Thursday, October 06, 2005

So You Want To Be A Pro Domme?
I got another email today wanting to know if I would hire the writer to work in my dungeon, and I decided to write an answer here. That way, every time I get someone asking me this - and it happens at least once a week, sometimes more often - I can just shoot back a link to this one page and be done with it.

Here's the bad news: No, you cannot be my apprentice. No, I will not teach you how to be a pro domme. Yes, I do enjoy teaching people BDSM techniques. But I prefer to do it in small bites, and at my leisure. Teaching someone, from the ground up, how to be a pro domme would be a very tall order. I don't have the time for that, and more importantly, I simply don't wish to. Let me explain why...

First, there are the legal issues. If you’re working for me and you injure someone, they can sue me. If you work for me and you do something illegal, I can get arrested. Now, I managed a “sensual touch” business some years ago, and so I know exactly how impossible it is to completely control the behavior of employees. “Don’t do so-and-so,” I would say, and no sooner did I turn around then, boom, they were doing it. Maddening. I’ve talked to several lawyers about this, all of whom agree with me that yep, if something happens that shouldn’t happen, I’m liable. There is nothing you can sign, no waivers, no releases, no nothing, that can change that. It’s a legal fact.

Then there’s the fact that I’d have to actually manage another person’s schedule. As it is now, I book my time as I please. I can agree to see someone an hour from now on a whim, or I can decide I’m taking a certain day off, and I have no one else to worry about. I like it that way. There have been brief periods where I agreed to let close friends rent out my space on an hourly basis, and even though I wasn’t processing their clients, the logistics of it always turned into an inconvenience for me. It was nice to help out a pal, but life is far simpler as a lone wolf.

Further, I have met a lot of sex workers whose personal discipline and sense of professionalism did not match up with mine. They do exist, of course– but they all seem to be doing quite well in their own businesses, thank you very much. It is not a coincidence that they never asked me to foster them. They didn’t need to. Managing the schedule of someone who was firmly dedicated to punctuality and preparedness would be challenge enough. Trying to corral a flake – and there are a lot of them in the industry - is a howling nightmare.

And the bottom line is – I’m perfectly happy with my arrangement as it is. I like working alone. I have lots of business, more than I need, so I don’t need another person to stimulate cash flow. I can’t think of a single reason why I’d change my professional life.

So, what should you do if you want to be a pro domme? I’ve written about that before, here.

In addition to this piece, the other thing I will say is this – even though we don’t have sex with our clients, professional domination is sex work, and sex work experience will be helpful to you if you start a business as a pro domme. I’ve been an escort, a dancer, and a sensual touch practitioner, and a lot of the things I learned about those businesses were very much applicable to being a pro domme. How/where to advertise, how to screen clients, how to manage scheduling, legal issues, dealing with other professionals, understanding your client’s emotional expectations, sensing when someone is the wrong client for you and dealing with that, and being in touch with your own emotional boundaries and creating ways of behavior that work for you. Sensual touch work, in particular, has a lot of very similar systems of client/practitioner interaction and energy, and can be both a good training for dealing with clients and a good way of generating the money needed to set up shop.

I’ve mentioned this to some ladies who came to me for advice, and once in a while I get a response that convinces me I need not bother giving them any more of my time and energy. “Eww!” they said. “That’s gross, I don’t want to touch some icky guy like that, that’s like being a whore.”

So far I’ve always been too polite to tell them to go fuck themselves, but it always crosses my mind. Blatant hypocrisy has that effect on me. And I wonder how exactly they think they’re going to be pro dommes if touching icky boys is so abhorrent to them, because we don’t do all our sessions a whip-length away from someone. BDSM is an intimate thing. If you can’t embrace the physicality of this, then the only CBT you should be doing is on a computer. And as for whores – well, when you sell your professional time, you have to please your customers if you want to be successful. That’s as true for us as it is for anyone else. If that makes someone a whore, then most everybody in the world is one.

So who is the ideal person to become a pro domme? I think it’s someone who has lots of personal BDSM experience, and also experience in the other branches of the sex industry. I admit that I’m biased on this, since that was my resume.

Second to that, I’d say lots of BDSM expertise is a strong point in your favor even if you've never done sex work. You’ve probably got the required kinky equipment and you know about the psychology. Your challenge will be in learning the business end of things and understanding the emotional challenges of your relationship with your clients.

Third choice would be someone with a sex industry background but no BDSM training. If you’re already in the industry, it’s possible to begin by advertising oneself as a light-fetish girl, doing things like hand-spankings, foot-fetish games and kinky roleplays. The chance of injuring someone with such things is negligible, so vast expertise in BDSM is not so crucial. You can gradually upgrade your advertised skill-set as you learn the techniques on your own time. Ethics would demand that you decline to do anything you’re untrained in.

There. I hope that’s informative for you, the would-be dominatrix. I do sincerely wish you the very best of luck in your journey. This career can be a most rewarding one, and I’m very happy with the choices I’ve made and where I’ve gotten in my life. I hope you come to feel that way, too.

No comments: