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It was 2007 and I was working in a commercial dungeon in NYC. I was still very green. With the dungeon being busy and full of clientele, I was thrown to the wolves and had to figure out how to get into the heads of my submissives FAST and then within sometimes only minutes, weave a BDSM scene that would blow their minds. How is THAT for pressure? That is enough to give someone anxiety issues. I was barely 23 at the time and expected to pull off feats of grandeur in only a few moments with someone I have never met or spoken to before. This was NOT easy, as you could imagine, and is not the preferred method of any BDSM player. How does anyone expect people to do that kind of a thing? Oh we were expected to do that, and in fact it is the norm for commercial dungeons and how things go. Can you imagine having to do that? Can you imagine having to do that several times in one day? Multiple days per week? If it sounds insane, it is probably because it is. In order to attempt this very crazy magic show, you had to "crack" your submissive's hard external wall and crack it fast, and eventually break the whole wall down altogether. Their external wall can consist of any of the following combinations of things: -Guilt -Shame -misunderstanding of terminology about their own kinks -nervousness -fear of being hurt or put in a bad situation -fear of being there in the first place (dungeons are scary!) -fear of the session not going right due to previous bad experiences -fear of not getting home in time and someone finding out. This wall can keep a person quiet and leave a lot of important information we need to know out of their initial contact with the dungeon manager AND with us. It is difficult to play with someone who is a "stiff" (unresponsive, confused) so we have to crack that shell and get to the information that we need in order to make them comfortable and the appointment fun...or neither of us is going to have a good time. Before the appointment begins, we attempt to bust down that wall as much as possible, the rest follows as you go into your playtime. Asking lots of the right questions, reading body language and going slowly is key to doing this. You also want the person you are playing with to be as comfortable as possible. The more comfortable they are, the more they will open up about the desires they have and experiences they have that they didn't previously mention. Once we get to what is behind that shell, we can take the playtime into the direction we know will be best and try things we feel we can try, eyes always on you, always scanning, reading, trying to pick up on any sign that what we are doing is good or bad until we have you all figured out. In professional BDSM, there is almost never "safe wording out" and ending a scene altogether. That happens when something is extremely bad, such as someone coming into the dungeon after someone close to them has died and assuming a session of extreme pain will make them feel better. IT WON'T. Guess what happens next.
Someone is paying for an experience. If something is off, you must perform voodoo magic to save the appointment and take it into a different direction. You might have to do that more than one time throughout an hour. You usually do it without the person even noticing that you are changing anything. They will often say afterwards in their thank-you email that they swear you had read their mind. You kind of did (more on that later). This process gets easier as time goes on and experience is gained. The cracking becomes almost effortless. (Most Pros I know do not even play with safe words because we are always scanning people every minute and reading them and have never had much use for them due to this reason). When someone opens up to you about themselves and their kinks, it is a very vulnerable time. They are showing you something they have a lot of shame about and guilt. If they didn't, they would have simply stated those kinks up front when they first contacted. Instead, they kept them hidden. We are very used to people opening up about and crying hysterical over the shame and guilt they feel about their BDSM activities, activities that we just partook in 2 days ago with a different submissive who was smiling and whistling and had no issues at all partaking in. People all have different experiences and process things differently. They come from different backgrounds. Through these "cracking" mechanisms, you might feel that we are some sort of snakey people! It couldn't be further from the truth. In having to pay so much attention to a human being, in asking so many questions, you see into their very soul. You learn: -acceptance -patience -compassion -understanding Professional Dommes are hated by society and even hated and misunderstood by lifestyle groups due to people not fully understanding what it is that we do. In my first few years as a professional Mistress, I have had many instances of men crying on my dungeon floor and in my lap, men who were ashamed of their kinks. Men who have been told by wives or family members that they need to find Jesus or are going to hell. These men are not always on websites such as fetlife, or at your local munch, out and proud with the rest of you eating disco fries discussing R.A.C.K. topics. These men are not chatting it up on MaxFisch.com with other men who are interested in toilet slavery and sharing their professional dungeon or lifestyle experiences. These men are alone. And ashamed. And there are so many of them. And some of them are suicidal over it. We are constantly educating people about how their BDSM interests are normal, fun, and shared by lots of other people. Seeing us validates that they are not alone in what they enjoy and that there is nothing wrong with it. (Thank you internet for playing a HUGE part in this for future generations). When someone told me that my talks with them opened their eyes kept them from ending their life, that was when it really hit home that what we do is much deeper than I realized. I never knew I could make such a difference to someone who I barely knew, yet I knew him more than anyone did. When a man cried his eyes out after worshipping my feet for merely 10 minutes, the first time he was ever able to do that at 53 yrs old after his wife told him he was disgusting for wanting to do that when they were married in their 20s and gave him massive issues over it that he has struggled with for 30 years, you realize that your existence matters. When you take the time in your play appointments to teach people about themselves and about their submission and help them reach goals and try things they never thought they would be into, it matters. A lot. Especially when people are coming from a place where they feel like disgusting freaks for wanting to be a slave or simply just enjoying pain. Being a professional dominatrix means that there is consistent time put into doing that for someone. Being "hired" does not mean that you are going to teach anyone anything, but most of us actually do. Because we take this very seriously. It is because of who we are and what we do and how comfortable we make people feel that they are able to open up and become who they really are. It is because of us that some people are able to get the help they truly need if they are in a bad situation. Two men attended The Order Of Indomitus (a femdom event I throw) to help them get through some traumatic and terrible experiences in their lives. I am happy to say that they are both in better places and in touch with kink-aware therapists and doing wonderfully. The professional women there were able to "crack" them and get through to what was inside and enable them to begin the work involved that goes towards their healing process. We might get paid, but we change lives, we even save them. Teachers get paid. Doctors get paid. Emergency responders get paid. Therapists get paid. We make a difference to so many people, we spend lots of time with people outside of clocked dungeon hours. What happens in our sessions, stays with people forever. I feel joy when someone accomplishes something they never thought they could in our playtime. I feel joy when someone finds the courage and leaves their partner who treated them with disrespect because of their need for kink in their lives. I feel joy when I can connect a submissive male to another submissive male for guidance who has just gone through a similar issue or situation. I feel joy when someone says to me "if Mistress ___, my Domme, never did the things she did 15 years ago, I would have probably killed myself by now." We are yanking canes out of the hands of the people at parties who are hitting people in the kidneys. We are telling people that their BDSM relationship is abusive. We are the ones who are suggesting kink-aware therapists to those who need it. We are the ones sending endless article links and books to our submissive clients even if it means not ever seeing them again and losing income. And every day we are labeled as people who don't give a shit, people who are after a dollar sign, people who should never teach a class despite having fuck-tons more experience than the lifestyle-only presenter at ____ event (sometimes). What the hell do we know? I have been asked to leave fetish parties for being a professional mistress with my slave despite not ever saying one word about my job or asking anyone for pay for play, EVER. Just because someone recognized me and threw a fit. This has happened multiple times. I have been told that Pro Dommes like myself should never teach classes because we have no "lifestyle experience (WTF?)." I have been booted from various online fetlife groups over the years for just BEING a Pro Domme. I am not allowed to discuss slavery, safety, or share experiences for the sake of education despite not discussing financial exchange or my job or using the word "session" in any way shape or form. (This is usually why I post in the same few groups and barely post at all, mostly write). When we learn to crack that shell, and do an appointment by the seat of our pants, we learn a lot of other things too, from all of the close monitoring. We learn to read body language, tone of voice and facial movements very well. We can tell when people are lying. We can tell when people are uncomfortable. We can tell when people are at the edge of their pain threshold but can do a bit more. We can tell when people are upset. When they are angry. When they are hiding something. We are lied to every single day, for years. Everyday, people hide truth from us or just blatantly lie. We see patterns. We see know when someone says 1 thing, another specific thing most likely will follow. We can see insecurity and immaturity very quickly. We can usually tell in 2 minutes the type of person you are going to be in a room with us for the next hour. We know the issues you have before you say them. We can usually guess going on a very small bit of information. We are not super-smart, or super human, just repeatedly conditioned. Our livelihood depends on deciphering lies. Your SAFETY in our session depends on us deciphering lies and getting to the bottom of what you really are into despite the lies you tell us and the wall you put up. We know your Grandmother didn't die and that's why you couldn't make your appointment. We know you didn't have car trouble last week, but really did have car trouble 2 years ago. We know you aren't showing up for your 6pm appointment. We know you are not telling us about your desire for forced-bi activities because you feel ashamed. We know you really want to get ass-fucked with a strap-on and called a cum-dumpster but are afraid of putting it into words because you have insecurity issues that you hide underneath a big macho ego. We know admitting what you just did was extremely hard on you, and we are proud. We can tell that you dealt with past abuse. We aren't always correct, but pretty fucking close. Usually BDSM players in a lifestyle setting have time to discuss these aspects, time to get to know someone. We have minutes. And sometimes it's within these few minutes that we are able to break through barriers people had up for years and save people. But we know nothing. And don't deserve respect. My job as a now independent Mistress is way different from my commercial dungeon days. People book me in advance. I still have to decipher lies and break down walls. These days it's much easier, second nature and I have all the time in the world to do it and can take my time. I know that when you come through that door you are afraid. I know you were late because you were chickening out but then changed your mind and weren't lost on the road. Lost people call to say they are lost, not stare at the floor terrified saying they were lost. I know you want to be broken under my whip. It'll take a long time to get there. You have a lot of guilt over your feelings. You are very ashamed of your desires. I can tell. I will help you see the light. Soon you will be sobbing in subspace, broken, happy, having suffered, truly suffered for a dominant female, something you dreamed of since you were a child. We will get there. That moment will be something you remember for the rest of your life. And so will I. We help people. Constantly. We get through to people. We give people a safe outlet to be themselves. We teach them about themselves and we help them grow in their kink. We even give lifestylers a place to be their "other selves" when they cannot be themselves in their own lifestyle. This is why what we do is so important. This is what professional domination IS.