BDSM as business: Interviews with Dominatrixes
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Whether the Civil War, World War II or the Iraq War, it can be challenging to face how conflict penetrates the psyche of a nation and surfaces in the nuances of life. There are thousands—if not millions—of individuals who indulge in fantasies others would deem perverse that have their nascence in some of the darkest moments of human history. It is possible someone you know pays a person to dress like a German Nazi to treat them like a “dirty Jew”, or to force them to pick cotton off the floor like a slave.
An S&M dungeon is a place where these individuals act out such taboos. Businesses that operate to meet their needs are often hidden, but they do exist and are typically legal. The clients want to remain confidential for fear of ostracism in their respective communities. As Sigmund Freud wrote, "Anyone who has violated a taboo becomes taboo himself because he possesses the dangerous quality of tempting others to follow his example."
Last week Wikinews published the first in a two part series on the BDSM business: an interview with Bill & Rebecca, the owners of Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber. This week we publish the second part: an interview with three dungeon employees, Mistress Alex, Mistress Jada and Mistress Veronica. In their world, BDSM is a game, a harmless pursuit of roleplaying exercises that satiate the desires of the tabooed. These Dominatrixes are the kind of women men fantasize about, but they all look like they could be babysitting your children this Saturday night. Most likely, they will not be.
Mistress Alex has a distinctive sheen when David Shankbone walks into the room. Her moist skin cools quickly from the blow of the air conditioner she stands in front of. Just having finished an hour and a half session, she is dressed in a latex one-piece skirt and matching boots. Mistress Jada, a shapely Latina dressed in red, joins the conversation and remains throughout. When Alex needs to tend to a client, Mistress Veronica, who looks like she would be as comfortable teaching kindergarten as she would "tanning a man's hide", takes over for her.
The interview was neither sensational nor typical, but what you read may surprise, repulse, or even awaken feelings you never knew you had. Below is David Shankbone's interview with three Dominatrixes.
David Shankbone: How did you get started as an S&M Mistress?
- Alex: I’m from California and I started out by playing in various fetish clubs and I had different play partners. I just kind of dabbled in my personal life. When I moved to New York a few years ago, I was doing the same thing with friends and I realized I was getting bored hanging out with the same people all the time—they became good friends, but I met another pro-dom. I was talking to her about it and realized I could end up experiencing so many different things in a place like this. And it’s true. I meet so many different people who are into all these different things. I’m all about variety.
DS: Does BDSM turn you on?
- Alex: The majority of the time I don’t get any sexual pleasure out of it. There are going to be times in session because of the way I’m dressed…
DS: Outside of work is it something that is an interest of yours?
- Alex: A little bit, but definitely not the majority of time.
DS: Did it start out that it was a turn-on and then you just moved on?
- Alex: Yeah, because I’m very experimental by nature. I love learning about things, and I imagine you are the same way because you do all this research on different topics!
DS: True; tomorrow I’m talking to a Presidential candidate and the President of the ACLU.
- Jada: Huge transition!
DS: Maybe not as much as you think! [Laughs]
- Jada: [Laughs]
- Alex: [Laughs] I would love for you to combine these two things and bring in that Republican candidate here, and then perhaps we could…somehow it would be very satisfying.
DS: So BDSM is something that you had a curiosity about, experienced it, you realized you had a talent, and made it into a profession?
- Alex: I realized I was good at it and I enjoyed it; I enjoyed the variety and the different people I was hanging out with, people like Jada. It’s much better than just playing.
DS: How did you start, Jada?
- Jada: I always had an interest in S&M. As a teenager it was one of those things that I didn’t know exactly what it was, but I was always into the fetish, the kink, the tying up, the doing all sorts of different things. Then I was in a relationship where there was no communication. It was going down the toilet [giggles].
DS: Was it an S&M relationship?
- Jada: Just a regular relationship. There was no communication going on, nothing happening, no intimacy, and after awhile we were literally at the point where we were going to break up. I was going to break up with him, and then he told me had a bondage fetish. So I was like, “Fine, okay! That’s perfect, if that’s the only problem that you have, you know, let’s do this!”
DS: Is that why things were going down the toilet, because he had that desire and he wouldn’t express it?
- Jada: Yes, he had expressed it in previous relationships, and because he expressed it he was seen as a freak. “How dare you! That’s the equivalent of rape!”
DS: So he learned not to express it and that caused him to not communicate…
- Jada: Exactly.
DS: And he just assumed you were somebody who—
- Jada: —would be that same way. Someone who wouldn’t be into it and be like, “How could you even think something like that? That’s gross, that’s disgusting!”
DS: So here you were thinking he hated you, but really he just had—
- Jada: —this one little thing, this one little fetish that really isn’t a big deal.
DS: Are you still with him?
- Jada: Yes.
DS: Had you ever done explored BDSM before, or was it a new thing for you when he expressed it?
- Jada: We played a little bit, because I’m just kind of kinky like that, but he never said anything. He said nothing. So I didn’t know what was going on or what the problem was, until he finally told me he has a fetish. From there we went to a film shop on 42nd Street where all the porn can be found, and we found some fetish videos on bondage. It just developed from there, and I started enjoying it more and more, and I wanted to know more about it on a psychological level than anything else. So I started to become a dom. I saw an ad on Craig's List.
DS: How long ago was that?
- Jada: About two years ago. I decided if I am going to learn more about it I should learn from the pros! [Giggles]
DS: And how long have you been doing this, Alex?
- Alex: About two years, also.
DS: How long do you see yourself doing this?
- Alex: I think I will always do it somewhat. Professionally? There’s going to be an end. For myself, I usually like to do things in blocks of a few years.
DS: I’m very much the same way.
- Alex: Yeah! So I could see…I can’t imagine it anytime soon because I’m actually really happy with the way things are going right now, and I can’t imagine spending less time here. But I imagine I will probably go down to just one day a week or I will be distracted by something else because I will be traveling or something. So that’s for me. I don’t know how much research you’ve done on the sex industry…you can’t really compare it with the sex industry, in places where women…it’s not like that; there’s really not an expiration, which is nice. I think that might be a misconception.
- Jada: In that sense, older Doms are actually more respected.
- Alex: Yeah! Some are more sought out, they have experience. It’s across the board; people have different types and they want different things. That’s really nice. It’s not really an issue as it is…
- Jada: Like if you were a stripper or something like that. You can’t be a forty year old stripper; whereas a 40 year old Dom is like a Godsend!
- Alex: I don’t know if people really know that. And there’s people like The Baroness, who is older, and she is very much involved in the scene. Although I don’t know if she’d consider herself professional.
DS: How long do you see yourself doing this, Jada?
- Jada: I honestly couldn’t say. It’s the same thing.
DS: It’s open-ended, but you do see it coming to an end at some point?
- Jada: Well, yeah, all things come to an end at some point no matter what’s going to happen. It’s always going to be something I enjoy; I took a break for a couple of months and then found myself coming back because I missed it. It could be the same thing. At any given time I could suddenly be like, “You know, I’m not sure.”
What they get asked to do
DS: What would be a typical request?
- Alex: I don’t know if I can really say that, because everyone is so specific. I mean, there are things you get requested for much more often, like foot worship or boot worship.
- Jada: Yeah.
- Alex: That’s something that comes up a lot…
- Jada: And even if it’s not, you tend to incorporate it. [Giggles]
DS: What happens in a foot worship session?
- Alex: It’s again, even though it sounds straight-forward, and I could see where people would think foot worship is one thing, but it manifests itself in so many different ways. Some people like to be stepped on with feet, some people just like to look at them, others like to lick boots, some like to kiss toes, some like to rub feet—
- Jada: Some like to give pedicures.
- Alex: It’s kind of endless. As many individuals as there are, they have a different approach to it. And that’s what I find fascinating. I always wonder, and sometimes ask them.
DS: Are your reactions scripted by them, such as whether you act disgusted or happy?
- Alex: Definitely. Some people make requests and say things like, “I like it when my Mistress is very strict with me”; others say, “I like it when it is just more conversational and when you are just being real.” Jada and I have sessioned together, and I think we are both pretty intuitive and even if they don’t say, we sort of pick up on it.
- Jada: Certain vibes that you get from
- Alex: Body language, or how they’re reacting.
DS: What do they talk about with you?
- Jada: Oh, it can be a various number of things. Just about everything.
The psychology of S&M
DS: Do you feel like therapists?
- Jada: Definitely.
- Alex: Absolutely. My last client—and I feel kind of bad, because he was willing to take a picture for you with a hood on, but I got really into the session and I wasn’t thinking about you! I’m sorry!
DS: [Laughs] That’s okay.
- Jada: [Laughs]
- Alex: But, he has an S&M relationship with his wife, and he has seen Mistresses in the past, and he said that he needs a masturbation therapist. “I’m masturbating too much and I’m not able to please my wife when she wants to be pleased, and I want you to discipline me!” That was an hour and a half session. We talked about his masturbation for half an hour, and I asked him, “Now you’re not going to go out…when are you going to masturbate next?” He said, “Not this week.” And I was like, “Yeah!” To be honest, it’s different for everyone and I don’t care. [Laughs] I don’t personally care when people masturbate, to be quite honest.
- Jada: [Giggles]
- Alex: But he felt like this was not the relationship he wanted with his wife, he wanted to tell me about it, and he didn’t want to talk about his wife in session.
DS: Do you ever get bored listening?
- Alex: Oh, no! I find it fascinating because everybody is so…
- Jada: I think if you’re really into it, you never get bored.
- Alex: I get bored when people are arrogant. Sometimes people will top from the bottom, and that bores me. Or if they are not honest.
- Jada: Yeah, if they are not honest.
DS: Is it pretty obvious when they are not being honest with you?
- Alex: I think so.
- Jada: Yeah, when you’re doing session you are definitely capable of finding out when they are being honest with you.
- Alex: I ask them questions, and sometimes when I feel like that, I’ll start interrogating them so that they’ll make a mistake because I want to really know what is going on in their head if they are not letting me know. That kind of pisses me off a little bit.
- Jada: Exactly.
[Rebecca comes in and tells Alex she has a client for her to meet, so she has to leave shortly]
- Alex: I’m probably going to have a session, it sounds like. But I just wanted to make that point about checking in where people’s heads are at; that’s something that is very important to me. I think that is for a lot of people, although I don’t want to make generalizations because people are in the industry for a lot of different reasons. But for me, I find it fascinating where they start out, where they finish. Like this guy who was just here, he wants to come back on a regular basis and discipline himself. He wants to make his life better; he wants to become a better person. You don’t get people who come in here that often saying that.
- Jada: It’s really rare you get people saying that.
- Alex: I’m still high from the session, because of that conversation we had and he thinks this is going to make him a better person.
DS: That you are going to help him.
- Alex: Yeah, because he feels that way. I don’t know if this type of thing…it definitely wouldn’t help everybody out there, but it helps some people.
DS: The people who see you, it does help them.
- Alex: Well, yeah, you know, for some people it is just a means to an end—it’s the only way they can get off, or whatever. I don’t judge anyone. But I find it really fascinating, all the different types.
DS: Are they typically embarrassed when they first start coming in here?
- Alex: Some are, and some aren’t.
- Jada: Yeah, some are and some aren’t.
DS: Depending on their experience or their comfort level?
- Alex: I think it depends on how people have reacted to them in the past, as you can imagine.
- Jada: Like the guy I was seeing. He was originally very nervous.
- Alex: Yeah, he was probably embarrassed.
- Jada: We’ve had a few people come in, get nervous, and are like, “I…I…I don’t know what I should say, or what I can tell you.”
DS: How do you make them feel comfortable?
- Jada: Anything they have to say, you’ve heard it before! [Laughs]
- Alex: Yeah, sometimes they are like, “Oh, this might sound weird…” and I’m like, “Trust me, it doesn’t sound weird!” Not to make them feel like they are one of a thousand. I try to let them know that I appreciate their being honest with me, and I find it interesting.
DS: What do you think in your own histories has made you so non-judgmental?
- Alex: Well, that would be getting into personal information I wouldn’t want to talk about.
- Jada: Yeah. You can’t be judgmental in this industry. You have to be open-minded.
DS: Alex, do people ever come in with fantasies that are Iraq War-related.
- Alex: I haven’t.
- Jada: I’ve had some like that. There have been a few fetishes that are racial play, or war related. Nazis.
- Alex: People come here with things to work out. Maybe they’ve been traumatized or maybe they have some issue. They come here with things. I haven’t run into anyone, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
DS: Like veterans?
- Alex: Yeah. I have definitely seen vets before, I know I have.
DS: So you were saying you have war-related?
- Jada: I’m not sure how it develops with an individual. But usually the request is a specific type of role play, like I am the German Nazi and this is the Jew and I have to punish him in some sense.
DS: Does that make you feel uncomfortable? Are there some times where you are like, “I don’t want to punish the Jew.”
- Jada: It all depends on the person and how they are taking it. During session you can tell whether it is going too far, or whether it is something that is very emotional for a person. You both have to go into it understanding that it is a role play. And a lot of times they’ll tell me, “Look, it’s okay, you can call me this, this and that. It’s fine.”
DS: With experiences like that, do you experience personal growth and contend with your own hang-ups or why certain things bother you?
- Jada: It really does. It’s surprising how much you learn about yourself and another person. A lot of things you learn from here—which for some people is surprising—you apply to your own life.
DS: Can you given an example?
- Jada: Well, you learn to be more open-minded to people. More understanding to a man’s needs rather than, “This is the way you’re supposed to be. This is the way society has made you. You can’t be a sissy maid, you have to be the macho man all the time.” You know? It makes you understand that there are multiple sides to everybody rather than what you see is what you get. I have worked here for a few months and I am still surprised by the people who come in.
[Rebecca comes in and asks if we will leave The Blue Room for Alex’s session and go to The Gold Room to continue the interview]
DS: Is it important for you to know the motivations of the clients?
- Jada: It is something you need to be aware of and something you need to be able to tell during your session. You feel it, you sense it, by speaking with someone and dealing with someone in that way, you are able to tell whether it is an actual problem that they have. They are very open with us and they tell us a lot of things. You are in constant discussion. It’s not just the physical aspect of S&M, where there’s the whipping and spanking, it’s also very verbal. You are constantly talking to each other and there’s a lot of times where you can tell whether it’s just a regular fetish or whether it is an actual psychological problem these people have. And there have been a few people like that.
DS: Can you give an example?
- Jada: Just random people who have certain things happen in their life.
DS: Like what?
- Jada: Anything really. Like a trauma from school or problems with a family member. Things like that.
DS: How would you treat that person differently than someone who is coming here for the pleasure or the thrill of it?
- Jada: I would be more aware and pay more attention to where the session is taking them. You really need to be fully aware of everything that is going on.
DS: What would be a point where you didn’t feel comfortable with the session?
- Jada: His reaction, if I see he is starting to fall deeper and deeper into depression, whereas sometimes that has happened in sessions. Sometimes a guy will cry during the session, or sob uncontrollably. Sometimes he will get angry and start screaming.
DS: In both of those situations, how would you handle it?
- Jada: You start to console them. That’s when you know you are no longer in that session, that It is no longer a role play. That is where the psychological really comes into it, when the psychology helps, to be there and to listen. Sometimes they are like, “I killed my pet dog by accident and I’ve kept this inside for me for so long!” Or, “I had a close family member just pass away and I don’t know how to deal with that right now.” “My girlfriend just left me—“ I mean, you hear all these stories! One after the other after the other, and it’s just like, “Wow!” If one is crying, you console them; if one is angry you try to calm them down.
DS: Do you give them absolution?
- Jada: Yeah, “It wasn’t your fault what happened. You were five years old, how would you know what this would do to the dog, you know?” A lot of cases you have to help them out with it and at the end of the session they just feel so much better about themselves.
DS: What do you do when someone gets angry?
- Jada: Usually just try to bring them down and find out about what it is that gets them so angry. A lot of times they are not going to come out and say, “This is what is bothering me.” They are going to veil it so much that you are trying to knock down so many walls they put up, and finally it can be one word, one comment, a simple thing that you might say that might trigger something, and then you realize what happened. A lot of times you try to keep it within the role play, as well, which is what really makes the session great, but you just calm them down.
Comfort levels in the sessions
DS: Do you ever act as a Sub?
- Jada: I have before, yes.
DS: Do you feel comfortable as a Sub?
- Jada: Sometimes, yeah. I actually realized I am more of a Dom than a Sub, but the way I started out is that you have to try both aspects of it to really get yourself inside the slave’s head during the session. It helps you understand more what they are going through, what they are feeling, whether it is physical, emotional, psychological. You understand more, and you are able to go through a session perfectly having subbed before.
DS: There is never sex involved?
- Jada: No.
DS: But almost always masturbation?
- Jada: Some, but then you get individuals who are just about the fetish, it is all they want. They just want the woman towering over them and telling them what to do. People who are tired of always being in control of everything.
DS: Have you ever felt threatened during a session?
- Jada: I personally haven’t. I’m not going to say it wouldn’t be an issue in the industry because I am not sure if anyone else has experienced that. I’ve worked at two other dungeons, the Den of Inequity when I first started Domming. They relocated to Los Angeles. I also started working at Pandora’s Box. I didn’t really like it there.
DS: Any particular reason why?
- Jada: It was just a feeling. I decided to come here, and I’ve been here only a few months.
DS: Have you noticed a difference here at Rebecca’s?
- Jada: Oh yeah, no dungeon is the same. No matter what dungeon you go to, from staff to the way they treat you to the type of dungeon they are. Some dungeons go for that German hostile-looking place like you see in the horror movies, with black walls and chains everywhere. Whereas here we tend to cater to people just coming into the fetish who are afraid of things like that because they get nervous if the first thing they see is Mistress in a hole in leather and a whip. It’s like, “Ahh! She wants to hurt me and rip me apart,” or something like that.
Advice for those who want to be a Mistress
DS: [Laughs] If you were to give advice to a woman who was looking at becoming a Mistress, what would you say?
- Jada: I would say they should be open-minded and that they can’t be judgmental in this profession.
[Veronica comes in to join the interview]
DS: We were talking about advice for young women looking to become Mistresses.
- Veronica: Someone with no experience with BDSM, or someone with some experience of the lifestyle?
DS: Can a person who has no experience really just jump into it?
- Veronica: No.
DS: So I guess someone with some experience, because a person with no experience would probably fail utterly, right?
- Veronica: Well, no.
- Jada: It depends, here.
- Veronica: A lot of the time men like new fresh faces, so she’ll get picked for a session regardless of her experience level. It’s not all about your expertise. A lot of time they just want someone who looks a certain way. It’s very visual for certain people. So, if you are a black woman with a big ass and that’s what they came here for in looking for someone to dominate them.
DS: That was one of the things Jada and I were talking about earlier: if someone comes in and says, “Treat me like I’m a dirty Jew” or “Treat me like I’m a bad slave” is it difficult for you to bring yourself to that level?
- Veronica: Yeah, I had a guy who wanted me to treat him like a slave and call him a nigger, and stuff like that. It was difficult for me but I got over it. I had to step back and look at it as someone’s fetish and whenever someone tries to get me to do something that is a little psychological and walks the line between being abused or not, I don’t try to judge their method for dealing with it. I mean, that’s the way he is trying to deal with this, and there’s no research saying it is bad for him to explore that, or that it’s good.
DS: You intellectualize it. So you were able to treat him like a slave?
- Veronica: Oh yes, I made him pick cotton off the floor…stuff like that.
- Jada: I remember you telling me about that!
- Veronica: Yeah [Laughs]
DS: You made him pick cotton off the floor?
- Veronica: Yeah, he was fun and he was so appreciative, and it really got me past my hang-up. That was one psychological hurdle I overcame.
- Jada: A lot of times they know you may feel uncomfortable with it and they’ll understand. Some of them will know you won’t like it but that you’ll try to do it anyway.
DS: What if someone wanted to treat you that way? If you were Jewish…
- Veronica: I can separate myself from that enough and see it as a game.
- Jada: Yeah, I’d say the same thing
- Jada: It’s not reality.
DS: What is your ethnicity, Jada?
- Jada: I’m Puerto Rican.
DS: So if someone wanted to treat you like a dirty wetback, you’d be able to go with that?
- Jada: Yeah, sure, totally.
- Veronica: My favorite kinds of sessions are when people want to punish me for being a Mistress! That was one of the hottest sub sessions I had ever done, because it was an interrogation session and I had to confess everything I had done to men, and all that stuff.
- Jada: And by being a sub, you understand more what they are going through and what they are feeling. So if I was to have a session where it was like, “Oh, you filthy little wetback! Figure out if you want to be a commonwealth or a state, bitch!” something like that, you know.
- Veronica: That’s kind of hot! [Laughs]
- Jada: Yeah! [Laughs]
DS: Who is Mental Dental?
- Veronica: He’s a very, very old man and he likes to have his teeth pulled on and have you pretend that you are a dental hygienist and talk about bicuspids and all that stuff. It’s not that uncommon; other people have that fetish. You have to really act like you are well-trained as a dental assistant. The question about boundaries you asked earlier, though, goes back to the question about somebody who had no experience. Boundaries are the most important thing you have to develop, and I’m sorry I have to speak so abstractly about it, but you don’t really learn that unless you go into session and discover what you will and won’t do.
What they discover in themselves
DS: Do you also think you find out more about yourself in those types of sessions?
- Veronica: Oh yes. Yes.
- Jada: Definitely
- Veronica: And more about what I do, because it’s playing with taboos, especially with psychological role plays like that. As much as people want to deny it, taboos are kind of hot.
DS: Well, they typically are, right?
- Veronica: Yeah…yeah!
DS: Who wants to do the missionary position their whole fucking lives, kind of thing, right?
- Veronica: Yeah! Yeah! [Laughs]
- Jada: [Laughs]
DS: I don’t know if I’ll put that in - it makes me sound like I'm getting into it! [Laughs] Maybe I’ll do some photos of you two beating me! Just for the article! Just for the article! [Laughs]
- Jada: [Laughs] Tie me up and pinch my nipples for knowledge! [Laughs]
DS: Have you been asked to carry out any War related fantasies?
- Veronica: That’s a good question. I have sessioned with a few veterans, but it hasn’t revolved around being in a war. It’s people who would be coming here regardless of whether they had been in a war or not. Under a larger umbrella of people who come here who have experienced a trauma have similar sessions. It is interesting for people to come back and want to live certain traumatic events. It’s challenging. You have to play a role. I have people who want me to be a Nazi who experienced that in some way.
DS: That seems cliché.
- Veronica: Yeah, it’s cliché.
DS: If people come in with post-traumatic stress disorder, are there special considerations?
- Veronica: Yeah.
- Jada: Yes, I think we’ve dealt with a lot of people who have those issues.
- Veronica: I can’t say I have had anyone who wanted to re-enact an Abu Ghraib experience, though.
DS: Are there places you just won’t go?
- Veronica: Psychological? No.
DS: What about physically?
- Veronica: Yes, I have my boundaries, but I prefer not to define them.
- Jada: I think everyone does. It would always depend, it would be difficult to state what would be my boundary. One minute it can be one thing, and another client might come in and say, “Can you do this, this and that,” and the answer is no. [Laughs]
DS: Have you ever had a session where you felt threatened?
- Veronica: No. I feel quite safe here, because they know we outnumber them. Okay, in terms of boundaries, if I’m a sub and the man is a dom, I don’t let him blindfold me AND put a gag in my mouth, because then there is no way to tell what he is going to do and alert anyone. There are certain safe words that you use, and if people don’t respect those boundaries then you remind them of the boundaries or else you can end the session.
DS: Have you had to end a session?
- Veronica: Yes.
DS: Can you tell me about a time?
- Veronica: One time somebody was really forceful about wanting to see my panties. It was a trampling session, where you step on his face. He wanted me to step on his face, but he didn't want me to step on his face, he wanted to look up my skirt. So I ended the session and I told him I knew that he was doing that, because every time I tried to step on his face he would move it and try to look up my skirt. So I ended it. He was an asshole.
DS: Will you do full nudity?
- Veronica: No.
- Jada: No.
- Veronica: Yeah, it’s pretty common that we are topless.
DS: Is full nudity uncommon?
- Veronica: No, I don’t think so.
DS: Why do you prefer not to do it?
- Veronica: I just don’t feel comfortable, and if I don’t feel comfortable I just don’t do it. And I think a lot of people will do that because they want to please the customer and have them come back, but ultimately I don’t think that is good for you psychologically.
- Jada: Yes, if you are not 100% with everything you do, then it’s going to affect you.
- Veronica: If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you shouldn’t be there.
DS: What’s the difference between obedience and submission?
- Veronica: Huh, that’s a good question
- Jada: That’s a really good question.
- Veronica: Obedience, I would say, is not as intense as submission. Submission is they want to serve you and have you be a Goddess to them.
- Jada: They are doing it willingly, whereas obedience is ‘’you have to’’
- Veronica: Yeah, a little bit, yeah.
- Jada: They have to do it. Submission is more they want to do it.
- Veronica: I feel like obedience is completing tasks for somebody—
- Jada: Yeah, “Go get me a glass of milk!” [Laughs]
- Veronica: But submission is, “I am going to put my foot in your face and have you lick the bottom of my boot!”
DS: How do you know that line between personal and impersonal in such a personal experience?
- Veronica: First, we don’t get a real chance to talk to them. They just want a fantasy and a lot of time they don’t want you to know the motivations behind it, because maybe they are a little disturbed by it. You only have a small window to chat with them at the end, and it’s usually superficial. You want them to maintain the idea of who you are. You never ever want to let them know who you are, really, because that would snatch the fantasy of this power woman who is here because she enjoys making men feel like shit!
DS: “Oh, I love kittens!”
- Veronica: [Laughs] Yeah, let me tell you about my cats!
- Jada: That’s true. [laughs]
- Veronica: I like Art History and I talk to people about that, about galleries and museums.
DS: Do you think BDSM leads to domestic violence at all?
- Veronica: No! Not at all!
- Jada: It’s the media that makes that connection, but I honestly have not ever heard of it. It goes against everything S&M is, which is about consent, about the fact that you have somebody giving themselves to you. It’s all about trust. It’s why we even have these safe words here. It’s for the fact that if anything goes above and beyond anything they want, you can just say, “Now I want you to stop.”
- Veronica: You want to give people the level of pain that THEY want, so it’s not about going off on people and beating the crap out of them willy-nilly without consent. Sometimes if they want to be taken past that level of pain they have experienced before, and they get into deep, deep places, you hurt them more than they are used to. But I’m not here because I want to take my aggressions out on them, although some of the real serious people ARE sort of vampires like that and really want you to hate them and take aggression out on them. You can’t really group the clients in one cluster. Most of them who come in here are really smart, intellectual people—
- Jada: Who wouldn’t hurt a fly!
- Veronica: They can separate fantasy playing from the harsh reality of domestic dysfunction.
- Jada: It’s the same with child pornography. Just because they have a schoolgirl fetish doesn’t mean they want to actually go out there and prey upon school kids.
DS: Is that one that’s common?
- Jada: I think that’s common with EVERY man! [Laughs]
DS: [Laughs] Britney Spears didn’t get where she is on her singing talent.
- Jada: [Laughs] Exactly! I think it’s common with every man.
- Veronica: That goes into another thing, because with some people it feels like you ARE sometimes making it okay for them to have these certain fantasies and some people, they know it is wrong and they would never do that, and feel it is a way to get it out. You are always walking that line.
- Jada: I think it comes down to the individual.
- Veronica: It’s not the majority of people, definitely.
- Jada: What it honestly is, is people using this who already have those problems, pedophiles and abusers, who use this as an outlet because they can get away with it. And that’s really not what we are about, either. A lot of times we will see people like that and ban them from the dungeons.
DS: Are there certain known people who are banned?
- Veronica: Yes, it is usually people who get really obsessive and have created scenes. Like Ernest. He has not done anything bad, like try to beat somebody up, but he got into a screaming match with one of the phone girls about some strange detail of his visit. People who are obviously not together. I think he has a serious mental illness.
DS: What is some of the literature that is considered classic?
- Jada: Story of O. The Crimes of Love.
- Veronica: Story of O. Marquis de Sade. There is so much S&M erotica. I don’t read much of it.
- Jada: I do. I’m such a pervert!
- Veronica: Perverted, filthy, filthy whore. [Laughs]
- Jada: At the Den of Inequity we had a required reading list that you wouldn’t be considered a Mistress if you didn’t read these books. Story of O, Crimes of Love by Marquis de Sade. For any Mistress coming in wanting to know more about it, I would recommend The Mistress Manual. S&M 101, that’s a huge one that really breaks it down for you.
- Veronica: Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns. Midori’s Bondage.
- Jada: Midori’s very well known when it comes to Japanese bondage. There’s different bios of people that you don't know if they are real, like I Was a Teenage Dominatrix.
DS: Are there certain films?
- Jada: The Secretary. The Secretary was literally true to form, two people finding each other. It goes so much more deeper than S&M. Maggie Gyllenhaal was great in that, it was just a fantastic movie. A lot of people can relate to it where it’s just this random occurrence where two people meet and they have this connection, and it becomes much more than BDSM.
- Veronica: Blue Velvet
DS: One of my favorites – David Lynch.
- Veronica: Yeah! The scene where she is submitting him.
DS: “Hit me!”
- Veronica: Yeah. Any film where there is a power dynamic, people will sexualize it.
DS: What’s a mainstream movie that turns you on?
- Veronica: Dangerous Liaisons!
DS: Another favorite of mine. Hoo Hoo! The hate hoots!
- Veronica: [Laughs]
DS: What about some BDSM films?
- Jada: Harmony Productions – these are production companies.
- Veronica: Kink.com
- Jada: Savage Productions, which is more into the pain aspect. These are ones that are really into it. Julie Simone with Harmony. Den of Inequity was making their own movies for awhile.
DS: Would you do videos?
- Veronica: Hell yeah! But I haven’t done any.
- Jada: When I was first started I was very nervous and scared because it is something that is out there and anybody will be able to obtain. That’s one thing when you are first starting out you have to be aware of, is not rushing into everything right away and then you realize it is something you don’t enjoy.
DS: And then you’re running for Congress ten years later!
- Jada: Exactly! [Laughs]
- Veronica: [Laughs]
- Jada: First Lady, hey!
DS: “Oh, shit, I forgot about that!”
- Jada: Completely forgot about that one right there!
- Veronica: Different Loving – he explores psychology.
- Jada: Carrie’s Story. That’s another.
DS: Are there certain celebrities people have BDSM fantasies about and they want to incorporate them into the session?
- Veronica: I get told I look like people. But no.
- Jada: No.
- Veronica: You try not to get too personal with people.
DS: Do you all network amongst yourselves?
- Veronica: Yeah, we call each other up.
- Jada: A lot of the Mistresses are well-connected with a lot of the other dungeons. So a lot of times we’ll tell each other.
DS: Do you all hang out?
- Veronica: Yeah, at fetish parties and we go out together.
- Jada: You end up seeing each other and know each other.
DS: Are there certain clubs where you all hang out?
- Jada: Paddles.
- Veronica: What is the place on Clinton and Delancey? There’s a once-a-month fetish party. That’s one of them. Otto’s; a lot of Mistresses hang out at Otto’s for some reason.
- Jada: Some of us will have this one bar where it’s like, ‘Hey! We’re all here!’
- Veronica: I’m not into the Goth scene, but a lot of women who do this are in the vampire thing.
- Jada: I’m not into the Goth scene, but I do like vampires….
- Veronica: [Laughs]
Dating for Dominatrixes
DS: Are you single?
- Veronica: Yes.
DS: When you date, do you tell guys what you do?
- Veronica: Ummm, yes. Yes, I do.
DS: Is that a first date conversation? A third date conversation?
- Veronica: The first date. I like to be very up front with people, because this is what I do, this is what I see myself doing for a long time, so if they are not cool with it, then fuck that.
DS: What kind of reaction do you typically get?
- Veronica: I typically get, “Wow, I’m really turned on by that.”
- Jada: I’ve gotten that from a friend.
- Veronica: And then they’re concerned about, “Well, how much do you do…?” and then it gets into the whole ownership of my body. IF somebody asks me that, I typically don’t see them anymore.
DS: Because it then becomes about what?
- Jada: Then you have no control over anything. It becomes not safe.
- Veronica: Yeah, men a lot of the time, when you are in an industry like this, don’t want you go expose certain parts of yourself because they feel that you are ‘’theirs’’, so when somebody is like that, it really turns me off.
DS: What do you mean?
- Veronica: Alright, so, if I told certain men that I date that I go topless in session, that would make them feel very uncomfortable because that’s then supposed to be only for ‘’their’’ eyes, right? Which is ridiculous. I haven’t been dating men so much lately.
- Jada: Is that what turned you off?
- Veronica: No no, that’s not it at all. Women are a lot more amenable to that sort of thing. More sophisticated.
DS: What do women you date say about it?
- Veronica: A lot of women I’ve dated have experience with this industry, so it’s not really an issue at all. SO, I don’t have to formulate an answer to any question because they are already involved.
DS: Is that a relief?
- Veronica: Yes! Yeah, it really is. To not be judged for it, and not tip toe around what I do.
DS: How long do you think you’ll do this for?
- Veronica: Probably another five years.
DS: Then what do you think you’ll do?
- Veronica: I’m getting my graduate degree in art history, and I work at a magazine, so I’m expecting that to gel into something.
- "BDSM as business: An interview with the owners of a dungeon" — Wikinews, October 21, 2007
- "Dr. Joseph Merlino on sexuality, insanity, Freud, fetishes and apathy" — Wikinews, October 5, 2007