The SMITH Diaries Project

Slaves Part I: The “Dirty” Client

Wednesday, 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.

The first assumption that people tend to make about my clients is that they are super wealthy, white, CEO’s with alpha personalities who need to be humiliated and tortured to blow off steam. One theory I’ve heard often is that these financial dictators are seeking punishment for their corrupt treatment of others, as though they are religiously repenting on their knees as I lash them with a bullwhip. Freud has pigeonholed fetishists as the sexually stunted, who erotically commune with objects rather than people. Other psychoanalysts presume that all masochists were abused children and are regressing and reenacting violent episodes. Overall, the general public tends to mock BDSM clients as self-deprecating and self-loathing pervs.

My clienteles’ vocations are of a wide range that include: classical musician, political journalist, world-renowned chef, social studies teacher, opera singer, fireman, ballet dancer, computer geek, government consultant, NASA engineer, university publisher, pro-skateboarder, hip-hop star, bartender, movie celebrity, and yes, the stock broker, lawyer, doctor, and financial dictator. Did I mention the French circus clown?

There is no way to generalize their personalities or to link their characteristics to their fetishes and desires. No “all bondage bottoms are control freaks with dominant mothers.” No “cross dressers are big, macho men who need an outlet to be sensual.” The only general character trait that I would assign all clients is that they have enough courage to address their desires and to seek them out. I am not saying that all clients are self-aware and confident. But if they make it through the dungeon doors, mine or other commercial venues, at least they brave an outlet of time to get in touch with their inner personas and be truthful about it to another person.

Many of the clientele in the industry are “Johns”; that is the anonymous male who gives a fake name when booking an hour session, enters the dungeon with shifty eyes, and leaves in a hurry while still buckling his pants. These clients are the ones who solicit fast-food-domination (see my earlier Power Lunch entry). They are in and out. No questions, not much small talk, minimal interaction. I am pleased and grateful that there are so many Johns and that there is a well-populated Dom industry in New York City that accommodates them. However, as easy and lucrative as it would be to flip a whip and hand a to-go-torture meal to a John, that style of business would burn me out.

I like my clients. I am friends with many of my clients. I love some of my clients as if they were family. And I will confess that I have dated a few of my clients. Many dominas have (whether they admit to it or not). Where else are we going to meet people who aren’t shocked by our profession? I do not suggest that clients seek out romantic relationships from their professional dominatrix though. There are very few stories that end happily ever after—most end with shattered fantasies and hearts stabbed with a stiletto.

I enjoy the unique personalities and backgrounds of every client. While I do have certain rules that must be adhered to, my philosophy of domination is not to squelch every slave into a mold to just be part of a stable, but to draw out the best part of them within the BDSM context. For example, the mentality of training an efficient house servant is far different than guiding a visionquest masochist or binding a bondage enthusiast.

Some masochists and bondage enthusiasts do not relate to submission. They enjoy the sport of extreme physical engagement, but have no interest in kissing my boot to thank me. And that, in their case, is fine by me. However, some of the most adamant “non-submissive” clients have eventually admitted to feeling safe enough with me that they become intrigued with exploring play in submissive form. I don’t pump my ego with thoughts that I have conquered them with supreme skills of psychological superiority. The key element that allows a client to explore vulnerability is trust. They trust me and me, them.

The obvious assumption regarding trust is the exchange of money. They are paying for a service, so why shouldn’t they trust that they will get what they want? But the financial trade is not where the trust stems from. The trust between a client and a pro-dominatrix is rooted in genuine enjoyment, open judgment, and safety.

The word “lifestyle” is used repeatedly in pro-domination and the kink world at large. It is a fad for professional dominatrixes to advertise as lifestyle, as opposed to whipping ass for easy money (not so easy, actually), and yet have vanilla relationships outside of the business. In this context, it seems that the definition of lifestyle is simply the genuine interest and pleasure in BDSM engagement. That would mean that clients, by their mere pursuit and obvious pleasure of kink sessions, are lifestyle. However, when I asked a few of my friends in the BDSM community, I received a much more discerning definition. Michele Serchuk, an erotic arts photographer and S&M educator, explains:

Defining someone as a lifestyle requires two things to be present to some degree:

First, they would be people who have intimate erotic BDSM relationships. They might also have intimate
vanilla erotic relationships. The key element here is, is there intimacy in their SM? Not “Do I pay someone for play,” or “Do I pick up date at an SM party every so often.” …but, with my lover, friend, owner, mistress, whatever … is there intimacy between myself & my play partner(s)?

Second, they’d be someone who is out to some degree about being kinky to the people they’re close to. Not necessarily publicly or to bio-family, but certainly their close (probably non-kinky) friends & absolutely anyone vanilla that they’re lovers/partnered with. Not that it’s your pals’ business exactly what you do when you fuck, but it’s like being gay. Being out to one’s inner social circle as gay or kinky is a general thing, but an important part of who you are if that’s where your intimate relationships live. And certainly being out to vanilla lovers/partners is an indication of whether this is deep with you, lifestyle for you, or not.

As an aside … I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not being lifestyle. Some people don’t have kink deep enough in their blood for it to matter so much. Similarly, I don’t feel qualified to judge why someone should or shouldn’t be closeted about being kinky (or queer). But I don’t think you can say you’re lifestyle if you don’t have kink dynamics in your life on an emotional level, and those who care about you & are primary in your life don’t know that about your identity.

I couldn’t have said it better myself and emphasize an agreement with the aside note: No judgment on closeted kinksters. Clients, though sincere enough about their enjoyment of BDSM to cross socially tangential lines, may have a wife and kids at home who are completely unaware of daddy’s dark side. There are reasons for compartmentalization that I do not presume to understand nor judge. However, there are plenty of clients who explore BDSM in their personal, intimate relationships. These clients are also in the lifestyle of BDSM.

I have many young clients who are in the process of forming their comfort level with BDSM and what it means to them as a whole. I must admit that, though I do not judge the need to compartmentalize kink from primary relationships, I do urge many of my single clients to find intimate partners who are at ease with their BDSM involvement. One young, handsome client told me about his inner conflicts about finding a girlfriend who is into kink. He admitted that he has a hard time sustaining vanilla intimacy. “So be courageous and make kink a priority,” I advised. He can’t. He is an aspiring politician. If a relationship goes wrong, the woman could decide to out him to the press. Yeah, that’s a hard one. Careers tend to be a major reason that many clients don’t explore lifestyle relationships. I wish we lived in a world where what happens behind the bedroom/dungeon doors is nobody’s business. But that is not reality.

There are a handful of professional dominatrixes who come to see me as clients. I guess they must feel comfortable that I post my own declaration online of having been a client to several professional dominas in the past and present. I state with pride—I’ve submitted to some of the best Dominas in the scene and paid their full tribute. Which is my contest with clients who have an issue with being clients? There are people who contact me through my professional advertisement, yet have a problem with the monetary aspect of my services. They feel that they shouldn’t have to pay for sessions, yet still seek my attention. I have negotiated and bartered session time for people whose income really cannot meet my standard without dipping into the milk money. Usually, they make up for the tribute by cleaning my studio or offering other services.

Some are looking to date me with the fantasy that during the date, I’ll lure them into my quarters for tie and torture. My answer: If you meet me through my professional website, then you are soliciting my profession. It is like soliciting a doctor to operate on you for free because you’re a likeable guy. If you don’t want to pay for a professional session then don’t—go to a BDSM event to meet a compatible partner. I will consider sessioning for free when universal health care is established.

I am confident in my profession, but I am wary of hubris or “top’s disease,” a term that applies to dominants who actually believe their role applies to everyone. Dominatrixes sometimes buy into their own advertising hype. I am flattered by my success and feel blessed to have such great clients who are good people around me. I know it sounds contradictory, but one word of advice that I would impart on those who are interested in professional domination is humility. Power exchange is a game, a drama in this kinky theatre. Both persons of the exchange are equal and then establish their roles with consent. When someone comes to me and wants to submit their vulnerability to me, I do not take that submission lightly. To me, “client” isn’t such a dirty word.

Up Next: The Face Behind the Hood

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15 responses

  1. Ahu says:

    Great to read again. It seems you are trying to make BDSM acceptable in the public and society. I’d say there is no reason to judge people by their likings for certain activities or lifestyles. I believe there are reasons for everyone’s likings and actions. Even if the masochist has been abused in his/her childhood, I say it is still legitimate to go through the experience of humiliation and abuse again in a safe setting with a dom to live through it and conquer it maybe. Who says, evrything mental has to be dealt with in counseling sessions and through medication?

  2. Susan says:

    Your writing is resplendent with rationalizations and attempts at self legitimization. The truth is that a dominatrix is nothing more than a drug dealer. The drug dealer delivers a quick pleasure to his/her clients. Not a true earned pleasure, but one that is quick, easy, and unavailable elsewhere. The pleasure is also addictive. That is, eventually a pain is assocoated with the absence of the pleasure, and that pain outweighs the pleasure itself. The dominatrix lures the victim in, introduces him/her to the “pleasure”, with the aim of addicting them. But nothing of value is ever delivered. Only a superficial pleasure that wears off and in its place leaves even greater pain, dispair, and need. Perhaps the drug dealer enjoys an even higher moral standing than the dominatrix. At least junkies have a choice of becoming a client or not; while the dominatrix targets victims that are psychologically vulnerable, sick, and weak, due to the mere fact that their sexual preferences happen to be located on the fringe of societie’s boundaries. Your writing is revealing, for it shows that unlike most in your profession, deep down you seem to understand that you are making a living at the expense of vulnerable people, but that you are fighting hard to admit it.

  3. Ed says:

    Your writing is cold and clinical and makes great arguments. I honestly thought all men who visited Dominatrix were “Power Males”. Now, I realize how pitiful they really are. I bet most were abused as children.
    At first, I felt sorry for the poor pathetic “clients”. How sad to have to pay for this abuse and live with that tag forever: “client”. You have set up that line of demarcation and they will never cross it. But as I read on, I realized they really deserve what they have coming. Poor patheic wretches who live in the shadows. What purpose do they have but to support your lifestyle? For them, paying for attention by being bet up is better than no attention at all. So, it is a “win-win” situation.

  4. Sandrina says:

    This is a great on-going diary. I am a dominant female, also, and I am appalled at the clueless people writing negative responses to this, because it shows their ignorance. The person who writes that clients are pathetic is probably just wishing he could afford to become a client. Negative attitudes are a sign of brainlessness from people who have no experience in BDSM. They are wanna be’s who feel that criticizing the cool clients will make them feel superior. Clients are awesome and I speak from actual real life experience. They have not been hurt in childhood, generally, and they are often handsome and interesting people. Pathetic? Not in the least. But of course, I actually know this, like the writer of this diary, and am not imagining what BDSM is like but living it, instead. Anyone describing a dominatrix as a drug dealer is so unaware of the field of BDSM that I wonder, Has this person an axe to grind, such as a husband or lover who submits to a domme and has made her jealous? I think this diary is right on target, and obviously written well and by a skilled dominatrix. The people writing negative responses are probably jealous!

  5. Vanessa says:

    Mistress Y, I really enjoyed this piece. And judging from the responses you have clearly struck a few nerves. Great authors provoke controversy. I am a strong advocate for freedom of speech so I will not condemn any of those who have made very negative comments about your profession and your clients, however, I will say this to those of you who are in the business of putting down people, look to yourself. What it is about this subject matter that creates such a passionate angry responses in you? Perhaps your time would be better spent looking into your own dark mirrors rather than expending energy in an effort to slam people you do not even know. Perhaps if you spoke from your own experience I could empathize more. For my part, I am a proud client of Mistress Y and I have found great healing through working with her. I have also discovered the power that lies in desire, honesty, and fully expressed(notice her Ed and Susan the word is expressed not repressed.. hint hint) sexuality. I thank you Mistress Y for doing this work in an increasingly socially conservative and restrictive world. Let them throw all the stones they want.. our minds, our hearts, and our souls are our palaces and they will always be free.

  6. Larry says:

    I do not see how attacking Ed and Susan helps your argument. You do not know anything about them either, and even if they are jealous, or have an axe to grind, their arguments are still valid (if it turned out that Einstein had an ax to grind before he came up with the general theory of relativity, would that make the general theory of relativity false!!). If Vanessa wants her mind, heart, soul, to be “palaces that are always free”, she should spend time at the library, learn to better appreciate art, pick up a language, stregthen familyties and frienships, sharpen her mind, etc .. Not visit a dominatrix for GOD’S SAKE! Just imagine, with all the money, and time she has wasted, she could have achieved some of these things and really have become more free, strong, and protected from anybody’s “stones”. Now, all she has is one more useless dependence to pre-occupy her.

  7. Jkemper says:

    As a male submissive I find some of the negative remarks disurbing to say the least I was never abused as a child and I get more than my fair share of woman Somehow submitting to a woman turns me on Lucily for me I found a dominant female that loves me

  8. 7 says:

    First, let me say that I know Ms. Y. She is a sweet, lovely woman, and I salute her for undertaking the task of explaining BDSM to those not involved. But trying to quantify a BDSM relationship, like any other experience based on emotion - love, hate, joy, sorrow - is almost impossible to do. Its just too personal. To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “You know it when you see it.”

    BDSM is misunderstood because people judge it by the implements of the relationship and not by the foundation upon which it is built. People hear about the beatings, bondage and sexual control and say it is the same as an abusive relationship. The abuser beats and controls his victim, they say, just as the Dominant controls the submissve. That is where they are wrong. A BDSM relationship is the antithesis of an abusive relationship and is a relationship built purely on a trust found almost no where else; an abusive relationship, on the other hand, is based purely on the lack of trust. The abuser exploits his victim without thought as to the effect on him or her. The abuser wants to destroy trust.
    But, when, I am bound, gagged and helpless before Ms. Y, I trust she will not hurt me more than she thinks I can endure. With each meeting, the trust grows and grows into an emotion close to love. Ms. Y honors me by hurting me no more than she thinks I can endure. I honor her by trying to endure as much as possible.. It is in many ways a chivalrous relationship, where I respect, love and honor Ms. Y completely without even the hope of sexual relations.

    Lastly, I am a testament to the healing power of BDSM. I was terribly abused as a boy. Although outwardly successful, the inner scars ruined my life. A failed marriage, unresolved anger, addiction to pornography; all were a manifestation of this childhood abuse. Then I meet Ms. Y. Secure under her complete control, I was able to first make disclosure to her, then enter counseling, then discloure to the authorities and finally come to terms with it. The brick of anger I carried through life has slowly dissolved. Now of this would have been possible without Ms. Y.
    No, BDSM is not for everybody, but, for that matter, neither is hetreosexuality or homosexuality. But it is important for all to accept it, to understand it and know it has value.


  9. John says:

    7 - I appreciate your reply, and think it is in ways more interesting and genuine than the author’s piece. But I think your comments suffer numerous logical inconsistencies.

    First, I cannot beleive that the relationship between dom and client is completely chivalrous without even the hope of sexual relationship. BDSM is by definition sexual. The entire scene, from cloths and acts, from start to finish is sexual.

    Second, you claim to to have been healed through this relationship, and that therefore the readers should understand it has value. Here is the problem - I will explain by using and example. The other day I saw an interview of Lance Armstrong on TV - where he claimed that he could never have achieved his success had it not been because of his battle and eventual victory over life threating cancer. Lets us assume that he was thruthful (we have no reason to doubt him), can we then conclude that cancer has great value to society. Should we all start smoking and try to get cancer? Of course not. Cancer is a horrible disease that hurts society. Cancer has no value, it is not for everyone, it is for no one. Likewise, BDSM is basically paying for a form of sexual gratification. It is plausible to do it as long as you recognise it as such, like engaging in prostitution, gambling, drugs, smoking and other forms of entertainment. But it is ridiculous to attach a value to it and claim it is helpful and has healing value, any more than we can claim cancer has value and leads to our success.

  10. B says:

    Mistress Y: Your diary is superb. Thank you for sharing your philosophy, and journey. As someone who is interested from an academic and personal perspective, your insights have been profoundly helpful to me in considering my level of commitment to the kink lifestyle, and what that will entail for my future.

  11. Ahu says:

    Dear All, it has always been great reading Mistress Y’s words. I appreciate her being. Obviously there is a great need for domination in people, she is there to take care of them, professionally with great knowledge about the human mind and physical abilities and boundaries, making it safe for those who want to explore their needs for BDSM. This surely can become an addiction, a healing process, or whatever else humans are capable of.
    In nature we can see that the greater the diversity of life is, the better is the quality of living. The same accounts for all the ways of our being.

  12. Dot says:

    Thank you Mistress Y! I appreciate your intelligent, insightful, and complex stories. I’ll be honest, I don’t completely understand what you do. I do admire your desire to be true to yourself, the honor you give to your clients and their needs, and your willingness to discuss this in an open setting. I found this diary in my search to inform myself about sex workers. My motive is character development for a play that I am working on. I have to say that your diaries have by far been my best source of information. I may not completely understand what you do, but I am hard pressed to believe ill of your work. Hey, it takes all kinds.

  13. Josh Lewis says:

    Without a long post, I enjoyed this piece as well as your others. The psychology behind it was thought provoking for the lay and informed I think. It’s a little known fact but in the Army,(I’ve been a soldier for six years), sexual deviation is frowned upon and punishable by uniform code of military justice, not including the mental pressure in super macho indoctrination. I felt something wholly enthusiastic about my sexually after I read this provided in a professional manner on the border of jumping out and eating me alive. Ha. The short short was highly enjoyable. Thanks.

  14. strike says:

    John - Your example is a faulty analogy. In the case of 7, you assert that the “cancer” is his use of BDSM. This is a flawed comparison. The “cancer” is 7’s childhood abuse. BDSM, more specifically Mistress Y and her relationship with 7, would more accurately be analogous to radiation or chemotherapy (or other cancer treatment). Are there many ways to treat cancer? Yes, there are also many ways to treat lasting psycho/emotional damage. Just as a cancer patient could choose from a range of traditional herbal therapies, body work or allopathic chemical and radiation therapy to treat their cancer, 7 could seek out psychoanalysis, therapy, group sessions, medication, etc. to treat the emotional wounds of childhood abuse. He has chosen BDSM play, which began his healing. Is this a mainstream approach? No. Neither is drug cocktail for cancer, yet it is being successfully implemented by people all over the world, much to the medical establishment’s chagrin. Who is to say BDSM play is an any less effective treatment for the psychological wounds (whatever may have caused them) of those who participate? Certainly not strangers who read comments on blogs and immediately make assumptions about what is best for the writers.

    The foundation of your error is a common one - mistaking the nature of the individual for a pathology. For example, the historical perception of homosexuality as an aberration or perversion is based on this misconception. While there are valid psychological arguments for classifying a pedophile or bestialist as perverse (they are examples of a lack of empathy or psychopathic urges), homosexuality, transexuality, bisexuality, and any other “sexualities” are merely expressions of the nature and experiences of the individual. They are neutral in character, having no impact on those not directly involved with the individual in question.

    After reading of 7’s experiences with finding peace after childhood abuse through BDSM (we have no reason to doubt him), I’ve realized that BDSM could be considered a prophylactic against the cancer of abuse. The uneducated but seeking submissive can find a safe, trusting environment to express the part of themselves that might otherwise tempt them into dangerous, abusive relationships. I had never really considered the idea, but it makes sense, from a psychological standpoint.

    On a more appreciative note, I’d like to thank Mistress Y for her excellent journal - I have personal reasons for researching BDSM, and your entries have really helped me come to terms with some of my discomfort. I see now that this is an integral element of personality, and that, far from being an expression of “the dark underbelly of the soul”, it is a rare and intriguing look into the diversity of human experience.

    - strike

  15. Ahu says:

    HI Y, hi guys, In recent times I have travelled further down the road of self development. I think it becomes more and more simple. There are humans that may be very dominant, sadistic even, others are submissive, masochisitic. Let us put aside their reasons for being who they are. In life, we may want to develop our character, want to live our life the way we feel best, and can give our best. If we have kinky intentions, desires etc, we can chose to believe there is something wrong and go to a shrink. This person will, in most cases, have no experience in BDSM and therefore will apply his/her psychological background knowledge and common therapy approaches to get the ‘patient’ back to functioning regularly within the frame of common society-in western countries. I think it is great to have the opportunity to work/play with someone like Y to explore oneself in a safe environment. Honestly, there is really no need to always judge the things others do or the believes others have, as it serves only one purpose-defending everything that may give us fear.

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