It seems like I write about sex a lot, and I guess that's true. But for me, there is no prurient drive in what I write; what I have to say is exploratory (like the article 'Perversion') or discussing things that have happened in my own working life, or the working lives of friends (like this piece). As someone who has spent a lot of time around sex workers of various types, both professionally and just people who were friends, I appreciate anything that shows the human aspect of people in "naughty business." The performers in porn? They're fairly ordinary people who just happen to earn a living with their genitals. And they're perfectly nice folks, too.
And today, we're going to discuss dominatrices, or dommes.
Dominatrix work covers an incredibly wide area; I'm sure some commenters will tell me how incredibly wrong I am about the business.... And they're probably right. My "research" consisted of knowing a few girls who did the work for a while, and an article in Cracked titled "5 Truths About Sexual Fetishes (A Dominatrix's Perspective)" which focused primarily on the anonymous author's fetish work, and not her domme work. By their very nature, fetishes are confusing to the outside observer. They simply don't make sense, as by definition a fetish is the sexualization of a non-sexual body part or physical object. A sexual obsession with breasts is not a fetish: getting incredibly aroused by a woman's elbows is. Slavering over slinky Victoria's Secret-style panties wouldn't really be a fetish, but becoming erect over hair scrunchies would. The Cracked article mentions the author having a client on the phone and making him happy by buying a 100-pack of balloons, inflating them, and then popping them one by one. (Maybe the guy's first sexual experience involved a roll of bubble wrap. Whatever. So long as a person isn't legitimately hurting anyone (the reason why the term "mutual consent" is bandied about so much in the S&M scene), absolutely no one has the right to judge another's erotic bends. Are you forcing someone to do things against their will? Does it involve children? Or animals? So long as the answer is a solid "NO" to those questions, you're fine....
.... Although I freely admit harboring great distrust and hostility towards sexual sadists. Yes, I know, mutual consent, pre-set limits, safe words, blah blah blah. But a sexual sadist is still someone who can't get off unless they're hurting another human being. For me personally, that's out of bounds; I find that out about you, at a party or whatever, and you wil be instructed to get the fuck away from me, and as far as possible: I regard you as a psychopath, a potentially dangerous person. (*sigh*) No, I know I'm not being "fair," mutual consent, yap yap yap .... But that doesn't change how I feel. Sorry if what I just said hurt anyone's feelings, but I can't get over my extremely hostile view of sadists.)
Some dommes are basically prostitutes who give their johns a beating before the sex. For some, it's not a job, it's their life: the work is their pleasure and passion. They hang out at the leather clubs in their off-time. Others take it up because it's safer than prostitution, pays well, and they've got a habit to feed. Some truly enjoy the work, yet lead very "vanilla" sex lives in their personal lives. You have some like the author of the Cracked article who do fetish work almost exclusively, and most of that is phone work. And various spots in between. The point is, saying someone is a "dominatrix" covers a lot of ground, like someone asking where you're from and you replying, "America." So no, this article is hardly meant to be definitive or even a solid guide: it's just me talking about the experiences of a couple friends who worked the trade for a while.
I had two friends who did dominatrix work, adding a large boost to their income. In a way, doing domme work was kind of an easy thing for a punk rock girl to jump in to: spiked green hair and heavy makeup (of course they already owned black lipstick, are you kidding?) was a good image --- if a client wanted different hair, the agency had wigs to loan out --- and as far as outfits went, hey, put on your weekend party clothes and you're halfway there.
It should be noted that my two friends did not do fetish work. Their gig was stereotypical, cliché, cartoonish dominatrix work: lots of restraints, paddling, whipping, verbal abuse ("Get on your knees, you pathetic worm!" type of stuff), boot-licking, getting walked on by spike-heeled boots.... The crap everybody has come to mind when they think "dominatrix." "It was weird," one girl told me. "I had to be 'on' when I came through the door of their house, no introductions except 'I am your master, you do what you're told, so get on your knees,' just leaping right into it. Afterwards though, the guys wanted to have a normal conversation, like they needed to assure themselves that we were just play-acting: that I wasn't a genuinely dangerous person, that I didn't hate him like I'd been pretending to do for the last ninety minutes. I dunno, maybe they needed to comfort themselves, that being dominated and spanked were things he could enjoy, but that both of us were really just totally normal people. Like he didn't really need it; he just did it for funsies when he wanted to.
"One guy asked if I ever felt like laughing during a session. I was honest and answered 'yes.' Usually when I was verbally haranguing clients In my head, it just sounded so silly and cheesy. Here I am telling a total stranger what useless scum he is, and for all I know he provides free health care for the homeless and feeds orphans or whatever. Whenever I felt the giggles coming on, I'd cuff the client, roll him on his stomach, and paddle him, so he couldn't see me stifling laughter.
"I think the oddest session I ever had was showing up at the client's house, he opens the door, and holy christ, this dude is like six foot six. I'm five five, so even my spike heels didn't help much: I'm having to crane my neck to look at the guy. I did the only sensible thing I could, which was order him to his knees almost immediately. And I kept him as close to the ground as I could for the entire session. His height really shook my self-confidence, so I kept him crawling around as much as possible, just so I could feel in control."
And then there's scat, or formally, coprophilia. Simply put, you're turned on by shit.... Someone else's. Doing a scat session was a sicko rite of passage; you'd be told the day before what you'd be doing for a couple reasons. First, you'd need to, ah, "save up" for your session: most people can't crap on command. You were also informed that if you didn't want to do it, that's fine, and by the way you don't work here anymore, we can find girls who are willing to shit on the clients any day of the week.
"I did two scat sessions. Hey, the pay was double, and instead of ninety minutes, you were usually out of there in twenty. The first guy was prepared: the floor of his living room was covered in plastic sheeting. I ordered him out of his clothes, gave him some talk about how he deserved to be shat on, told him to lie down, pulled up my skirt --- I wasn't wearing underwear --- and just, like, let loose on him. I'd tucked some tissue down my cleavage, thank Christ I've got the tits for it, and used it to wipe myself.
"He started moaning, and honest to God, he came. He didn't even touch himself, he just shot off totally unaided. Then he began rolling around in it. Be honest, you know how the smell of your own crap doesn't bother you? Mine was bothering me. Between this freak rolling around in shit and cum and the smell, I was trying desperately trying not to puke. Who knows, he might have dug that.
"The guy gets up, and I'm scared to death he's going to try to touch me. No: he says, 'There's a hundred extra for you on the table in the entryway. Thank you, I'm going to go shower now.' I wasn't there ten minutes."
And what was the second one like?
"Oh, he was easy. I crouched over him in the bathtub, and he just lay there staring at my crap and jacking off. I figured, what the hell, I've been here maybe eight minutes, I can wait until he's done whacking it. So he jerks off while telling me how beautiful my fecal matter smells --- that's what he said, fecal matter --- until he shot his load. He was definitely worked up, he hit the wall behind him! Then he tells me to wait in the living room while he showers so he can give me a tip. So, I sat there flipping through the channels on his TV and considering changing into normal shoes --- I didn't, may as well stay professional to the very end --- Bam, another hundred bucks. Then he thanks me, tells me to enjoy my day, and I leave.
"I think guys that are into scat have some serious shame issues. The dudes that were my domme clients, damn, I'm yelling abuse at them, paddling them, I'm leaving fuckin' bruises on them... But when the session was over, we'd talk like normal people, generally being like average human beings with each other. We'd even joke about the session we'd just had, and were cool with that. The scat freaks want you to crap on 'em and leave, basically. I'd try to talk to them --- shit, they'd paid double for a ninety minute session, there must be something else I can do since I've only been there twenty minutes, I'd even have done a strip, even though we're not supposed to --- but no, they got crapped on and it's not like I can go again, and they want me gone. They gotta have some heavy fuckin' issues."
Doing scat seemed problematic from a purely logistical perspective. Let's face it, if you can't go, you can't go. You can't fake shitting. Both of my friends assured me they were rather uncomfortable for at least six hours before their scheduled appointment: they'd been ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement for quite a while, an uncomfortable and possibly unhealthy strategy, if you decided you liked the money from scat and did it regularly.
And speaking of health, yeah, scat was extremely high-risk behavior. You're dealing with bodily waste here: your body wants to get rid of it on purpose. I won't give the litany of diseases one can contract from human fecal matter, but up at the top of the list is Hepatitis, and you don't need to have Hepatitis to spread it around. Like a lot of other things (herpes is another example) it can live in your system without ever making you sick, but spread it to someone else, and they're screwed. My friends did their minimum required scat clients --- after they'd done the minimum, that night, several of the other dommes would take the "graduate" out for drinks. Sort of a "congratulations, you made it" and a semi-joking "One Of Us, One Of Us..." gig.
Okay, I'm tired of talking about the sexual fascination with human waste.
It must be said, though, that like just about everyone who works in the "sex trade," be they porn performers, dommes, prostitutes, escorts, stud hustlers, strippers, booth girls, or even the guy who keeps the rental videos at the porn shop alphabetized.... They are ALL providing valid services.
A lot of people don't want to hear that.
Most pornography is pretty straightforward: suck and fuck. It fulfills the fantasies of men who, whether they're permanently lonely or their wives are out of town, would love to be doing what they're seeing on the screen. It provides a safe release. Same with the booth girls ("Talk To A Live Nude Woman For $1!" according to the signs all over North Beach), who briefly take away the edge of loneliness for a lot of men.
Prostitutes and their jaw-droppingly expensive brethren, escorts, certainly provide release for men in a very direct way. Let's be honest here: you know the right places to go in San Francisco and Oakland, all it takes is $40 and a condom and you can fuck someone. Same with the stud hustlers, although they're usually getting paid to get sucked off, and not the other way around. Dominatrices and fetish workers satisfy the needs of those who need some kink in their lives, but for whatever reasons won't go to the sex clubs.
And ultimately the service they all provide is release. Sex is a powerful driving force in human beings, and gol-dang if we aren't really creative about it as a species. The release sex workers provide may only be palliative, but it takes the edge off: whatever kink or even basic lust and horniness can be satisfied, and all it takes is some money. Yes, ideally everyone in the world could pair off according to sexual drive and interests. That would be beautiful. Of course, it'd also be nice if people stopped killing each other over what they think the nature of God is. Sadly, I won't hold my breath for either. In the meantime, sex will be an industry; it's legitimacy is determined by the law-makers in every community of this ass-clenched country call the United States.
And there will always be those who claim to know what's best for us: the Pat Robertsons, Robert Schullers, Jerry Falwells (good riddance), Oral Roberts', and other big-haired cretins in $3000 suits who claim to know what God is thinking at any given time. They would claim many of my friends are going to hell because of how they earned a living at one time or another. Never mind that my friends are kind, joyous, loving, honest, and caring people, who would give a homeless guy thier lunch because they knew they could get another one at home, and it won't bother them to be a bit hungry for the afternoon. No, they're going to hell because some pompous assholes say so, because they did Naughty Things, usually involving not having clothes on in front of other people.
Fuck you, preacher man.
My friends? Yes, they also provided services, and needed ones. However, due to the limited scope of their work, they ended up getting bored after about six or seven months and leaving for different gigs. My friends were basically doing the same shit, day in and day out.
"So, how was work today? Any interesting beatings?"
"Nah, same old, same old. Last guy was cuffed and blinded, he wanted lots of paddling. He offered me two hundred bucks to jack him off --- I had to break character and tell him, 'That two hundred ain't worth my job. I'll watch while you jerk it, though.' He was happy with that: I uncuffed him and he jacked it while I told him what a sick pervert he was and paddled his ass. Hey, hundred dollar tip, I won't complain."
Despite their initial insistence that they would never work in the sex industry again, one took up live phone sex, and the other bought a wig and started working as a booth girl at one of the meat shops on Market Street. Good money for simple work* and short hours.
And neither one has had to crap on anybody.
*Don't misread that. Not everyone can do sex work, in any form. If the idea makes you uncomfortable, if, say, being naked in front of strangers as a dancer or booth girl would make you panic, then DON'T DO IT. It's easy to say "Oh, it's just a job," but it's a very strange business. All I'm saying is it's not for everyone, and if you think you would be unhappy, why put yourself through it? It's good money, but if it's also costing you your mental health, it's not worth it.