As a professional Dominatrix, ocassional switch and educator in the world of conscious kink, I am often asked how I can possibly thoroughly enjoy play sessions that intentionally humiliate or embarrass my play partner. How can I be invested in a loving, self-aware path that focuses on mindfulness and embodied meditation and also be into objectifying, degrading, controlling and belittling another human being?
Warning! This blog discusses explicit adult themes of a fetish, BDSM and kink nature.
It’s true that I am both a person who strives for integrity and cares deeply for the well-being of my play partners while at the same time I find it incredibly hot to make them perform erotically humiliating acts. It’s one of my specialties and personal core erotic themes. I am a humiliatrix. I even like to some times, with the right partner, switch roles. Embarrassment, power and eroticism frequently go hand in hand.
Being conscious about kink certainly doesn’t mean “light and fluffy” BDSM only. Delving into the feeling of danger and mystery can often be what ignites our erotic play… taking risks… peeking into the dark crevices of our souls… exploring power or intensity can be what gives a session its bite and heat… carving a delicious memory into our flesh that lasts a life time.
It could be as simple as having to bare your bottom and bend over for a thorough spanking… being anally taken by a strap on… forced to worship my feet… verbal put downs from mild to intense…. being made to kneel… spat on… called names… small cock humiliation… put in degrading positions… being made to eat out of a dog bowl… forced to drink golden showers… being treated like a sissy slut… being tied up, teased and laughed at about how turned on you are and how you are never going to be allowed to actually touch the body in front of you… and far more intense, explicit things I won’t go into here.
Conscious kink is not about sanitising that… It is about engaging with it in a consensual and aware way that aims to have a positive effect on all involved and allows us to travel deeper into each moment. It is about learning and harnessing skills to ride the wave rather than be rolled by it… and to enter states of being and, well, consciousness one cannot get to otherwise. Consciously approaching kink play takes bravery to be self-aware, take self-responsibility and be the hero on your own erotic quest of self discovery. Far from detracting from the experience, being conscious in BDSM play only makes it more potent.
Each of us have core erotic themes that run through our fantasies and erotic dream-scape. Core erotic themes vary greatly from person to person and are very often made up of the parts of us that we have suppressed as part of our personal and cultural upbringing. As we develop and adopt the socially acceptable ways of being and behaving in any given family or culture, some natural parts of us are deemed inappropriate. Showing anger might be one… taking up too much body space might be another… openly expressing our sexuality might be another… According to Carl Jung, all of these aspects of our personality are suppressed into our unconscious where we are no longer aware of it on a day-to-day basis. The qualities that are suppressed are called our shadow and contains both negative and positive aspects of us. Our shadow becomes the part of us we can’t see yet has a huge impact on the way we feel, act and react all the time.
Creating shadows is a natural part of learning to belong to any culture but creating shadows also creates shame. It’s pretty simple. Suppressing certain aspects of us also creates shame about those aspects. Our shadow self is made up of all these suppressed aspects. We access our unconscious, where our shadow lives, through the images and feelings in day and night dreams, imagination and yes, our sexual fantasies.
Core erotic themes vary greatly from person to person but we all have them if we dig deep enough we find common flavors running through our sexual fantasies and none of them are politically correct. Some people, have core erotic themes that are about longing, being desired, having power, being powerless and some of us have core erotic themes that are formed from the clay of humiliation, embarrassment and shame. Even those that have non humiliation core erotic themes, may have a smattering of humiliation woven through their fantasies anyway. It is not universal but is very common.
Sexual Fantasy as Portal to the Unconscious
Our sexual fantasies are gateways to these suppressed aspects of ourselves because being aroused or in sub space or both, takes us into a different state of consciousness. When in these head-spaces we think, feel and experience things differently. In these states of consciousness the veil between unconscious self and conscious self is thinner. The unconscious bleeds through and we start to think in the langauge of the unconscious… in dream language… in fantasy language… So we have sexual fantasy and shame hand in hand here… We also have an opportunity for inner alchemy here. To turn the base metals into gold… All the ingredients are there. We have an opportunity for the conscious and unconscious to co-operate and align if we choose to embrace our shadow in our erotically fuelled and/or subspace altered state of consciousness.
Sissy Sluts as an Example of Erotic Shadow
Cis men into cross dressing are into it for a huge variety of reasons and not all of them have a core erotic theme based in humiliation. Like-wise, not every one who has humiliation as a core erotic theme is into cross dressing. I am just using cross dressing as a possible expression of someone who has humiliation as a core erotic theme in the example below.
A person born in a male body is socialised to “act like a man” and “man up” from the moment he is first put in his pale blue onesy as a baby. Depending on the particular culture, subculture and family beliefs, the idea of how to ‘act like a man” will have various expressions. Some common themes are not being allowed to wear pink, satin, frills, flowers, make up, or anything associated with being a “girl”. Crying, showing emotion, forming intimate connections with mates where feelings are openly shared… skipping… moving the pelvis in a “feminine” way etc… Along for the ride with this mentality is the idea that men are the “doers” in sex and women are the “done to”. Sex inherently taints women but not men. Being receptive is female… Being penetrated is not a “manly” thing to do.
These attributes and acts literally have to be trained out of our boys to turn them into “men”. That means the attributes were there to start with buthad to be suppressed. Many aspects of masculinity have to be performed and reinforced and are often reinforced quite brutally. I’m not saying there aren’t natural differences between people born with penises and those born with pussies, but I am saying there are clearly also some pretty strong socialisation processes. Boys frequently bully each other the second they show any sign of being “girly”. Being like a girl is the worst crime and is considered weak, submissive and pathetic. It may even earn you a beating and being socially ostracized. There is deep shame in showing any attributes considered feminine. Having a “big cock” is the ultimate symbol of being a sexually virile manly man and is associated with dominance.
As a dominatrix, I see a lot of men who are incredibly turned on by being forced to wear girly, frilly panties. They feel really turned on by being forced to do all those things normally considered “sissy” but have no idea why. It is such a common pattern there is a common name for it. It’s called a “sissy slut” session. The sissy sluts who also have humiliation as part of their turn on want to feel all the girly things forbidden to them and be humiliated for it. They want to feel sexually desired and objectified the way women often are. They love the feel of the silky under things against their skin but for the humiliation themed sissies, it isn’t truly hot until they are mocked and degraded for it. They want to not only be smeared in lipstick and made to take on the body language of girls but they want to be degraded and called a slut for it… forced to suck my strap on and then be used anally. Some find having their cock mocked as small and useless is a real turn on. Basically, living out their worst fears and transforming them into something pleasurable through eroticising them.
This is just a small sample of many possible forms humiliation sessions might take. Anyone of any gender can enjoy humiliation play on either the giving or the recieving end. Another example could be treated like an animal, caged and collared… because likewise the aspects of us that are considered uncultured, raw and sexual are often correlated with “acting like an animal”.
Another person may enjoy eroticising the feeling of being seen and used as just a sex object. Some may secretly fantasise about being a trussed up like a naked, hog-tied, turkey in the middle of the boardroom table while surrounded with corporate types in suits observing and analyzing them. Others enjoy the thought of being de-humanised altogether and treated like a resource. A thing. Or actively scolded and dressed down.
It’s not always overtly erotic either. It can be more about subspace and the state of consciousness people go when the mind is tricked into a state of open surrender. Sub space = submission space and often ressembles the place meditators aim to access. A surrender of the ego to let some other part of us take the driver’s seat.
Humiliation is complex. I won’t go into all the possible nuances here. Some of us have it as a deeply rooted core erotic theme that will remain with us for the rest of their lives. Others of us have other core erotic themes but have aspects of feeling shame and embarrassment threading through our secret masturbation fantasies like a spice that adds the kick. It’s not surprising really given the mixed messages we are given about our sexuality from the get go. It’s a source of wonder and great shame. The sex Goddess is also the “slut” and the “whore”.
Doesn’t acting it out reinforce it? How can that be conscious and healthy?
So what do we do with this? I have met may a tantrika or well-meaning person who thinks we need to heal this aspect of ourselves. While I agree that working through sexual shame is one of the great works of our era, I do not agree that our sexual fantasies and consensual role plays should be “healed”. That is, the aim of conscious kink as I see it, is not to make those uncomfortable fantasies go away. To avoid embracing our politically incorrect turn ons would be to suppress those aspects of ourselves even further… creating an even stronger struggle between our conscious minds and our shadow selves. Instead, I propose we embrace our shadow in a conscious, lusty, full power way with a cherry on top!
By creating safe spaces to bring out and explore our shadow selves in a play scene we are creating a container with a neat beginning, middle and end that allows us to let the usually suppressed parts of ourselves take the driver’s seat. It is a ritual if you like, where we can create temporary, different rules and ways of being that we consent to with awareness. Our subconscious doesn’t speak the same langauge or play by the same rules as our conscious minds. In a play scene we are letting the language of the subconscious take over, or at least bleed through. By acting these shadow aspects of ourselves out, we create an opportunity to bring the paradoxical elements of ourselves into alignment. The paradox never goes away but we learn to ride it and find the treasure at the heart of it. It is right there in the point where darkness and light meet that the magic lies.
The point is not to turn darkness into light. Oh no! Too much sweetness and light leads to spiritual diabetes. The point is to ride the paradox and engage with it consciously.
By bringing unconscious and conscious into alignment something powerful happens. Our shadow is no longer, well unconsciously controlling our feelings, reactions, beliefs, relationships. Instead, the conscious and unconscious are co operating and co creating. The shadow becomes our ally rather than our feared monster under the bed and we have a sense of inner alignment.
This moment of paradox in alignment sometimes just happens accidentally without us ever consciously examining any of the whys and hows. The play is enough on its own to create this effect. If you are erotically drawn to something and you have the opportunity to live it out in a safe way with consenting adults, then go for it. Follow those erotic cookie crumbs! They are leading you to a deeper relationship with your shadow self. However just doing it randomly is a bit hit and miss.
If we enter into humiliation play with awareness and conscious intention, we have the potential to nudge the result into an even more effective and powerful place more often. While there are never any guarentees, the result is far more likely to be empowering rather than reinforcing the status quo. There is the world of difference between a client who comes to me like our play is a dirty secret, feels ashamed that he has this need, responds unconsciously by being shifty and sleazy and then turning on me afterwards, to a client who comes to me willing to be the hero on his own inner alchemy quest by exploring his Kink proclivities with awareness and taking self-responsibility. The outcome of the two sessions are vastly different.
In the case of the sissy sluts, conscious kink creates a place to play with gender. We don’t try to make it politically correct because that would actually kill the power of acting out our shadow selves. Remember the unconscious is not politically correct and we need to allow space to give it voice. By acting out our sissy slut, we come into a greater awareness and relationship with the suppressed so-called “girly” or “slutty” parts of ourselves. Instead of then becoming revolted when men act in “girly” ways without knowing why, we begin to lose that knee jerk revulsion. We then have more choice around how we interact with gender and allow those around us to interact with their own gender identity in whatever way they choose. Being sissy slut doesn’t stop beign a turn on for us and as far as I am concerned it shouldn’t. What happens is we have a more aware, healthy relationship to our inner sissy slut that ripples out into our relationship with ourself and others in all areas of life.
Personal Core Erotic Themes
Each of us has different core erotic themes so not every one will be drawn to explore humiliation scenes. Of those into humiliation, there will be a huge variety of fantasies about how that might manifest in your hottest turn ons. Certainly not everyone will be turned on by being a made into a sissy slut. While many men go through the process of having the “girl” beaten out of them through socialisation, only some end up with sissy slut fantasies. No one really knows why for sure.
Perhaps instead your fantasies are based on being caught masturbating, or having the girl you fancy use her power over you to make you jump through hoops? Being degraded and having your mouth used as a toilet… Or simply being made to beg to be fucked… Maybe you like role play where you are caught rifling through your neighbor’s knicker draw and she threatens to tell your parents if you don’t do exactly as she says… Maybe you fantasise about being naked in a board room full of corporate types in suits? The scenarios are endless and I have become very creative in finding ways to tease out those hots spots in an individual’s core erotic theme.
The reason that I am drawn to humiliation play is that is one of my own core erotic themes. I get it. I really get it. My goodness did it take me a long time to be able to admit it! I’m into degrading and erotically humiliating others and under the right circumstances, I’m turned on by having the tables turned. Oh the shame of having humiliation and degradation as a turn on. *Cue irony*
As an aside, It is also worth noting that having core erotic themes like humiliation, does not stop us from also accessing other forms of erotic pleasure like making love, sensuality, ecstatic erotically-fuelled trance states, kundalini experiences and more. Fantasy and kink play is only one possible expression out of many. If you only know how to be aroused from your core erotic theme and can’t access any other forms of erotic interaction, then I suggest going to a sexologcial bodyworker or other conscious sexuality professional and learning how to access even more potential within you. More options = more ways of playing and connecting with self and others.
So what makes Conscious Kink humiliation play sessions any different?
There are all sorts of skills from neo-tantra, mindfulness and other somatic embodiment practices that are helpful to enhance any sort of kink play. There are all sorts of subtle ways of moving into deeper relationship with self from various esoteric traditions and somatic body-mind techniques. Techniques from tantra, yoga, mindfulness and transcendental meditation practices all translate well into kink play. However, a really great place to start is simply with intention and awareness.
Just being aware that this play is a opportunity to own our erotic shadow selves and make them an ally already makes a big difference to how we approach any session. Having the intention to tune into and embrace our erotic shadow changes everything.
I find discussing and stating out loud our intention in a clear sentence or two before we begin has a subtle but potent impact on a play scene. Our unconscious responds to our intentions in ways that ripple out into our lives in ways we can’t really pre-conceive. Having the intention, to love and respect ourselves and consciously let go for a given amount of time to fully enter into a normally suppressed way of being, accepting ourselves and each other “warts and all” makes a big difference. Being witnessed, accepted and held in our secret, sexy, vulnerable, shameful places is huge!
This kind of play often leads to a way of being where our shadow selves start to work with us in everyday life rather than control us in unconscious ways, bursting out like volcanos in seemingly unconnected areas of our lives. Personally, I have been blown away with just how powerful simple tools like intention and awareness have.
Conscious Kink as a Spiritual Path
Each person has their own spiritual or existential perspective and far be it from me to tell you what to think. You certainly don’t have to adopt my take on spirituality for this process to work. However, to me, the great soul work of being human is to fully experience being human and awaken to our full selves. Awaken all the layers… We often wander about in a sleep walk, living our pre-programmed social scripts and wonder why we feel dissatisfied. The antidote is to wake up!
More and more people are waking up and truly living. One of the key ways to do this is to befriend our shadow selves and turn it into an ally. One excellent and effective way to do this is through accessing our sexuality… where the veils between the conscious and unconscious are naturally thinner and alignment is more easily achievable.
I am of the school of thought that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience but we are spiritual beings having a human experience. That means everything is already sacred just the way it is. However the ultimate experience is being conscious of and fully exploring our humanity with awareness of our inner spark of divinity. We feel the most right, the most content and at “home” when we are in alignment with all aspects of ourselves.
Sounds good, so where do we start?
So all this sounds really exciting and you’d like to play. Start by thinking about the common themes running through your hottest, most forbidden fantasies. The ones you hardly dare think about unless you are so aroused you are about to cum. There will likely be lots of different scenarios you enjoy. Take notice of what the underlying themes are. What common ingredient makes it hot for you again and again no matter what shape the fantasy takes? Break that down so you can clearly communicate it and consent to it, agreeing to safewords and after-care.
Consent, Negotiation and Safe words
Humiliation is a volatile fantasy to play with. It has to be very carefully discussed and consented to before hand because one person’s turn on is the next person’s traumatic experience. I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to discuss a potential humiliation scene thoroughly and work out exactly what hits the hot buttons and which ones hit the genuine ouch buttons. It is important for all parties involved to consent to certain activities, attitudes and understand the vibe of the individual player’s core erotic theme.
No matter how much you plan, there is always a certain amount of risk in these kinds of games. I get my play partners to actively acknowledge that risk and take self-responsibility for it. Having a plan for if things go awry is really useful. We agree to a safe word that can stop our play at any time if needed. I ask my play partners not to use the safe word willy-nilly but to take three long, slow breaths before using it. If they still need to use, it, go for it but make sure they need to. Life isn’t all nice kittens and pie and sometimes the most challenging parts of the play turn out, in hindsight, to be what really gave it power.
My most immediate psychological “first aid” tool for if my play partner or I becomes triggered is to focus on breathing. When an unexpected surge of emotion rises in us, as it sometimes does when working with erotic alchemy, I get the person to focus completely on their breath. Counting with them and guiding them to breath very slowly and fully.. letting the air fall all the way out before taking the next breath. Doing this for ten breaths is often enough to shift the burst of emotive energy to be able to talk about it and feel into what needs to happen next. If what needs to happen is beyond my scope, I have the numbers of highly respected, kink-friendly counsellors and psychotherapists handy.
It’s also important to discuss after-care. Even if my play partner is grinning from ear to ear at the end of our session, aftercare may be needed to bring things full circle. It is good to discuss with the person what they need to reassure them they are a respected, valuable human being. For some people suddenly becoming all nurturing at the end of the session would burst the bubble for them but for others, it is essential or they will feel weepy and empty for days. There are no fixed rules so communication and risk aware experimentation is key. Quite often a blanket, a cup of tea and a chance to de-brief about the experience is enough.
If your play partner is not experienced, it may help to seek out someone in the kink and/or tantra scene who is who can help you work it out. The local kink scene often runs workshops and skill shares. Or else you can book in for a professional session with a dominatrix or switch. Some professionals approach their play more consciously than others so ask questions until you find the right fit. Many kink professionals are happy to see couples and guide them into a play session together.
If you are looking to specifically learn the skills to take humiliation into the realm of conscious play as part of your personal journey into great self-awareness, personal transformation, discovery and alignment then there are people listed on my website who work in those areas offering everytign from counselling, workshops, and play sessions. There is a book list on the resources section of my website. You are also welcome to sign up to my mailing list to keep an eye out for upcoming workshops or book in for a personalised consultation or play session. Skype sessions consultations available.
Most of all, remember that while this kind of play can push boundaries and be challenging, it is also lots and lots of fun and one hell of an adventure! Good luck on your quest to discover even more of your inner world and get off in the process. Yay for the paradox of holy smut!
– Artemisia de Vine: Goddess of Conscious Kink
All material on this blog is copyright and the property of Artemisia de Vine.