Clap your hands if you believe in fairies!" As a child, I saw stage performances of Peter Pan in which the actors beseeched us to show our faith in magical creatures. I recall being skeptical that Tinker Bell would die if nobody believed she was real. Now I understand better the power of belief—and of words. I use words in certain kinds of BDSM scenes, and not just to give orders. I tell people about themselves, and what I'm going to do with them, and why. Sometimes the words I use are not very nice. But the meaner the things I say, the more turned on my partner gets. Verbal humiliation is the magic that works best when nobody believes it's real.

I should specify: I mean erotic verbal humiliation. I don't find it entertaining to just sit on a couch and whine at you about what a stupid asshole you are. However, if I have one hand twisted in your hair, pulling, and one hand in a vulnerable bodily orifice, pushing, then I might very well start telling you what a dirty little fuckslut you are and how much I'm enjoying violating you and using you like a blow-up doll, since that is exactly what you need, you filthy little whore.

Do I really believe the mean things I'm saying to my partners while I fuck them? No. My partners are lovely human beings, and I respect them. And more importantly, they respect themselves. The game is arousing only because both of us know what I'm saying isn't real. I have declined to do scenes with people who wanted me to tell them they were worthless shit, because I wasn't sure they didn't really think that was true. Doing verbal humiliation with someone I suspect has been taught to hate himself is creepy—it's as if he brought me a dead woman's clothing and asked me to pretend I was her.

Combining a deep and basic fear—I'm bad, I'm unworthy of respect—with sexual energy usually results in a very intense scene. And in an emotionally balanced person, touching that fear in a controlled way weakens its real-world power. But you have to wield your words as carefully as you would a whip—some kind of framing is essential. My partner Monk expresses it as, "Nothing mean I say while I have a hard-on counts." Balancing the input is also good—the crueler the things I'm saying to you, the more likely I am to be kissing you or caressing you sweetly while I say them. I don't say things like, "I hate you" or "You're a lousy lay." I can't make that sound sexy in my own ears. But I do say things like, "I'm going to piss down your throat until you drown, toilet-boy." I always start slowly with this kind of play and gauge the reaction to see if it's working. How can I tell? The Mistress says, "Wiggle your ass if you believe you're a dirty little slut who deserves a spanking." recommended