“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.”
One of my Sisyphean challenges in life is to demystify the myth of the Dominatrix – to fill out the missing gaps and one-dimensional characteristics that permeate our culture. The unique histories of Dominatrices inform their brave work and pioneering spirit. If you could look closely, (where are the stats anyway?), you would see an illustrious array of talent, skills, philosophies, and courage.
Like many other professionals I know, I too, have a unique history. Raised urban poor, I went on to obtain the first High School degree, and eventually a Master’s, in my family. Literary and theatrical studies combined with extensive pedagogical experience continue to inform my work as a BDSM lecturer, educator, and writer. Years before I would begin to fully understand my own leanings towards Female Domination and BDSM practices, I wrote my graduate thesis on “Subversive Practices in Feminist Performance Art”. Further, like many of my colleagues, I may not fit the stereotype of the Hollywood-produced leather cat suit clad man-eating vixen, but I have practiced the art of Domination with intention and commitment for many years.
The media stereotype of the Dominatrix is rather one-dimensional. The infiltration of SM culture into mainstream society leans primarily towards the fetishistic and aesthetic aspects of BDSM culture, avoiding any deeper underlying issues to the person and her work. In “real” life, Dominatrices are generally stunning; though not always mainstream beauties. We often stand out in a crowd because we tend to be individualistic, living life to the fullest and more often than not standing out as a leader – the one to take control in any number of ways.
I’d love to see more research done that would illuminate the complexity of a profession that has been misrepresented and misunderstood societally. Like within most professions, a spectrum of representation exists, eg, not all lawyers are bad and not all police officers are good. The Dominatrix also has many layers to her persona, and I have been pondering the many variations exist for some time.
Here is a partial list of some of the different types of Dominatrices, with basic names that I came up with off the top of my head, many of which can overlap with each other, and others that never mix.
The Domestic Disciplinarian: Could be your Aunty or Woman next door, until she puts you over her knee.
The Medical Specialist: Plays Doctor or Nurse to perfection.
The Rubber Mistress: Has all the rubber clothes and gear you could possible imagine.
The Goddess: Demands worship.
The Fetishist: Fetish is her motivator.
The Bondage Mistress/Top: Loves rope and knows how to use it.
The Whip Mistress: Whip wielding from single tail to cat o’ nine.
The Predator: Hunts you down and take you down.
The Philosopher: Keeps you in line with her words and ethics.
The Classic: Domestic Disciplinarian, Whip Wielder, Bondage Expert and more! The General Practitioner, (also with specialties) of Dominatrices.
The Good Girl Gone Bad: Looks angelic or like the girl next door.
The Seductress: Casts her spell to entice you.
The Counselor/Guide: Takes you where you need to go.
The Emasculator: Wants your balls, you don’t need them.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive and as I began noting all the variations I realized that not only are there so many types, but that many of us embody any number of Strong Female Authoritarian Archetypes within our Dominatrix Personas which we invoke when appropriate to the scene: Queen, Priestess, Warrior, and Mother to name a few. Just because a Dominatrix self-presents in one archetypal role does not mean she cannot employ another type when necessary however, the Bondage Mistress can care for her bound subject in a very Maternal or Motherly way and once the Predator has captured her prey, she can employ the Goddess to finalize her objectives. Conversely, it would be quite useless for the Whip Mistress to whip the Domestic Discipline client as a Medical Specialist while wearing a black rubber cat suit. Not only do the genres not go together, but the Domestic Discipline aficionado’s needs will not be met and no catharsis would ensue leaving the session flat and ineffectual.
I have often said that Dominatrices are Psychic Waste Managers, encouraging people to excavate parts of themselves that society deeply discourages: the primal sexual selves. If the libido is not allowed to emerge in a positive creative way, it can be destructive. I also say that the sacred and lascivious are flip sides of the same coin. Knowing who you are as a Dominatrix and how to go about employing different aspects of your self in the work helps achieve therapeutic results with your clientele. There is an old adage to the profession, we may not be therapists, but the work is therapeutic. Knowing oneself in Domination is particularly crucial because of the nature of psychosexual work. Libidinal drives inform our every movement, hence the work itself elicits the question of what drives us sexually. Personally, although I love whipping, I do not consider myself a whip Mistress. When I see my esteemed Whip Mistress colleagues doing the dance of fire and precision, I am truly humbled by their abilities. Would I desire to be them? Yes, but honestly, I must honor my primary arousal in order to be a better Dominant. I suppose I am an Archeologist of BDSM. I love exploring and excavating psychosexual terrain, and the whips and other accoutrements are simply tools that help me unearth buried artifacts.
In examining difference, we must also examine similarity. We Dominatrices all have sadistic streaks, or at the very least enjoy giving pleasure – and if a masochist seeks pain for their pleasure, we are happy to accommodate. We also, ideally, have hard skills in Domination, be they rope rigging, electro-play, or whip wielding. Often motivated by deep fetishistic desires, we all care about our clientele in a professional fashion. Dominatrices have many similarities but perhaps only one commonality: whatever the archetype or role that we play, we need to push our subjects and ourselves a little deeper into the dark so that we all may extend our psychosexual travels a little further, returning each time with a bit more knowledge and a lot more savvy.