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Choose Your Words Carefully III: Humiliation VS Degradation

Author: Norische

Filed in: training, speech

Within the vanilla world there are many words that we use without consideration. Words that seem ordinary within one realm gain quite a different meaning within the realm of BDSM. Simple words that are very similar in meaning can be worlds apart in definition within the safe haven of a dungeon.

Let us take a look at another interesting pair, "Humiliation" and "Degradation". Within the vanilla world these words are frequently interchangeable, but in the BDSM world these words are separate and independent of each other.

Humiliation is the fine art of humbling someone or lowering an individual\'s status in the eyes of another, or oneself. This is done through verbal response or suggestion, or by action. Putting a pink furry collar with blunted spikes on a muscle bound six foot eight slave, is humiliating…. especially if you add some nice little pink bows in his hair, and little pink ribbons hanging from certain appropriate body parts. Making someone walk around with a pacifier in his or her mouth may be considered humiliating. Making someone eat and drink out of a doggy bowl on the floor may be considered humiliating. There are individual\'s that enjoy humiliation and in truth thrive on the "abuse" of being embarrassed or humiliated time and time again.

Degradation is the wearing down of someone\'s self esteem to a point of vulnerability. Tearing down one\'s self respect and self worth by reducing them to mass of self doubt and uncertainty…this is degradation. It is very hard to repair the damage one has received from being degraded and worn down. Degradation is not something that most individuals enjoy or participate in willingly. Telling someone time and time again that they are worthless, or ignorant, or repulsive is a means of tearing apart the delicate fibers that create the human ego, once this fabric is frayed and torn it takes a lot of tender care and time to regain its original luster and beauty.

When you wish a specific behavior to occur you must use specific words. Never assume that an individual will know the exactly what you mean unless you define the words you choose to use, and exactly what they mean to you.

As with everything this is my opinion, take what you will and leave the rest. If you wish to contact me, my email address is If you wish to see more of my work you may find a complete listing of all my writings at…. in the files section.


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