Degradation Kink Defined

As part of this glossary entry we’ve spoken to an industry expert to outline exactly what a degradation kink is, and what you need to know about them.

Thank you to Emme Witt, a sex expert and BDSM consultant. For more insights you can find out more information at: 


What is a degradation kink?

A degradation kink is when someone becomes sexually aroused through humiliation and degradation. The humiliation/degradation can be verbal or physical.

Examples of verbal humiliation are being called derogatory names. Examples of physical degradation are being urinated on or being slapped across the face. There are many acts of physical degradation under the BDSM rubric.


How does a degradation kink start?

There are many ways that a degradation kink starts. Sadly, sometimes it does begin through childhood abuse. People eroticize the humiliation they felt as a child and desire to reenact the experiences as an adult as a way to gain control over them.

But sometimes, amazingly, the degradation kink also begins because someone feels too arrogant about themselves. A man may feel full of himself and want to be taken down a notch or two. The excitement is in the taboo nature of allowing this to happen.

Other times, the kink develops through porn watching. Someone is introduced to degradation through the porn they’re viewing and discovers that they find it sexually exciting. They begin to fantasize about it in real life.

And other times, they are simply introduced to degradation by a partner or a professional provider. They discover that they like the activity, and so they continue to engage in it and want to expand on it.

Typically, in most of these cases, the fact that having a sexual interest in a degrading activity is taboo is what makes it desirable. There’s something thrilling about allowing a person to do something so awful and cruel to you during the intimate act of sex–and that is the turn-on.


How can someone safely explore their degradation kink?

I’d say that consent is key. Two partners need to agree on what type of degradation they desire or are willing to endure during a sexual session before engaging in it. I would not suggest figuring out these desires and limits during sex.

However, some partners do choose this route. If so, they should use safe words. A “safe word” is a word or phrase that is uttered during a “scene” which will stop it immediately, no questions asked. I recommend people use safe words during all BDSM play so they can ensure their boundaries are respected.

That said, as I mentioned before, communication is extremely important. I would always advise discussing kinks and interests in degradation long before the scene in question occurs, so people can hash out their limits and also come up with ways to make the degradation even more exciting.

And of course, playing with only trusted partner/s is important. I wouldn’t recommend introducing degradation during hookup sex–unless expressly agreed on beforehand. You should really know your partner well before degrading or asking to be degraded during sex.


What are the most common types of kinks and/or themes related to a degradation kink?

In terms of verbal degradation, people often want to be called the names they fear most, or that make them feel the worse depending on their gender, ethnicity, or race. A woman may want to be called a whore, and a man may want to be called a small-dicked loser or a beta cuck. There are people of African-American origin who like to be called racial slurs that apply to their race.

Small penis humiliation is a very popular form of degradation for men. Again, this is one of the things that men fear most, having a small penis and not being able to satisfy a woman. In that regard, being told that they could never satisfy a woman is also exciting.

Humiliation (degradation) kinks, such as cross-dressing and cuckolding are also very popular. Being forced to dress as the other gender, and being told that they cannot satisfy their partner is arousing.

There are a lot of degradation kinks that have to do with bodily fluids. Golden, brown, and Roman showers are thrilling because of their taboo nature, as is being spat on.

Pegging can be extremely degrading for a man, as is “forced bisexuality” (with consent). For women, “free use” is a popular degrading activity nowadays, in that she makes herself sexually available to a man whenever he pleases, regardless if she desires sex.

I think that degradation plays out in most BDSM scenes. Simply being told to strip down while your partner remains clothed and then being told to drop to your knees and crawl around on the floor is all degrading, and therefore exciting.

Being whipped can also be degrading as is something as severe as being branded by one’s dom. Many aspects of degradation fall under the idea of “body mortification,” which is a way to deliver oneself from sin but can be introduced into a scene as a way to break free from guilt or past transgressions. 

Everything from needle play to being pierced with hooks and hung from the ceiling are all forms of bodily mortification and physical degradation that people find exciting for multiple reasons.


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