Degradation: Between sinking into the ground and flying high

Author: KatKristall
A to Z | Kinks

Content/trigger warning: humiliation, term “slave”

What does degradation mean?

The word “degradation ” makes some people think back to embarrassing situations at school or experiences with their own parents. In BDSM, however, we speak of erotic degradation and humiliation. Degradation is playing with shame and feelings of shame. This can take place verbally or physically and is intended to create a feeling of discomfort in the submissive person. The dominant person puts the submissive person in situations in which they feel degraded.

What exactly causes shame and discomfort is, like so much in BDSM, absolutely subjective. Degradation is exactly what it sounds like: you are degraded, criticized and belittled. It’s about being treated without respect and feeling a bit like an object, less valuable. Nevertheless, BDSM is always associated with a deep respect for each other. The feeling is created artificially and intentionally to satisfy mutual preferences. Not because there are actual dislikes. Because that would be bullying and really doesn’t belong in a healthy kink relationship.

Why do people like it?

Shame is a very intense feeling that also has a physical effect on the body. The body temperature rises, some people get a red head, sweat and can hardly speak. The feeling is also associated with exposure and something forbidden.

The power imbalance and inferiority also play a major role. The top demonstrates power over the bottom. Degrading the submissive to something less than oneself, or even to an animal, object or pleasure object, emphasizes one’s own superiority. However, humiliation can also create an entry into the subspace by assigning Bottom his or her place in the gradient through verbal or psychological degradation.

Since it is an unpleasant feeling that can often be produced without physical influence, humiliation can also be a punishment. For example, by reciting loudly while wearing a gag and the associated salivation. A kneeling position or staying in a dirty place are also degrading punishments. The pleasure here lies in enduring the unpleasantness.

Degradation is particularly appealing as a brat. This is because it provides additional fuel for mutual teasing and irritation. Degrading a brat can create the defensiveness you want for a session. Or it can also be a special punishment for naughty behavior.

What can degradation look like?

Shame and what triggers it is something very personal. However, this is exactly what you need to find out with an intensive preliminary talk. You should explore your personal boundaries in order to maintain the delicate balance between erotic humiliation and insult.

Language is a popular form of degradation. It can start with dirty talk and go all the way to swearing. Some people just want to hear swear words and insults. Others want to be mocked for their own excitement. Still others like to hear whole stories and fantasies based on what is currently being experienced together. The word is a powerful weapon once you have overcome yourself to start talking. Especially at the beginning of a session, a verbal introduction with announcements, reminders and humiliation can lead a person into subspace. A particularly popular form of verbal degradation is “small dick humiliation” in which the top mocks the sub’s genital.

There are some role plays that are automatically degrading: Domination and staff, toilet slave, pet play (very subjective), military, prisoner and overseer, patient and medical staff, objectification. These are all roles that are assigned a very clear inferiority. Within these role plays, degradation can take place without reference to the real person.

Physical punishment can also be perceived as degradation. A slap in the face is a gesture that is associated with punishment and exposure. Spanking or other forms of physical punishment can also lead to embarrassment. Spitting on, bimbofication, taunting or golden shower games are also popular. There is also a separate bondage category called “Rope Shame Play”, which is used for physical humiliation.

Humiliation is also a form of degradation. However, it is more about a physical demonstration of incapacity. The exposure and demonstration of mistakes or lack of ability usually takes place in front of an audience.

Who enjoys degradation?

The appropriate role for the dominant part is called degrader. People with this role enjoy the act of degrading. They enjoy the shame of other people. But many other Doms or Tops also enjoy practices that are humiliating or degrading. The submissive part is called degradee, i.e. subjugated or degraded.

In BDSM, a degradee is a person who is sexually aroused by humiliation and degradation. Many people with masochistic tendencies like degradation. But other bottoms and submissive people can also enjoy these types of play.

Caution is advised! Here’s what you need to consider:

Prior consultation is very important. Detailed discussions, testing words, insults and gestures are essential. Playing with degradation is playing with personal criticism. What you can and cannot hear, do or say is an incredibly subjective and personal attitude. So explore your boundaries and limits together. Talk through what you want and what you don’t want before each session. Because sometimes that depends on the mood of the day. Deal with the topic of degradation, detached from what is said in porn. Find your own language.

Aftercare is essential after a degradation session. Make each other aware that you value each other. Emphasize that things happen within a session and do not affect your everyday life. A good idea is to write compliment notes or share positive aspects of the session with each other. This way, you can restore a feeling of pride.

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