Thursday, 26 June 2014

revisiting "shame"

I wrote about 'shame' earlier this year here. It was stimulated from comments to a post about humiliation. In the comments two subs, Missus Whore and ara, wrote about how they got off on shame as part of the D/s dynamic. It was seen as being almost a positive feeling, state or experience that they worked through.

In comments to a more recent post, Ana H. and Lea also wrote about shame. However their thoughts about shame were more related to shame about themselves or about themselves as a submissive.

This seemed very different. There seems to be a contrast between shame as part of submission rather than being shameful about one's submission. The former seemed to have the potential to be a positive fulfilling part of play whereas the latter seemed to have an inherent negative character.

For myself I would prefer if shame had no part in the dynamic. I would love D/s to be a positive and life affirming activity for all who engage in it. I am though too idealistic and realise that many people's lives and personalities are far more complex than that. Perhaps because of my own desire that I want my sub to be shameless I find it hard to get my head around the nuances here. Have I got it right? Is there a positive as well as a negative aspect of humiliation that can come to the fore in D/a play? Can a Dom understand these distinctions and help alleviate negative aspects of shame yet emphasise positive ones?


 Ana has beat me to it in a comment this morning to the previous post here.

I will copy her thoughts into a new comment to this post to help continuity and perhaps inspire further discussion.

- P


Pygar said...

Ana has just written about this topic in her comment to the previous post. I am copying her very interesting thoughts below.


Ana H. said...

Shame is an interesting topic. For some, I imagine that embracing shame can be very healing. For me, the shame is for what I have done to myself, for the failures I've made, and for the hurt I've caused others and myself because of who I am and what I do.

I imagine that others feel shame for various reasons. A sub may feel shame that s/he is happiest when ceding control to someone else. A slave may feel deep shame and unworthiness - for various reasons perhaps. I struggle with reading posts or stories of extreme abuse, where a sub/slave is told what a failure they are, that they are a dog or a bug or whatever which is interesting given that I feel I am a failure. I don't know why those tales hurt so much - perhaps because it is all so close to the surface.

I also wonder if those who are masochistic, like the first response here, don't feel shame? Just pain?

Storm said...

For me, there is a definite distinction between shame and humiliation.

In my mind, shame is an inner feeling of wrongness. The sensation that occurs when one has done something wrong, a feeling of having acted without integrity and regretting an experience or action.

Humiliation however, is something that I feel has brought more depth to my M/s relationship. It is a huge turn on for me.
It's not only really about the humiliation itself, but about afterwards--he still respects me, even more perhaps for the lengths to which I am willing to go.
I would say that what happens afterwards is what ultimately defines the experience as being a positive, if rather unpleasant, one.

In the moment, humiliation is very much about letting go of my preconceived notions about who I am and what is acceptable. I exist without thought or doubt, I just am whatever he wishes, however he wants.

As an experience, it's kind of like putting ego completely aside, which allows me to be more completely possessed because my self is not getting in the way. Everything just...Is.

Just my ten cents!

Anonymous said...


I agree. Shame is because I've done wrong doing.

Humiliation, that is different.

You said it perfectly.

"In the moment, humiliation is very much about letting go of my preconceived notions about who I am and what is acceptable. I exist without thought or doubt, I just am whatever he wishes, however he wants."

Master takes all boundaries out of our play. He encourages me to let go. Ultimately, it is humiliation, but I feel how it's perceived by both of us that makes the difference. He is there right afterwards, not ever making me feel as I've done wrong, but that what I did was beyond awesome. I get off on it, though my mind does fight it to begin with. I simply am smart He wants, which means no societal boundaries.

Pygar said...

Thank you Ana for responding even before I had published the post! More seriously - a genuine thank you for contributing further thoughts on this issue.

I wish you could find some way of eradicating your feelings of shame. Though the posts that you describe reading are perhaps of humiliation - and the comments that follow from lil and His slut draw a clear distinction between shame and humiliation.

Yes - your thought that masochists just feel pain rather than shame is interesting - or perhaps through experiencing the pain they manage to eliminate any shame.

Thank you again

- P xx

Pygar said...

Thank you too lil and His slut for your clear distinction between humiliation and shame. I find your arguments very persuasive. However it is interesting how it is at odds with the thoughts of ara and Missus Whore in their comments to the earlier post.

A quite fascinating discussion!

P xx

tori said...

I love to be shamed, for me its a huge part of being humiliated, which i love.

Yet i am not ashamed of what we engage in, which i know does not appear to make sense.

So for example he could say to me "look at you, you filthy bitch, covered in my piss"

He is shaming me, a mocking shame, but he knows i love it, and i revel in that shame but ashamed? nope.

Lea said...

The ladies hit the nail on the head on shame/humiliation for me.

The shame I feel (which I am slowly overcoming as Sir makes me more comfortable with my nature) is more of a feeling of wrong. That I shouldn't want what I want, or I shouldn't be turned on, or need to be submissive. Slowly I am embracing it, and myself as something beautiful, but it takes time.

Humiliation I feel comes from outside. From the environment, situations, from him. It is tied into embarrassment. And though some things we do make me feel embarrassed, afterwards I revel in doing it because it is for him.

Pygar said...

Thank you tori and Lea for adding your perspectives. it really is a fascinating subject full of different nuances.

I feel that while there is a common thread there are aspects of shades of different meaning when shame is being described in several of the comments.

I do like too tori's distinction between being shamed and being ashamed. Where one can be positive and the other negative. I wonder if this nuance can explain some of the differences?

P xx