Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yes, My Lady: Money, Power, & Consensuality - SM Style

I want to share with you something profound and intimate that I now recall while flying to New York City to be the Guest Mistress at L'oeil Cache. Aboard yet another airplane, I reminisce my SM experiences, but on this particular flight, I remember how I came to confront the abuse of monetary power in SM by the submissive who now sits beside me. It was back in 1995 when I faced the torture of a 27-hour flight to China to attend the World Conference on Women. I just happened to be sitting across from this submissive woman who was just waiting to be dominated...or so I thought. In preparation for the Conference, I was to be pondering solutions to women's oppression; so, how better to prepare than to negotiate with this submissive how I was going to tie her down. After flirting for about, hmmm, nine hours, she leaned over and whispered into my ear: "I would like to hire you to dominate me."

I was quite taken-aback because I was not about to dominate this woman for the exchange of money. I attempted to disavow her comment as I winked at her and declared a "whatever" with a wave of my hand. I beckoned her to follow me to the back of the plane. We crawled up the stairs, and I immediately threw her onto a bed. However, before I could restrain her in a web of rope (I just happened to have rope in my pocket!), she threw three one-hundred US dollar bills at me. I froze. I did not know what to do. I did not want to accept money because I was not providing professional services or allowing her to be a client. My energy spent negotiating for nine hours with this woman was personal. Present in her desire and actions was an insidious power dynamic that I found to be nonconsensual and nonerotic. Why did this submissive insist on paying me for something for which I did not require compensation, you ask? I questioned what was behind her need to pay me. Moreover, I disliked and felt extremely uncomfortable at the manner in which she chose to compensate me.

During our negotiation, she confessed to her need to pay for SM; things that I had assumed were involved in her desire of monetary exchange for domination. She conceded to feeling titillated when telling me that she wanted to hire me. Throwing the money at me made her feel powerful. Moreover, the toss was an act to demonstrate her desire to have power over me. It was imperative to her to pay for my time with her. Flinging the cash at me acted as a safeguard, meant to supposedly even out the SM playing field that was so suffuse with unequal, but consensual power exchange.

While I accept money daily as the means for clients to consume my services, I did not consent to this particular submissive's attempt at consumption. Furthermore, when clients consume my services, they do so with respect and do not toss money at me. I have only run into disrespectful behavior toward professional dominance or paying for dominance by personal contacts. This submissive enjoyed nonconsensual power from excluding negotiation and my consent to the monetary exchange. The cash signified her desire to control the scene and me. She used the money as a tool to exercise her power, not my own. By paying for my attention and services, the cash served as a power-equalizer in her mind. She admitted to wanting me to eroticize accepting the money: a sign of her desire to humiliate and control me, tossing the cash was a passive-aggressive attempt at domination.

By the end of my negotiation with this submissive, it was painfully obvious that I should not play with her. I would not continue with our interaction. To do so would consent to accepting the money, her behavior, and her whims at how she wanted me to play with her. I would not allow this or any submissive to hide behind or control me with money. Furthermore, when a submissive consents to a dominant's control and gift of domination, she or he agrees to relinquish control. However, this submissive wanted the facade of consensual power exchange while remaining safeguarded by maintaining control.

Her behavior clearly demonstrated that she did not respect me. Furthermore, the act of tossing the money at me showed that she thought of me as her slut and held no emotional responsibility to me. She sought to put me in a position where it would be difficult for me to say no to her. Overall, her behavior indicated disrespect for my position as a professional dominant and as the dominant in this particular scene. The consensual power exchange that we had been molding for nine hours died at the moment she threw the cash at me as if I were a piece of trash, a plaything.

What started out as an exciting, transgressive engagement ended up as a life lesson on how SM can be manipulated, in this case, with money. After communicating more and having compassion for this submissive, we were both able to confront what was behind her behavior. She was also able to accept the consequences of her behavior and take responsibility. Part of her really desired to submit to me, but as we both learned, part of her needed to manipulate the power dynamic. There is usually something worthy of reflection when submissive chooses to act passive-aggressively toward a dominant. As a personal and professional dominant, I always access whether my bottom or client respects and trusts me and if s/he trusts and respects her/himself in order to feel safe and confident. In order to be responsible to this particular submissive and myself, I chose not to play with her. This decision helped me gain more self-respect and her more respect for herself and me. Had I dominated her, we both would have lost something inside. Furthermore, I know that she would not be by my side today. My courage to say no to this submissive led to responsible communication and the beginning of a strong relationship. Sometimes, the best decision is not to play.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yes, My Lady: Knowledgeable Tops Lead to Safer BDSM

It is common knowledge that there are more bottoms than tops available in the SM Community. This situation leaves many bottoms looking to few potential play partners to fulfill their fantasies. Of the small amount of tops available, even less may be trustworthy, good people or respectable, trained players.

Under these circumstances, it seems like it is a top's world, where some tops run amok, such as talking down to a bottom simply because the person is a bottom. However, many novice Dominants are attempting to train themselves to be trusting, refined players.

Tops who once only fantasized about dominating someone after reading the Story of O are now learning how to cultivate the dominant within in the world of virtual reality. Recently, when opening my inbox at bondage.com, I learned the breadth of Dommes who are looking for knowledge on how to play.

Weltgdss@bondage.com inquires: "Any hints for a fresh potential domme new to the scene?" Any Domme who is clever enough to give herself the name "Weltgdss" is well on her way! M.Gwen wants to know the "Dos and Don'ts of BDSM."

D.Shulman claims that she doesn't even know where to begin because there is so much information on BDSM. I can remember the day when there was hardly any information available on BDSM one had to learn by simply doing.

Being in the SM scene for over nine years, sometimes I overlook that new Dominants, Switch, and Bottoms need to learn the ropes just as I once did.

Thanks to my column readers for not allowing me to neglect my duty! Below I address some issues vital to everyone who's beginning a new SM relationship or who attends play parties and other events where strangers play together. While this guide is not exhaustive, I do believe that it will prove useful, particularly to some of our new Dominants being born.

1. Get to know the person you want to play with BEFORE you play. Find out what that person's history has been in the SM community.

2. You must take time to get to know the person. A week or two, or a hot e-mail exchange is NOT long enough.

3. Do NOT assume that if you are attending a well-known club or a party organized by reputable players, all the people you meet are trustworthy.

Although the network isn't as reliable as it once was, if you meet a person at an SM party, club, group meeting, or any other SM venue (including IRC and other on-line environments), you should be able to find at least one player who knows this person. Ask them for feedback. There is nothing rude or disrespectful about asking people whether they know another player. Respect that a bottom may ask about you. Encourage this behavior.

4. If you are at a party and do not know the person, but still want to play, I strongly advise that you negotiate the use of a safeword. A safeword is a tool to limit the risk of unintentional harm when playing and is available to both the top and bottom to check-in or stop a particular activity, or the whole scene. Many SM practitioners use the color "red" as a safeword. Here is an example on the use of a safeword: While your Mistress is applying her new rope knots, you notice that she may be cutting off circulation unintentionally. This is not erotic and can cause damage. So, you say, "Mistress, red." She should stop the bondage and communicate with you. If she doesn't respect your needs, you should end the scene and not play with her again.

5. When trying to pick up a stranger at a party, you may want to begin with a question like, "Are you having a good time?" This innocent question can be answered so many ways without either party losing face. Often, though, I get the answer that they would have a better time if they themselves could play.

Then I might ask what kind of scene they are looking for. If I like it, I offer to play. If I don't, I might offer to look for someone else for them.

If you're looking for a long-term or permanent relationship, what Dr. Gloria Brame, Domme and scholar of sexuality, recommends (and implements in her own life) is something she calls "D&S Dating." This is not unlike regular dating, in that you spend time doing real-world things together, however, instead of having vanilla sex you do SM. As often as possible. Dr. Brame gives herself about 3-4 months of D&S Dating before making a commitment to a long-term relationship. She tells a prospective submissive that during the dating stage, he's still free to experiment with other people. He doesn't wear her collar and she doesn't require him to call her Mistress when they're out in public. She still makes most decisions (about where they go and what they do and so on) but it's in a natural context. In other words: he sees her in her street clothes and gets to know her as a complete human being, not just a mysterious creature who exists only to fulfill his fantasies. This cushion of time gives potential partners the opportunity to see one another in a variety of circumstances. If in the course of dating, you discover that, for example, your top or bottom tends to lie or fudge the truth about things; that s/he is generally irresponsible and directionless; that s/he plays games or blows hot and cold a lot; or any other characteristics that you know will ultimately make her/him an incompatible partner, then the dating ends.

The most important thing to remember in your exploration into BDSM is that you are a worthy person. Worthy players earn trust and respect the old-fashioned way: they do trustworthy and respectful things. Through reading, learning, and practicing SM, one not only learns how to fulfill one's desires, but also the way to becoming a better human being.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yes, My Lady: Protocol for Contacting the Professional Dominant

As a Professional Dominatrix, I speak to over 300 clients (predominantly men) a month. Every one searching for that specific power interplay that resonates within his/her sexuality. I, and My professional sisters, turn away scores of these yearning submissives each day because they misunderstand the very basic concepts of telephone etiquette and session protocol. In light of this, I thought it best to put pen to paper and outline general Dos-and-Don'ts for contacting a Professional Dominant. What makes a client a good one? The first contact sets the foundation for the professional relationship. Professional Dominants as sex workers do not have the luxury of a union, industry standards, legal protection, or a reference guide for clients on proper procedure and behavior. What follows is both for the uncertain novice and the unsuccessful seasoned player who desire to have their play with a Professional Dominatrix be as successful and satisfying as possible.

Study the Dominant's advertisement. Check out if She mentions specialties and if they are compatible with your interests. Vocabulary that the ad might include:

Lifestyle: She plays in Her personal life

D/S: dominance/submission

Fetish: plays with objects of desire

S/M: sadomasochism (pain play)

TT: tit torture (NT: nipple torture)

CBT: cock & ball torture

X D: crossdressing

GS: golden showers

If you don't understand something, ask.

Be clear about why you are calling. Generally, it should be to receive information or to schedule a session. Know what questions are important to have answered. When you telephone, do be extremely polite. This is especially important, as you don't want to offend a person who you are later going to trust with your well being. Moreover, good manners make a slave much more appealing for the Mistress. Do not call for free telephone sex. This may be terribly tantalizing for you, but recognize that Professional Dominas are just that, professional, so respect their time and energy. Furthermore, most professionals can tell (by your breathing and the types of questions you are asking) what you are doing on your end, and with the commonality of Caller ID and *69, it is just not a smart thing to be doing. Secondly, do not expect Her to be in role during your initial communication. This is a time to negotiate about what you will do in the future. Consensual SM means that you talk about your common interests and limits before you ever get to the playroom.

Follow the Domina's lead. She has a lot more experience negotiating on the telephone and will generally lead you through a set of questions and give you a specific set of information. Respect Her routine. Furthermore, do answer Her questions to the best of your ability. She may ask questions that might not seem relevant to you. For instance, She may ask about which Professional Dominants you have seen in the past (this will tell the worldly Dominant about the types of Mistresses you gravitate toward). Don't see this as an invasion of privacy but rather as a way for Her to understand you better. The better She understands you, the finer quality of session you will have. Next, ask questions that are relevant to your meeting. Questions might include: how She likes to addressed, how experienced She is, what Her specialties are, what types of equipment She has, if She is independent or part of an established dungeon, in what vicinity She is located (generally Dominants will not give their exact address the first call), how long She likes Her sessions to last, and what is Her donation.

Respect boundaries. Yes, Tops have limits too. Professional Dominants have their own rules and limits, and most will tell you up front what is the deal. These limits might include no direct sexual contact, no water sports, no nudity, no anal play, and/or no body worship. Don't try to push those limits or test them. Don't agree to one thing and think in the back of your mind you're going get something else. That's not the way it works.

Next, don't be cheap. If the Dominant names a price, consider it printed on a Tiffany's price tag. The worse thing you could do is attempt to talk down the price. It's really rude and makes Me dislike a client. This is not a swap meet. Furthermore, it is generally distasteful to call with less than two hours notice of the time you want to make an appointment. Professional Domination is not McDomme: we do not sit around, all dressed up, waiting for clients to telephone. Most independent professionals take advance appointments only.

Communicate. You have plenty of time to be the shy, silent type with your wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend. When you are with a Professional Dominant, step up to the plate. Do communicate openly and honestly about your desires. This shadowland of sexuality is one of the few places where you might have the chance to play out some of your complex and sacred fantasies. Keep in mind that the clearer a picture you can give a Dominant about who you are, the better chance you have of finding a perfect fit. Furthermore, make known any physical or emotional limitations you might have. Contacts, hemorrhoids, bad back, bad knees, asthma, epilepsy, heart conditions, recent injuries or illnesses are all things She needs to know. Finally, negotiate the use of a safeword. A safeword is sometimes your only responsibility in a scene. Use it to communicate when you have reached a limit.

Lastly, write down the directions to the play-space. It is also a good idea to repeat them back to Her. She does not want to have you knocking on the neighbor's doors by mistake.

There you have it-consider it a client's etiquette guide to contacting a Mistress. Next time you desire to submit to a Professional Domina, make Miss Manners, Martha Stewart, and Me proud. Be sure to check out next column, as I will outline the protocol for a successful session with a Mistress.

Yes, My Lady: Successful Session with the Professional Dominant

Welcome to the final part of the client etiquette guide to Professional Dominance. In My previous column, I addressed some very basic concepts of telephone etiquette for contacting a Professional Dominant. While proper first contact with the Professional Mistress may secure a session with Her, many Professional Dominas deny clients a second session simply because they do not practice or respect proper session protocol. While some Professional Dominants may train uncertain novices or disrespectful seasoned players on how to behave correctly during a session, most Dominas do not train clients on how to consume their services correctly; how to be a good client. In light of this, I see as part of my duty as a Professional Domina and a Columnist for Bondage.com to outline general session protocol for My readers, who are always potential clients! What follows is both for the novice and the ignorant seasoned player who desire to have their play with a Professional Dominatrix be as successful as possible.

Time is money. My submissive's shrink has a new cancellation policy. In addition to the requisite 24 hours' notice, if the therapist cannot fill My sub's time slot, My sub still has to pay for it. Imagine if Professional Dominants could demand the same. Professional Dominants' biggest complaint about clients is their unreliability. If you are not planning to keep an appointment, call and cancel, just as you would do with your favorite restaurant. This is basic consideration for other people's time. If you can afford a session, you can afford a one-minute telephone call to cancel or reschedule.

Be on time with both your confirmation and your appointment. If you are going to be delayed or need to postpone, then let Her know as soon as possible. Even if She is disappointed, She will appreciate your call.

Use discretion in the Professional Dominant's neighborhood. Do not show up at the door in full drag unless She has given you permission to do so. She may live where She works and Her neighbors may not be too keen to have Her business shoved in their faces. It very well may endanger Her livelihood.

Show up in good condition. Have some Gatorade and a light meal before your scene (especially if you are doing bondage or edge play). However, if you have asked the Professional Dominant to suspend you, particularly upside down by your ankles, then it's best not to eat before your session. Do not drink alcohol or do drugs as neither mix well with safe, sane SM. Furthermore, shower before your session. The astute Professional Domina will always notice a clean, fresh smelling client. And, She will appreciate it.

Come mentally prepared. Be ready to submit. I suggest to My clients that they meditate before entering My realm so that they're calm, focused, and centered. A mentally present slave who listens, pays attention, and immediately obeys orders will ultimately be rewarded.

Have the exact amount of agreed upon tribute in cash, ready, and available before the session begins. Do not even attempt to cheat Her by showing up with less than the agreed upon tribute. This is a sure way to be asked to leave and never spoken to again. Plus, it's just plain rude.

Tipping is customary. Professional Dominants share a common belief: The best clients tip. You can apply the 20 percent rule here.

Be respectful of the Professional Dominant's equipment, fetish wear, and space, be it in a dungeon, fantasy room or domestic room. SM equipment and fetish gear are very costly. Undoubtedly, it took Her a long time and a lot of finance to accumulate. If you do accidentally break something, be prepared to replace it.

Do not expect fantasy and reality to be the same. They rarely are. Open yourself up to a new and wonderful experience. Enjoy the unexpected. That is to say, do not get caught up in your cock, if you have one. Realize that the beauty of SM is that it moves on many levels and in many directions: it affects your intellect, your entire body, your heart, your imagination, and is truly multidimensional. Do not limit its magic to your groin.

Finally, let go, trust, and allow the Professional Dominant to be in charge. This is your opportunity to let go of all the roles you maintain in the "real" world and let someone else run the show. It's a lot like going on a roller coaster; you just have to loosen up and allow your mind and body to be taken in all sorts of directions for a set period of time. Your external responsibilities are lifted; you get to interact in very sacred and profound ways. Use this opportunity to explore new and hidden parts of yourself.

Be sure to thank the Professional Dominant after your scene. Tell Her specifically why you are thanking Her, how enjoyable it was for you, and what you really liked. Let this be a time of closure where you give back your appreciation and gratitude for all the energy and attention She gave you during your time together.

I leave you with some food for thought: Business versus romance. Understand that Professional Domination is a business transaction that can be mutually pleasurable, but it's not a date or romantic encounter. Do not ask the Professional Dominant too many personal questions. Moreover, do not say 'I love you.' She does not want to hear that.

In conclusion, respect the Professional Dominant. Just because you are paying for a SM session does not mean that you treat the Professional Dominant any differently than you would any other woman. Show Her respect the way you would show any person respect. Matter of fact, show Her more respect because She's providing something so powerful that clients pay hundreds of dollars to submit to Her and the State attempts to police Her. Providing the services of Professional Dominance is a labor of love. Do the right thing and follow My guide to client etiquette to contacting a Professional Domina and proper session protocol.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Yes, My Lady: The Pretenders

Recently, a member of our bondage.com community wrote to Me with what she thought was a unique problem. Lisa has lived most of her life as what she calls, "a vanilla," and did not even know that a BDSM or Master/slave community existed. However, when Lisa met her fiancA©e, he told her that he was a former Master in such a community. Having no idea what a Master was, Lisa asked her fiancA©e endless questions. At first she was scared of what she saw as a "strange" calling; however, after pondering her fiancA©e's past (admittedly for years), Lisa found herself intrigued by the limitless possibilities that she felt BDSM could open to her. Lisa has always been "submissive" in all manners of her life and felt that SM would be able to give her a better reason to be submissive, and even perfect her desire to be needed and feel like she is serving someone. However, when Lisa brought up to her fiancA©e the idea of BDSM role-playing as a way to get out of the monotony of everyday sex, the so-called former Master vehemently refused to entertain such an idea.

Lisa had thought that since her fiancA©e had at one time supposedly made a name for himself by being a Master that he would have no problem portraying that side of himself again. Boy was Lisa wrong. Poor Lisa feels like she is at a total loss. She has been fretting over her fiancA©e's refusal to role-play for over a year. She wants to know if there is someway that she can help convince him to be dominant for her. Good luck, right.

When I read Lisa's call for help, I could not help but question her relationship to her fiancA©e. Where is the communication and honesty? It seems obvious to Me that Lisa should ask her fiancA©e why he does not want to play. Confront him. Lisa should attempt to engage him; tell him how important she thinks BDSM will be in her life. I, of course, do not know the exact context or content of this particular couple's discussion or relationship, but I wonder how and why Lisa's fiancA©e disclosed his supposed past. What was his purpose in telling her about such a lifestyle, and what did he hope to get out of claiming some hidden past? Was this man really a former Master with a name? Be aware of one who self-anoints oneself with some utterly fabulous title recently plucked from one's royal arse.

Perhaps I am jaded and distrustful after all My years of playing in a large urban setting, but I can't help but believe this fiancA©e to be a fakea€¦a pretender. My guess is that Lisa's fiancA©e created this little fairytale about his romantic, chivalrous past so that he could make her be in awe of hima€¦so that he could hold some power over her. How better to establish superiority and authority over a naA?ve novice (and your future wife) than to act as if you have vast experience that once made you the titan of the SM world. I may be wrong about this particular former fellow Master, but I have seen far too many who boast about their (former) connection to the SM community. Let me put it as bluntly as possible: nine times out of ten, they are con artists. Watch out, Lisa. Get out while you can. You're not married to him yet!

In my experience, the most serious players out there are humble, and not one has retired from SM. Because they respect the titles they have earned, they do not flaunt them or use them to cow clueless newbies. They have friends who vouch for them, leatherfamilies who support them, and traditions that have been recorded (and probably catalogued at the Leather Archives in Chicago).

The next time someone tells you about their anonymous friends, their former title in some unknown Master/slave community, their unverifiable traditions, not to mention their personal relationships with the Tsar, ask them for personal references. Gee, I would have loved to have seen Master fiancA©e's face if after his infamous story about his past Lisa would have just politely responded, "Can you please provide some personal references who can verify your former position as Master in yahda-yahda Master/slave community?" I bet you that Lisa's fiancA©e would have felt the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome come on immediatelya€¦a quick get-a-way to avoid answering. If a supposedly experienced SM player cannot provide any personal references, please tell him/her to pack up his/her imaginary friends and go home.

Otherwise that "happily ever after" you're hoping for is likely to turn into a truly grim fairytale.

So, where does this leave our friend Lisa? Given that Lisa confided in Me that she does not know anyone in the BDSM community, she is most susceptible to the duplicity of pretenders. Admittedly, it is risky to tell someone that you believe her fiancA©e to be a liar. But if the shoe fits? I suggest that Lisa confront her husband-to-be: ask him for personal references. Verify the personal references if he provides them (Lisa, you can write them to Me and I will help you verify them), and then begin to address why this former Master will not act so Masterly again. If My intuition serves Me rightly, then I think Lisa will be in for a big surprise: a fiancA©e who will have to admit that he fabricated a past so that he could get his partner to think highly of him and be slightly afraid of him and his vast sexual experience.

What may come out of this is two humble novices who desire to learn and play together - or, our friend Lisa may have to head to the highway to find herself a true Master who desires to share with her. Either way, it is up to us to provide community to novices like Lisa so that they will have people to turn to for personal references, support, and honesty.

-- Good luck, Lisa, and do be in touch.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Yes, My Lady: Potency & Allure of the Femme

As She glides into the crowded room, the energy of the room seems to shift undiscernibly. A head turns here, conversation stops there; space and time seem suspended just a bit. You cannot help but notice Her. There's something quietly commanding and charming about Her. This is the mysterious power and intangible effect of the Femme.

We've all had experiences like this. You know Her when you see Her. You are this woman, you want to be this woman, you want to serve this woman or you absolutely detest and fear this woman. She is the Femme.

Some of you've approached me, complimenting on my latex dress or thigh high boots; really wanting to say, "I want to be like you." It isn't in the dress or boots. Unfortunately, many women mistake SM imagery of the sexually dominant woman for the essence of Femme power. Thus, they look for simple explanation on being the empowered dominatrix. Some of you've written: "How can I bring out the Dominant Woman in me?" Many women write to me initially with the idea of learning how to dominate their partners, seeking some series of techniques that'll turn them into tigers in the bedroom. They come seeking the panacea of kink to improve their sex lives, but soon realize that what they've been searching for is how to build the foundation towards actualizing their inner feminine power.

It's no wonder that so many novices desire to hold the allure of a seasoned Femme. Femmes shift energy by our mere presence. We break and heal hearts with a single glance. Poets call us muse and succubus. Some religions have damned us or honored us as Witches. Hollywood of old called us Femme Fatales. I call us Femmes.

The heart of Femme potency is simple, but far from easy or formulaic. It is confidence. When asked what one quality that I believe outstanding dominants have to possess, confidence is essential whether we are talking about accuracy with a whip or not having the need to micromanage a submissive. The art of Femme and the art of domination are opposite sides of the same coin.

It's the confidence that allows the Femme to know that she's a sexual being, fully deserving of pleasure and joy. In turn, it's the confidence to ask without bitterness or fear such pleasures she rightfully deserves. It's the confidence to know that she's an artful culmination of natural beauty and consciously cultivated grace. She is confident and knowing of the effect that she has on others. The alluring Femme knows that she can touch a lover's heart and soul to find strength where there was only despair. She also knows that she can destroy that very same heart and soul beyond repair. Her fire can warm the hearth as well as burn the forest down. This knowledge is the first step towards harnessing the Femme. Those who haven't acknowledged their effects leave a trail of wounded hearts and destroyed lovers. Some women do not accept their feminine power because they fear the responsibility of such potency. Often, low self-worth is responsible for not actualized Femmes denying their gift. We are dealing with a society that both covets and loathes the Femme; thus, every untapped Femme must come to terms with internalized misunderstanding of and fear toward her feminine power.

No instructions on female domination can teach such confidence that leads to the uniquely sexy allure of the Femme. No amount of classes on flogging and bondage techniques can create the powerful Femme. No amount of leather, corset, latex, boots, or other fetish accessory will make a woman sexually self-actualized. These skills and adornments can serve to enhance her. They may even peripherally help her towards greater confidence. The strong foundation of confidence necessary to actualize the alluring Femme can only come from within her. Only after building for herself a strong foundation of Femme power identity and confidence can sexual dominance and Femme allure be truly effective. As I said before, the essence of Femme allure is simple, but certainly not easy.

Take my path toward Femme self-actualization, for example. An underprivileged background, sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, and low self-worth caused me to both desire and deny my feminine power during my teenage years and early 20s. I both coveted and disrespected the Femmes in my life. As a closeted Femme, I could see and feel the effect I had on people, especially those who were most attracted to me, wherever I journeyed. However, I always denied that I was truly the cause of whatever experience, shift, or power. It's often most difficult to see in ourselves admirable and powerful qualities. Because I, like most women, was discouraged from being self-congratulatory, I never fully developed my own image of power, but felt safer in admiring the power of others. I most admired the power of sexually dominant women, particularly Lifestyle and Professional Dominants. At the heart of their Femme potency was the ability to ask for what they want, get what they want, and get pay for bestowing their gift. As I participated in the SM community and practiced the arts of SM, I began to develop some of the skills and adornments that would help serve to enhance my confidence. However, it was only working as a Professional Dominant that pushed me over the edge toward actualizing my alluring Femme. The daily practice of Professional Dominance led to greater confidence and forced me to accept my power and my Femme identity. I have taken years to build a strong foundation of Femme power identity and confidence. Without this experience, my dominance, presence, and power would never be truly effective. Today, I enter my sessions and private scenes with confidence that I'm going to make magic.

Check back for next column when I interview a man who consumes Professional Domination because it's one of the only spaces in our society where he can hope to experience, and finally acquire, the allure and potency of Femme.