What It’s Like To Be a Dominatrix

People sometimes say that “sex work is easy”, of which, by nature of it being an erotic job, a Dominatrix falls under.

How hard can it be to be a Dominatrix, you say? You put on a catsuit, boots, whip someone while telling them what a loser they are…while raking in a lot of cash, right? Anyone can do that!

If only it was that easy!

First, you gotta get set up: come up with a name, develop a brand, decide on a location, create a website, establish your email, set up a phone number, are you going to own your own studio (how much money do you have to invest?) or are you going to rent (assuming there’s someone to rent from in your area), what activities are you offering, when are you offering it (part-time, full-time, early mornings to late nights), knowing about risk, law, managing business expenses, and taxes. (Contrary to what people say, we have to pay taxes, too.) Tired yet? But you haven’t even gotten started!

Now, you need to get yourself noticed. Expect to create a steady stream of content, which takes hours to prep for, write/shoot, edit, post, and distribute. Are you going to pay a professional photographer or do it yourself? Do you have the right photography equipment? Do you have editing software? Do you know how to use it? Don’t forget to watermark! Pirates will be out there ready to steal your pics, videos, and likeness so they can try to scam someone with your hard work. So either you’re either going to learn how to track it down and get sites to remove it (hint: it usually involves paperwork and sometimes proof that the content is yours), hire an attorney or piracy service, or ignore it and hope it doesn’t tarnish your reputation. (Pirated video will cut into your revenue.)

You’ll also need a decent wardrobe. Like latex or leather? It can run in the hundreds (or more) for 1 piece. Latex is popular with clients but it can rip easily so be prepared for that session where you ruin your $500 catsuit. Shoes? Depends. Usually, 100 & up per pair. Want some of those fancy red-bottomed Louboutins everyone is horny over? Around 1000 per pair.

Running your own studio, like I am? Be prepared to spend thousands of dollars on furniture, gear, consumables, cleaning supplies, utility bills, etc. I’ve spent over 10k on equipment alone. And don’t forget maintenance. You will need to repair or replace things periodically.

OK, now you need clients. How do you get them? Gotta know how to market in a competitive field. I don’t use OF or sell videos, so I have a narrower opportunity for exposure. How do I get people to find me? Website (you’ve got to pay someone or make your own). Directories and forums. Social media, where you need to be constantly active to be seen, while simultaneously facing constant censorship and the possibility of your account being deleted without warning.

Do you know how you’re going to get paid? Especially when there are ZERO payment processors that allow you to use their system to accept payments for adult-themed sessions? That’s right: no PayPal, no Venmo, no Stripe, no Google Pay, no Apple Pay, no…you name it. If you do it and they find out they could confiscate your money and ban you. (No joke. It’s happened to several people.) You could have people send it through the more adult-friendly channels like NiteFlirt, SpankPay, Erotifix, etc. but that’s a risk, too, because even they don’t want you to use them as a payment vehicle for face-to-face sessions. (If you do use them for any reason, be prepared for their cut to be 20-35% versus a standard business payment processor’s ~3%.) And how are you going to manage the clients who say they can’t have a “paper trail”? They often ask to pay with a gift card. Are you going to accept gifts cards from all these people? How will you pay rent or your utilities?

Skills? You better have them. Or you won’t get repeat business. Hoping someone awesome will mentor you for free? Very unlikely. Most of us don’t have the time or interest because many Domme hopefuls underestimate the work and will either not take it seriously or disappear. Who wants invest any of their (limited) time into what is very likely to be a net loss for us? Be prepared to find and pay someone who will teach you. Acquire books and videos, attend classes, workshops, and conventions. More expenses.

Going to offer a specialized activity? Like medical or heavy rubber? Expect to invest a big chunk of money into it — and a big chunk of time with the specialized cleaning that kind of gear requires. (Ever washed and dried a 7 by 4 foot heavy rubber sack by hand, inside and out? That’s the reality of vac bed maintenance.) Maybe you’re going to do something less intense like foot worship? Foot fetishists usually want pedicured feet. That will be an additional, regular investment to keep your feet soft and looking pretty.

Do you know how to do things safely? Do you know the risks of the various health conditions of the clients you will get? What about medications? Do you know which ones affect the kinds of activities you can do safely, within whatever limits they provide? Do you know how to handle a medical emergency? Fainting? Panic attack? Cardiac arrest?

Got someone interested in you? Fantastic. How do you know who to accept for a session? How do you screen them? Do you know warning signs? Do you know what questions to ask to be able to do this work safely and effectively?

They showed up? Congrats — this one wasn’t a no-show! Now what kind of security do you have? You do know we have a higher risk for harassment, stalking, assault, rape, and murder, right? You might want to learn some self-defense.

Now it’s time to run the session. Know what to do? The person booked 4 hours. Do you know how to entertain someone for 4 hours straight? How do you make them want to come back? You need people to come back or you won’t be able to do this full time.

Done! Not so fast. Time for cleaning. You will spend hours doing this. And you can’t just wipe things down with butt wipes, you have to disinfect and sterilize so your clients don’t end up with infections and disease. (Don’t expect clients to be honest about what they may have.) Oops — ran out of chux, gloves, lube, disinfectant, bleach, etc? Time to order more supplies (a constant expense).

Uh-oh, got a problem client? What if they keep touching you in the session when you asked them not to? What if they keep showing up at your studio, unannounced? What if they start making threats? How are you going handle this?

Got through that all? Great. Now, time to do it all over again. And again. And again. And don’t expect success right away. While I did pretty well in my first year (had a plan), it wasn’t until around year 5 that I really felt established in my field. (YMMV.) Expect that once the sense of glamor wears off that aspects of this will feel more and more like a job. Expect to go through phases when you really don’t like those aspects. You will need to learn how to manage this or it will lead to burnout.

SO! While each type of SW has its own requirements, none are “easy”. Being a Dominatrix is the most expensive form of SW & requires a specialized skill set, including understanding how to do very risky activities that could severely injure or kill someone. It involves a lot of time, cash, and dedication.

So, do you still think it’s “easy”?

The More You Know 🌈

Know Your Limits

When you approach me for a scene please make sure that you can tell me your limits, not just your interests. Lately, I have noticed more people are not prepared and don’t know what theirs are. They’re approaching me for a session and have sometimes no idea about what they’re not okay with.

For my play-style, this is a problem. Your limits are actually more important than your interests as they tell me important boundaries that I cannot cross. This is essential for me to know so I, you know, don’t cross them.

What’s happening is that during the scene consultation I start asking about limits and I’m getting “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” kind of answers. Then I’m spending valuable time asking if this or that is okay when I should be spending it on other things. The consultation is not the place for me to help you figure out your own rules but to ask you clarifying questions about them, if needed. Figuring things out can take a lot of time and will quickly eat up the call.

If you’re not aware, there are (at least) two categories of limits: “hard” and “soft”. Everyone seems to be in agreement that “hard” are things that are completely off the table, but “soft” has some confusion. I see most people define it as “things you don’t really like doing but will do if the Mistress wants to do them”. I don’t think that definition makes sense as you are not telling me a limit but a preference. A limit is a boundary. There is no boundary in that you don’t really like wax play but will do it if I like it. So, I define “soft” as something that falls between being completely OKAY or completely NOT OKAY.

In short:

HARD limit: done under NO conditions.
SOFT limit: done under CERTAIN conditions.

For example:

If femme play (aka “feminization”) was a hard limit it means you’re not okay with any kind of femme play. There are no conditions by which you’re willing to do anything femme related.

If femme had a soft limit, it means you have specific conditions around it. It could be that you’re only okay with panties OR panties and stockings OR everything but makeup, etc.

If femme play has no limits, then you’re okay with anything femme related.

I realize that new players may honestly not yet know their limits. I get that. However, you still should have some idea of what you are absolutely not interested in incorporating into a scene, or even what kinds of things you’d be okay with as much as you can imagine having them done to you.

I have hard new players say things like, “Mistress, I’ve never done bondage before. I think I’d be okay if you tied my wrists or ankles down but I’m not sure about both yet.” You have just given me a soft limit.

If you’re having a difficult time coming up with your list a good place to start is my interests page. Go through the things I have listed there and add anything that you would not want in a scene to your hard limits or things that you have particular requirements about to your soft limits. Don’t worry about being afraid that you don’t get it right or that you end up wanting or not wanting to do something. You can change your limits at any time. But you should have this ready when you ask to play with someone. All good players — tops and bottoms — should be familiar with their partner’s limits.

If you would like personalized help I recommend scheduling a coaching call with me before you ask for a scene. I can go through a variety of things with you and we can hone in on your boundaries. I’m very good at this so you can feel confident that you will learn something about yourself during our call.

So, again, PLEASE BE PREPARED!

A Bit About Anal Play

This article is for those who are curious about anal play: how to try it…or what to do if it didn’t live up to your fantasies.

I’m a big ol’ anal top and have been taunting, training, and taking butts for almost 15 years now. Little butts, big butts, virgin butts, hungry-hungry-hippo butts. It’s one of my favorite things*. Butt, alass, this is not the case for all.

Sometimes when someone volunteers a little bit about why they dislike it, such as “I didn’t enjoy it because it hurt” or “I tried it once…wasn’t sexy”, I will ask if they don’t mind me inquiring further about their experience (for my own research purposes). What I usually discover is that they either tried it themselves and didn’t know what they were doing or they were introduced to it by a girlfriend or Domme who didn’t know what she was doing. It makes me sad because one bad experience — or even one less-than-hot experience — can sour people to the point of never wanting to try it again.

The reason why this happens is because people don’t bother educating themselves about how it works, what to do, and what not to do. They think it’s as simple as Put Thing In Hole. They don’t consider how their body might react or how it needs to adapt. Then, because they don’t know these things, they make assumptions and end up writing the whole thing off.

There is a common misconception that your first experience will look like what you see in porn. You know, that hot FemDom clip where she’s ramming a huge cock in his ass and he’s moaning in bliss. You swoon, “Ohmygoddess, I would do anything to be fucked like that!” I hate to break it to you, my slut, but that will not be anywhere close to what your first experience will be like. That is what may happen if you spend some quality time training your ass.

The reality is that your first experience putting something past your anus and into your rectum may feel unpleasant. Maybe even a little painful. You may feel like you suddenly have to shit. Which is the opposite of what you were expecting to feel. And is it at this point that some people decide they hate it. Because “this is supposed to feel as good as that FemDom clip looks!” and it doesn’t so horniness turns into bitter disappointment and the dildo goes into the dark drawer, never to be seen again.

Well, I say: give it another try. But let me help you get started on the right path.

If you want to experience what it would be like to be fucked like the gasping, whimpering, writhing-in-ecstasy bottom in the clip, start by exploring your own ass. Look at it in the mirror.  Touch it. Touch the area around it. Pay attention to how it feels when you lube up your finger and just slide it around your anus. Be gentle. You want to make friends with your budding cockhole.

Once you’re comfortable you can get ready to slide something in.

If you’re not sure where to look for the right toys there are plenty of guides online. (I may just write one myself.) Without a little help, people may end up getting something that’s not suitable for them. This can be because you feel like a kid in a candy store and you just buy whatever looks like it would feel good in your ass. It also can mean you may unknowingly buy something that shouldn’t actually be touching your private parts. See, the sex toy industry is not regulated and so they’re pretty much free to use all sorts of toxic materials to make the things you are rubbing back and forth against your delicate insides. Some of these compounds can be absorbed by your tissue and some of them are linked to things like endocrine disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

Another issue that can confuse consumers is that you can’t trust that a manufacturer actually knows what the hell they’re making. It’s true. Some of them clearly haven’t ever done the activity they are making products for. (I’m looking at you, Random China Brand Often Found In Places Like Amazon, eBay, or Alibaba.) Take for example this plug:

MistressTissa_wtfintroplug

Notice the way it’s marketed: “Perfect size for intro anal play”.

Hunty, this is in no way an “intro” plug — unless you are an elephant. This plug has a circumference of 6.5″. You know what else has a circumference of 6.5″? My vitamin bottle. No beginner should be trying to put a vitamin bottle in their ass.

Here’s a comparison of the above plug with a plug that is actually more suitable for introductory play:

MistressTissa_PlugCompariso

When you’re ready to try putting something in, start with something small. Like a finger. The actual beginner plug on the left is like a finger. A meaty, manly finger that will probe your wet, hungr–oh, sorry. I got carried away.

If you’re using a toy, and it’s not a body-safe material like silicone, glass, or medical-grade stainless steel, be sure to slide a condom on it. (We don’t want sexy time to later turn into anal cancer time.) If you don’t have a toy, or a meaty, manly finger, use your own finger. If a finger still feels too big, use something with an even smaller diameter. This could be a pen, wood dowel (make sure it’s not a wood that will easily snap in half), or anything else that doesn’t have sharp edges that can hurt you. And, of course, put a condom on it, too.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of getting a little poo on your hand, put a glove on. Or, if you want to be sure that there will definitely not be any poo on your hand — glove or not — you can get one of those cheap enema kits (like Fleet), empty the contents, fill with lukewarm water, and gently rinse yourself out until you’re clear.

Once you’re ready, lube it up.

Lay on your back and slowly slide the toy or finger in. Not very far; just the tip. Just enough to get your anus familiar with the sensation of something going in instead of coming out. Breathe and relax while you’re doing this.

Once that feels okay, you can slide it in a little further. If it doesn’t, either just sit there and wait to see if the discomfort passes or, if it doesn’t, take it out. Wait a few moments and try again. Then breathe and relax. Repeat. Until you have it where you want it.

If it feels uncomfortable, focus on relaxing that area. If it still feels uncomfortable, you can stroke or use a vibe on your cock or clit and see if that helps. If not, you can stop and try again another time.

Keep in mind that it can take several tries to feel any pleasure. And for some it never seems to feel pleasurable. That’s okay. You can do something else. Maybe come back to it next month or next year. Or never. Whatever you want.

Dicks. Lots of dicks.

For those who do find the right feel and are ready to move on, you can size up, if that is your goal.

Again: always use condoms on unsafe or unknown materials and always with a lot of lube.

Once you get to where you feel like you can take a dildo, start slowly there, too. No matter how eager you are to be your Mistress’s dirty, dirty slut, don’t force anything. You can injure yourself, which can be very painful, and possibly lose some of the progress you’ve made as your body heals. 

Now, for those who want to ask a professional Domme for anal play…

*Please be aware that some Dommes don’t openly offer it. The reason is laws can make it a risky endeavor. This is because, depending on your jurisdiction or which judge’s courtroom you may unfortunately end up in, anal penetration within a professional practice could be — and in some cases definitely is — construed as “prostitution”. Therefore, to be safe, some Dommes, like myself, do not advertise it.

You can mention that you find anal play interesting. (Unless she indicates it’s a hard limit.) You can tell her what your experience level is. Just be prepared that the negotiation process may be slightly different than other activities, if she is willing to negotiate it at all — especially if you have no references. Just be patient and follow her lead.

Once you do get to the point of making that dream come true, be sure to rinse that hiney out. Practice beforehand until you’re good at it. Then make sure you do it before you arrive for the session so there aren’t any surprises. Then, relax and enjoy every minute of it!

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Mistress Tissa on Coalition Radio rescheduled to Friday, August 7, 9:45PM EST

Listening is easy. Just follow the link in the tweet.

Mistress Tissa on Coalition Radio on Friday, July24, 9:45PM EST – POSTPONED

[Clean link is here]

The interview will be loosely structured, so I’m unsure about everything that will be discussed, but some topics mentioned are: power dynamics in BDSM, “topping from the bottom”, the influence of Patriarchy on BDSM and gender play, and more.

It will be a live video feed.

UPDATE: Due to my illness, this discussion will be postponed. A new date will be announced shortly.

Online Classes

I will be offering some online classes in the near future. The first four topics will be:

Finding The Domme Of Your Dreams

Understanding How You Fit Into BDSM

A Guide To Seeing A Dominatrix: From Searching To Sessions

Security Considerations

Class descriptions are on my Classes page.

I have some tentative dates in mind, but would like to hear from people about what day(s) and time(s) work best.

What would be helpful is knowing what class(es) you’re interested in, if a weekday or weekend works better, and if between 2pm -6pm EST or 6pm – 10pm EST works better. You can either email me or comment here.

If I don’t hear from you, I will schedule according to my preferences.

The Word “Mistress”

When encountering Dominatrices you will see many of us use the title “Mistress”. While some of us love it, some feel quite differently, believing it is somehow insulting to a woman, her role and value. I want to clear that up.

Mistress is the femme version of Master. It was first used around the 14th century to denote a woman who rules in some way and has power. It is thought to have originated from the Middle English “maistresse”, which stemmed from the Anglo-French “mestresse”, which is the feminine of “mestre” which means “master”. (“Maîtresse” is the modern French derivative.)

As you can see below, this is and has been its primary meaning. The definition of a mistress as an “other woman” came much, much later.

Source

In BDSM terminology, though the word technically has a more specific meaning of a femme assuming the M role in an M/s dynamic, as opposed to a D/s dynamic, it is extensively and loosely self-assigned by women who are professional Dommes and switches, even if they are not engaging in that form of power exchange with their play partners.

Some Dommes don’t like and use the term because they believe it implies they’re somehow subservient to the man or a “side chick”. This is understandable given how it has been used as a pejorative term in modern culture. However, if a woman has many men coming to her, married or not, sometimes doing so at their own peril, how is she subservient? How is she not the one with power? Perhaps the “other woman” meaning is in fact more a reflection of the original definition of a woman who “possesses, own, or controls” than some are inclined to believe. 😉

How Do I Know If My Kink Is Good Or Bad? And What Can I Do About It?

Do you feel unsure about your sexuality, specifically your kinks? Have you been concerned whether what you enjoy is “good” or if it’s “bad”? Have you asked yourself, “Is it OK that I’m doing this?” or “Is there something wrong with me?” If you have, it’s normal. People have these concerns — sometimes to the point of causing great distress — that something is just not right about the “kinky” things they enjoy, but they have difficulty considering this objectively.

When trying to get some insight, it’s important to remember that since everyone has different likes, dislikes, levels of comfort, etc., and what feels good for one person may not be for another. “Good” and “bad” can be used as a shorthand for a value judgment and these values don’t necessarily apply to everyone. Because of this, I encourage you to instead think of them as either “healthy” or “unhealthy”.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help evaluate where yours fall:

When engaging in your kink, do you…

MistressTissa_Strippedrequire that you first become intoxicated? Are you unable to engage in your interest without first needing to get drunk or do drugs?

…ignore boundaries — whether your own or someone else’s? Do you routinely allow yourself to be pressured to do things you don’t want to do? Or do you pressure or “trick” someone else into doing things? Is “consent” something you let someone else decide for you or something you believe you should decide for others? (This does not include the practice of “consensual non-consent”.)

…not know when or how to stop? Do you have a compulsive need to do your kink? Does it feel like you’re “addicted” to it? Do you want to stop but you believe you can’t?

 …feel guilt or regret afterward? Do you wish you hadn’t done what you just did? Do you experience anxiety or depression afterward? Perhaps feeling bad about yourself, beating yourself up, or even go so far as to have thoughts of self-harm?

…see that it has had an overall negative impact on your life? Such as preoccupying much of your thoughts at the expense of other important things? Compelling you to recklessly spend money? Causing you be late for or miss work? Affecting your interpersonal relationships, such as with family or friends? Or generally decreasing your quality of life?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you may have an unhealthy relationship to your kink. (If you didn’t then your relationship may be healthy.)

What’s important to note with feelings of guilt or regret is that while they may indicate a problem they don’t necessarily mean that the kink itself is the problem. Sometimes people feel guilt or regret because of their own beliefs about their kink; such as that they are a defective or bad person, something which our culture may teach us but may not be true. Some people feel guilt or regret after secretly engaging in their kink because they assume the people in their lives will not understand or approve. In both these cases, the issue may not be the kink but the attitudes and circumstances surrounding the kink.

What do you do if you think you might have an unhealthy relationship to your kink?

I recommend finding a qualified professional who is trained in mental health and has competency with human sexuality, particularly kink, and experience helping people with the kinds of emotions you’re having (e.g. shame, guilt, anger, addiction).

Where can you get a kink-competent* provider?

One place I’d recommend looking is the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom’s Kink-Aware Professional database. This database does not include all providers; only those that have requested to be listed. So, if you don’t see someone in your area, that does not mean there isn’t someone out there.

Another place to look is a search engine. Try searching for “therapy” or “counseling” or even “coaching”; your city or state; and your specific kink, or just “kink”, or even “sexuality”. See who comes up. If anyone looks interesting, give them a call. You may find other directories this way as well.

What if I have/don’t have insurance?

If you have insurance and need the provider to be in-network, contact your insurer for a list of mental health professionals in your area and then do a quick web search for each of them. See if they have a website with information about their competencies. If you’re unclear, give them a quick call. Most providers will be happy to answer a few questions about their qualifications and if they think they might be able to help you.

If you can’t find someone in-network, don’t despair. Sometimes insurers will cover out-of-network providers if their rate is comparable to those in-network. Or, they will cover a certain amount and you pay the rest. Ask your insurer about this. Then ask the provider you’re interested in if they are willing to work with your insurer.

If you are able to pay out of pocket you are likely to have more options. So consider if you’re willing to go that route and how much you are able to afford. I recommend thinking about this before you make any calls so you’re prepared to discuss it if you find a provider that interests you. (Note: unlicensed providers are not able to take insurance.)

How do you know if the person is right for you?

This is usually not immediately apparent. It’s like going to a doctor or restaurant or even meeting a new friend. Sometimes you may feel like it’s a good fit from the first visit, sometimes it takes a little more time. Prepare yourself for there to be some trial and error.

Before you make an appointment with someone, know that you are completely within your right to vet the person with whom you will be sharing many personal details of your life. This means you’re allowed to ask them about their education, experience, attitudes toward and competency with your specific kink (and even kinks, in general), and how they have helped people like you in the past. If they do not welcome your questions, this is, in my view, a red flag.

Also important is to be aware that if you do find someone and they in any way try to shame and tell you that you should not be kinky and are bad for being this way, I recommend that you STOP seeing them. This is not the behavior of a kink-friendly or competent provider and is not an appropriate match for kinky people. (They are also likely to not be a good mental health practitioner in general.) Seeing someone like this would be like a gay person wanting support for being gay and the provider telling them that being gay is bad and to stop being gay. If you do not feel they are offering reasonable support, then try someone else.

Does having unhealthy thoughts or feelings make you “crazy”?

If you are worried about the possibility that because you might have an unhealthy relationship to your kink that you are in some way “crazy”, please understand that having any of the above thoughts or feelings doesn’t necessarily mean you’re “mentally ill” in the way a lot of people think of it, but that understanding unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and the processing and modification of those things, is what therapists, counselors, and even some coaches are trained to do. This is why they are a good choice to support you through these types of issues.

(*Not just kink-friendly. Anyone can be “friendly” to a situation or type of person; it doesn’t mean that have any idea of how to appropriately help and support them.)

Why Chronic Pain Sufferers Are Turning To BDSM

“…a kink environment has the potential to give pain a new vocabulary—which benefits both the chronically pained—and those trying to understand pain outside of its limited medical and socially constructed definition.”

Full article here.