Libby has recently written a couple of posts on the topic of humiliation over on her blog, A Submissive’s Musings. I’ve found them both interesting and educational, and that’s a good thing, because I really struggle with the whole topic of humiliation.
My take on this has apparently been too literal all along. I’ve always thought that some Dominants enjoyed humiliating their submissive partners (and conversely, their submissives somehow enjoyed being humiliated) in the same way that I might enjoy spanking Joy. For me, spanking is both a means to an end (as it turns Joy on) as well as an end in and of itself (because we both enjoy the whole experience). I had thought that humiliation was similar–that you did it because you liked it, and I simply couldn’t comprehend the whole “liking it” thing.
Why would you like humiliating your partner? When I think about humiliation, I picture things like spitting on your partner, or making them lick your boots, or requiring them to wear a tail (inserted you-can-guess-where). What’s the fun in that? Doesn’t denigrating them actually make the whole experience less fun, because it devalues them both in your mind and in theirs, and if they are of less value, then their submission is less impactful as well? And how can your partner enjoy the experience? What fun is it for them? Frankly, the whole idea has been a major turn off to me.
However, Libby has enlightened me at least a little bit. She has pointed out that humiliation can serve a purpose, and that helps me understand somewhat. Via humiliation, she says, the depth of the submissive partner’s desire to submit can be plumbed. By requiring them to plunge so deeply into submission that they perform some act or permit some situation that they feel is demeaning, their resistance can be broken down more completely, allowing boundaries to be extended and limits to be overcome. This makes a little sense to me, as I can frame it as a sort of a test, or challenge. How far will the submissive partner go to maintain their submission? And if a test like this is passed, if the boots are eventually licked and the tail is eventually inserted, I can see how that would strongly reinforce the Dominance/submission dynamic in the relationship. After all, like just about anything else, submission (and Dominance, by the way) improves with practice, and if you practice submitting to difficult and unpleasant ordeals, the other stuff gets easier.
So from that perspective, I can understand how humiliation might be effective. Joy does have limits, and there are boundaries I’d like to cross with her that we have not yet succeeded in crossing and actions that I’d like her to feel more comfortable with that she fears or dislikes today. I would like her to be able to submit more fully than she does, and I think that in many ways, she would like to be able to submit more fully as well.
Libby, who is a submissive, states that she does not enjoy being humiliated, but she wants to be able to reach the level of submission it can bring her to, and she describes many of the situations and activities she’s submitted to that have humiliated her. She also says that there are some submissives who get sexually aroused through humiliation. Libby adds that this group does not include her, and I can state unequivocally that it also does not include Joy! And honestly, it doesn’t include me, either, no matter whether I’m on the giving or receiving end of the humiliation. Instead, the opposite is true–I find the idea of purposely degrading Joy distasteful.
Therefore, while I recognize the potential value practicing humiliation may provide in allowing progress to be made toward deepening Joy’s submission, strengthening my Dominance, and in general overcoming limits, all of which are desirable outcomes in my book, I’m afraid the humiliation path is one I will continue to avoid. For me, at least, the price is too high for the reward. I guess this is a case where the Dominant partner has a limit!
Of course, all limits change over time, and I suppose it’s possible that this one will as well. If Joy were to express interest, it might make the idea more palatable. And in addition, there are activities and situations where our senses of humiliation might differ, where something that I might feel is acceptable, Joy perceives as demeaning. That’s a potential place where the limit might be approached and shifted. So we’ll see. But at least for the moment, I think we’ll eschew humiliation, despite the potential value it might offer. Kudos to Libby, though, for completing her humiliation training and sharing her thoughts on it with her readers!