How far would you go to make a career change? Alison*, a former New York dominatrix, talks dungeons, Doms and making BDSM pay.
 

Before you became a dominatrix, did you know anything about BDSM?

A bit–just because of my own sexual life.
 

How long would you say you’d been an active practitioner before taking on this job?

I’d say it started when I was around sixteen.

 

Were you always the more dominant one, or were there times when you switched?

I was the submissive one. The people that I dated were always very dominant, but only in the bedroom. It’s funny because, in bed, they were naturally the aggressor. But outside of the bedroom, I was the one that took control of everything. They were usually the shy partner; I was frequently the outgoing one.

 

What led you to become a dominatrix?

I was working for a nonprofit organisation for a few years, and it was time to move on. My mum had back surgery and was out of work, and we had a mortgage to pay. I was helping out with my mum's house-keeping business. I was also bartending. But the hours didn't let me have a social life. So I went on Craigslist. I considered go-go dancing, being a shot girl in a bar, and things like that. I don’t remember what I typed into the online search box, but a few ads for dungeons came up. It sparked my interest. So I went on four interviews before finding the right place. I first got two callbacks, but I didn’t fit in with the other girls who worked there. I gave it another try because I was very, very interested in it and the money was a big motivator. So I went to the last place, and it was a lot more personal. He [the owner] offered me a cigarette. It was just a very chilled environment. He was extremely polite. He was like, “I like you. What’s your shoe size?” Then he measured my feet.

 

Describe the dungeon in which you worked as a dominatrix.

It was a hole in the wall; it was so small, like one of those railroad-style apartments. It was [labelled as] a modelling agency. You had to get buzzed in; you’d say your name, and if they were expecting you, then you’d be let in. When you got out of the elevator, the doors just opened right into it. I mean, it wasn't secure because you could kind of just buzz in and say, “Hey, I’m coming in,” and be let in as a walk-in client, which is one of the reasons why I left. But there was a lot of structure there - and I like that. I even asked to use the bathroom to get an idea of how clean it was. At the other places I visited, the girls looked kind of frazzled, but in this place, the girls looked organised, very prepared.

I looked very different than all the other girls. Everyone was very tall. There were all shapes and sizes, but I was the fullest girl as far as my legs, and body type. There were only six or seven of us. For the most part, all the girls were there to make money for college. There were a lot of students and mums. Everyone had a second job, like a real job, and this was kind of a side gig. At first, I didn't get to choose my shifts; I did morning shifts when it was slower. When I started, I found it really overwhelming, but everyone made me feel so comfortable.

 

Were your clients predominantly male?

Yes. While I was there (I was there for two years), I had one female client. And if other women came, they came in with a male. It was usually a [client's] secretary. I never saw someone bring in a significant other. So you used some of the money to help pay off your parents' mortgage, and for medical bills after your mother's surgery, and the rest of it for school? Yeah, and I used the rest for myself. I'd go to the spa, or for a massage. I also saved a lot of it. In a day I would bring in maybe $300-400 dollars. In my first year, I made may be...$75,000. Now I'm working in early childhood education, and it pays way less. That transition was really rough. I got into the habit of eating out every day. It caught up with me. And holidays changed a little bit; I used to buy big gifts and now I go shops where there's a sale - that's life now.

Zoë Tersche is a New York-based writer focusing on fetish sexuality and the freedom of sexual expression. Follow her on Twitter @ZoeTersche

*Asterisk denotes name change.

Images © agnadevi / Dollar Photo Club and vintagev via Flickr with CC BY 2.0 license

 

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