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Rise of the Dominatrix: How to Make $300 an Hour Doing Sex Work ... Without Having Sex

For some women who become pro-dommes, working in a dungeon can be one way to cope with a brutal economy.

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Payne added: “I do know that when I speak to (pro-dommes) and ask them how busy they are, they say that there has been a drop in business—and they aren’t as busy as they usually are or as busy as they would like to be.”

One thing that experienced pro-dommes often complain about these days is the abundance of women who get into professional domination despite having a limited knowledge of BDSM. “There are a lot of amateurs out there,” Payne commented. “It’s pretty horrendous.”

Vendetta said that some dungeons are more selective than others when it comes to hiring new dommes. Some dungeons, she said, require really extensive training, while others have a less rigorous training process. “There are plenty of dungeons around that will pull any girl off the street if she happens to be pretty, give her a ten-minute lesson and put a whip in her hand,” Vendetta asserted, “but La Domaine, the dungeon where I work, is not like that. It isn’t cookie-cutter Barbie Doll Land over there. It’s pretty intensive training.”

Vendetta added: “I think that now, BDSM is almost too mainstream. People think that if they wear a leather corset and hold a whip, they’re a domme. They don’t realize that it’s a whole lifestyle, a whole scene and a whole community of people—and there are all kinds of things going on.”

Indeed, there is quite a learning curve for women who become pro-dommes for the first time—at least if they want to do it well. Submissive men are not one-dimensional, and a skillful pro-domme realizes that five different clients will have five different sets of needs. One client might request a great deal of corporal activity (whipping, spanking, caning, paddling) and have a high tolerance for pain; another client might be into really hardcore bondage but with little or no interest in corporal. Some clients might enjoy a great deal of humiliation.

The importance of BDSM safety is something that reputable dungeons stress to new pro-dommes; if one is going to play with a cat-o’-nine tails and chain people up, it is important to know what is and isn’t safe. And Wright said it is crucial that dungeons continue to offer informative training to new pro-dommes.

“When bondage isn’t done correctly,” Wright explained, “you can cut off circulation. You can strain ligaments. One of the basics in BDSM is that you never leave someone alone when they’re in bondage, and women who are new to pro-domination learn that in the dungeon system. That’s why, at NCSF, we really do support the dungeons. When the dungeons in New York City were being raided and shut down, it was really a problem because we were losing the structure in which women are taught how to do BDSM safely. The most dangerous thing you can do is drive any type of BDSM education underground. We want our pro-dommes educated.”

The fact that some pro-dommes aren’t getting as much work as they were before the economic downturn isn’t a reflection of BDSM’s popularity but rather, a reflection of the fact that some of their clients have less money to spend; they’re tightening their belts not because they want to, but because they have to. BDSM’s popularity, Wright said, is showing no signs of decreasing—and Wright said that whether a new pro-domme hopes to make a full-time career of it or is only interested in being a freelancer, BDSM is well served by the dommes who receive the best training and education.

“In BDSM, having the proper skills is important; that’s why we have this entire network of educational groups,” Wright stressed. “You need to have skills in order to do BDSM in a safe way and in an interesting way. The more variety a dominatrix has in her repertoire, the more types of people she can satisfy. To be a really good pro-domme, you either have to have that real streak of being a dominant in you or you have to be a very good actress.” 

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