Reader Q&A: How to make someone cry

Dear Ferns,

I am a very inexperienced novice dom and I recently met this guy who is willing to submit to me. I liked him so we tested the water. Although the scene was tough for him, he didn’t cry, not a single tear. I tried my best to humiliate him since I was looking forward to seeing his crumpling face with tears and whimpering, but found out he doesn’t feel that humiliated easily.

The thing is, I get off on a grown man crying, not giving the pain itself and he is more of submissive, less of masochistic. Also, pain didn’t work either. It’s not that I’m obsessed with making him cry, just won’t be opposed to seeing his tears from time to time. And I don’t think I’m pushing the right buttons. I was wondering if you have a piece of advice to give? Sorry if my english is awkward.

By the way, I loved your book! XD

Hello there,

Your English is perfectly fine and I’m really delighted to hear that you liked my book: thank you for telling me so!

Congratulations on finding someone to explore with: that’s so great! *smile*

I have a lot of stuff to say here, but the two main things are that you need to know someone really well for this, and there are no generic buttons that you can press that are likely to make someone cry in a scene.

Crying is a pretty extreme and specific outcome of play and if you want to make someone cry you have to know them VERY well. The first part of this is knowing that he wants to go there. Does he? Why? Because if he doesn’t, he won’t. He will probably call red before he cries.

Crying is an intimate and vulnerable-making thing, which is, I imagine, a reason why it turns you on, but you can’t push someone who doesn’t want to go there into it. They have to WANT to come with you.

IF he wants to go there, then no matter what path you take to get there, you are going to have to push the right buttons to get there. So that means:
1. You have to know what the right buttons are and
2. You have to know how hard to push them.

So your question makes perfect sense, BUT I can’t tell you what a particular person’s buttons are. I doubt that he will be able to tell you either. I think there is a headspace that is conducive to someone crying and it involves intensity of emotion and a safe environment. That intensity of emotion can be triggered by any number of things, but how you get there is completely dependent on him, you, your interactions, your relationship, your level of intimacy etc so there is no way to say ‘here’s something helpful’.

Creating a safe space for it to happen in, though, involves time and trust. He needs to know that if he lets go, you are going to look after him. In most cases that’s going to be a very vulnerable state for him to be in.

A note specific to pain play, in my experience most malesubs will reach their physical limit well before they cry. Most will take it and take it and take it and then either their endorphins will keep them going until you flay the skin from their bones and onwards or they will get to a point where they simply can’t take any more and then they will call it (though in my experience once they get in far enough, they won’t call it, so I call it). Most will get there with not a tear being shed. There are many many reactions, but crying is not the first, second, third or even the tenth.

I DO think that some people have certain triggers that can tip them over into tears and I have accidentally tripped over them from time to time and it’s been amazing. None of those times have involved extreme play, I didn’t somehow push them into it by going at them really hard. Mostly it was that while we were playing, something I did clicked in their heads in a certain way, maybe unlocked something, and they felt safe enough to let it out and let me see them cry.

Best of luck to you both.


If anyone has experience with this and can help our novice dom out, please do leave a comment.

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  1. What great advice! I would suggest that, at least from my very limited perspective, the really important nugget, the piece of advice that gives her the tools to work toward this is:

    “Creating a safe space for it to happen in, though, involves time and trust. He needs to know that if he lets go, you are going to look after him. In most cases that’s going to be a very vulnerable state for him to be in.”

    All the rest, I think, depends upon learning to make him feel safe and vulnerable.

    Awesome advice!

  2. I love tears from my lovers during play! I will agree that it has to be a joint venture between the people playing. If a bottom doesn’t want to cry, it’s just not going to happen. I am a somewhat heavy sadist (whipping someone until they are bleeding, cuttings, needles, choking someone until they pass out, etc.), and none of the play I do will necessarily bring out tears. The Husband does not cry. If he does, something has gone horribly HORRIBLY wrong. Like he broke his femur or his liver was inadvertently removed. We have been together (as a D/s couple) for over 10 years. We have trust and love and years of play between us. He still doesn’t cry. So no matter what we might like, sometimes it just isn’t happening.

    However, sometimes it will! The Wild Thing, my other submissive, cries beautifully. That is a huge turn on for me. What I learned in this instance was patience. Directly after play, he is usually in no shape for sex… Even if I am! The first few times he cried from play, he was just not in the mood for sex at all. He needed comfort and security, not sex. But after a few of those experiences, he is now completely up for sex after a bit of comforting! Patience.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

      And you illustrate something that I think is so true: some men just can’t or won’t go there for whatever reason. And I suspect that’s more the norm than not.

      I love that you have that with the Wild Thing though: so lovely!


  3. Spray something irritating in the eyes, that’s about the only way. Then once the tears are flowing from that, they may continue, especially if the bottom becomes frustrated.

    Women are more prone to regular crying as a way to deal with emotions, men are not. I think it’s hormonal. So for a guy to cry it’s got to be very traumatic, too traumatic to go there.

  4. I’ve always found a stiletto heel in the knackers makes boys cry a treat myself

    The Cattle prod natch but that was a given right?

  5. So… it was morning. I’d slept on the floor of a spare room, in restraints, so I hadn’t slept particularly well. She (not My Lady, but the woman I belonged to at the time) got me up and ordered me into her bedroom. And then into her bed, with my wrists in leather cuffs connected by a long chain that passed behind my back. I could lie down comfortably, but I couldn’t move my hands enough to fend her off or protect myself.

    She started to bite my chest, shoulders, arms and belly. The bites were forceful and prolonged, her teeth clamping down on my flesh and then digging in hard until she finally let go. She didn’t break the skin, but it really hurt. There was also something about that specific kind of pain, the feeling of sharp ridges of enamel pressing hard into my skin, that I found hard to endure. Especially first thing in the morning, when I would have loved a couple more hours of sleep followed by a nice hot breakfast. Of course, submissives don’t always get such luxuries.

    For a while I merely squirmed and whimpered, but then I suddenly started to sob. I was bawling like a baby, uncontrollably, completely unable to bear the pain. Mercifully, she stopped biting right away and instead took me in her arms, and after the tears had stopped she did let me sleep a little more on the couch downstairs. She said afterwards that she’d enjoyed comforting me, and in retrospect I was glad to have discovered how it felt to be pushed to the point of tears and excited to belong to a woman who was sadistic enough to take me into that territory. I even found myself wondering what it would have been like if she hadn’t stopped hurting me as soon as she did.

    So for me, I honestly don’t think it was a question of her pushing specific buttons or showing me beforehand that she would look after me if I broke down. She just happened, inadvertently, to hurt me in a way I couldn’t stand, at least at that particular time. Nothing was unlocked emotionally – it was just really, really painful, though I think the quality of the pain mattered more than the quantity.

    For what it’s worth, this experience suggests to me that the novice dom might try experimenting with inflicting different kinds of pain, and (if her partner consents to such things) catching him when he’s tired, hungry and/or uncomfortable. Vulnerability can be a physical state, as well as an emotional one.

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