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.)

Article: Kinky Sex Could Be the Secret to Your Success

“Many successful visionaries throughout history, from artists to scientists and even politicians, have had well-documented kinks and fetishes that affected how they operated in their daily lives.

A wave of recent research has confirmed this: If it’s something you desire in the first place, kinky sex can benefit you not just in the bedroom, but outside of it as well. “Unconventional” sexual practices and fantasies, such as BDSM, group sex, or role play, have been shown to reduce psychological stress, improve mental health and can help with satisfying and communicative relationships. Kinky people have also been found to have higher self-worth than those who are too afraid or ashamed to pursue their fantasies

People who engage in BDSM and kink have been found to be happier, more conscientious and less neurotic than people who don’t engage in so-called “deviant” sex. “

More confirmation of what many of us have known all along: kink is healthy and has tangible benefits.

Full article here: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a12231118/how-kinky-sex-leads-to-career-success/ (worth the read)

Position, Role, and Fetishism

I believe one of the most pervasive misunderstandings in kink is the difference between top and bottom, Dominant and submissive, and fetishism. In My experience, this confusion is not limited to people who are new to the culture, but people who have been involved in it for many years and don’t quite seem to know what they are and which apply to them. Because I think it is a fundamental aspect to concise negotiations and overall better experiences, allow Me to explain.

The first thing that is helpful to think about is that our experiences are multi-dimensional. Whether that experience is kinky or not, there is never just one thing going on at a time. Even if you’re just sitting there, breathing, your body is completing a multitude of tasks at once: your heart is beating, your body temperature is being regulated, and your immune system is on alert. Likewise, in kink, there is more than one thing going on. Three of those things are the focus of this article.

The three things are: topping and bottoming, or what I’ll call “position”; Dominance and submission, or what I’ll call “role”; and fetishism. While they all relate to one another, they have distinct differences which are helpful to understand, not only for self-awareness but when seeking out others for play. Understanding which concepts best describe you can help you hone in on who and what it is you’re looking for.

First, I’ll define position. When someone assumes the active position in play, we call that person the “top”. This is the person who provides the sensation, physically and/or emotionally. This means it’s the person who is spanking, tying, spitting, humiliating, or penetrating. The complement is the person who assumes the passive position, what is called the “bottom”. This person receives the sensation, physically and/or emotionally, that the top is providing. This means it’s the person being spanked, being tied, being spit upon, being humiliated, or being penetrated. Of course, one can do both, and when someone does they’re called a “switch” or “versatile”. Note that this doesn’t say anything more than who is giving and who is receiving.

Next, we have role. Consider that in life, there are people whose role is to lead or assume control and there are people whose role is to follow or to relinquish control. This dynamic applies to kinky play as well. The person who leads or controls play is called a “Dominant”. Dominants make the decisions about how and when the spanking, tying, spitting, humiliating, or penetrating will take place. The person who follows or is controlled in play is called a “submissive”. A submissive is not there to make the decisions about how and when the (negotiated) activities occur, their role is to submit to the decisions of the Dominant. In BDSM culture, we call this dynamic “D/s”, which is short for “Dominant/submissive” or “Dominance/submission”.  It’s what the middle two letters in BDSM stand for. (There is another dynamic which we call “M/s”, which is short for Mistress/slave or Master/slave, and is another form of power exchange which has different expectations, but I’m not going to go into that here.) Note that this doesn’t say anything about who is creating or receiving the sensation; only who is in control of it.

Lastly, there’s fetishism. When the term “fetish” was first introduced in the early 20th century, it was used to describe something that needed to be present in order for someone to feel sexual arousal. Since then, it’s grown beyond its clinical beginnings to more broadly encompass something that is not considered inherently sexual but causes sexual arousal, such as shoes, being put in a diaper, being tied to a chair, or being slapped in the face. And now, we also have a pop culture concept of “fetish” which can be anything someone is fixated on, including things we think of as sexual.

A fetish is a subjective experience. What is a fetish for one person may not be for another. Because it is subjective, it will therefore involve personal variables about what, when, and how the fetish manifests. Fetishes may be common between people, such as seeing a woman put on pantyhose, or be unique to that individual, such as that it must be Mistress Belinda putting on nude, Cuban-heel, thigh-high stockings with black contrast. Note that this says nothing about giving or receiving, or about power dynamics, just arousal.

Now, I’ll describe some of the confusion people seem to have with these layers.

Probably the most common misunderstanding I see is the conflation of position and role. While it is common for the person assuming the top position to also be the Dominant, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes a person can control the way in which they receive sensation. If Mistress Belinda says, “Lick My stockings!” how would we describe her position and role? Well, because Mistress Belinda is both dictating the action and receiving the licking, she is acting as a Dominant bottom. The party that is agreeing to follow Her command and provide the licking is acting as a submissive top. Another term you may hear used to describe a submissive top is “service top”. This person submits to requests/orders/control about how they will provide sensation to another.

Perhaps the second most common misunderstanding is the difference between wanting to assume a role and wanting to assume a position. It is common that people who say they want to Dominate or submit don’t actually want to do those things at all. Someone may say they’re submissive, but what they really want is to bottom. That is, they want someone to take the active role in creating sensations for them, not submit to someone else’s control about how those sensations happen. Likewise, some who consider themselves “Dominant” are really tops, in that they enjoy creating sensation for others, but they want someone to tell them what they want them to do, and then they’ll do it.

Maybe the third most common misunderstanding is the confusion between what it means to actually exchange power and to fetishize it. There are many people who say they want a Dominant or submissive, whether it be for play or a relationship, but what is really going on is that they actually just have a fetish for it. What does that mean, exactly?

Submissive and slave, like Dominant and Mistress/Master, are words we use to describe the way power is exchanged. Fetishism is not about power, it’s about arousal. Because a fetish is about arousal, to fetishize something is to be aroused by one’s own subjective perceptions about a person or object. It’s a form of appropriation, or assigning a value to something based on one’s own feelings or beliefs about it rather than what it actually is. For example, being aroused by someone with glasses because they’re assumed to be more intelligent or by a person with blonde hair because they’re assumed to be less; certain ethnicities because they are “exotic”; or Dominant women because they are believed to exist to be a service top to men’s sexual fantasies.

Since a person’s ideas and fantasies may in no way reflect the reality of the person or object, it is said the person or object is being fetishized. While fetishizing something is normal, it can be problematic. People may not welcome someone’s fetishization of them. This is not only because it’s appropriation, but because it’s a form of objectification. Nonconsensual objectification to serve another’s erotic and sexual desires is dehumanizing. This is why I believe it is especially important for fetishists to understand their motivations and responsibly negotiate them. Without this awareness, you are treading in very touchy terrain.

An example that encapsulates the three areas of this article is a man who identifies as a “submissive” and wants a “Dominant” woman that dresses, acts, feels, and speaks in the way that he desires. In actuality, this man is fetishizing a woman who he would like to control into being what he wants her to be. So, this man who thinks he’s a “sub” is actually a Dominant fetishist. If he wants her to do things to him, such as “tease and denial”, he’s also a bottom. If he wants to do things to her, such as body worship, he’s also a top. This relates to what we call “topping from the bottom“, a misnomer that really refers to “Dominating from the submissive role”. I can tell you that as lifestyle and professional Dominant with over a decade of experience playing with a lot of men, this is a very common situation.

So, what is happening here?

Many men seem to find the idea of being controlled by a woman to be sexually arousing, but the actuality of it is not what they are really looking for. There is a disparity between their fantasy of what She is like and the reality. This fantasy is often the result of the influence of media, such as pornography, on one’s ideas and perceptions.

Let me talk a little bit more about how porn can help create this situation.

Porn is a business, and its business is to arouse. Those who create porn must think of what arouses their audience. If their audience is men, they need to understand their fantasies. Since a person’s fantasies put them at the center, they do not necessarily reflect reality, where they aren’t the sole participant but part of an equation and set of circumstances with one or more people. (This isn’t a male or erotic phenomenon, by the way, but a natural byproduct of fantasy itself.)

In a FemDom clip, for example, the idea isn’t so much about depicting a woman actually being in control, as it is about her embodying what they think their (male) audience  wants her to be like. This is why it is common for Female Dominants to encounter men who expect Us to simply act out their fantasies without little to no regard about our part of the equation. (And, yes, Dominants can also be confused by the fantasy of what they believe they are supposed to be.)

The mixture of not understanding these concepts and the blurring between what is fantasy and what is reality can add to the confusion of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. If you recognize what it means to be Dominated versus being be topped, or if what you are really feeling is a fetish, you will be able to find a more comfortable space in which to explore your kinks and further refine your experiences.

If you would like help figuring out your own kinky identity, I offer high-quality, personalized coaching.

My trip to Europe

I recently vacationed for 10 days in Europe. The itinerary was: Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin, and London.

After a connection in Dublin, I landed in Amsterdam.

I spent the afternoon dealing with some jet lag, but then ventured out and walked to the Red Light District.

It’s very rude to take photos of the women while they’re working, so I’ll only give you a glimpse of a couple of windows behind Me.

MistressTissa_RLD

I visited the Museum of Prostitution.

There were many placards throughout. Such as this one:

MistressTissa_PMProudWomen

MistressTissa_PMWantReject

Sex workers don’t like trafficking either. (Don’t let anyone try to convince you that sex work is the same as sex trafficking.)

According to this museum, when women get “older”, they may choose to become ‘SM mistresses”. Obviously, many women of younger ages always preferred working in BDSM.

MistressTissa_PMSMMistresses

There was a room dedicated to the “SM Mistress”. It included a sling…

MistressTissa_PMsling

…a St. Andrew’s Cross…

MistressTissa_PMcross

…a wall of basic implements…

MistressTissa_PMgear

…and a standing cage (which I thought I took a photo of but apparently did not).

The Cross included this warning:

MistressTissa_PMOwnRisk

The victim’s arms and legs are now spread wide and the mistress is free to do as she wishes” Music to My ears!

Here is “The Story of Kelly”:

MistressTissa_PMControl

While I’ve never provided the type of services implied here, I feel very confident that being a Dominatrix couldn’t possibly be less physically demanding. I would say it may just be differently physically demanding.

There were some quotes from workers that had been painted on the wall:

MistressTissa_PMSexTherapist

MistressTissa_PMFainthearted

I agree with both. This and all other forms of sex work are important work and therapeutic for many. It’s also not for wimps.

On another wall were “confessions”. The museum provides blank cards on which visitors can write their erotic secrets. Then, they are posted for everyone to read. Here is one that We Dommes hear regularly:

MistressTissa_PMStrapOn

I loved this one:

MistressTissa_PMBeautiful

The next day, I went to Demask…

MistressTissa_DemaskNL

So much rubber and not enough Euros!

I did buy something, though. It will show up in a photo shoot soon.

About an hour or so after this photo was taken I began feeling very ill and rushed back to My hotel. I spent the next 24 hours dreadfully ill with food poisoning. The 24 after that I began feeling better but couldn’t eat much. As a result, I had to cancel My trip to Prague and wait it out in My hotel room.

So, I went directly to Berlin instead.

I was greeted in baggage claim with this sign:

MistressTissa_NoBSBank

It almost made up for the insanely slow process of getting My bags. (The plane was literally 200 feet from the claim area, but it somehow took like 45 minutes.)

I appreciated this advert for “Dildo King”:

MistressTissa_DildoKing

Shortly thereafter, I saw another:

MistressTissa_DildoKing2

Thank you, Berlin, for so openly accepting ads for dildos — and right next to “apartments for sale”. <3

Also, the universal impulse to draw-on nipples:

MistressTissa_BerlinNips

I visited Peter Dominie…

MistressTissa_PeterD

They have a lovely store…

MistressTissa_PeterD2

…where I would have bought a couple of things, but, sadly, they did not have My size. (The woman working was very helpful, though!)

Then, I went to Mister B. (I forgot to take a photo of the exterior, so excited I was to get inside.)

I had a fantastic experience at the Paris location, so I was looking forward to what I might find.

I had another excellent experience in Berlin and picked up a few things to add to Temenos:

MistressTissa_MrBhaul

A PVC flogger, a lightweight rubber flogger, and a neoprene open-jaw mask.

That evening, I went to My fourth Roger Waters show for his Us + Them tour. This time I got first row. It was incredible. My favorite of the four. The Berlin audience was friendly and radiated good energy.

There were a few changes from the US leg, one was that during the intermission there were examples of things to #Resist from:

MistressTissa_Waters_Torture

I do enjoy rewarding torture, so, I’m sorry, Mr. Waters, but this one I will have to politely decline. 😉

The next day I headed to London.

Not much kink to report (I did have an almost erotic experience with a delicious veggie burger at Honest Burgers in Soho), but I did engage in My fetish for historical buildings and again walked around Westminster Abbey, this time stopping in the little Jewel Tower tucked behind.

This is one of the windows from this modest 14-century building:

MistressTissa_BowSubject

If you’re My subject, you belong on your knees.

;>

Looking forward to My next trip, where I’ll get to really indulge in My historical building fetish: Rome and Athens next year!

Article: Can kinky sex make you more creative? Researchers claim BDSM can help people achieve ‘altered states of consciousness’

According to the researchers, ‘topping’ is linked to the state which aligned with Csikszentmihalyi’s flow, while ‘bottoming’ is associated with both Dietrich’s transient hypofrontality and some aspects of flow.

The team says these activities also reduced stress and negative affect in the participants, and increased sexual arousal.

While BDSM has long been a stigmatized practice, the authors say the finding support the idea that there are numerous factors driving these preferences that do not relate to mental disorder.

‘The results contribute to a growing body of evidence that individuals pursue BDSM for nonpathological reasons,’ the researchers conclude, ‘including the pleasant altered states of consciousness these activities are theorized to produce.’

[Full article]

Sharing Your Interests Versus Giving a Script

Periodically, when someone requests a session with Me they will give Me a detailed description of exactly how they expect Me to run it. I immediately feel objectified and angry. I feel like they don’t trust My knowledge, My skills, My reputation, and the unique qualities that make Me Me. They are ostensibly seeking a puppet in the show they have written. This is what I call “scripting”.

A script is any detailed instruction about dress, thought/feeling, and/or dialogue. Much like you’d see for a play or movie. It’s purpose is to tell the person how to embody and perform their role. If someone is an actor, for example, this is useful and necessary for them to understand their character, motivation, and the words needed to tell the story. However, not everyone is an “actor” and so these types of instructions are not always appropriate or welcome and therefore may be “off limits”.

In kink culture the term we use to describe something that is off limits is “hard limit”. A hard limit is a boundary that is not to be crossed. If someone says that being whipped with a single tail is a hard limit, guess what? I never whip them with a single tail. I don’t even ask if I can.

Scripts are a hard limit for Me. This means that scripts are a boundary not to be crossed. No, it is not OK to say, “I know you don’t like scripts, Mistress, but can I send one anyway?” A hard limit is a NO. I do not have any interest in someone — usually someone I do not know — telling Me precisely how they want Me to dress, think, and speak. This approach feels like you’re trying to Dominate Me. I’m here to offer My Domination to you, not be subjected to yours.

As a Dominatrix, My role is not to merely be an actor in our scene, My role is to direct it. You do not come to Me to tell Me how to dress, feel, and behave in the same way you do not ask an interior designer to decorate your house and then you tell them — in detail — the way you want each room to look.

Why is this a problem? When you come to Dominatrix (any erotic professional, really) and try to tell Her how to BE, you are ostensibly stripping Her of what makes Her HER in order for Her to be your fantasy of what you want Her to be. This is called “objectification”.

Now, that said,”objectification” is not necessarily a heinous thing. It can be harmless and fun. People commonly objectify others in their personal fantasies. If you’re just jacking off to some fantasy in your head, hey, that’s the privacy of your own mind, but as soon as you take it out of your head and want to turn it into an interaction, it needs to be consensual.

While there are some erotic professionals who are willing to allow a certain level of objectification and take “script”-like requests, such as embodying a fantasy person of your imagination or following a story-line you’ve created, make sure that the person welcomes this before you ask. Do not make assumptions. Do NOT make the mistake of thinking: Woman + erotic play = someone who will be my dress-up doll and I can mold into my plaything. Like Our clients, We have individual personalities, likes, dislikes, and strengths. When you select someone, the point is not just because you like the way She looks, but because She seems like the kind of person you want to have an experience with.

If you’re still confused, here are some examples of scripts:

Script_ex1

Another:

Script_ex2

For clarity, here’s a comparison:

Sharing a script: “Come through the door with a evil look on your face and then come over to me and slap Me in the face before you shove me to the ground and tell me that I’m your worthless dog.”

Sharing interests: “I like the idea of being your pet but being humiliated by you. Maybe punished because I’m not good enough for you.”

Is the difference clear?

In the first, the person is telling Me how to perform and directing Me. In the second, they are just telling Me what they like without telling Me how to do it.

Again, you don’t tell the interior designer how to design; that’s their job.

You don’t need to tell Me how to be a Dominatrix; that’s My job.

All-inclusive Dominatrix

I WELCOME people of any:

Gender ♀♂⚧☿⚨⚭
Sexuality ⚢⚣⚤🔗🛐
Ethnicity/color 🖐🏽🖐🏿🖐🖐🏾🖐🏻
Religion 🕉✡☸☪️☯✝️☮⚛
Age (legal) 👧🏻👨🏿👵🏽👴
Body/ability 😇🤡😺👽👻♿

I have experience playing with people who are…

  • cis men, trans men, cis women, trans women, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, gender non-confirming, etc.
  • hetero men, gay men, lesbians, bisexual, pansexual, queer, etc.
  • African American, Latinx, Arab, South American, African, Caucasian, Asian, etc.
  • Pagan, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Jewish, Hindu
  • ages 18 to 79 (and everything between)
  • voluptuous, skinny, swimmer’s build, muscular, large, tall, short, depressed, anxious, personality “disordered”, autistic, bipolar, PTSD, etc.

You can feel safe exploring and expressing your identity and sexuality, regardless of whatever combination of the above you are.