I recently began reading a book titled ‘Dominatrix: Gender, Eroticism, and Control in the Dungeon’ by Danielle J. Lindemann. The first chapter explores who really had control within a professional Dungeon setting, the paying submissive for the paid for Dominatrix, based on interviews the author had with Professional Dominants in America. I thought the topic might make for good blog material, and tweeted out to see what others thought.
I received so many responses from both submissives and other Dommes. Thank you to all those who were kind enough to tweet back with their views. Some even sent Me emails with longer explanations of their thoughts. From the range of responses, I got, it seems this is a controversial topic that everyone has an opinion on.
Most of the responses I received placed control with the submissive, and it’s easy to see why. They choose the Domme they wish to pay to submit to. They dictate their likes, limits, and often request an outfit. Occasionally they will provide trigger phrases for their Domme to say, and some even go as far as to heavily script the session. If given a safeword, they continue to hold control even during play as they have the ability to stop the session at any time by using it.
Having said all that, I don’t believe it is always quite so simple. Can it really still be the case the sub is the one in control when the Domme must choose to accept their session? Whilst the same might not be true of brand new Dommes or ‘house’ dungeons in America, more independent and well-established Dommes have total control over their vetting process. Those of Us Dominas whom have alternative incomes streams, such as clips sales, online sessions, or other forms of work can afford to be even choosier. The ability to pay Our bills is not entirely dependant on how many real time sessions We accept.
Submissives requested activities have also been picked from an already pre-approved list compiled by and found on the website of the Domme. Rejecting any submissives with likes which deviate from Our preferred activities happens often. Few Dommes do not have a limits section on their website, which automatically streamlines who they see. Even if a sub appears to be topping from the bottom, that’s not to say the Domme has no control. Take for example a sub who heavily scripts his session. Many Dommes may well find this makes their work as a professional Top even easier. If they enjoy acting and roleplaying like this, even better.
Whether the Domme or sub has control, and how much they feel comfortable giving away, also varies depending on how they identify. Does the potential submissive see themselves as a fetishist? Do they have specific activities they enjoy partaking in to the exclusion of many others? Or does their pleasure derive from the act of submission alone, and therefore they identify more as a slave? Do they care only about pleasing their Domme, regardless of the activities pleasing Her entails?
A similar continuum also exists for Dommes. Does She identify as a professional service Top? Is She simply a provider of Dominant fetish services to a paying submissive client? Or does She identify as a Dominatrix in the traditional sense? She is unrelenting, powerful and interested only in Her own pleasure whilst exerting total control over Her sub?
Most of U/us kinksters probably fall somewhere in the middle. How W/we identify might well change as time goes on and as a D/s relationship deepens. Many arrangements which begin as service Tops and fetishistic subs may later evolve into a more traditional Dominatrix and slave dynamic. Other Dommes and subs may always purely be playing, exploring specific fantasies together they both enjoy. I don’t believe this makes the exchange any less authentic, fulfilling or therapeutic.
It would be a lie to say that paying submissive does not ‘employ’ his Domme and Her fetish services. Often it seems they are paying for the illusion of relinquishing control, as opposed to actually relinquishing it. What I find most fascinating about this is that a part of the service Dommes provide is pretending that isn’t the case. Many of Us Dommes will portray the image that We are always, without exception, in complete control. Projecting an image of being empowered and powerful is seen as essential to Our brand and to attracting new submissives.
But honestly… how many submissives are genuinely looking for this extreme form of Domination? How many would pay upfront the large tribute Us Dommes demand and then be content with having absolutely no say whatsoever in how the session then unfolded. I doubt many would leave such an exchange feeling fulfilled or happy, but of course I could be wrong. If there is one thing I have learned in My time as a Pro Domme, it’s that there is a fetish for everything! I would also question the integrity of a Dominatrix who operated like this. Taking your cash then giving zero fucks about your desires or limits sounds more like abuse than BDSM to Me. Thankfully I have yet to personally meet any Dommes who fall into this category in My own career.
For Me personally, I see the majority of My sessions as a collaborative effort. A submissive who approaches Me saying ‘whatever you want Mistress’ is one of My biggest pet peeves. Being evasive just makes My job more difficult, as unfortunately I am not gifted with the ability to read minds. I much prefer someone who is a little more forthright in their interests and especially their limits. Who negotiates with My own likes and gives Me a framework to play within, whilst also leaving Me some freedom to be creative.