I'm A Professional Dominatrix

Sex work has been the making of me, not because it is sex work, but simply because it is work.
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Publish date:
September 6, 2014
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Tags:
bdsm, sex work, patriarchy, weekend, dominance, subvert the dominant paradigm, dominatrix

Around important birthdays, I take a look at the whole of my life. This year, I turned 35, and my birthday reflections have been the happiest yet.

Luck and unearned privilege gave me my health and the relative peace of my little home in wealthy England, but I owe much of my happiness to the fateful decision I made nearly two years ago -- to become a professional dominatrix.

I always had trouble fitting in at school, university and work. I was afflicted with a social blindness; my inept attempts to blend in usually annoyed my peers. I tended to get angry about it rather than sad; I utterly lacked a poker face, which didn't endear me further. I was riddled with anxiety, but I was smart, and privileged. I was also fortunate to find patient and talented teachers, who snuck a good education into my chaotic head.

I barely made it through university, and when I struggled to survive in work, I ascribed it to some ineffable fault in my character. I sacrificed my time and energy to maintaining a facade at work and at home, while depression slowly wore me down. I convinced myself I was happy, but I was hollow.

When I turned 30, I took stock, and realized that kink was more important to me than I would admit aloud. I wasn’t willing to sneak around on an unwilling husband -- or risk getting sacked -- to pursue it. I left my ambitious, respectable job, and said goodbye to a good man who deserved a better match.

On the rebound, I was fooled by a charlatan; I fell in love with what I wanted, more than with him. I moved from the big city to a beautiful but job-poor area to be with him, and when he disclosed that he had cancer and had kept it from me, three months after I had moved in, I foolishly did not run away.

Out of pride and a misguided desire to recover sunk costs, I worked for minimum wage to support myself and this insecure shambles of a man who both hid his illness from others and used it to manipulate and control.

Stressed, isolated and blunted by gaslighting and emotional abuse, I worked the available jobs at cafés, care homes and shops set against the idyllic backdrop of a seaside resort. I never worked the same job for more than a season. Perhaps it was my personality; certainly, my anxiety degraded the quality of my work.

When I finally left the charlatan, my savings had been drained.

For the next year, I lived on the edge of poverty as I rebuilt my life. Ironically, the charlatan had kept us apart from the kink community, and I re-entered the scene with an eagerness tempered by care and concern.

There, I met people from all walks of life, including a few sex workers. Talking to them made me realize that sex work was a legitimate and worthy employment option for me.

I turned to it out of frustration at my inability to synch with the world of work, and out of a wild, optimistic yearning for the freedom of working for myself. I had the aptitude and the inclination for sex work.

In kink, I revel in the reactions of my play partners. Age, appearance and gender are less important to me than those reactions, and I am always looking for the best way to unlock them, from rope to role-play. I knew that I had the flexibility, and I had put in the hours of study and practice to become adept at many forms of kink. As I recovered from abuse, my confidence was coming back, and I felt able to turn on the charm for a customer.

I started out with phone sex. The money was poor, but I learned how to step into a fantasy, and honed my laser-like focus on my partners. Slowly, I built up my arsenal of equipment, tools and costumes.

I also researched the laws on professional domination, and, most of all, I practiced. Yet again, I found wonderful teachers -- teachers who generously helped me out of a love of the craft of kink. After about a year of planning, thought and practice, I set up my studio in my front room, and launched my website.

Now, I have a reliable set of regular clients, and for the first time in my life I have a job that provides me with a decent income and does not absolutely exhaust me and madden me with anxiety. I created that job through my own skills and resources, and without the support or approval of any authority figure.

The space and peace of my life have given me the time to learn and reflect. I am still different, but I have been able to surround myself with friends, comrades and colleagues who respect me. In campaigning for the rights of sex workers and for kink awareness and understanding, I have reconnected with the movements for social justice that were my first spiritual home.

I am no longer worried about hunger or homelessness. I write this in my sunny little garden, while my husband sits inside writing his own book, and my heart is filled with the warmth of gratitude, rather than the ice of worry. I am grateful for the blessings in my life, and I’m proud of myself.

I do not thank a god for these blessings; although I have many good, wise and patient people to thank for their help and counsel, the first person I have to thank for my good life is myself, because I chose it, and I built it, with my wits and my hands.

The ability to support myself has given me resources to work on myself, to become more forgiving and a bit more socially adept. I'm less angry, and more thoughtful. The better me which I built helped me choose my partners more carefully, from a place of strength, and I now have the love and companionship of two amazing people - my wonderful gentleman of a second husband, my soul mate, and my sweet and decent submissive boy, Bunny.

I have taught myself to be my own boss. Although I already had some of the skills to be a good dominatrix in session, I have had to scramble to learn the specialized marketing, sales and development skills required in sex work.

In Britain my work is legal; I've learned how to track expenses and file my own taxes. My filings are likely more interesting than most, but like everyone’s, they have to be on time and correct. Mastering the skills and choices involved in running my own business has been an unexpected, tough and valuable experience, and the skills I have learned are transferable; as a professional writer, I use the same marketing skills, and the same spreadsheets.

Sex work has been the making of me, not because it is sex work, but simply because it is a job I can do well within my own resources. I am not a so-called happy hooker; the trope of the middle class sex worker who is better than the street walker is yet another strategy to divide sex workers, and I reject it.

Sex work deserves respect not because it is extraordinary, but because it is work, and because sex worker rights are labour rights.

My work has its annoying moments, like most work. I have good and bad days, and occasionally, like most self employed people, I'm scrambling to make ends meet.

People are sometimes titillated by my work, but I fight to make my profession as safe, ordinary and uninteresting, from the outside, as that of a bank clerk. That will only happen when sex work is fully decriminalized -- and when moralism and patriarchy disappear.