I Want To Be… A Dominatrix!

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on Gala Darling Icing}

So, I have this friend. She’s gorgeous, hilarious, intimidatingly intelligent… & also works as a dominatrix. Since she doesn’t really want to be “out to Google”, I can’t tell you much more about her, but I can tell you that I am really excited & delighted to present you with the following interview (which I find absolutely fascinating). Enjoy!

Tell us about what you do.
DominatrixSince I was of legal age I’ve been a “part-time purveyor of erotic odd-jobbery, all sorts,” but for the past year and a half I have been what is most easily called a dominatrix.

I know that you’ve been in the sex work industry for a while now. When & why did you get into it in the first place?
Yup, a long time. I’m 22 now and I got into the sex industry around 18 through a perfect formation of the Great Upper-Middle Class White Girl Sex Worker Trifecta: Morbid curiosity, interest in sexuality, and “I can make HOW MUCH money?!” I started in doing phone sex with older men, paid through Paypal, and picked up (and dropped) odd gigs along the way.

As for when I got into it for serious, I was going to school and working at a “feminist sex boutique” and since the pay was sh*t (hey, dildo retail is still retail!) all of my coworkers had side gigs. Generally, these were doing things like toy parties on commission or working the renaissance faire (!) on the weekends. Several also did “foot parties,” which is a set up where a lot of foot fetish enthusiasts and ladies with nice feet meet in a very formal way, usually at a club or bar, to mingle with the hoped-for outcome of “mini foot sessions.” These sessions were usually just foot massage or toe-sniffing, trampling, the like. There’s no absolutely no genital contact, and you get $20 for 10 minutes. I was intrigued and it seemed so safe, so I went along and had a blast—although I didn’t make a lot of money, something like $150. From there, a couple of my friends and I marketed ourselves as “foot girls,” but the demand was too low to make renting a hotel room worth it, so we started looking for space to rent. That led us to my place of work, which I like to say isn’t so much a “domme house” as a “domme home.” Awww.

I want to emphasize that my background and my experiences in sex work are really, really individual: I am someone who has never gone hungry or had to worry about getting her children taken away from her or felt coerced because she had no other options. Beyond these stereotypical “nightmare” scenarios, there are all sorts of other coercions for sex workers to need to make sacrifices against their better judgment: for instance, college tuition or just needing to pay off consumer credit card debt.

I am completely positive that the reason that I’ve had such a good time in general is because of two reasons: first, like I say up there, I never had to choose between taking a customer that I felt uncomfortable about and, say, not eating, or not being able to pay my rent or tuition. Second, because I am young, skinny, traditionally beautiful, and college educated, I could charge a much higher price for my time, and worked at a much “classier” house. It really had very little to do with my own individual charms or wiles and everything to do about how my personal characteristics were valued in this f*cked-up society of ours.

Of all the different avenues of sex work, why be a dominatrix?
Basically, I was looking for the most payola for the least amount of time spent and then trying to balance those considerations with my own personal comfort zone of what I was “willing” to do. I also play with BDSM a lot in my personal life and was into exploring that more; this isn’t true for everyone who becomes a domme, though. I was also operating under the false pretenses that to be a domme is more “clean” than other sex work—which, sorry to say, kids, ain’t really true. At least for this girl. But more on that later.

Do you work from home, client’s houses, hotel rooms, a dungeon… ?
I work from my dungeon, although we hate that word. There’s a big room with all sorts of fun supplies and furniture like a spanking bench and an examination table. I will see long-term clients on an outcall basis (i.e., their place, not mine) only if they’re a trusted referral or I’ve seen them many, many times. Doing outcalls is dangerous because you are not in control of your own environment, and hotels are even scarier to me because that’s how I’ve heard people get busted by the police most frequently. YMMV!

What’s a “typical day” like for you?
Let’s see. There are two general kinds of work situations for dominatrixes: house domme or independent domme. There are independent dommes who rent space from houses, and house dommes that work independently on the side, domme co-ops, etc. but those are the basic categories. Many dommes begin in a house to get a feel for the profession and build their skill/clientele base, often working as a submissive before they move “up” to switch or straight domme. The next move from there is often to being an independent. I’m more or less a house domme, although I am in charge of bringing in a lot of my own clientèle. This work is balanced out with having a super-low house cut.

Superficially, a typical working day: get to the dungeon half an hour early, hang out with my mominatrix (she’s more of a mom than a madam), set up the room, do a session, clean up the room, hour break, half an hour to set up the room and fix my hair, repeat. Although I can usually leave work and feel back to normal by the time I’m done, I do need space in-between sessions to decompress. I will usually do two or three sessions a day, two or three days a week; even when I was full time I had a part-time mindset, and most people I know work more days than that and do more sessions a day. Most dommes end up “specializing“—they find a flair with feminization or with over the knee spanking—and I did, too. I really love the actual work most of the time, especially when there’s enough chemistry to keep things moving.

Seems great, but for every hour of session I do, I do—not sh*tting you—three hours of email and phone calls. That used to be four or five hours until I got more regular clients. For the girls I know who are more “classic” house dommes and session while “on call,” there’s lot of sitting around a lot in a back room during their shift. So there’s down time no matter what and it can takes a surprising bite out of that golden-looking hourly rate. Uh-oh, sex work jobs are still jobs! Sad trombone!

How much of the money you earn is spent on upkeep (buying equipment, taking courses, etc.)?
It ranges all the way from a little lot to a lot lot. If you work at a house, they usually have wardrobe and toys available for sessions. The trade off, as I said before, the house takes a cut of 40%-70% and even some of your tips. A little trick is to ask your clients to bring in what they like to play with at home. If you’re independent, once you’ve gotten your wardrobe and toy kit together, there are still other expenses, but you can really start turning a profit.

Are dominatrixes really as well-paid as society would have us believe?
Depending on where you are, what your experience is, and what is going to be done in session, the client is looking at anywhere from $100 (a basic foot session) to upwards of $500-$1000 (overnight, with “the works.”) I’d say an average 1hr session for me would be about $250, of which I’d give $35 to the house if I had brought the client in myself and $50 if the house had. I have the lowest house cut of anyone I know.

As I said before, a lot of it is based on how what your particular “mix” is, but the cool thing about domination is that your “price” actually goes up as you become older and more experienced. Skill/experience/age is often prized, and if you check out the “domme boards” like MaxFisch.com you will find a lot of “discussion” (read: angry squabbling) about whether young girls like me are even worth going to for “real domination.” The best thing I read about that was one domme who said that, in respect to young dommes, there are amateur dommes and novice dommes. I’d like to think I’m a novice, not an amateur.

A lot of the real “perks” come in as you get more experience and build up a clientele base—this takes, of course, an enormous investment of time and money. The most well-paid dominatrixes I knew were women who truly enjoyed their work and seemed to play the most in their personal lives: they had live-in “slaves” that cleaned their houses or ran their websites, lowering their out-of-pocket costs in exchange for sessioning or allowing worship. This kind of stuff didn’t appeal to me—I was never acting in session, but I just didn’t want to put my feet on a human ottoman when I was sitting on my couch reading Umberto Ecco, you know?

These successful dommes also put in a lot of time raising their profile by putting in time at parties, at conventions, on domme boards and networking. (Sad trombone for sex-work-is-work again!) All of this created a successful brand for/of themselves, and the baller move now is to make that image and then set up websites with videos and images on them and let the income roll in from the viewing dividends. Again, though, TIME.

Dominatrix Control

Do most people in your life know about your job? How about your parents?
Most of my friends know, most of the people at my college knew, and I am planning on telling my parents once it’s safely in the past—like, I don’t know, on my wedding day, or after I have a graduate degree.

I have been very lucky to have a partner who gave me absolute faith and trust, and neither fetishized nor demonized me for what I did. Most of the other people I know in the sex industry have relationships, but the sex work question always seems to be something that needs to be addressed. Let’s see. I’ve seen dommes whose partners are completely clueless about what they do but are planning on telling them, some that are planning on never telling them, dommes whose partners only want to know the basic details, dommes who have agreements with their partners on what they can and can’t do at work, dommes that work with their partners, dommes that can’t find a partner because of what they do, dommes that get dumped when their partners find out about what they do, dommes who have to stop working to save a relationship, and dommes who may date or marry a client—although that’s very, very, very rare!

I saw Nick Broomfield’s documentary “Fetishes”, which followed the lives of some dommes who worked at Pandora’s Box in NYC. One of the things that struck me was that they all seemed pretty unhappy & emotionally unbalanced. What are the other dommes that you’ve met like?
I haven’t seen the movie but the dommes I’ve met have all been different. With movies, you never know why they’re making the cuts that they do, and maybe Pandora’s Box was just a sh*tty place to work. I don’t know. I know a lot of dommes, and they don’t all have terrible pasts with abuse or “promiscuous” sex or have been dreaming since the schoolyard of beating up their male colleagues, although some do—and of those that do, some will say it’s the reason they did this, and others will say that it had nothing to do with their decision.

On a professional scale, at least from what I’ve seen, there seem to be a couple “waves” of dominatrixes in the US. The first wave was before I was born, and my Mominatrix says that they were considered “inauthentic” because putting a price on BDSM made it not “real” BDSM to the “real” (non-monetary) players. Now there’s a younger set that’s even less frowns n leather (dude, I have never even held a bullwhip) and this first generation considers us “inauthentic.”

Do you think that doing the work you do has given you a more or less realistic view of what the world is like?
The world is so insane. Have you seen YouTube?

Rate how happy you are with what you do out of 100 (100 being the best, 0 being devastatingly awful) on an average day.
Really depends. If I have a great session, I’m on top of the world—I’ve made a connection with someone, made someone’s dream girl come to life, and gotten paid handsomely for it. 100! And I’m flying! If I’ve had a crappy session where I didn’t connect with the client, or I drove 80 minutes round trip to get blown off by two clients in a row, uh, let’s just say it’s a substantially lower number.

What would your number one suggestion be for someone who wants to do what you do? What do you wish you had known when you first started out?
For anyone who’s ever dreamed of being a hi-class hooker, or a well-heeled dominatrix, I exhort you to read this article by Monica on the $pread Magazine blog about the “high dollar hottie” escort image. (And, of course, her hysterical and absolutely f*cking ON takedown of that Radar Hipster Hooker article.) In fact, buy up old issues of $pread Magazine and read as much as you can of it. It’s an incredible resource and should give you a better image of what it’s really like.

As someone who’s pretty out in her personal life, I act as a go-to person for people who want to get in to the work.* An eighteen year old girl once asked me if she’d make a good domme because she’s “strong and not freaked out by anything.”

I think being strong and not freaked out by anything are important traits to have but the best question I could come up with for this girl was: could you f*ck a guy up the ass with a strap-on within ten minutes of meeting him?

Many (although it varies a great deal from domme to domme) dommes touch dicks and pee on people and do strap-on. At the very least, you will be asked to do this, and the rate you will be offered to do this will be much higher than for the “easy” stuff like foot play.

Also, a dark dark sense of humor and wonderment at the beautiful variation of human experience is a plus. If you’d get a bemused kick out of a client telling you that you “seem like a very spiritual person” while nose-deep in “worshipping” your ass, You Could Be a Domme!

…How about number two?
You know how people with curly hair are like “aww, I want straight hair!” and people with straight hair are like “anything for curls like yours!?” Sometimes me and the massage girls I know get into joking fights like that—“You’re so lucky, you don’t really have to touch the clients!” “No way, you’re lucky, you get to zone out for an hour! I have to be in the game every second!” You’re in charge, every moment, for as long as they’ve paid for. Something to consider.

Oh, and if you think you’re going to get coated in the clothes and trappings that you as a hot young thing want, you’re not—you’re going to get coated in the clothes and trappings of what a 50-year old dude from an investment firm thinks a hot young thing wants. Ugh, white lingerie. Of course, you can quietly return them. Or sell them on EBay. Girls, ask for jewelry! It’s the easiest to offload when it’s ugly!

What are the major misconceptions about your job or industry?
I think “sex worker” wins the award for “Most Misconceptions” at the Misconceptions About Jobs ceremony every year since, perhaps, the dawn of time. We’re not Ivy league educated hipster geniuses or immigrants trafficked into working in massage parlors, except when we are, which is not often. We sure as hell probably aren’t making as much as you think we’re making. Everything I’m saying here is only my experience, mediated through exactly who I am. Some of my experiences will reinforce stereotypes that you had in mind and some of them won’t. I can’t help it either way because that’s just what I’ve been through, but I can ask that you listen when I say that this is only one person’s experience. The sex industry sucks and rules at the same time. Please go read $pread or College Call Girl or Susannah Breslin. Ugh, this is a lot of responsibility. Do you have a beer?

Also, although dommes as a general rule do not have penetrative sex with their clients, it’s still sex work. And in most place, it’s still illegal—the police can do whatever they want with you at whatever time they want to do it. You are not safe. In NYC, the police have been busting dungeons left and right—even the “nice” ones that minded their Ps and Qs with regards to legality. Are the dommes going to go to jail? Nah, probably not. Did they still get their names in the f*cking New York Post and had to pay lawyer’s fees? You betcha.

What is the best thing that’s happened to you as a consequence of the work you do?
This is personal, but it helped me a lot with body acceptance. Remember earlier, how I said that I was lucky to have a partner who didn’t fetishize me or demonize me for what I do? I both fetishized and demonized physical appearance, and having a price put on it—seeing that beauty ain’t nothing personal—really helped me be able to come to terms with How I Look in a big way. Sometimes I’m beautiful, sometimes I ain’t. For the first time in my life someone can say “You look great!” or “You look terrible!” to me and it won’t make a lick of difference to my day.

On a more general level, being relied on that heavily to create/manage another person’s experience and maintaining that made me feel more capable at bottom-lining projects in my life—comfortable with more responsibility, I guess.

Also, when you remove that barrier that prevents modern man from being uncomfortable telling another person on short notice that they’re a little pig that’s useless to women, it apparently also removes the part that’s stopping you from unbridled, wordy road rage—“Oh, you f*cking worm—you little—how dare…” And a client gave me a super pair of boots once.

Who inspires you? Who do/did you look up to within your industry & why?
I’m in love with the people at $pread Magazine, the staff of St. James Infirmary and AIM Medical, the people involved in SWOP-USA, Annie Sprinkle and, my most favorite blog of all time, sorry Gala, College Call Girl. College Call Girl, please college call me.

When we spoke earlier, you told me that you were on your way down a new, completely different career path. What’s the reason for that?
I am one of those people who runs on sex and being a dominatrix/sex worker was one aspect of that. So was being a queer studies major in college, working at the Dildo Depot, teaching sexuality classes, and wanting to be a women’s health practitioner/ob-gyn. I don’t think I’ll ever leave “the industry” behind entirely—I have a dream of opening up a St James Infirmary on the East Coast one day, for one thing.

What’s next in your life?
How about med school? Med school sounds good.

Editor’s pick by Amy Turn Sharp of Doobleh-vay: I read sweet Gala for all sorts of reasons. I adore her site as it is a mix of fashion, life, advice, and magical living. She is a dolly with bright pink hair who lives in New Zealand and I dream of eating cupcakes and drinking Veuve with her! You can read all about her here and get the feed here. She writes about everything and I am always intrigued- I love reading about this sex worker friend she knows- it is like being a fly on a very sexy wall.

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6 Comments to “I Want To Be… A Dominatrix!”

  1. lover
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  2. claire lowe says:

    me and my friend are interested in becoming a dominatrix woman we either wont to make our own buisseness or to work as a dominatrix woman in a company we are in the winchester area and are willing to travel t work im a full time mum and my friend does not work n we are wont to start in this inderstry if you could email me at claire_16_69@hotmail.co.uk many thanks

  3. kevin says:

    Reading your interview is a great start for anyone wanting a career in female domination. And, indeed it is a career! The top doms I am familiar with make well over six figures a year, and mostly all CASH! But in order to earn that kind of money, they need a deep understanding of the psychology behind why men seek out a dominatrix. That can not be achieved in any college classroom that I know of. The knowledge has to come from a variety of sources, most of which are available on line. You also need to have the proper costuming which is leather and latex fashions, definitely not the Fredricks of Hollywood lingerie crap. Garter belts and Nylons were popular back in the 1950′s so don’t make that critical mistake or you will be confined to making 4 figure incomes instead of 6 figure incomes. Learn allk about the strapon scene too which is where the big bucks are. Get yourself in top physical condition so you can wear a pair of tight leather jeans and shiny top. Learn how to make yourself look beautifully evil with great make up and hairstyling. If you can create the look that men want, that’s half the battle. Join and read good websites like Bitch Island and Femdom Strapon Stories which describe the lifestyle in great detail. Good Luck and hope to see you on the circuit.

  4. For those seriously interested int he copy please see my brand new book, How To Be A Domme: The Practical Guide to Becoming a Professional Dominatrix, at http://www.howtobeadomme.com.

  5. Good luck to all those setting out to become Dommes. I Myself have been enjoying it for some time now. Great read, thanks for sharing.
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  6. Mistress X says:

    Fantastic article. For women like Claire interested in learning how to become a Professional Dominatrix, an exquisite, elite resource with insider instructions, tips, and never-before-shared secrets is available here:

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