Kayla Lords' reaction to the phrase "dirty little slut" varies wildly based on context. Having these words bellowed at her in a crowd or uncovering them in a DM might send her into shock or anger. On the other hand, if she hears the phrase spoken by her dominant partner, "I'll shiver with pure pleasure," she said.
"There's a transgressive nature to it," explained Lords, erotic author, sex blogger and co-host of the podcast Loving BDSM, addressing the titillating power of the phrase "dirty little slut" in the proper context.
"Society tells us you're not supposed to call someone that or like hearing it, so it may be embarrassing," she added. "But also, maybe it turns you on because this specific partner in this situation said it. It's exciting and you want it to keep going, but also you might be thinking you 'shouldn't' enjoy it."
Erotic humiliation: An overview
Calling your partner a "dirty little slut" is an example of erotic humiliation or humiliation play, a type of kink play that centers on words and/or actions by the top, or dominant, partner to embarrass, humiliate, degrade or otherwise discomfit the bottom, or submissive, partner.
"Humiliation play is unique to the person on the bottom because it's about what makes them feel embarrassed and humiliated," clarified Lords. One of the most powerful ways of submitting to another person, erotic humiliation can be intense—both emotionally and physically—so it's extremely important to make sure that all participants are consenting and boundaries are established, Lords stressed.
Humiliation play can be categorized as verbal or physical. Arguably, the more accessible of the two is verbal erotic humiliation, which can include calling the submissive dirty names like "whore" and "slut," as well as scolding, mocking and belittling them.
"It's about how you feel about the words…and how it makes you feel when your partner says them to you," commented Lords.
Erotic humiliation can be intense—both emotionally and physically—so it's extremely important to make sure that all participants are consenting and boundaries are established,
Verbal humiliation can also include making the submissive address the dominant with honorifics like mistress, master, sir or madam. A surprisingly common form is small penis humiliation (SPH), where men are consensually mocked for the size and girth of their genitals. Being ridiculed for their penis size, being told to measure or having a pic of their dick posted online for women to mock can be highly arousing for subs who are into SPH, and there are subreddits and dedicated web forums—not to mention porn videos upon porn videos—dedicated to the kink.
On the other hand, physical humiliation play tends to be more active, said Lords. "Examples might range from being used as human furniture or being made to crawl or kneel to more extreme examples that often come up in porn—like being a human toilet or cleaning surfaces with a tongue."
It can also include public humiliation, like being made to perform "embarrassing" tasks or being punished for "bad behavior" in front of others—when humiliation may not be the tasks or the punishments themselves, but that others can see it, she added.
A sub's perspective
Speaking for herself, Lords said, "It's the 'naughty' aspect I enjoy—being called a name that is often considered a negative, [like] slut, dirty or whore, or doing an activity like crawling or begging that society would deem wrong or bad.
"There's a bit of getting away with something and also subverting what is 'good' or 'okay' with what society deems 'bad,'" she added. "The world says I shouldn't be a dirty little slut, but I love being one for [my partner]."
Whether you are engaging in verbal or physical humiliation play, Lords emphasized the importance of consent. "Consent is a must in all forms of kink play. Even though it seems like the point of the play is to be 'mean' to your partner, it's only good for them if they consent and you play within known boundaries or limits."
To illustrate this point, Lords used an example from her humiliation play preferences. "My partner is allowed to call me his 'obedient little slut'...but if he were to call me 'fat' or 'ugly,' or words used to bully and tease me in my long-ago childhood, I would stop all play because those are my hard limits," she explained.
A dom's perspective
Mistress Porcelain Midnight, a San Diego–based professional dominatrix of 15-plus years, shared the other perspective—that is, what it's like to be the one doing the humiliating.
Mistress Porcelain got her start in the adult entertainment industry as a dancer at a strip club but immediately recognized dancing wasn't for her. "Being submissive onstage was not something that was ever a part of me," she recalled. "But at the time, I had been so physically and mentally beaten down, I just didn't understand the power that I had, and how I could use it to not only benefit my clients, but also benefit myself."
It was at a gentlemen's club where she met her "dom mom," who urged her to explore the world of FemDom. After years of working as a service sub while training under professional mistresses, Mistress Porcelain opened her own dungeon in San Diego.
For Mistress Porcelain, it wasn't difficult to make the transition from dancing for men to dominating them. Working as a professional dominatrix felt natural to her, and that's what makes her great at her job. "I always tell people about being a professional: There are certain things about this job I just cannot teach you," she noted. "You have to have the instinct."
'There are certain things about this job I just cannot teach you. You have to have the instinct.'
According to Mistress Porcelain, dominating and humiliating a sub in session is both physically and mentally demanding. "As the pro dom, you are physically and emotionally responsible for everything that happens during that session to that person, and that's a huge responsibility."
Now, in addition to being a BDSM educator and committee board member for DomCon, the world's largest professional and lifestyle domination convention, Mistress Porcelain receives thousands of email requests every day. Her clients are primarily high profile, ranging from doctors and attorneys to sports team owners and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
While allowing that each of her clients is seeking something a little different, Mistress Porcelain maintained, "Every single individual that comes into the front door is looking for a release of some kind. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's a mental release. My clients are looking for mental therapy. They're looking for an hour or two to just get away from their job, get away from their life, and coming into a safe place where they can explore their kink without fear of being judged."
And it's not only therapeutic for her submissive clients, but it's therapeutic for her as well, asserted Mistress Porcelain. "It gives us power. I get immense therapy out of whipping men, out of performing corporal punishment, out of telling them they're disgusting little pigs and dirty little whores."
She added, "I'm such a natural at it—I can't think of a better job in the world!"