Common Obstacles to Mutually Satisfying Erotic Humiliation

Like any risky or “out-of-the-norm” activity, there are plenty of obstacles that might make it difficult for people to either find opportunities to engage or even express their interest in humiliation play. Here are a few that I’ve seen come up over and over again:

Most Common Obstacles to Humiliation Play

Not Many People Feel Comfortable or Know How to Do It Safely 

It’s relatively easy to learn about and become comfortable with other types of kink, such as bondage or impact play, because there is so much easily accessible information about those interests. However, when it comes to erotic humiliation, the lack of reputable resources makes it much more difficult for potential players to educate themselves. And with so little information out there, it’s difficult to build up the confidence you need to feel safe exploring humiliation. (That is, until you found this website!)

There’s a Lot of Judgment about It, Even in the Kink World

The stereotypes we discussed earlier lead to a lot of judgment about erotic humiliation, even from people who engage in pretty extreme forms of physical play. While, for many people, it’s perfectly reasonable to want to be spanked or to tie somebody up, it’s much more difficult to understand emotional masochism.

Suspension of Disbelief Can Be Difficult

Even people who harbor no judgments against erotic humiliation can find it difficult to overcome the cognitive dissonance around debasing someone they respect (or allowing someone they respect to treat them that way). This is particularly difficult for long-term, loving relationships. It isn’t easy to call your spouse a loser!

Trouble Shifting from “Real World” Mind to Kink Mind

One common struggle players encounter, no matter how experienced they are, is difficulty shifting into the mindset of erotic humiliation. One way I’ve found to overcome this is to Pavlov yourself. We all know Pavlov, right? He trained dogs to salivate when a bell rang by feeding them and ringing the bell simultaneously. Properly trained, the dogs would then salivate when the bell rang, even if there was no food presented. People are just like that. It’s really handy. If you can start to associate naughty words and phrases or specific smells, objects, or even tastes with the feelings you’re looking to bring up in humiliation play, then those sensory sparks can help you make the leap into the right mindset. Players can use sensory sparks to Pavlov themselves, and doms can also use them to get their subs in the mood.

It’s Hard to Know How to Describe Desires

Our vocabularies are, frankly, pretty limited when it comes to describing the specific feelings we want to get from our humiliation scenes. After all, we’re using negative words to describe our desires, and the language wasn’t really built for that. Of course, it gets easier with practice, but it can be really difficult for someone who’s just starting out to verbalize that nuance between “good” emotional pain and “bad” emotional pain.

Partners Often Have Mismatched Levels of Interest

In existing relationships, it’s not uncommon for one partner to be interested in erotic humiliation while the other is…less so. This disinterest could range from ambivalence (“That’s not my jam, but I’m willing to try it for you”) to absolute disgust. This mismatched interest can make it difficult, or even impossible, for the interested player to enact their desires (or even to express them to their partner).  


All of these obstacles, combined with the negative stereotypes around erotic humiliation, can make it really hard for kinksters to get their erotic humiliation needs met. Often, they seem so imposing that would-be players find themselves wishing they didn’t want what they want at all. This goes for both dominants and submissives. We often talk, in the kink world, about how much trouble subs have finding someone to treat them the way they want to be treated, but it’s often even more difficult for a dominant person to admit to someone (especially to someone they know and respect) that they actively want to humiliate them.

Difficult, but not impossible! The obstacles may seem steep, but don’t despair—once you know a little more about creating a mutually satisfying experience for yourself and your partner, your humiliation goals will start to seem much more achievable.


This article is an excerpt from the updated edition of my book, Enough to Make You Blush: Exploring Erotic Humiliation, which is available in my Etsy store or on.