Humility, Not Humiliation
After writing my post earlier about what made me uncomfortable about BDSM, it was clear that the concept of humiliation was my biggest problem. I think what worried me most was that it seemed as though submission simply didn’t exist without the presence of humiliation – something which would leave me loathing myself and much weaker as a person, rather than empowering me. After trawling through pages and pages of posts concerning using humiliation in the context of BDSM, I eventually managed to find a few about submission without it.
There seemed to be two slightly different approaches. The first would just be to entirely avoid humiliation if it does nothing for the sub – if they don’t enjoy it and also don’t derive any other benefit from it, such as feeling as though they’ve served their Dom by being humiliated (personally I wouldn’t be able to handle it purely for my partner, and I’d like to think that they wouldn’t want me to endure something which would be so painful for me for their own pleasure – but of course that’s the point of limits). The other was the concept of humiliation vs. humility.
I found this interesting as it touched on the context I detailed in my post about where I may feel comfortable with limited amounts of humiliation. As opposed to humiliation, which is about bringing someone down in the world, making them feel lesser than others, (obviously those who enjoy humiliation should only encounter these session within the scene – in my opinion it would unacceptable for a sub to feel truly humiliated after and outside the scene, as it would be extremely harmful to their growth as a person) humility is about challenging false feelings of pride – knocking someone down a peg or two if it needs be done. I’d like to not think of myself as arrogant, (does that statement make me so? I’d like to think that someone should be able to admit pride in qualities in themselves which they deem good without being guilt-tripped into feeling immodest or full of themselves) so I’d like to think exercises like this wouldn’t be necessary too often. If I was getting too big for my boots I certainly would want to address it, and this could be a safe and suitable way to do so – although just being told that was acting like an arrogant jack-ass would probably be enough to humble me, I really am sensitive to the opinions of those close to me (a part of my desire to keep everyone around me happy I guess).
It does make me feel very relieved to know that humiliation isn’t necessary required in a submissive relationship – I think this quote I found explains my feelings on it best – ‘If you can rule with a smile, or with a request, why rule with punishment?’ Here it was it was speaking about punishment rather than humiliation specifically, but it really speaks to me – whilst a request with a smile would be enough to make me want to do something for someone, even if it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, as it doesn’t feel as forced or as though it’s been done to hurt me. In contrast an angry demand would make me want to rebel and only raise angry and hurt feelings and humiliation being used in that context would certainly make me very resentful of my partner. This holds true to a deeply-held philosophy of mine that real power is in having the opportunity and ability to hurt someone, but choosing not to. In that way I’d perceive the use of humiliation as a weakness of my partner, which would make it difficult for me to really respect them, as though they weren’t able to teach me an important lesson without resorting to degradation or violence.
Of course if someone enjoys humiliation or otherwise benefits from it this isn’t an issue – but for me the only acceptable context it could take would be in this form. I’d like to think humiliation or rather humility wouldn’t need to be something that needed to be drummed into me often, hopefully it would never have to happen, but in this way it wouldn’t be so damaging or something that was being used purely to hurt me. Even this would be after gaining complete trust from me partner though, so it would still initially begin as a hard limit.
I feel much more positive now, in a much better mood. It’s good to have a bit of a break from all the negative feelings I’ve been having of late. Gonna have a little sing-along to Epic Rap Battle of History I’m in such a good mood. 😛
Sites that helped me with this topic:
http://disciplinedfeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2006/12/humiliation-vs-humility.html – A good discussion of humiliation vs. humility, has many interesting points.
http://dominateme.blogspot.co.uk/2005/05/personal-note-no-humiliation-for-uus.html – Very short but also very reassuring. Someone accepting that humiliation is best left out of their relationship.
http://www.cair4.com/tlesson3.htm – By far the most interesting information I could find on this topic. It mirrors a lot of my own rules regarding humiliation and punishment in a relationship. I think the whole cair4 website represents a lot of what I’d find ideal in a Dom/sub relationship but it’s likely too light or soft for many. (Some of the wording also makes me think that it’s slightly demonising kinks though, but I’m not sure if I’m reading into that wrong).