What is degradation & humiliation when in play between a submissive & a dominate? Why is this type of play necessary? Why does this type of play occur in the BDSM scene? How can a dominate possibly do this to another person or for that matter why would a submissive allow this type of treatment? Is this actually healthy for either party involved in this kinds of relationships?

In discussing this topic, I think it is important to define both words. What is degradation?

Degradation (from Latin: degradatio, literally — reduction), regression — the process of deterioration of characteristics of an object with time; moving back; gradual decline; decline in quality; breakdown of matter due to the impact of external forces in conformity with the laws of nature and time. Degradation is often referred to as the opposite of Progress. Degradation may refer to:

Biodegradation, the processes by which organic substances are broken down by living organisms
Cashiering or degradation ceremony, a ritual performed when cleric is deprived of office or a knight is stripped of the honour
Chemical decomposition, the degradation of chemical compounds
Corruption (philosophical concept)
Defamation
“Degradation” a song by the Violent Femmes, from Add It Up (1981–1993)
Degradation (telecommunications), the loss of quality of an electronic signal
Elegant degradation, in engineering, the gradual failing of a machine
Environmental degradation, in ecology, damage to the ecosystem and loss of biodiversity
Graceful degradation, in a fault-tolerant system

Reference site-http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degradation

So, if using that definition, degradation means stripping a person of any honor as well as corrupting them. To me, it sounds like it means that a person is broken down to nothing, a blank slate. I would think that means a master/mistress would break a submissive down by means of stripping them of any freewill in their daily activites. Taking a submissive back to childbirth, even though the person probably is an adult. Driving that submissive back to a time where their every action was judged for accuracy & growth.

However, depending on the methods used to accomplish this, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a unhealthy experience. I could see how using this method with a unstable submissive could be beneficial in bringing them back to a healthy balance of being. If someone is out of control, they are out of balance in their mind. So generally, they seek help to get stability back into their lives. Having a master/mistress to bringing about this change could be a positive thing if done correctly with help from outside sources such a doctors. However, this seems like a very dangerous thing if the master/mistress is out of balance as well. Power corrupts absolutely so having this type of power to strip a person down to bare elements can have lasting effects on both parties involved.

In my opinion, if this technique is used beneficial to help a person achieve a healthy balance of their duality, I see no reason not to use this in play. If you are using any technique to aid a person in personal growth to benefit their life, it could enrich both parties participating in the relationship.

Now, let’s discuss humiliation, which is another type of play used between a dominate & a submissive. First let’s look at the actual definition of the word.

Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It can be brought about through bullying, intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery, or by embarrassment if a person is revealed to have committed a socially or legally unacceptable act. Whereas humility can be sought alone as a means to de-emphasise the ego, humiliation must involve other person(s), though not necessarily directly or willingly. Acting to humiliate yourself may be linked to a personal belief (as with mortification of the flesh, with some religions), or it can be part of erotic humiliation where the belittling activity provides emotional and/or sexual arousal or heightened sensation.

Humiliation is currently an active research topic, and is now seen as an important – and complex – core dynamic in human relationships, having implications at intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional and international levels.[1]
Donald Klein described humiliation as “a powerful factor in human affairs that has, for a variety of reasons, been overlooked by students of individual and collective behavior. It is a pervasive and all too destructive influence in the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, and nations.”[4] That statement captures the degree to which humiliation affects our lives, ranging from the deeply personal right up to global levels.

Even though it is a subjective emotion, it has a universal aspect which applies to all human beings: “it is the feeling of being put down, made to feel less than one feels oneself to be.”[1] This feeling can be felt as an individual (as when one feels offended by another) or as a community, group or nation.

Feelings of humiliation can produce ‘humiliated fury'[5] which, when turned inward can result in apathy and depression, and when turned outward can give rise to paranoia, sadistic behaviour and fantasies of revenge. Klein explains, “When it is outwardly directed, humiliated fury unfortunately creates additional victims, often including innocent bystanders … . When it is inwardly directed, the resulting self-hate renders victims incapable of meeting their own needs, let alone having energy available to love and care for others.” He goes on to say, “In either case, those who are consumed by humiliated fury are absorbed in themselves or their cause, wrapped in wounded pride…”[4]

Not all acts of humiliation are intentional. They can be committed quite accidentally. Sometimes, feelings of humiliation can arise simply because of misunderstandings.

Because these feelings can have very destructive consequences, ranging from interpersonal conflict to international terrorism, Lindner has called them the “nuclear bomb of the emotions.” With an awareness of the emotional power created by humiliation, those feelings can – albeit with considerable effort – be turned into a force for constructive action, as exemplified by people such as Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.[6]
Reference site-http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humiliation#section_2

I, myself, often wonder why this is a technique used in dominate play. It eludes me how a master/mistress could do this to another person they care about. In my opinion, there is no possible way that a dominate can not care about the submissive they are involved with. There is a level of trust that has to be in place for this type of relationship. This technique seems to me would violate that trust if used on a submissive.

In saying that, I am not referring to shaming a submissive. I do believe there are positive ways to humilitation a person for improvement if necessary. However, this seems far to dangerous for me to consider especially being new as a dominate. I would think this would require years of professional training in order to understand how to use this technique in a constructive way without harming another person’s pysche. You could do irreversable damage to a submissive’s self esteem. I image this is the biggest problem in a abusive relationship between a dominate and their submissive. I assume that is why communication between the two parties is so very crucial for a healthly relationship.

In researching this, I believe the best way to understand the why’s & how’s of these techniques would be to talk to people in the scene that actually use these techniques. They would have the best knowledge of the in’s & out’s as well as pit falls to avoid. So ask a dominate who uses these techniques for their opinion on these types of play & compare it to the actual information you find. That should give you a pretty acurate look at how these techniques work in a dominate/submissive relationship. Remember, safety is key in these relationships & knowledge is a must to be safe.

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