Erotic humiliation is the consensual use of psychological humiliation for the erotic excitement or sexual arousal of the person being humiliated and demeaned or of the person humiliating, or of some spectator, and may be part of BDSM and other sexual roleplay or accompanied by the sexual stimulation of one or both partners in the activity. Erotic humiliation may take place in private or in public. The humiliation need not be sexual in nature; as with many other sexual activities, it is the feelings derived from it that are sought, regardless of the nature of the actual activity. This is usually a feeling of submission for the person being humiliated, and dominance, for the person doing the humiliation. It can be verbal or physical, or in private or public. Often it can become ritualized, and unlike some sexual variations it can also be easily carried out over a long distance (such as online). Humiliation is an example of the power dynamic that exists in a D/s or M/s relationship. For example, in an activity such as spanking, the sought effect is primarily the humiliation; the activity is just a means to that end.
While fantasy and fascination with erotic humiliation is a prevalent part of BDSM and other sexual roleplay, relatively little has been written on it. Humiliation play can, however, be taken to a point where it becomes emotionally or psychologically distressing to one or the other partner, especially if it is public humiliation. Erotic humiliation can become extreme enough to be considered a form of edgeplay, which some consider may best be approached with advance negotiation and use of a safeword. This is a highly subjective issue, and depends greatly on context.