I am an aspiring professional mistress and though I am working on learning techniques, etiquette, and the like, I am worried about the legal implications of this line of work. I have looked in many places, but can't seem to find a straight answer. So, I was wondering if you could tell me anything you know about the law in relation to BDSM in Washington state and the Seattle area. Also, I was wondering if you have any advice for a beginner?
Nope, I don't give legal advice. So what I can tell you about the law in this matter is that you need to pay a lawyer to explain it to you. And even after they explain it to you, it's still going to be murky. That's how the law is written - you don't get a simple Ten Commandments, you get a great big mess of codes and definitions and exceptions that's nearly impossible for a layperson to understand. That's how lawyers stay in business.
But you should indeed be concerned about the legal implications. I have met women who thought being a pro domme was a sex worker's "Get Out Of Jail Free" card, and oh, that ain't the case. Pro dommes don't arrested as much as some other kinds of sex workers, but it happens. Take New York City, for example: they had full-on, multi-room pro domme houses going there for years without any real trouble. Recently the political atmosphere changed, and boom, cops came in and shut a bunch of them down. That's how it goes.
We are like strippers, in a way. It's entirely possible to be a stripper, or a pro domme, and not do anything illegal. But it's also quite possible - and even probable - that at some point, you're going to cross a legal line. When you do, you might get arrested for that. Most of the time, you won't. But you can't completely rule it out.
And actually, that's true of a lot ordinary people, too. They break laws every day. There are so many laws about so many things, and they are so confusing and complex, there's almost no way you could not. In the first five minutes if this truly excellent video with Professor James Duane, he talks about how there are thousands upon thousands of laws about crazy things you'd never even think of - but someone did, and there's something on the books about it.
So if law enforcement feels someone needs to be arrested, they’ll find something to charge them with. Whether they get a conviction or not is a whole other issue. However, you definitely need to assume that you might get arrested, and you need to make a plan about how you're going to deal with that personally and financially. If that would ruin your life forever - you'd lose custody of children, or jeopardize a dreamed-of future career, or be disowned by your family - then don't be a pro domme.
Let me also kindly point something out, dear girl, both to you and to the many other women who write me letters just like this all the time. It's a bit naive of someone who lives in my city and plans to practice my art to ask me for general business advice. Technically, I'm your competition, and successful businesses do not stay successful by nurturing their competitors.
Now, I'm not really-really your competition, because I rarely meet new people anymore, and there's plenty of business to go around. But still - if you wanted to open a high-end restaurant with a great view, and you went to the owner of Canlis and asked him for advice, what do you think he'd say? If he were polite, he'd say something like, "Well, it takes time, and you have to work hard." That's about all, I imagine, and rightfully so.
I believe in being courteous to other mistresses, and I absolutely believe in sharing information about physical safety and mental health. But I'm not inclined to give away the hard-earned secrets of my success - I'm actually still using them, thankyouverymuch.
So watch the video. Also, read this. Go here, enter this blog's URL and search for "sex work" and read all the tons of advice I've given about that in the last five years. Then hire an attorney and tell them what you want to do, and listen to their advice. And then make your choices.