to take care of yourself, and your partner. Broken toys are not fun to play with.
November 21st, 2009
I was asked recently what I would not offer freely. This got me to thinking about my limits. I had not explored them seriously in quite some time. Just random comments of, “no red,” or “you know that’s a hard limit” when things came up. Back when Husband and I first entered the community, I did a lot with lists. Filled out fetish lists, filled out like/dislike/limits lists. But it had been quite a while since I seriously visited the topic, and limits do change over time. My partners have challenged my limits, poking them gently here and there, never Leaping over the line, just prodding it until they made a hole to slip through. Or, in a couple cases, waiting until I changed my mind and Asked to try something.
So I now have three lists. Current Hard Limits, acknowledging that things do change. Previously Hard Limits that have been pushed to Soft Limits, acknowledging that these are still tricky ground, and often partner specific. And a very short Soft Limits list of two things I didn’t know enough to have put on my Hard Limits list in the first place.
Current Hard Limits
Animals(yes, this includes snakes)
Blood (except for sex during menstruation)
Cutting of the skin (does not include scraping/scratching or breaking from impact play)
Medical Play (specifically enemas, sounds, catheters)
Removal of my pubic hair
Bull whips (longer than 4 feet)
Significant Facial Impact (smacking, hitting, punching, etc)
Public sex (more than two other people present)
Willfully Breaking the Law (only exception is private play in a public area where there is reasonable safety of not being caught, (i.e. sex after dark in a car or park))
Previously Hard Limits that have been pushed to Soft Limits
Grabbing by the throat
Gentle face slapping
Single Tails(under 4 feet)
Sex while menstruating
Essential Flavored Oils