My last post brought in some comments that made me realize I should make a clarifying post to better describe how the interplay works as well as where boundary lines fall. I have written quite a bit on humiliation, most recently I wrote something for Nora a while back at her request.
First off, some definitions (these won’t be thorough):
Emotional masochist – someone that achieves arousal or sexual gratification from experiencing emotional “pain.”
Emotional sadist – someone that achieves arousal or sexual gratification from inflicting emotional “pain” on someone else.
This should be at the heart of why people engage in these activities. The emotional masochist gets turned on by it. The emotional sadist gets turned on by it. Everybody wins. This is the line between abuse and play. I am assuming it occurs in a consensual D/s environment.
It is very difficult for either party to admit to liking this. An emotional masochist may experience turmoil about it because the associated feelings aren’t “good,” but the outcome is that they feel submissive and aroused is “good.” Similarly an emotional sadist may feel like an abusive bad person for enjoying this dynamic. I file this under: “I don’t like this, but I like what it does to me.” It works.
Effective humiliation and mindfucking work in one of two ways:
- Things you know to be true but hold out some hope that they are not true.
- Things you know to be untrue but hold some doubt that maybe they are true.
There is one more key principle that keeps humiliation and mindfucks from being abusive: They are not rejected or dismissed because of it.
Looking at #1, imagine a 5’ tall male. He probably has a long history of being rejected for being too short (e.g. sports teams, women, etc.). The truth of it is that he is short. You can try to convince him that he isn’t short or is in fact, tall. You can try to convince him that height doesn’t matter. He already has a “truth” in his mind that is set in stone. You cannot convince him otherwise. Words that disagree with his reality sound like lies.
If you tease him about his height, anything that is consistent with his view of reality will be effective. However, choosing not to reject him for it brings about a peace that can only occur when his reality and the events going on agree in harmony and all of his fears about why it matters are placated. “I am short, she thinks it’s sad/funny but still chooses to keep me.” Basically, it validates his insecurities while keeping his fears at bay.
This example has been wholly non-sexual, so I will give some examples as to how this might work in a D/s environment.
- “I like that you are short because you don’t have to go as far to have your face between my legs.”
- “If you were taller than me, people might get confused as to who is the submissive.”
- “Having a tiny servant is convenient, it must make it easier for you to clean all those hard to reach places.”
- “I would let you be on top, but you have to be at least 6’ tall to ride this ride.”
- “I’m usually attracted to tall men, but it amuses me that you try so hard to make up for it.”
Looking at #2, I am going to use HeartsHope as an example because she has blogged about this recently. She has written about during sex or play that HD will tell her that she’s a dirty slut and occasionally will make her say it. This triggers a battle of cognitive dissonance because she doesn’t want to believe that she is a dirty slut, but the emotional turmoil turns her on, so she questions her reality and fears it may be true. By having to say it, the turmoil is increased because it validates the claim and the fear. Is she really a slut? No, she doesn’t go sleeping around with tons of people. Does it create a storm of conflicting emotions that increase arousal and submission? Yes.
Basically, these methods are a system of mind games that tap into fears and insecurities as a means of increasing the intensity of submission.
People tend to love this or hate it. You can pick up a lot about a dominant’s style based upon their enjoyment (or lack of) when it comes to humiliation and mindfucking.
I hope that this clarifies some things.