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Praise Kink 101

By Maya Khamala

Praise kink, AKA “affirmation play,” has gotten more attention in recent years, but it's still not well understood by many. 

Most of us can admit that receiving praise makes us feel good. Whether it’s a compliment about our appearance, our performance, or our personality, recognition and approval are typically welcomed by all. 

But what about those who identify as having a praise kink? What exactly are we talking about here?

What is a praise kink?

Feeling adored and desired—in one way or another—are critical elements of the erotic experience.

Someone with a praise kink doesn’t just like praise. Rather, they get off on being praised, flattered, or receiving verbal approval. For those with this kink, receiving praise may actually instigate a sexual response. While praise kinks are, perhaps unsurprisingly, more common amongst submissives, dominants can be aroused by praise too. There is likely some degree of crossover between those with a praise kink and those whose primary love language is words of affirmation.

It's worth understanding, though, that praise kinks don’t stop at simply including praise in what you’re doing. While praise is a common component of most power play, if you have this kink, it tends to become the main focus. A true kink is an important or even necessary component of sexual pleasure. 

Of course, as with all kinks, praise kinks can be very contextual. While some may find it hot if anyone at all compliments them, others find their kink more directly geared at those with whom they have a bond, an attraction, and/or a relationship. 

While praise kinks are typically viewed as a gentler facet of BDSM, this isn’t always the case. As with all kinks, it is what you make it!

The psychology of praise kink

In the context of praise kink, subtlety isn’t really a consideration. Instead, it’s about giving or receiving the type of straightforward adoration most of us could use more of. 

After all, we live in a world in which we’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us we’re not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, thin enough, strong enough, alpha enough, sexy enough, skilled enough. You get the idea.

Praise kinks can focus on skills, something that’s typically important in D/s relationships. Others find they respond strongly to praise about a specific behavior, or body part. That said, you can likewise focus on a person’s value. As in, they didn’t only perfect their cunnilingus skills; they’re the type of person who works hard and strives for perfection. 

It’s no surprise that service-oriented people who love to please sometimes have praise kinks. The very activities that show how much they care can also earn them praise. Praise can put those who are on the submissive side into a euphoric state of sorts, rendering them extra obedient.

Another reason some people are drawn to praise kinks is the embarrassment element. For some, taking a compliment or receiving kind words can be, well, a bit embarrassing. For others, the experience may even verge on humiliation. For some, praise kinks can play out as an extension of erotic humiliation, with the humiliation stemming from not being able to accept kind words. 

Try that psychology on for size, am I right? The thing is, we all have a diversity of complex psychosexual needs. As long as you and your partner both consent, praise kink can be explored safely. No need to overthink it!

Praise kink phrases for inspired use

Ultimately, the best way to learn what praise kink phrases will work for you or your partner is to ask them and/or to experiment consensually. 

But while willful communication will get you further than a random list ever will, if you’re not sure where to start, here are a bunch to get your motor humming.

- You’re such a good girl/boy/slut/pet/their favourite term of endearment.

- You’re doing/you did really well.

- You look so beautiful/handsome/sexy when you [insert activity].

- I’m so proud of you.

- I love how well you took that spanking.

- That feels amazing, keep doing that.

- I love it when you [insert activity].

- I can’t stop thinking about when you [insert hot or sexy thing they did].

- Your ass looks incredible in those panties.

- You’re so good at [eating my pussy/sucking my cock/fucking me/insert activity].

- I can’t wait to show you off to everyone.

- You’re strong, I know you can take it for me.

- You’re so loved and cherished.

- You have a fantastic body.

- Your calves drive me wild.

- I adore your breasts.

- You have the perfect cock.

- What a perfect pout.

- You have the most adorable smile.

- You have perfect lips for kissing.

- I can’t stop thinking about your ass.

- You always dress to turn me on.

- You’re sex personified.

- You always know just what I need.

- I’m proud of you.

- You listen so well.

- That’s it.

- Look at you.

- Just like that.

- Good, now faster.

- You feel incredible.

- Everyone will know you’re mine when you wear [accessory].

- You really know how to use your [body part].

- Your [body part] feels so good.

- Tell me what you are (requires your partner to compliment themselves).


Again, the above phrases are merely starting points. You will undoubtedly come up with your own as you venture further. The only right way to explore praise kink (and indeed, any kink) is to try things out and find what works for you and your partner! <3

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