The SMITH Diaries Project

More Questions & Answers from Mistress Y

July 8th, 2008 by Mistress Y

What is the most satisfying part of what you do as a dominatrix?
As a young sado-masochist, I was self-destructive in my craving for pain. If I had not found the pillars of BDSM, I would have likely ended up dead or in jail, so knowing that when I work with hard core masochists, allowing them to alleviate the need for pain in a safe environment with careful practice that is not permanently harmful, I feel helpful. The same time, I also am selfishly relieved that I have an outlet for my sadistic craving. There is something very gratifying about taking a piece of flesh and twisting it, holding it still, and digging in. Read more »

Ropes & Erotica: Turning on to the Art of Shibari

June 21st, 2008 by Mistress Y

I’m back, writing to you from my dungeon after a long and prosperous school year. I’ve spent my last few months torturing my fellow schoolmates with misplaced modifiers and surveying the professors with a keen eye, determining which ones (female and male) were wearing lace panties to class.

I’ve always loved the idea of student/teacher affairs; it’s a role play fantasy that I have often entertained. In reality, I’ve never latched my fantasy onto any one of my professors. I’ve definitely assigned them Mater or Pater roles in my wanting to meet their approval and favor, but as of yet, my Wet Dream Professor usually resembles the latest movie star that has churned my butter. Cate Blanchett has been making guest appearances as of late.

After I finished my final papers and toasted the completion with my fellow aspiring writers, I took off to Chicago for a BDSM convention called Shibaricon. Shibari is a style of rope bondage that incorporates Japanese aesthetics with erotic intention. Its place in BDSM is akin to yoga in the domain of sports. The low impact, balance and suspension poses and breath-body mindfulness combine for an overall elated effect. Most rope bondage sites are filled with pretty fetish models bound in circus poses. These damsels in distress look good, but they’re a bit like the skinny gymnasts at the front of your yoga class who bend their legs behind their ears and levitate on the tips of their pinkies, while the rest of us are sweating in down dog. But, like yoga, rope bondage is not just for 90-pound contortionists, it can be done on everyone. In fact, after I came back from Shibaricon, I suspended my 77-year-old slave to test a newly learned format that resembles the architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge. I am always more impressed when I see photos of normal-weight men and women in Shibari. Curves and muscles are sexy, especially when accentuated in an asymmetric web of red hemp rope.

I love rope bondage. Read more »

Do You Have Sex With Your Clients? (And other reader questions for the Dominatrix)

December 5th, 2007 by Mistress Y

“So, what do you do?”

The inevitable question springs up time and time again and I assess the situation. If I am in a non-leather environment (and by that, I don’t mean vegan), I make a quick judgment as to whether the conversation will quickly degrade into an annoying interrogation a la Jerry Springer. I don’t usually find myself in those kinds of crowds though. So I answer: “Writer and Dominatrix.” And I ready myself for the questions.

The first question is almost always the same: “How did you get into that?” I’ve answered this so many times, including in my first diary entry in this space, I don’t really need to write a memoir—enough people have heard me expound upon my life story at cocktail parties that it could eventually be a Manhattan oral tradition—The Legend of Y. I would love to become an urban myth, morphing with every storyteller as in the game of telephone. Eventually, instead of being a professional sado-masochist who’s into latex and leather, I’d become a confessional play-dough-pacifist who’s into platex and weather. That sounds even kinkier. Read more »

Slaves Part II: The Face Behind the Hood

September 17th, 2007 by Mistress Y

I instruct the slave to prepare in the small, black room, called the “Pit.” That means that they are to shed their clothes, hang them neatly on the white hangers in the closet, and then to kneel into “first position” to wait for me (a supplicant position, much like the yogic “child’s pose,” forehead to the floor, legs tucked under).

I climb the stairs to the loft nest to get ready: lace into a satin corset dress and zip on leather boots. I reach into a drawer and select a certain, leather hood that has eye covers and removable gag. The leather has been recently groomed and has a creamy, rich smell. My heels click on the hard, wood floor, notifying the slave that I am approaching. I pause by the door, breathe deeply, and set an intention. I open the double, French doors, enter the Pit, and begin.

I trail my fingertips from the slave’s lowered head down the spine, feeling them react to the gentle touch. I tell them my expectations for the session, have them rise to make eye contact, and then I slip the leather over their head. Read more »

Slaves Part I: The “Dirty” Client

August 29th, 2007 by Mistress Y

Slave. Submissive. Masochist. Bottom. Fetishist. Pervert. Slut. Cross Dresser. Client.

Client is the word that makes them squirm. In the general sex industry, clients who frequent escorts, strip clubs, and massage parlors may freely discuss their rendezvous and even pass on referrals to “the boys.” It’s a display of machismo and high capitalism to pay for sex (once in a while); to pay for torture and the denial of sex seems ludicrous to the common mindset. Except in anonymous, specialized chatrooms, BDSM clientele are rarely encouraged or at ease to discuss their experiences with their Dominatrixes. To divulge that they enjoy eroticism without sex would be social castration. I proclaimed in my most recent diary that the dominatrix profession is misinterpreted, underappreciated, taboo, and taken for granted. I would venture to say that clients of the industry are even more marginalized and misjudged. Read more »

The Dominatrix Power Lunch

July 3rd, 2007 by Mistress Y

Once every six months, with the change of New York City seasons, four independent, professional dominatrices meet downtown at a Chelsea café for lunch. I usually send out the calling, as I like to come out of my hermetic shell once in a while to catch up on girl-talk. My lunching ladies are three women who, like myself, have forged successful careers in the BDSM industry, are well-known and respected in the community, and have never turned our whips, literal or verbal, on one another.

I am one of the rare breeds of punctual New Yorkers. This time, I already had my Atlantic open, ordered a cup of hot tea, and was prepared for the wait. The late time for late New Yorkers goes up exponentially when those New Yorkers are (a) wearing high heels, (b) toting children, and (c) my friends. I was close to the last page of my magazine and already browsing the ads for travels adventures to Peru when Mistress T arrived. Read more »

The Kidnapping

May 15th, 2007 by Mistress Y

I arrive at the chic bar in Manhattan’s meatpacking district at midnight. Beautiful fashionistas are mingling with cocktails raised on-guard to their chests, conversing with hyper-expression, laughing on cue. I scan the room and see X standing to the right. He has been watching the door, one hand cupping a short whisky glass, his other shoved into his pocket. He’s trying to look as relaxed as his tall, body builder physique allows, achieving more of a lazy bulldog demeanor. During the normal day, X is a gym trainer to the wealthy, Upper East Side clientele. We joke that we both train CEO’s for a living. He tries to catch my attention, but I walk past him, pushing past a gathering of slinky girls. I don’t know him yet, not by script anyhow. In reality, I’ve known him for over a year. But we are already “in play.” This bar is my dungeon; these party people, my extras.

A month ago, X and I had a meeting at a local café to arrange the details of the abduction scene. Ever since he had met me for our first session, X had conveyed his fantasy of being seduced and taken captive for an extended period of time. X is a bondage enthusiast; he can take my ultimate bondage gear. He is also a well-versed masochist, enjoyable for various kinds of pain, from electrical shock to standard corporal punishment. Read more »

A Cure for Pain

March 2nd, 2007 by Mistress Y

I spent the Chinese New Year with my family, arriving two days ahead at my mother’s home with bags of oranges and orchids for good fortune. During the celebratory feast, we ate the traditional, whole fish symbolizing togetherness (my mother and I split the glutinous head); rice noodles that represent longevity; and Peking style duck devoid of meaning, but just damn delicious.

Dinner conversation was easy and joyous. We talked about the movies we had seen (loved The History Boys) and books we were reading. I didn’t mention The Pleasure’s All Mine, a memoir I had just finished by Joan Kelly, a professional submissive I knew from the BDSM industry. Instead, I talked about the boxing book by Joyce Carol Oates that I’ve been intrigued with as of late. (Interesting how ritualized violence as sport is so much more accepted than ritualized violence as sex). Read more »

On Sushi, Tomato Roses and Race Relations

February 10th, 2007 by Tim Riley

As time passed things veered from the outrageous to the simply comical. Though we’d only developed and tested about half of the enormous menu’s recipes, Ryan moved Brandon and I from the home kitchen to the restaurant. There we were entrusted to set up the kitchen––installing shelves, assembling equipment and doing all sorts of other tasks the owners must have forgotten to contract from the construction company. We were hilariously inept. Even working together neither of us seemed to have the ability to use a level, so our shelves always tended to lean one way or the other; sometimes whole sets would collapse in cartoon-like fashion because of incorrect bracket placement or some similar error. Read more »

Welcome to the Burn Ward

February 2nd, 2007 by Tish

While many things have occurred in my life that have changed how I think, feel and survive, nothing has had the immediate, easy-to-perceive effect on me as working at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas for only two days. At the time, I was sure it was the best thing I had ever done in my life.

It’s difficult to explain, as most things that matter seem to be. I found myself on the phone with my boyfriend the day after my two-day hospital rotation (clinicals) offering a rambling, yet somehow stilted, explanation of working in the BAMC Burn Unit - one of the two best in the country possibly in the world, and a thriving center for burn research. He was surprisingly polite and a good listener, even though reception in the barracks was awful and he was busy. My boyfriend is not the sort to find talking better than working; Considering that it was his final week of school of a rather strange sophomore year, I realize that he must have understood how important it was to me for him to listen to me on the phone for as long as he did.

I would be lying to you if I said burn patients are pleasant people, but it’s fairly obvious why many aren’t: they’re burnt. Plus, they smell pretty bad and are in so much pain that the amount of drugs required to alleviate or relieve their pain leaves many in a constant coma-like state. Nobody except people who are already familiar with their problems wants to look at them, sometimes not even family members.

The only way for most people to survive a major burn is to be tortured in the form of a process called debridement. Here, dead tissue is, in the earlier stages, aggressively removed with brushes, gauze pads, even scissors and knives in order to prevent necrotic (dead) tissue from causing life-threatening infections. Even a simple dressing change - not simple at all and often taking hours - is a form of debridement, as the dressings often pull dead tissue away with them.

My introduction to severely burned patients was when my instructor told me to sit in the Rehabilitation Center. I was surprised at how quickly I got used to looking at people whose healed wounds have contracted to the point that many of their features are no longer recognizable, and who are very frequently missing fingers and parts of arms and legs. A frequent burn deformity was what I liked to think of as “the Claw” - fingers had melted together during the initial injury and were still in the process of being separated, even if it would only help cosmetically. It was also common for the patient to experience difficulty bending elbows or fingers because of severe contracture of the scar tissue - think of it as taking your elbow, bending it and bunching up all the skin on the inside of your elbow. Wouldn’t it be more difficult to straighten your arm? This is because less tissue is available to stretch and adapt. I’d watch physical therapists sit beside the patient and use what appeared to be small buffers with cream or gel on these contractures. I’m still not sure how this helped.

Most of the patients in the BAMC Burn Ward had things far more amazing (and possibly traumatic) done to them than simple debridement. I talked to many patients who had undergone more than 10 surgeries; some have had more than 30, and some 50 due to their extensive, unforgiving injuries.

There was one particularly determined Marine in the ward who had been burned over about 98 percent of his body (I believe the only parts of his body that went unscathed were the very top of his head and possibly his genitals); he had been on the brink of death two or three times since his admission to the ward 15 months prior. He was also a prime example of how a person’s psychological state can affect healing. A nurse told me how once, earlier in his stay, she had taken him out on a walk around their floor of the hospital. The Marine noted a beautiful woman looking out of one of the windows and looked up at the nurse. She knew he wanted to be near her, and his comforts in life were so few she felt there was no way it could hurt to oblige him. She pushed his wheelchair over near the window, maybe five or six feet away from the woman, and walked away to give him some personal space. When the young woman looked over and noticed the Marine, she paused for a moment before she let out an ear-piercing screech and ran away.

I remember the nurse’s face when she got to that part of the story. She conceded that she had been more than a little indignant. “I wanted to hunt her down and slap her in the face,” she confided. “I couldn’t believe that a person could be so cold, especially to somebody as awesome as him. Sometimes I forget how people who aren’t familiar with burn patients react to something so visually traumatic.” She went on to tell me that the Marine had been so hurt by the young woman’s harsh dismissal that he cried intermittently for days, and his previously remarkable recovery declined to the point that he was near death. She said a lot of encouragement was required on the part of the staff - and anyone else who came in contact with him - to bring him back to an emotional state where he could continue his intensely difficult recovery. Even after that, his recovery was no walk in the park.

The Marine underwent numerous surgeries and experimental procedures (BAMC is a burn research center in addition to a ward). One of the most interesting (and difficult) parts of his rehab was a skin repopulation procedure. Cultures of viable skin were made to grow new skin cells. Then, with the Marine suspended a few inches from his bed, the cells were painted over his freshly debrided skin. Remarkably, about 33 percent of these skin cells took - which may not sound like much, but it’s amazing when 98 percent of your skin has been all but destroyed.

I’m self-aware enough to know that I didn’t enjoy working in the Burn Treatment Clinic or visiting the Burn ICU because I love to help people. It’s not that I don’t like to help people, and I think anybody would feel for the patients, what with all they are going through and how much patience they have for the insidiously painful things you are doing to them. For me, the Burn Unit was about the “I can do this” challenge. It’s invigorating. You have the feeling that you are finally doing something. It is not the upper limit of what I want to do with my life, of course - I have newfound respect for nurses and Burn Techs and the like, but I still can’t help to think I can do more than that.

My interests lie in dermatology and cosmetic/reconstructive surgery. I’m not sure which I’m more interested in. Plastic surgery is more glamorous and probably pays more, but it also requires about five more years of school as well as being nice to a bunch of mother-daughter idiots who feel the best way to bond is to get an impromptu nose job. Dermatology sounds a little less exciting, but only slightly, as I’m fairly morbid and skin does all kinds of weird shit, not to mention the family history of the rare skin disorder Darier’s Disease. I know for sure that no matter which route I take, I’ll eventually want my own practice. I loved the hospital, but I also have this (possibly romanticized) idea of what it would be like to have my own my own office, my own small-but-trustworthy staff. I’d try to hire people who have strong personalities, as it seems they connect better with patients.

Of course, that’s not considering the thousands of opportunities to fail along the way. Medical school is hard, it’s expensive. The Army is difficult but inexpensive; they’ll pay for medical school if you meet certain criteria, but then you (supposedly) owe them two years for every year of schooling they paid for. Granted, you won’t go into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt like your friends, but you’ll also have to hold off on that private practice for a long time to come.

The time I spent at BAMC was a much-needed refresher from four long, hard, fairly unrewarding months of Advanced Individual Training (AIT). My experiences assisting medical professionals and performing minor procedures in the clinical setting gave me a good feeling about my desire to pursue a medical career. It’s too bad that my experience at Fort Benning sort of shat all over that a lot of the time. But most people in the Army understand how that works.

Up Next: Rock of the Marne

SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.