Humiliation fetish - do I need therapy?
February 5, 2010 6:57 AM   Subscribe

I like being humiliated, and go to great lengths to get it. Should I rather go into therapy?

Well, this is complicated. During my last long-term (7 years) relationship I developed a veritable cuckold fetish. The sex in the relationship was rather vanilla, my fetish thusly not well received. While not the only reason, it definitely was partly responsible for the relationship to ultimately fail.

I've come to realize that not only do I like the ideas most prevalent in the cuckold lifestyle (wife having sex with other men, denying sex, humiliation based on size and all that jazz), but that it also gets me quite excited when a woman tells me she finds me unattractive. To experience this, I even set up accounts on dating sites, specifically contacting women who obviously were out of my league and displayed a certain preference for very handsome men, and in the course of chats having them be brutally honest about my looks.

Most of the time, in order to get these women to chat with me in the first place, I set up fake accounts with a very handsome guy as bait, pretending to have this friend who wasn't really popular with the ladies, asking them to tell me whether he'd have luck chatting them up, etc. Btw, I've never had the nerve to actually do this in real life; who knows, maybe that would cure me.

Now, just for some background information, in real life, I do not exactly suffer from a lack of self-esteem. I'm nearing 30, am pretty well grounded, have a solid, but not exactly fulfilling job and an unfinished thesis at home. I am currently in a new relationship, with a woman who knows I like it when she plays with other men, which she frequently does, but who isn't aware of the full extent of my desires (humiliation, etc.), and I don't exactly dare to tell her (yet). And while I quit the chat thing described above when we came together, I have recently picked it up again but stopped again due to my bad conscience.

So, even though you might not be doctors, some of you may have experience with those sorts of desires. Where could they stem from? And is what I'm doing sociopathic? I've never been molested, had a good upbringing in a large family, no history of emotional instability, always had friends, never really any problems finding girlfriends. I'm rather standard looking, a bit on the boring side maybe, but am funny and smart. Or so I heard.

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (10 answers total)

I think it's kinda unethical to use other people (the women on the dating site) to satisfy your fetish without their informed consent.

How does your new girlfriend feel about paid phone sex or online domination? If she wouldn't consider it cheating, you might consider that as an outlet.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:14 AM on February 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seconding the idea that the false pretenses is probably a lot bigger deal than whatever happens to float your boat. Fakes on dating sites abound, but most of them are faking for fairly straightforward reasons, e.g. they're trying to scam you for money or they're just goofing around. Surreptitiously using someone for your own sexual gratification is just wrong.

Still, it seems that from your description, this is in fact causing you problems you'd rather not have, i.e. it's contributed to a relationship failing.

The question then becomes which set of problems you'd rather have. Right now it seems to be a choice between either doing something about these desires, i.e. learing to go without or seeking to modify them through therapy, or being willing to deal with the problems that the acting on your desires cause. Which if these you want is something only you can decide.
posted by valkyryn at 7:21 AM on February 5, 2010

I don't think that there is anything wrong with your desires. (Though maybe you want to be told that there are? This humiliation thing is complicated, isn't it?) I agree that using people on the dating site this way is kind of yucky at best, and you should stop that.

And if your girlfriend already knows that you like it when she dates other people, it seems to me like a very short step to her telling you about those dates. The point being, I don't think your desires are unattainable, at least in some form.

"Talk to a therapist" is a AskMe cliche, but it can be good advice. In your case it's complicated by your need to find a sex-positive and kink-positive therapist, but they do exist. For learning to accept who you are, therapy might be a really positive direction. It's not about getting rid of the kink, but about finding a path to happiness in your life.
posted by Forktine at 7:30 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is a common desire on the part of male submissives and switches. (I'm a switch, myself).
I really wouldn't worry about it, except insofar as it leads to sexual frustration and/or causes problems in your primary relationship.

I've told two or three different shrinks that I'm bdsm-flavored and none of them batted an eye. They didn't ask for specifics and didn't seem to think it was an issue we needed to discuss.

Where do your inclinations come from? Alas, no one knows. There are lots of theories, but none have more than anecdotal evidence behind them. You care about your partner and you have a sense of right and wrong, so you don't sound like a sociopath to me.

I can't really think of any other advice to give, under the circumstances. If you want to talk one-on-one, my address is in my proile.
posted by Clay201 at 7:46 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might also want to check out Fetlife, which is a social networking site for perverts. It is not a dating site. There are a bunch of forums for male submissives and you may find discussion there helpful about how to talk to your girlfriend about it and generally deal with your desires.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:15 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you think you might want or need therapy, go. It's like a visit to a GP in some ways - the very few harms that could possibly occur are outweighed by the much larger chance of real self-help.

Successful therapy might not mean "giving up" your kinks at all; it might entail merely putting them into a healthier place, approaching them from a position of self-control, or dampening the unhealthy edges.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:17 AM on February 5, 2010

Where could they stem from?

Who knows why people like the things they do? Why does someone prefer chocolate to vanilla? In any case, it's irrelevant.

And is what I'm doing sociopathic?

I agree with Clay201 in that you're probably not a sociopath. However, your actions - namely, deceiving women into feeding your need for humiliation - may be seen as somewhat anti-social. The fact that you stopped doing this recently due to your bad conscience tells you something.

I've never been molested, had a good upbringing in a large family, no history of emotional instability, always had friends, never really any problems finding girlfriends.

Not all kinky people have been molested, had a bad upbringing, had emotional instability, or problems forming attachments to people, not by a long shot. In fact, a fair number of us had great upbringings and are in stable, healthy relationships with other delightfully twisted individuals.

I'm going to give you the standard Dan Savage advice for this situation. Why not bring up your desires with your girlfriend, someone who can knowingly consent to helping you fulfill them? She's already shown an understanding of the tip of the iceberg. Worst case scenario, you scare her away, and realize that you wouldn't have been able to make it in the long haul with someone who's not GGG (good, giving, and game) when it comes to your needs.
posted by Devika at 12:03 PM on February 5, 2010

follow-up from a MeFite who would prefer to remain anonymous
I'm a happily married cuckolded man. I started going through some of the same thought processes as you (starting with identifying as submissive) about 10 years ago...culminating in marrying a kinky woman who absolutely gets off on being with other men and doing some of the same humiliation play that you are into (seriously I could have written your post years ago with the exception of being turned on by being found unattractive).

There were times I despaired of ever finding a partner who would not only indulge this fetish, but ENJOY it (I never wanted a partner who was just GGG for my sake...for me the joy of being cuckolded is seeing her pleased sexually over and over and over again). However, I knew this drive was really strong and relationships where this was not a possibility inevitably ended.

What worked for me with my wife was early on in the relationship making it clear that I was into some kinky things. I was honest about being submissive but concealed some of the specific fetishes...instead developing my personality as a perverted male slowly, as we got more into each other and more confident with each other and her self-esteem grew and our dynamic got to the point where this specific topic could be broached.

And then after a year or so of gentle but kinky exploration, we talked about a MMF threesome, and that suggestion was received well, and yada yada yada and now she has a boyfriend on the side that she fucks three or four times a week. It has turned her into a crazy sexual being.

You do not need therapy. There ARE women out there who would be into this (although they may not know it). But it's a specific kind of partner you need. You need to find the right woman first to just be your long term partner and then slowly develop the kinky side. The urges for a woman to have multiple partners are biological, so you really need to find a woman with a high, high sex drive. And once you do and start this process don't be surprised to find that, as my wife puts it, "the more cock I get the more cock I need".

You can email me at have very few people I can talk to about this so correspondence will be welcome. I can definitely shed some light on some of the difficult aspects of this jealousy. You can be the least jealous person in the world (like I thought I was), and in fact not be at all jealous about the 8 inch cock that's giving your wife 10 orgasms per week, but there are other jealousy pitfalls that you would not anticipate. This website is worth browsing... I discovered it recently and found it to be exactly right on many, many elements of this lifestyle.
posted by jessamyn at 12:46 PM on February 5, 2010

Why would you want therapy if you enjoy this? Do you want us, or a therapist to tell you you're sick so that you can enjoy any humiliation you might then feel? Unless this is something you're interested in changing, I'd say skip the therapy. (Of course, IANYT.)
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:31 PM on February 5, 2010

If you knew where your desires came from, would that make them go away? How would you know for sure where they came from, if it's not obvious already?

Your desires are common in the BDSM world and I've never seen a common thread in the men that are into it. Some are successful, some are not, some are good looking, some are not, etc. Some guys do seem to need therapy because they are compulsive about their fetish to the extent that it affects the rest of their lives. And some keep it in its proper place. Only you know which kind you are; we can't tell you that.
posted by desjardins at 3:06 PM on February 5, 2010

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