Cathy: So if you’re into humiliation play, how do you use your words to really rev up the energy? I’m here with Dr. Liz from Sex-Positive Psych.

Liz: And I’m here with Cathy Vartuli from The Intimacy Dojo.

Cathy: And Liz teaches a class on humiliation play. And this isn’t for everybody, and that’s cool. I’m a firm believer in ask anything.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: And if you’re just curious or you want to know, that’s great. I like knowing even if it’s not my turn-on. I like knowing what people – what do you do over there? Oh really? So try it on if you’re interested and if you’re not, go see another video.

Liz: Absolutely. So I like talking about humiliation play because I think that for me, I’m a super brainy person and so the hottest kink for me is the kink that happens in my brain. And humiliation play in a lot of ways is about finding the things that make you uncomfortable, the things that if they happen out in the real world in a regular context would be so shame-inducing. It’s so hurtful. And instead being able to explore them in a safe, healthy container.

Cathy: And then you claim that energy.

Liz: And it can be really healing for people. It can be really empowering because you can face down the things that would otherwise make you very afraid or very ashamed.

Cathy: Yes. I love that because too many of us have no place to explore our shames or the things that make us feel humiliated.

Liz: Yeah. And the beauty of BDSM in general is that it allows you to go to places that are taboo. The whole idea of BDSM is to explore the taboos, the things that you’re not supposed to enjoy, the things that you’re not supposed to experience in a safe healthy way.

So the key to any good BDSM scene especially humiliation scenes is making sure that you have a good bond of trust with the person that you’re playing with. That you know that they are going to treat you well.

I firmly believe that you can’t do humiliation play well if you aren’t relatively aware in a social justice way. Because if you’re someone who is harboring some unexamined sexism or unexamined racism and you’re getting into play those areas, it’s way too easy for that to bleed in.

Cathy: Yeah. No, it can. And I think part of the – I love roleplaying and I’m sapiosexual. I love brain sex. But if there has to be a certain in control aspect of it especially from the person that’s controlling the play, if they’re kind of sliding down a slope that they feel comfortable with but isn’t real – isn’t present between – it’s not a co-creation of the two people, it can get out of – it can get into a place where one person is really hurt or be traumatized by something.

Liz: Yeah, absolutely.

Cathy: So I like the awareness.

Liz: Yeah. And humiliation play in particular, you’re playing in the shadows. You’re going to people’s soft spots. So you have to be that much more aware or that much more cautious about how you do that play.

Cathy: Yeah. So what are some tips you give for people in your class? Can you share it?

Liz: Yeah. So first thing always is making sure that you get consent for exactly what you’re going to do. Particularly with humiliation play, you’re going to want to know what the boundaries are around it. Is this play that only happens in certain scenes, at certain times? Is this some – like where does it start and end? Where are your rockets?

Because with humiliation play, there can be a lot of fear on the bottom’s part that is going to continue out past the scene. And some people like that. Some people like being called a bitch or a slut or whatever it is outside of scene in a way that continues that kinky energy for them. But a lot of people don’t like that.

Cathy: I like verbally stepping in like when I do role play, I’m going to step into the scene now after we negotiate it. And at the end, we’re like verbally we’re stepping out of this and returning to like that container.

Liz: Yeah, that’s a good container. Other people’s container is like when I arrive at your house, we’re going to be in role and then as soon as I untie you, you will be out of role, whatever it is. Make sure that you know where those beginning and end points are so that it doesn’t start bleeding into places you don’t want it.

Second, figure out what is actually humiliating for you. So for instance, if someone calls me stupid, I don’t really think I’m stupid.

Cathy: So it doesn’t land.

Liz: Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on the person, right? Whereas things like being called like a bitch or dirty might land more because it plays with shadows that I deal with in terms of cultural constructs.

Cathy: And I think different people saying like how the energy comes at you like a softer female might have a different path than a more like a powerful man.

Liz: Right.

Cathy: Or a powerful woman. It doesn’t matter. But realized that different people have different impact.

Liz: Yeah. And as a tap, if you’re tapping in humiliation play, you still have to be yourself. I think that it’s very hard to be someone else and be a really effective tap for any given period of time. So the way that I tap is very playful and funny and I’m like a jovial sadist. So I’m giving them all of the sensation and putting them on all these awkward positions and giggling about it the whole time.

Cathy: Yeah.

Liz: Because it’s authentic for me.

Cathy: Yeah.

Liz: So make sure that you’re being authentic for yourself. Negotiate any specific terms, what terms are off-limits, what terms are super hot for you, what terms are you like a grey area about and you don’t know how they’re going to land. Be super clear on how you’re going the safe word out if you need to. If you’re in doubt, you can always use red as a safe word. You can always use safe word. If you’re using the green, yellow, red system, make sure that you know what yellow means for you because for some people, yellow is you can stay right there.

Cathy: Don’t go farther.

Liz: Don’t go farther. For some people, yellow means I’m done with this activity. Ease up.

Cathy: Yeah. We don’t have to stop the scene but yeah. And figure out what works for you. What if a couple wants to try humiliation play but one of them isn’t comfortable tapping or isn’t comfortable, what would you recommend to them?

Liz: So, that’s really challenging. It’s like with anything, if there’s an activity you want to do that your partner doesn’t want to do, you have to figure out within your relationship agreements what your solution is going to be. For me, I’m super poly. So if I’m dating one person and they don’t want to do this kind of play, I find a different person who does love to do that kind of play.

You can always explore erotica about it together. You can see if there’s something that would make them feel more comfortable doing that play like what are their humps. If they don’t want to do humiliation play, is it because they are afraid that they will hurt you? Is it because they don’t want to go to that place in them self? What’s their concern? And see if there’s a way to make it feel safer for them or more whole for them. And if not, then figure out if that’s something you want to explore with someone else.

Cathy: Yeah. And no one should ever perform sexual or any kind of act that doesn’t fit for you. It’s OK for it to be a no.

Liz: Yeah, it’s OK for it to be a no. And I think that depending on the nature of your relationship, like the longer term and more connections your relationship, the more space you have for exploring those areas that are uncomfortable for you but not necessarily a hard no.

Cathy: Yeah.

Liz: Right. That there’s a zone between my absolute yeses and my absolute nos and where we end in that zone with each partner is a little bit different and the ways that we explore or feel comfortable exploring them is different with each partner.

Cathy: I’d love to come back and do another video on safe versus comfort zone because I think that’s a place where a lot of us get hang up.

Liz: Absolutely.

Cathy: So if you’re curious, what fears do you have about humiliation play?

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: And what would you like to explore? If you feel comfortable sharing it, we’d love to know.

Liz: Tell us down below.