Male Submission, Humiliation, & BDSM With Miss Ava Zhang

Section 1

I’ve done a lot of reading and researching as it relates to alternative relationship arrangements, specifically centered around cuckolding and hotwifing. In that time, I’ve come across some really interesting perspectives and some really cool, very knowledgeable people.

Out of all of them though, this female interviewee is someone who has one of the best understandings of men and the male desires for submission, humiliation, masochism, etc. that I have EVER come across. Full stop.

A professional dominatrix who describes herself as a disciplinarian and humiliatrix at heart, Miss Ava Zhang articulates the psychology and eroticism of male submission in incredibly clear and penetratingly insightful ways. Simply put, Miss Zhang knows her stuff.

Before we get into some of her views on BDSM, cuckolding, and male submission though, it might help to give you a bit of background on her and how she came to be who is is today. So I asked her when she first discovered she was a humiliatrix, and how she became to be involved in the BDSM lifestyle as she is today.

“That is a question I still ask myself to this day,” she said. “An unwavering curiosity relating to sexuality itself has been present in my mind since childhood. Throughout my formative years, and well into early adulthood, I was always fascinated by human sexuality. I wanted to learn more about it, talk about it (which was quite taboo in my Chinese household), study it, write about it, and even watch it. I am not exactly sure from where this desire to explore sexuality originated, I just knew that from an early age (even before I immigrated to the US from China) I gravitated towards this subject.

“After I graduated from college, as a result of my curiosity I began a once-in-a-lifetime adventure working as a live-in writer at an enormous sexuality institute in Los Angeles, California. The institute was owned and operated by a woman who dedicated her life to sex education and sex therapy.

“She hosted an online-streamed show every weekend whereby she interviewed an eclectic selection of guests from adult performers to sex researchers, erotic artists to writers, and basically anyone who has contributed or worked in some way that relates to human sexuality. There would be stimulating discussions and orgiastic revelries taking place on the same nights.

“During my time there, I was always more of an observer than participant but I found the whole experience enriching to the core. Bohemian, unconventional, exotic are only a FEW of the words to describe my time working and living there. I had a curiosity and it was satisfied and then some.”

Can you imagine being able to be a part of that? Anyway, back to Miss Zhang:

“Of course some of the visitors where folks in the BDSM community—lifestyle as well as the profession. It was eye-opening for me to see such raw, emotional energy exchanged amongst people whose sexual energy originated from the mind rather than the loins. There was an elevated hedonism to the BDSM scenes I witnessed.

“I remember a poignant moment in which I saw a man inflict intense pain on a woman, grab her by the neck, and whisper something in her ear that made her cry and completely surrender to the bliss of the moment—body and soul. Up until that point I had a few “traditional relationships” involving “traditional sex” but when I witnessed that couple I realized that there is a whole new level of mental intimacy that can be shared between two people, wherein vulnerability is shared and one can be stripped of one’s outer shell. I wanted more than what I had. I wanted to connect with people on that level, and I wanted someone to strip me raw and vice versa.”

That stripping raw which Miss Zhang talks about is something important you’ll want to keep in the back of your mind. We’ll get into that more shortly. First, we need to find out what happened to Miss Zhang after she moved on from there.

“My time at the sexuality institute ran its course and I moved on after 18 months to a meaningless job as a public relations manager at sex toy manufacturing company. While my work environment was surrounded by friendly coworkers, dildos of all sizes, and the occasional company outing, I was miserable. I did not want to sit in front of a desk for 8 hours a day, watching my life speeding by as I stared at a screen, laboring for someone else’s dream.

“It was then that I was contacted by an author whom I befriended during my time at the sexuality institute while he attended one of the weekend shows as an interview guest. He wrote a massively popular book about the myths of monogamy and its institutionalized virtues and it had an impact on me in terms of how I had been “doing relationships” (for his privacy I will forgo mentioning his name and book).

“He happened to be passing through Los Angeles and invited me to dinner and it was during our evening together that he mentioned recently meeting a professional dominatrix and how he’d be glad to introduce me to her for mentorship. It took me by surprise as I had not mentioned any interest in kink to him, but out of curiosity (as always!) I contacted her, met her, observed some of her sessions, started learning about kink on my own, and the rest is history.”

Interesting backstory, right? Another thing I found interesting (and impressive) was Miss Zhang’s breadth and depth of knowledge. Indeed, after only reading a few of her articles on her site (which I’ll give you at the end of this article), you begin to get an immediate sense of how well-read she is. I like that in a woman, which is part of the reason why the wide array of authors and playwrights she references in her articles had me impressed—not in a condescending way though, but rather in an admirable way. I’m a bit of a bibliophile/nerd so I always love to meet and befriend people whose passions and interests resonate with my own.

Section 2

Anyway, I asked her how she’s come to know all that she knows from as many different sources she does and if it has anything to do with her educational background or otherwise. Here’s what she said:

“I would dare not claim myself as possessing above-average intelligence, but I am humbled that you imply it. I have a degree in language studies but I would not attribute any formal education as the basis for my knowledge. Having emigrated from China to the States, I did not speak a word of English upon arrival. It was almost a form of ‘handicap’ to not be able to express myself to people, and communicating simple thoughts and asking basic questions were struggles for a couple of years. And at the age of 9, I was old enough to be self-conscious of this matter for I was often ridiculed for speaking so poorly.

“As a remedy, and probably overcompensation, I threw myself into reading at a young age so that I could absorb the English language as fast as possible. I wanted to empower myself by learning the language of my new environment. Whenever I stumbled upon a word I didn’t understand, I would put the book down and look it up in the dictionary (and then try to show it off to my parents by using it correctly in a sentence!). This in turn became a lifelong love for reading and knowledge.

“These days I am always carrying several books with me when I travel because I’m a Luddite who doesn’t believe in Kindle. "

Now that you know a little more about Miss Zhang as a person, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of what we talked about. As I mentioned above, she does a really great job at articulating some of the psychology and the erotic appeal behind BDSM, humiliation, male submission, etc.

I think this ability and her willingness to share her insights is important for a number of reasons, one of them being that Psychology hasn’t done a very great job overall at being able to explain _why _some of these emotions and experiences are erotic. As a result, many are left to stumble in the dark trying to find their own way regarding understanding themselves. I personally think Miss Zhang’s perspectives can be a light in that darkness for many, which is why I’m sharing her perspectives with you in this article.

To start off, Miss Zhang holds the view that the first step to understanding why a man wants to submit to a dominatrix is to first understand him as a whole, and part of understanding men is recognizing that they “need to demonstrate their competence, their ability to provide and protect, their power, their independence.” So I asked her if a man’s desire for submission should be seen as an escape/release from his constant responsibility/duty to be dominant, or is it something more?

“A man’s desire to submit to a woman can be attributed to a wide variety of factors,” she said. “First of all, submission should not be seen as a ‘justification’ for anything but rather a healthy desire for balance, control, and pleasure. A desire to submit CAN result from the need to relieve oneself of responsibility and duty, and such is a very legitimate reason. But if we only look at male submission and its reasons, then we are ignoring female submission.

“I believe BDSM play involving Dominance and submission doesn’t just empower the person assuming the Dominant role, but that it empowers BOTH parties involved. Submission does not just spell out ‘please allow me to escape from my life duties’, what it really means to me is this: ‘I want you to strip me of my pretenses, render me naked before you so that you can see me in my vulnerable, authentic state. I want to give you the power to take me to a heightened state of pleasure and sensation. I want to be connected to you without reservation, without the invisible bindings of our world, without fear. I want to give myself to you and I do it because I trust you, respect you, and desire you.’

“Framed in these words, submission is relatable on a universal level, for both men and women.”

I want to imagine for a second what you’d be feeling, emotionally and physiologically, if you were genuinely saying to another human being what that vulnerable woman above was saying. I’m pointing this out because the intense/heightened state of emotional and physiological arousal you’d be in when saying something like that actually plays a big role in the “eroticization” of certain “non-erotic” emotions and experiences. For more information on this, check out my article on cuckold angst.

Alright so, submission is a key element in being part of a traditional cuckold relationship, but some guys take it a bit farther than just “being submissive” and actually desire to experience humiliation as part of the cuckolding dynamic. But is wanting to experience submission different than wanting to experience humiliation, and if so, how? Miss Zhang had some interesting thoughts on this:

“Humiliation is one avenue of experiencing submission and falls under its wider umbrella. Perhaps for men more so than women, humiliation can be quite intense as there is a built-in culture of the expectations of masculinity. Masculinity drags a plethora of buzz words in tow: strength, confidence, success, etc. Therefore if one is born into expectations then it is natural for one to seek space outside of expectations—even if it is temporary.

“To be humiliated, in essence, is to be lowered in status relative to the person(s) in front you. An act is considered humiliating if you consider it to be ‘beneath you”. As such, humiliation is a game of playing with power imbalance. One who desires humiliation desires to be lowered, degraded, and (perhaps) emasculated for the sake of sexual release, release from the ego, or release from gender-cemented expectations.

“While we are constantly striving for ‘bigger and better’, it can be comforting for us to just say, even if it’s just once in while, ‘I’m nothing right now, and that’s okay’. A desire for sexual humiliation, when explored in healthy and positive ways, does not threaten our egos but rather reinforces it because we are comfortable (and confident) enough to take it off and put it on a shelf once in while.”

Section 3

Miss Zhang’s response sparked a thought train in my mind about pleasure in general and how there are actually many different kinds of pleasure. What she said directly above about how comforting it can be to just relax into one’s own “nothingness” made me think about how pleasurable experiencing “nothingness” can actually be. Whether the nothingness is of the kind you get to relax into on a rainy Sunday while lying in bed with your wife watching TV or its the kind you get when entering into samadhi via meditation, there is a wonderful kind of pleasurable freedom to be enjoyed in _nothingness. _

Indeed, Miss Zhang says in one the articles on her site, “humiliation serves as a release from tensions caused by the constant need to maintain our identity and furthermore defend our dignity.”  When I asked her to elaborate on this, she said, “When a sub is buried in deep subspace, completely present with his play partner/Female dominant, he feels that he is the only one in the world that matters to her. It is in these heightened moments of intense sensation and emotion that he assumes a euphorically simplified mindset of being a sub to his Dominant. All other daily concerns are erased and he is, for that temporary moment, free of himself as well as free to be himself.

“In the context of humiliation, this is further intensified as he willfully sheds his ego, takes off his armor, and bathes in the joys of releasing the tension of doing EVERYTHING we have do to survive and thrive in this world. When I playfully tell my subs that they are ‘sluts, bitches, dogs, cucks, etc’, they delight in hearing these words not because they believe themselves to be such titles but because they don’t have to be the OTHER roles that demand the maintenance of their hard exterior.”

As I mentioned earlier, one of the things that fascinates me most about these experiences is the tendency they have to elicit intense sexual arousal from some people. The curious thing is that no one seems to have an all inclusive answer as to how or why this works. I was determined to come up with one myself, but the more I looked into how some fundamentally “non-erotic” experiences and emotions could elicit sexual arousal in people, the more I began to realize that it’s a bit more complicated than that.

In other words, there isn’t just one all-encompassing answer because there isn’t just one question. In other words, it’s inaccurate on some level to ask that question because it presupposes that those experiences or emotions (humiliation in this instance) are themselves eliciting the sexual arousal. While that _may _be the case for some people, it is certainly not the case for the majority.

For example, it’s more than plausible that those types of fundamentally “non-erotic” emotions/experiences don’t elicit sexual arousal but rather amplify or intensify it. This isn’t to say they can’t be pleasurable in a non-erotic sense in certain contexts, but that’s a different conversation. The process by which those emotions can over time _become _sexualized or made to elicit sexual arousal in and of themselves via the process of associative conditioning is also a separate conversation.

As much of a digression as that was, I believe its a fundamentally important one because it adds yet another dimension of understanding when it comes to knowing the psychology behind how all this works.

Back to humiliation. When most people hear this word, they tend to think of someone having an unpleasant emotional experience. Ipso facto, if someone wants to experience humiliation, some might then consider them, in a certain sense, to have masochistic tendencies. I figured I’d ask Miss Zhang about this and if she thought masochism was a “pleasure circuit” everyone has, and if not, why are some people masochists and others not? Here’s what she said:

“In order to properly answer this question, I need to define ‘masochism’. When the word is uttered, we automatically associate masochism with receiving pain. I do not automatically make this association. For me, a masochist desires to receive intense sensation or experience intense emotion from another’s actions directed towards him or her. In short, the masochist is the receiver whereas the sadist is the giver.

“Pain is not necessarily the default sensation. A caress against the skin, a whisper in the ear, a piece of rope hugging you tightly against your skin, a verbally salacious string of humiliating words, or even a fierce look into your eyes—all of which can be categorized as sensations or emotions the masochist can receive and feel. Rephrased in these terms, there can be an element of masochism and sadism in almost every type of BDSM fantasy.”

Deep, right? I love it.

I asked her one last question about the sub-topics of humiliation and submission; I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to know whether she thought it was common for the desires of submission and humiliation to be inextricably linked or if it was possible for someone to submit yet not be humiliated, and vice versa.

“I view submission as an umbrella under which humiliation falls,” said Miss Zhang. “One who submits via humiliation is only one way by which one demonstrates surrender and vulnerability. For that particular reason, humiliation and submission are inextricably linked. But submission itself can take on other forms without the element of humiliation. For example, a cuckolded husband/boyfriend can experience humiliation when watching his female partner with another able-bodied man, but a service-oriented submissive may just wish to serve his Dominant without the emotional intensity of humiliation.”

Makes sense.

Moving on, it would have been wrong of me were I not to ask Miss Zhang to give some pointers and tips for men out there who wish to start exploring BDSM with their wives and having their wives playing the more dominant role. I asked her how she thought these men should bring the idea up and how they might be able to help their wives overcome any initial resistance to the idea. Here’s what she said:

Section 4

“This is an excellent question, and a bit ironic since a professional dominatrix often sees men whose wives are NOT kinky and this is their way of achieving sexual balance. I have worked with couples in the past but the key component in their request to see me was a MUTUAL desire to explore BDSM. It is difficult to generate an exact strategy as every couple has a different relationship dynamic, and the individuals in that relationship are also different from each other.

“I would guess that couples who are openly communicative, share the same values, and who continue to enjoy sexual intimacy with one another have a good chance of opening their sex lives to elements of kink. I am not a relationship counselor so I cannot answer this question with professional/therapeutic advice. But I would imagine that honesty and vulnerability when presenting one’s desire to explore kink with one’s partner is a good place to start.

“A man should communicate how BDSM makes him FEEL, before diving into what particular activities he would like to explore. An important ingredient, and possibly the most essential, is BDSM as means to CONNECT with another human being on a sexual and cerebral level. To shift submission to a more relatable perspective, he might wish to illustrate how he enjoys serving her already in their relationship (as we all universally serve the ones we love) such as daily duties of running the household together, taking care of errands for her, etc.

“By doing so he is letting her know that he does these things out of love, and if he can still “serve” her in another way, it is also out of love. He can allude to how certain aspects of her personality already turn him on, and ask if she can harness that power in their sexual chemistry. Your mileage may vary ;-)  "

This is exactly what talking to women on a _meta-level _means; I talk more about communicating your _meta-reasons _in this article about your fantasy. It’s one of the most important things to keep in mind when talking with a woman about _any _sexual fantasy you have.

The last thing I asked her was about her thoughts on men who want to submit yet also want to dictate all the details of what their submission entails/doesn’t entail (in other words, those who wish to “top from the bottom”). I found her answer very interesting.

“Power exchange is exactly what it sounds like—an exchange rather than a one-way transfer. There is no universal model of the Dominance and submission (D/s) relational structure. A healthy D/s exploration is collaboration rather than a tyrannical take-over. It has to be mutually pleasurable and consensual.

“If a man wishes to assume the submissive role and has very specific ideas about how to go about exploring it, then he has every right to communicate that to his partner. His partner can then communicate what she likes about his fantasy, whether she wishes to add to or subtract from it, and they both reach a middle ground that would make them happy. A clear and open conversation BEFORE active exploration is necessary!

“Dominance and submission are TEMPORARY roles in which power is consensually transferred from one to another. If the submissive wishes to dictate the terms and conditions of a fantasy, then he is still exploring the submissive energy. There is a misunderstanding that the needs of the submissive are not important relative to the Dominant, but this is a huge mistake. There are 2 (or more) people with equally valid needs and desires, both of which should be accommodated and respected. How they achieve it is entirely up to them.

“Personally, I want to understand the mindset of my subs and then proceed to craft a session based on what I want but that still pushes the right buttons in their minds. But I would not claim that my way is the only way.”

I want to echo just how important having clear and open conversations are with your partner about what you want to explore before you actually explore it. Far too often, the partner with the desire/fantasy only vaguely and shyly communicates their desire/fantasy leaving the other partner a bit in the dark when it comes to them knowing what’s really desired. This is a recipe for disaster for many reasons, but that’s another topic for another time.

I want to end this article by publicly thanking Miss Ava Zhang for being willing to share her thoughts and perspectives with us. If you want to know more about her on want to know more of her views on BDSM and male submission, I encourage you to check out her website at: https://missavazhang.com

Stay tuned for more, and if you have any questions or thoughts on any of the above, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

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