Ignore Me, I’ll Pay You; Blackmail Me, I’ll Pay You Again (About Financial Domination & Humiliation Fetishes)

whip me beat me make me write bad checks“Whip me, beat me, make me write bad checks.” It’s a classic humorous line about BDSM (though the origins are murky), but that last bit would seem to hit at the heart of the plethora of financial games and gains now available on the Internet.

[Erotic humiliation or sexual emotional masochism isn’t only something men seek; but since men have been given the cultural gift of participating in sexual commerce (i.e. buying what they want, controlling porn, sex work, and other adult consumption more than women), it is no surprise that men seem to have the most options in terms of pay-as-you-go erotic humiliation entertainment.]

From phone sex raise the rate games & ignore lines to financial domination, it seems it’s a boom town for those that want to partake ~ but there are worries about it being a real bust too. Lynn, a sex worker and phone sex consultant, says the so-called “priciest fetish on the Internet” is a “worrisome area”:

There are many sex workers, real world and virtual, as well as those in the BDSM community who consider things like financial domination to be a really bad thing. Bad both for those men who pay (often called “pay pigs”), who are seen as victims of a sham or fraud, as well as bad for women who they see as entering the field looking for “easy money.” …The real perils, on either side, present themselves when people fail to understand the power exchange dynamic of the fetish or thrill.

So today we’re going to explore some of the mind games that exist within BDSM.

Playing with notions of humiliation, rejection, shame, guilt, anxiety, etc. is playing with safety, trust, and fear much the same way corporal BDSM arts do. Sexual fantasies of abandonment and humiliation are therefore the emotional equivalent of fantasies of kidnappings and rape. Consequently, erotic humiliation, fundamentally, is consenting to psychological fear play. But what does that mean, and how does that work?

amygdala in purpleAs with nearly any sex fantasy, it all begins in the mightiest sex organ of all: The brain. Specifically, in the amygdala.(Shown in purple, right by that arrow, in this illustration.)

Part of the limbic system, which links emotion with basic motives (like food and sex), the amygdala is what activates our natural “fight-or-flight” response. Along with being the brain’s “fear center”, studies suggest that the amygdala used information about fear and safety to process sexual arousal. Yes, sexual arousal can be part fear. And it goes past the similarity in physiological changes (such as accelerated breathing and heart rate, constriction of the peripheral blood vessels, and the like). Just as physical pain provides a rush of endorphins, emotional pain or fear triggers a release of adrenaline which heightens sexual arousal. I’ll let neuroscientist John Montgomery, Ph.D., explain:

Strong sexual desire, although hardly what most of us would think of as a ‘survival-mode’ or ‘fight-or-flight’ response, has also been shown, perhaps surprisingly, to activate all the main components of the so-called ‘stress’ response. What may therefore happen biochemically in the brains of people who are noticeably anxious or afraid, for example, is that the stress hormones released in the brain by the anxiety or fear may mingle with, and enhance the effects of, the stress hormones and other neurochemicals that are involved in sexual desire. Since all survival-mode states appear to release stress hormones in the brain, any such state can therefore potentially become confused with sexual desire, or can heighten any authentic sexual attraction or desire that may already exist. Thus if at least some other factors – such as raw physical appeal – are present that attract two people to each other, stress hormones from survival-mode states they may be experiencing can potentiate the stress hormones from the actual sexual attraction and generate an extra ‘charge’ that may masquerade as love or as an intense, extra-special attraction.

In the most obvious way, we can see and feel this in our enjoyment of scary films and other horror works. Phone sex operator (PSO) and erotica author, Secondhand Rose:

I play with aspects of fear and arousal in many ways, most notably in my erotic paranormal and sci-fi/fantasy stories. Whether it is a terrified submissive elfin sex slave or a terrifying ancient demon raping a human male, it’s the same dynamic. …But I do think most authors play with fears on some level. The good ones, anyway. It’s part of the drama, the conflict, that drives the story forward and makes it interesting. When working with sexual subject matter, it is even more delicious!

I think when it’s in a story, people understand.. It’s more seductive — and sensual even — than things like findom and blackmail because “money” just makes it all seem more graphic, more crass — somehow seems to cheapen it. But fundamentally, it’s the same thing. …It’s sort of like the rather imaginary distinction between “erotica” and “porn.” But the mere fact that money is part of it, there’s a significant real world aspect. I know many of my gentlemen callers get off all over again when they see their credit card or banking statements, and then again when they imagine their wives or bosses will discover the “missing money.” That real world pinch doesn’t wake them from the dream, but rather re-immerses them in it!

Yes, the monetary trail is in fact a large part of the thrill. As Rose said, the fantasy continues (and some could argue that any large payments from the pay piggies are simply paying it forward, justly compensating the sex worker in terms of fantasy installments yet to come).

findomSince social rewards and punishments are feared as strongly as physical rewards and pain, humiliation over taboos also comes into play. Just as there’s a thrill in getting caught having sex in public, being caught for your kink is a different sort of vulnerability & exposure. This is where the various forms of financial domination blackmail comes in.

But on the other side of the coin, some erotic humiliation seekers are exhibitionists who want others to know of and even see their degradation. Sometimes this is simply a matter of confessing their sins to their Mistresses; other times, it’s a matter of doing so in public, such as on Twitter in text and photos. (See Mistress Magick.) And the pros use such confessions and photos as proof of their own desirability too.

Lynn says there are all sorts of humiliation themes, “from a specific thing, like classic small penis humiliation, race, or crossdressing; to ass worship and ridiculing their overall ‘loserness’ or male inferiority compared to your female greatness”, but it isn’t easy:

Humiliation was one of the most difficult things for me to learn. As a woman, as a human, you learn not to make fun of the insecurities of others and it becomes a difficult thing to overcome. I recall clearly when a phone sex client who was now wheelchair bound as the result of an accident wanted me to humiliate him. I mean hardcore humiliation. Not the usual sort of small penis humiliation fantasy, but to humiliate him verbally in very degrading ways. Including about his real-world limitations and disabilities.

At first, the idea made my stomach turn. But he taught me about the thrills of humiliation and how important it was not to deny him of his sexual fantasies just because he was disabled and I wanted to be “nice”. He’d had this humiliation fetish his whole sexual life and just because his physical sex life had changed greatly, that desire hadn’t changed. He understood the emotional difficulty — heck, he lived it. I mean it was difficult enough for him to have relationships, let alone ask a woman who’d begun to care for him to verbally abuse him as he sat in his wheelchair. But he needed it. And this was precisely why he was paying for professional services.

Of course, not all the degradation is sexual. However, non-sexual activities may become sexualized. Here, femdoms condition their male submissives to associate even mundane activities, from repetitive writing assignments to toilet cleaning, with sexual arousal. Each femdom, pro or not, employs & exploits fear in their own style to raise arousal ~ and always with the submissive’s consent.

wee-willie-humiliationOne phone sex femdome, Trailer Trash Angel, employs a mix of tactics, including the “humiliation of doing such dirty deeds for a lowly trailer trash girl — what if their friends & family knew!”

Along with that bratty class distinction, she always employs a combination of laughter at their expense along with orgasm control and denial:

I and have a “no touching without My permission rule”. And believe me — I know when it is broken. And then they pay. Boy, do they pay. Either with their wallets, or the hard way, by being blocked. I’m pretty hardcore. And proud of it too.

One girl, another PSO, asked me to participate in her “spotlight interview”, but then, when she got my answers, said she wanted a “more authentic experience” and that I was an “over the top character”. So she didn’t post the interview.

She totally didn’t get it. This isn’t my “job”. I don’t do this because I have to do it. I do it because I can — and because I like it. I’m not “a character”; this is my life. I haven’t paid for anything in years, not a computer nor having my dad’s ’57 Ford completely restored. (One special pay piggy just bought me a ’47 Ford pickup and there’ll be piggies to pay to restore it too.) Meanwhile, that PSO had to go out and get a day job because she “couldn’t make the phone sex hustle pay the bills.” I, as usual, have the last laugh.

Often these fantasies include female non-engagement, where the woman seems barely involved in the sex act. In some cases, like this Japanese video, it’s unclear if the woman is the submissive object enduring the act. In other cases, like in this video, she may just be bored and givethe guy a handi so that he leaves her alone.  In the latter, the humiliation thrill is that the barely present bored person has complete control of you — even if they’re not interested in you.

cash kittensOn the web, or, more aptly on the telephone, this sort of passive non-engagement is known as an “ignore call.”

On these calls, the Mistress, Goddess, femdomme, etc. may take your call (for a price), but she won’t be feigning politeness or pretending to listen to you just to spare your feelings. Trailer Trash Angel explains:

It’s a more subtle form of findom, really. The pay piggies pay per minute (and usually at a higher rate than other calls) to have you not talk to them. Seriously. I answer the phone, then I put it down and go about my business. If the loser is lucky, I’ll put him on speaker so he can hear what I am doing. If he’s really really lucky, he can hear me and my girlfriends as we are out and about shopping, mocking him every now and then for not being worthy of our time and paying to be ignored — at a higher rate, of course.

If this all sounds simple, it’s not. And that’s one of the concerns, that women are jumping on the erotic humiliation bandwagon thinking they can become “insta-dommes“, and acheive financial freedom. This “just sitting on your ass” mentality, of course, also leads to clients who are not satisfied and badmouth the whole thing. Lynn has the final words of wis-domme:

Like most things, especially those under the BDSM umbrella, these are broad terms that cover many aspects, many shades… When it comes to humiliation, you can’t just assume he wants you to make fun of his small dick any more than you can assume that a ‘regular’ submissive wants to be flogged. Just because he enjoys humiliation doesn’t mean he wants financial domination. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all sort of a thing.

Knowing some psychology, so you can push those buttons, is important.  Communication — discovering the specific turn-ons and turn-offs — is essential. Ask questions! Usually an honest conversation leads not only to understanding but to arousal. Most especially when a submissive into humiliation is confessing! But you’re still going to have to lead; you are, after all, the femme domme.

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