If you have been active in the lifestyle for a while you have probably seen or been a part of a situation where a Domme made a sub cry.
While this might be fairly easy with the right kind of pain, what about making it happen in the absence of pain?
Some comments by Clarence on one of my earlier posts as well as Lady Grey's post, The Big Take-Away got me thinking about this topic a bit.
I've known quite a few Dommes over the years that get off by making a sub cry (although it's not always guilt-free on her part). Guilt aside, I think the act of a man crying at a woman's hand is one of the ultimate forms of emasculation. I have been made to cry during D/s activities on more than one occasion and I've been able to understand that (at least in my case) a sub's tears are the last resistance before surrender.
This got me thinking about how to make a sub cry without the use of physical pain. This might take the form of severe chastisement/scolding, the threat of something bad/terrible, or the knowledge of loss before the actual sense of loss has set in.
Breaking down a sub with words is fairly easy and can often stray into the realm of dishonesty or verbal abuse, but all in all, it's a fairly straight-forward idea. Making a sub cry via threat or loss takes a bit more creativity on the Domme's part. Basically, it takes a pretty significant mind-fuck.
Threats are interesting but in order to be effective they must be believable. "I'll take pictures of you dressed as a girl and post them on the internet and email all of your friends and family" might be possible, but in cases of an LTR both parties will wish to protect some semblance of privacy so that might not be a credible threat. The best threats tend to be based upon actual experiences. If you have him do something terribly painful or humiliating, the threat of repeating that activity might be enough. This might be a very severe beating or some public humiliation. If you practice a chastity lifestyle this might also serve as fuel.
If the past experience was bad enough, it should be ingrained in his memory and probably carry some mild post-traumatic stress symptoms. If a Domme is consistently strict, the mere mention of this activity and the implication that it will happen may bring him to tears. These tears are an act of resistance, if it was surrender he would likely just nod or answer in compliance.
The downside with threats is that they will eventually have to come true or they will lose their power. To keep them alive the terrible activity will have to happen often enough to make its threat scarily real.
The knowledge of loss vs. the actual sense of loss is a bit more complicated. It's easiest to illustrate with an example. Let's say as a punishment she informs him that he will not be allowed to orgasm for a year and pulls out a Neosteel (or similar) chastity belt. His immediately reaction might be to beg and/or to weep and cry. These tears are shed at the knowledge of loss and attempt to prevent it and are very different tears than the tears he may shed 6 months down the road when he is still 6 months away from an orgasm with no chance of release.
The key to instigating this type of tears is to key in on things that are important to him. Cruel? Sure. Effective? Yes.