Erotic humiliation is a huge umbrella kink, and there are nearly as many ways to customize play as there are players. In my book, Enough to Make You Blush: Exploring Erotic Humiliation, I take a deep dive into fifteen different types of erotic humiliation play. Here, I’m giving you the basic highlights of each—just enough to pique your inspiration and get you excited, but not quite enough to fully satisfy. (See what I did there? If not, scroll straight to “Chastity and Orgasm Control,” and you’ll get the idea.)
Before I dive in, let me clarify that this post assumes you are a legal adult engaging in consensual and erotically intentioned kinky play with another legal adult. You assume responsibility for your own physical and psychological safety. I accept no liability for your actions or their results.
You know the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Well, turns out, the right words can absolutely hurt too!
Though verbal taboos can be challenging to get comfortable with, I’m here to say, don’t be afraid to use words! They engage the brain, and that’s where all the best sex happens anyway. Using words to emphasize what you’re doing makes all of it even more powerful and memorable.
Here are four tips to get started with verbal play:
- Act like a sports commentator: If you don’t know what to say, start with just narrating what’s happening—or what’s about to happen. You can build up to more creative ideas as you get comfortable.
- Watch your tone: If you sound tentative, filthy language just won’t have the same oomph—and in the right tone, even the most vanilla language can be mortifying.
- Include your sub: Naughty language isn’t just for dominants. If you’re a dom, give your sub specific words to describe themselves or force them to narrate the action, and then mock them when they do.
- Practice: If you’re finding that filthy language just feels too, well, filthy, find words that you do feel comfortable with, and practice using them anytime you’re alone until you’re comfortable trying them with a partner.
Foot fetish is its own huge umbrella, and it’s important to note that there are a lot of foot fetishists who do not consider humiliation to be an element of their experience at all. But for those who do enjoy an element of humiliation with their foot fetish, the focus is frequently on feelings around being “low” and “on the level of feet” (both physically and culturally), or being embarrassed about having a foot fetish at all.
In the same vein, when humiliation is involved, dirty and stinky feet are often important elements. When it comes to dirty feet, the extreme version might include walking around barefoot in a parking lot until the soles of your feet are black with asphalt, then making the submissive lick them clean. And in terms of smelly feet, for many fetishists, the smellier the better. Unfortunately, some people just don’t have very smelly feet (which, in this case, might be disappointing!), so if that’s the case, you have to find “enhancements” that work for you. I recommend wearing leather shoes or old, used athletic shoes. I’ve also found that fur-lined suede boots can be very effective at upping the stink ante if worn barefoot or with stockings/socks.
Dehumanization & Objectification
Objectification and dehumanization are great for those who are overly cerebral or tend to think themselves into a frenzy. It’s a very zen kink practice where the sub has one single focus: to exist as a particular item or creature.
As usual, there are several levels to this kind of play. Here are some of the most common:
- Becoming an animal: Personally, I classify this as mid-level, because the “animal” can still express personality through interaction. There are plenty of people who find puppy, kitty, or pony play liberating, but many people also find it dehumanizing to be turned into something less than our glorious blessing and curse of humanity.
- Becoming an object: One step further than animal play along the continuum of dehumanization is turning people into furniture. This kind of play can be oddly therapeutic for subs who have a hard time turning off their anxious brains. After all, being human is really complicated. Being a lamp is not.
- Becoming an it: The furthest down on the dehumanization ladder is turning someone into an “it,” stripping them of all identity and all usefulness and making them even less than an inanimate object. It’s incredibly dehumanizing in the best kind of way.
Sex & Masturbation
Much of kinky play doesn’t involve traditional sexual interaction, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t. In fact, combining traditional sex acts with humiliation is one of the most popular ways to explore erotic embarrassment play.
One of the reasons this play is so popular is that the expectations, limitations, and beliefs about what is “acceptable” sexual behavior provide a deep pool for us to play in. If society didn’t tell us it’s “bad” to be sexual, then we wouldn’t have such a powerful response to expressing our sexuality. By reveling in the “obscene” acts of perversion, we experience a deep sense of social rebellion that can be downright intoxicating.
Here are a few fun ideas for mixing sex and humiliation:
- Dirty talk during sex
- The ornamental fuck doll
- Playing the whore
- Kink shaming
- “Forced” bisexuality
- Tease and denial
- “Forced” orgasm
- “Forced” masturbation
Chastity & Orgasm Control
Chastity play is about the control of orgasm, but even more specifically, it’s about the denial of orgasm. Now, obviously, being chaste means not having sex, and in this case it means not cumming, either.
In chastity play, orgasms can be denied or controlled using either devices or mental control (or both). Of the two, mental control is the most important, because here is the biggest key concept of chastity play: You can fetishize the device, and you can use the device as a tool, but if the submissive does not have some kind of mental/emotional commitment to the chastity, no device will stop them from achieving self-pleasure.
So, how can chastity be used?
- Long- or short-term denial
- Genital bondage
- Teasing and denial
- Earning orgasms
- Sexual fulfillment for the dominant
- Ruined orgasms
- Verbal teasing
Gender Fucking & Gender Failure
Gender, like so many social norms, is a construct that we are all “performing” in one way or another. Everything from clothing preferences to body form to speaking style is critiqued as being right or wrong. And that makes gender fantastic fodder for humiliation play!
In general, there are three ways we can humiliate each other based on our inevitable failure to perform gender “correctly.”
1. Playing With Contradictory Gender
I’d estimate that 90 percent of contradictory gender play is about increasing feminization, because—at least according to cultural norms—isn’t it just so embarrassing to be a woman? So you’ll see men asked to dress as maids and do domestic service, or you might see a dom “force” a butch lesbian sub to adopt a femme style and attitude.
You don’t often see women being “butched up” as a form of humiliation, because men and “masculine” traits are actually higher up the power ladder. Still, making an extremely femme person wear male clothing or embody masculine or stereotypically male behaviors might be personally very humiliating, even if our culture doesn’t see it that way.
2. Gender Inadequacy
Play based on the idea that, whatever gender we’re playing, we aren’t doing it well enough, tends to go both ways a little more freely than contradictory gender play.
For women, female-presenting, and nonbinary people, this capitalizes on the idea that someone isn’t performing femininity to the appropriate degree.
With men, playing with gender inadequacy often takes the form of beta male emasculation, particularly through sexual denial and being mocked for a lack of sexual prowess that alpha males—of superior physical strength, masculinity, and fuckability—possess.
Cuckolding is another way to play with gender inadequacy in humiliation. While this type of play is commonly presented as a heterosexual dynamic, kinksters of any gender or sexual orientation can enjoy it and can adapt the language to suit personal needs.
3. Overperformance of Gender: Bimbo and Himbo-ification
Because “correct” gender performance is an impossible standard in our society, being “too good” is also grounds for humiliation.
When a woman or female-presenting person is too feminine to be good for anything other than sex, and certainly too feminine to be smart, she’s considered a bimbo. And it happens to men, too: when a man or male-presenting person is hypermasculine, with enormous muscles and a perfect jawline, even if he’s actually a thoughtful, philosophical bookworm, he’s assumed to be a dumb jock—all brawn and no brains.
In real life, these assumptions are damaging and demeaning at best. In the world of erotic humiliation, however, they can lead to some seriously satisfying play.
Sissification & Forced Feminization
Sissification and “forced” feminization are both stereotypical associations with humiliation play. Typically, sissification focuses on extremely feminine, ruffled clothes and is often deeply submissive with a strong dose of humiliation. Forced feminization is another term to describe the activity of turning a man into a caricature of a woman, usually with an attitude of consensual non-consent.
I’ve found that, especially with this kind of play, it’s most important to make sure your goals and philosophies line up. (For some men, lacy panties are humiliating; for others, they’re delightful!) My first experiences with sissification were with cis-het men saying, “Turn me into a woman so I feel humiliated.” That attitude is deeply rooted in misogyny and, as a woman who thinks acting like one of us for a few hours should feel like the ultimate honor instead of the ultimate degradation, it was frustrating.
But I soon realized that what they were really saying was, “Objectify me, because I’m socialized to think that only women are objectified.” In these submissive men’s minds, the thought of being treated like sexual objects sounds awesome. To have somebody look at them and say, “Mmm, yeah, I’d totally tap that,” is thrilling. That objectification (when I removed the hateful mocking of women implied by some kinds of sissification) was something I could provide.
Nudity is the human body’s natural state, but most people, at least in the United States, feel very unnatural about it because our culture has told us it’s wrong. This “wrongness” makes nudity an ideal playground for humiliation.
Inspecting the submissive’s body, making comments as you record measurements or mark up their bodies directly—is a classic way to bring attention to a person’s physical self and get them feeling keenly uncomfortable in their own skin.
There are small ways to induce the vulnerability of nudity, too. A common way to do this is to have your sub go underwear-free in public. While the risk is low, the thought that somebody might notice can be incredibly humiliating. (Keep in mind, though, not to do anything that could get you or your plaything arrested.)
But if actual exposure is more enticing than mere risk, then public kink/sex parties can be a perfect and welcoming place to show off a naked submissive, parading them around on a leash, showing off their nakedness for all to see, and encouraging people to objectify, laugh at, or (perhaps worse) completely ignore them.
Important note: Play with caution. Nudity play is full of especially sensitive land mines, and for players with body image issues or trauma, the distance between erotic humiliation and total disaster is shorter than most people think.
Using bodily functions and fluids in humiliation play depends a lot on the “ick factor.” Most of us are socialized to believe that some bodily functions (if not all) are seen as impolite, rude, or disgusting. These things are to be done in private, if at all. To incorporate these things into humiliation play, we can use the social repulsion factor, the power of “forcing” someone to endure the grossness of the actions, and/or the emphasis on their desire for these “gross” activities. If you’re interested in this kind of kink, there are many different bodily fluids to play with: starting with piss, spit, sweat, and cum
Domestic Service & Cleaning
There are a number of ways to incorporate an element of service into your play.
Cleaning in and of itself can be a humiliating act due to the misogynist and classist perspectives on cleaning (it’s women’s work, and it’s work for poor people). If you are going to have somebody clean, you can up the ante by having them do it naked or in a sexy/funny costume.
But no matter how silly you make it, if you’re going to have the submissive clean, then have them really clean—this is not just playtime! Inspect the submissive’s work carefully, and if something isn’t clean enough, they have to do it again, and preferably in a more humiliating outfit or in a more disgusting and humiliating manner.
Of course, house chores are far from the only way to offer service. Another popular form of service-based humiliation play is about turning the submissive into a party servant who offers not only table-side service for food and drink, but also entertainment for guests through playful or stern expectations.
Punishment & Protocol
I group punishment and protocol under the larger heading of discipline, but in reality, they’re two topics that are distinct yet related.
Protocol is shorthand for the social rituals you want your submissive to follow. This might include how you expect your sub to greet you (titles they use or actions they take), how you want them to address other people (as equals, superiors, etc.), how they should leave or enter a room, where or how they should stand, how they should behave at public events, whether or when eye contact is appropriate, if they are allowed on furniture, how they should refer to themselves (I, it, this sub, Your sub, etc.), and how they communicate.
Punishment is designed for behavior modification (and frequently, just for fun, a.k.a. “funishment!”). The arbitrary way a dominant dishes out punishment can be a great way to underscore a power dynamic. The dominant can assign punishment based on actual mistakes to spark behavior modification or merely for their own pleasure and amusement. (But never ever punish a submissive from a place of real anger!)
Impact & Sensation
Impact play is about creating a sense of overload that leads to discomfort—and then mocking the shit out of the sub for it. When it comes to erotic humiliation and impact play, all senses are fair game—and so is a level of absurdity rarely seen in traditional impact play. If I want to make you listen to “Baby Shark” on loop for hours on end (with headphones of course, because there’s no way I’m subjecting myself to that) while I spank you with a toy shark, I totally can.
But impact play doesn’t have to be absurd to be humiliating. When we increase sensation in our bodies, that can help us tap into our emotions in a really powerful way. If I spank your ass until it’s red, warm to the touch, and puffy, I’m exposing an intimate part of your body in a dramatic way. Similarly, many women enjoy having their breasts flogged, highlighting a hypersensitive part of the body and, in the process, making it even more sensitive. Other possibilities include “forced” masturbation with sandpaper, or stimulating any kind of genitals past the point of orgasm and into discomfort.
As you’re exploring adding impact play to your erotic humiliation menu, consider these four questions:
- Which tools are most effective for getting at each player’s kernel kink?
- Which body parts should be highlighted, and which positions used?
- How does your sub express and respond to pain? (And how can you mock them for it?)
- Is it okay to leave marks?
Uncomfortable is not the same thing as unsafe, so before engaging in impact play, please familiarize yourself with safety best practices.
Bondage, Restraint, & Sensory Deprivation
If impact play is about creating sensory overload, then bondage is about immobilization and deprivation of the senses.
When bondage, restraint, and sensory deprivation are employed in the name of erotic humiliation, it’s all about creating situations that are ugly, absurd, and/or degrading. That’s because, in the humiliation world, bondage explores the cultural contexts around ableism. While I cannot emphasize enough that there is nothing inherently shameful about being unable to use our bodies or our senses to their fullest potential, our society has taught us that physical disability robs us of our dignity. That absurd cultural context is what makes it good fodder for humiliation play.
Sensory deprivation and bondage can take on a variety of forms:
- Head: hoods, gags, and blindfolds
- Body bondage: tying down and/or obstructing use of limbs
- Small spaces: in closets, underneath beds, in backseats
- Positions: anything that puts the sub on display and is designed for discomfort and absurdity
- Incorporating sexual play: creating the feeling that the sub is being kept available and exposed for the dom to “use”
Again, safety considerations are paramount in this kind of play.
Like a lot of humiliation play, if you want to take it public, there are different levels of exposure you can experiment with.
Going to kink events is a great way to start to explore being around other people in a safer environment, and there are many kinds to choose from. You can also go to places like porn shops. But please remember, just because they sell “obscene” materials, that does not give you an excuse to be obscene when you go there—it’s just as rude as being obscene in a department store.
In the real world, play should be more subtle to avoid involving unconsenting parties—and to avoid getting yourselves in trouble. For somebody who’s a foot fetishist, giving a foot rub in public can be an extremely embarrassing thing (though innocuous to outsiders), first because the act itself turns them on and then because somebody might notice. Another subtle way to engage in public play is through bondage worn under clothing. This is an excellent option anytime, anywhere.
Financial domination is basically any technique of using money to dominate, arouse, control, and, for our purposes, to humiliate a partner.
I love financial domination, and despite many communities and individuals that will tell you otherwise, I fully believe it can be done ethically. I’ve been teaching specialized classes on the subject since 2014, including the popular virtual introductory classes and weekend intensives I started teaching in 2021 for sex workers about how to explore this kink with integrity.
Money is incredibly powerful in our society, so taking control of someone’s wallet renders them powerless and can create strong feelings of humiliation. But erotic financial play is much more nuanced and personalizable than most people think. One of the elements you can consider when exploring it are the four primary money kink categories:
- Pleasurable: This category is focused on making both the payer and the payee feel really good. It can be tributes focused on pampering, luxury, or nonessentials.
- Painful: This category is specifically about making the submissive who’s spending feel the “pain.” This can be about boundary pushing, punishing taxes, or the gamble and uncertainty of engagement games on social media.
- Practical: This category is about the realistic financial needs in life. Approaching practical spending from an erotic perspective can help spice up a necessary part of life in lifestyle or personally committed relationships.
- Philosophical: This category is about the fundamental belief that money can be used as a concrete form of power, and to hand it over is part of a value system, not just a kink.