The responsibilities of a Dominatrix and Slave

D/s is a complicated thing. One of the key tenets of this dynamic is that the submissive is essentially offloading responsibility onto their dominant. This is why Dominatrices say it’s a hard role. Sure the slave offers to do your laundry, your housework, clean your shoes, run your errands… but at what cost? Generally, that of taking on all the responsibility for their actions, decisions and well-being. At least, that is how the submissive wishes it would be. The dream would be to have a simple life, following simple orders, and getting a ‘good boy’ reward when these tasks have been completed to satisfaction and receiving punishment when they are not. A blissfully simple existence. 

In my 7 year journey as a professional dominatrix, I have moved through a wide variety of relationships, both professional and personal with submissive males. I have had a full on romantic relationship with a D/s component, had personal slaves, and a variety of more professional relationships as well. Along the way I have bitten the dust many times and learned some very important lessons which I would like to share with both Dominants and submissives in order to help you get the best out of both your D/s relationships and your relationship with yourself.

Let’s start off with a topic which is currently trending on the Femdom twittersphere:

It is the Domme’s responsibility to ensure  that their slaves/clients are not ruining themselves through their spending on femdom/findom.

The concept here is that a professional Dominatrix has a duty of care toward their clients which involves being aware of their financial health when taking money from them and therefore should both always be aware of whether or not the client is living beyond their means by engaging their services as well as terminating heir professional relationship if this is the case.  It seems logical right? We need to act ethically within our work and take care not to damage our clients. Well yes, we do need to take care of both of those. However, that is so within the sphere of play, not that of how they choose to live their lives. I’m going to break this down by analysing both sides of the D/s coin, as each has its own angle and considerations. Let us begin with the submissive’s point of view.

Imagine a submissive who has gone and spent all their hard earned cash on a Dominatrix, maybe in online or in person sessions, maybe spoiling them, maybe playing draining games, or simply buying too many ‘addictive‘ clips. They suddenly find themselves coming close to the end of the month, unable to pay their rent, and start to panic. Anger sets in. ‘That Dominatrix ruined me! How could they be so irresponsible? They took everything I had and were more than happy to have cash thrown at them, taking it greedily, but never for a moment thought about ME! never wondered if I could afford it! How dare they be so inconsiderate? How dare they leech me for everything I had?

I am sure many of you will be familiar with this narrative, especially those of you involved with Findom. You got sucked in, spent too much, and then the reality of the consequences of your actions dawns on you like a bad taste in your mouth. But here’s the thing: they were your actions. the only person responsible for your actions is you, and it is puerile, selfish and unfair to blame anyone else for your actions. You have agency, no matter what the bible tells us. You are the master of your own choices, and until you start to take responsibility for your actions both in thinking about the consequences and in dealing with the consequences of your brash decisions, you will never grow and your life will be a constant sea of chaos. Addiction is something that lies within many of us. We can be addicted to anything, whether it be drugs and alcohol, self-harm, shopping, marathon running, extreme sports, getting ourselves into risky situations, checking we’ve locked the door properly, gambling, food, love, sex, and even Femdom/Findom. It’s so easy to blame those who supply the less savoury of these activities: Sex, Kink, gambling, drugs… ‘You made me do this. You ruined my life. I’d be fine if You weren’t here,  everywhere, always taunting me!

Life is a beautiful matrix of variety and experiences, and every single one of those has the potential to be addictive. Addiction is only now truly starting to be seen for what it really is. We blame the addictive things, but really, were there no Heroin, the current junkie would just as surely fallen into another addiction. The self harmer could very well have grown into an alcoholic instead had their path taken them down different routes. Everything has the potential to be addictive. Just look at the My Strange Addiction show!

There are people out there addicted to eating furniture foam, drinking nail polish, sniffing  baby powder, and stinging themselves with bees! I highly recommend watching this video by Dr Gabor Mate, a world expert on addiction in order to understand the deeper issues involved in addiction.

Addiction is the result of trauma. This is now very well documented. We fall into addictive behaviour as a way to fill a void or to repeat past cycles of abuse, abusing ourselves when there is nobody else to abuse us. And sometimes, people are addicted to getting abused. This can take many forms. It can manifest itself as seeking out confrontation with strangers so as to end up being beaten up,  thus firstly feeling alive while it is happening (one of the worst affects of PTSD and Complex PTSD is that the sufferer only truly feels alive when living extreme risky situations that put them back in that fight or flight state they found themselves in during their trauma. Keep this in mind as we explore addiction further as this will be a recurring theme). Once the initial thrill of the risky situation passes, the individual then becomes overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and self hatred, which they then try to move away from by shifting the blame from internal to external: ‘Why are people so mean? Why are they always picking on me? What did I do to deserve such cruelty?’ (sound familiar?). 

Self abuse via proxy can also take the form of getting into abusive relationships. Many of use have been there, and some of us grow from our experiences, ensuring that we never fall for it again while others jump from one abusive relationship to another or stay with their abuser for years or even decades. Why do some people get into abusive relationships and others not? For sure, the abuser is at fault for being an abuser. But it ultimately comes down to a sense of self worth. Someone with high self esteem and deep sense of self love would go on a first date with someone who would ultimately end up being an abuser, and would walk away fast, spotting all the red flags that come up when this person is instantly being rude, disregarding them, or showing signs of narcissism or other…. (Here is a perfect example of a learning experience of mine in self worth on a first date) When you have low self esteem, when you believe deep down that you are worthless and when you have been brought up by abusive or neglectful parents who instilled in you the notion that you deserve everything that is coming to you, that you don’t matter, that their feelings are more important than yours… That narrative becomes internalised and you subconsciously end up seeking out situations which reinforce it, thus proving to you that your parents were right. The person to blame here is not the abuser, it’s not the provider of the addiction. Shift your blame where it belongs. Be angry at your parents for not nurturing you as you deserved! Be angry at them for not loving you, for not bringing you up as a cherished human who knows their worth and won’t put up with shit behaviour! You did deserve love! You did deserve to be cherished. And I am so sorry that you didn’t experience this.

 

Now let’s have a look at the other side of the coin: The Domme’s perspective.  First I am going to illustrate the dynamic using experiences I have both lived and witnessed in order to craft a relatable situation which we can then analyse, after which I will take the lessons learned from this narrative and apply them to the situation at hand: financial ruin ‘at the hands of’ a Domme.

Mistress Lollipop has just taken on a new slave. He’s great! He’s spending so much money on her, really attentive, so into some really fun play, and doing loads of stuff for her. She feels like she’s really lucked out on this one. Finally, an actual proper slave! He wants to be her personal slave, and although she barely knows him, having been served by him maybe once or twice, she thinks ‘why not?’ after all, he is clearly a total dreamboat of a slave and everything she could wish for!She jumps in head first, and quickly they are spending a lot of time together as he makes himself indispensable to her. A few weeks in, the new slave starts to struggle. ‘You’re asking too much of me, he says. I can’t cope with your demands‘ or maybe he breaks down after a filming scene, crying because Mistress Lollipop went too far in a scene even though he had not discussed this particular thing being a limit, and thus Mistress L. finds herself in the position of having to comfort and coddle this poor fragile little being, finding so much empathy in herself for him and promising to be more attentive and, on his request, to think up some kind of a system to help him deal with everything or to pay extra attention and always ask about absolutely everything they engage in. Basically, Mistress Lollipop starts to take on more and more responsibility within the D/s relationship: Responsibility for her slave’s well-being, responsibility for his emotions…

Little by little, slave boy makes more and more demands of her: ‘I want you to control me more: Control what I eat. I want you to help me lose weight because I can’t control my eating. My finances are fucked. As my mistress it’s your responsibility to make sure that I don’t spend wastefully. ‘ Bit by bit, Mistress Lollipop finds herself taking more and more responsibilities on her shoulders, having to manage her slave’s life for him, making sure he lives healthily and doesn’t spend, as well as all the other things which he has been struggling with. Mistress Lollipop gets more and more involved in her slave’s life, advising him on everything from his work and personal relationships, to his spending, eating, working out and other things. Everything is based around tasks or advice and she has to constantly check in on her slave, micromanage him through living his own life. However, it’s all a bit too much and so hard to keep track, so exhausting.

She starts to falter, and every time she fails, he blames her. ‘You’re not controlling me enough! You’re not paying attention! How could you let me get to this? I thought you were dominant! I thought you cared!‘ Soon, Mistress Lollipop finds herself walking on eggshells around her slave.  Everything she says or does seems to set him off. He arrives at her house and instead of making himself useful, he just lies down in the middle of the floor moping. Mistress lollipop, at her wits’ end after months and months of a relationship which worsened so slowly she didn’t even see it happening, creeping along, like a snake working its way into her life, is so tired… so very tired. She has done everything for her slave. But she just can’t handle the responsibility any more. She decides it’s make or break time. She writes her slave a letter giving him a make or break ultimatum. Either he gets in line and follows her new super strict rules, or he can fucks off. The slave decides for the latter and Mistress Lollipop finds herself slaveless, and exhausted, as well as feeling thoroughly betrayed and taken advantage of. 

A few months later, her slave resurfaces with another Mistress, and she finds out that he is badmouthing her. ‘She was abusive, he says.. She pushed me beyond my limits! She turned my life upside down with her carelessness and selfishness! She didn’t care about me! She’s a bad mistress.

So what can we learn from this all too frequent story? Let’s break it down section by section to see what happened and how Mistress Lollipop and her slave ended up in such an unfortunate situation.

To do this, we need to start at the beginning:

Mistress lollipop is a professional Mistress. She’s quite new at her job and on the BDSM scene. It seems to her that a lot of clout is carried within the scene by being not only a professional Mistress but a lifestyle one too. It’s what all the successful Dommes on twitter do, having personal slaves, and wherever she goes, whatever she does, there’s always someone commenting to her ‘Just get a slave to do that! Why don’t you have a slave to do this? You need a slave!‘. And suddenly, here is someone offering themselves as just that! So how could she refuse? Well, there’s a lot wrong with the situation Mistress Lollipop finds herself in and right from the start, an unhealthy dynamic is setting itself up.

In order to really get deeply into this subject, I’d like to take a moment to talk about boundaries. Boundaries are a very important part of interacting healthily (and lack thereof is integral to creating unhealthy relationships). Imagine boundaries as being a little bubble around yourself and your life that keep you safe from abuse. This bubble’s distance from you and the solidity of its walls dictates both how much you extend yourself for other people, how much you expect of other people, but also how much you allow other people to expect of you and take advantage of you. Here is a list of what both healthy and unhealthy boundaries look like to help you understand (click on it for a link to the fabulous article from which I snatched it). Now take a moment to read through it and ask yourself which side tips in your favour.

So where do poor personal boundaries come from? Well once again, thanks a lot Mummy and Daddy! Poor boundaries are passed on from parents to children through a lack of nurturing and emotional selfishness. Parents who put their children’s needs second, who expected their children to take on responsibilities that were beyond the usual expectations of their age group or role within the family unit, or simply who were brought up to have low self esteem, thus growing up into adults who think that to be liked or loved, they have to put other people’s needs first. On the flip side, you have the person who expects everyone to take responsibility for their actions, brought on by a lack of accountability during their upbringing, among other things. Often these people were given spoiled, yet shown no true love, and given no limits or boundaries as a child.

So anyway. If you look at the beginning of our story, we had two people who didn’t know each other jump straight into a heavy D/s power dynamic. This screams ‘poor boundaries‘. Relationships need to evolve slowly, methodically, and with intent. Take your time to suss out a person, and let them into your life little by little. Don’t over extend yourself for someone you don’t know yet (as the slave did), and don’t ever let anyone become indispensable to you (that is the basis for codependency, which is always unhealthy).

Moving on: slave boy makes himself totally indispensable to Mistress Lollipop by offering his services for everything, wanting to be useful, wanting to feel needed. He actively encourages her to rely on him more and more, and she happily does so as this feels like a dream come true. The problem is, we quickly get to breaking point: slave boy starts to realise that what he is doing is unsustainable, and rather than being mindful and accepting his role in creating the situation he now finds himself in (it always takes two), he just feels weighted down under all his Mistress’s demands and thus lays the blame on her. One of the key factors of having poor personal boundaries is a fear of expressing your needs and desires for fear of them being rejected. You are so dependent on the idea of a relationship that you self-efface rather than stand up for yourself, thus actually creating distressing situations for yourself through wanting so badly to please, situations which can even induce trauma, rather than risking ending up alone by voicing your needs. In French we have a proverb which goes “It’s better to be alone than poorly accompanied”.

No relationship is ever worth crushing yourself for.

In my little story, the slave ends up in a filming scene gone wrong. The Mistress is so used to him going along with everything, never piping up, that when she proposed filming this particular scene and he said sure, she didn’t think to question it. Slave boy didn’t speak up, and as a result ended up putting himself in a traumatic situation in which his (unspoken) limits were violated. He is emotionally triggered by this (remember earlier when I talked about getting yourself into nefarious situations? Same rabbit, different hat) and he now blames his Mistress for not paying attention to his (need I repeat it, unspoken) limits. This puts Mistress lollipop in a really difficult position. She is suddenly racked with guilt. She hurt someone badly! She crated trauma! She must be a bad person to not have paid attention! How careless of her!And thus the Snowball of Insecurity begins its slow journey down the mountain of Childhood Trauma, growing slowly as it rolls ever further down, picking up the Snow of Self-Doubt and Low Self-Esteem along the way, until eventually turning into a full blown avalanche.

And this is also where the power dynamic starts to shift. Mistress Lollipop, having been found at fault, is now in the throes of self doubt. She is eaten away at by guilt, and wants to make up for it. Little by little, through trying to appease the matter, she crushes herself more and more for slave boy, taking on responsibility after responsibility, doing everything she can to amend the situation, but the problem is that when you have strong personal boundaries you understand that other people are not your responsibility. Mistress Lollipop does not understand this yet, and through being brought up by emotionally selfish parents who made her as a child feel responsible for their well being or lack thereof, still to this day feels that it is her responsibility to make those around her happy and that their lack of happiness is her own personal failure.

So eventually, she becomes the slave of her own slave. He lives a life where every one of his needs is taken care of, in which he can now blame someone else for everything that goes wrong, which is so much easier than admitting one’s own fault in a matter. He has a scapegoat.

Now let’s look at how in retrospect this relationship came to be viewed as abusive by the slave. As is eventually unavoidable due to the intolerably skewed power dynamic, slave boy resents his ex Mistress for putting him through hell. But he created his own abuser, because that is what we all do. At the end of the day, you are the one who teaches people how to treat you. You are constantly giving off signals through tiny actions and phrases. You are the one painting a picture of yourself in the minds of others which reflects your own inner image of yourself. Slave boy subconsciously wanted to be abused and taken advantage of, so he set up that dynamic. He sees himself as a martyr, so he made his own martyrdom happen by planting those seeds early on. Meanwhile, Mistress lollipop sees herself as unworthy of love, so she happily fed into creating a dynamic where she is taken advantage of and emotionally neglected.

So, what does all this have to do with the responsibility of a Domme or Findom over her client/slave’s finances you ask?

Well, we are all adult. As adults, we need to learn to take responsibility for our own actions. We also need to learn that the actions of others are not our responsibility and that our actions are not the responsibility of others.

If someone comes to me willing to spend a lot of money on my services, my responsibility is to be communicative, to engage in play that will hopefully neither damage him emotionally or physically within the scope of the information he has divulged to me and what I can gather from our limited interaction, and to give him aftercare. My responsibility is in how I choose to engage with him within the time and service that he has paid for. My responsibility does not extend to how he chooses to live his life, or whether or not he can afford my services.

Nobody is telling Christian Louboutin that he should be careful about the finances of his clients; that is shop girls should be aware of women in cheap clothes coming into his shops again and again to buy shoes that might be out of their budget. Nobody is telling bars not to serve alcohol to alcoholics. Why? Because it is these people’s responsibility to get a grip on their addiction, and anyway if someone else tries to do that for them, it’s just offloading responsibility and thus never facing them with the consequences of their actions.

The jilted Findom client may hate on the Findom all he wants, but he is the one who chose to live impulsively, who chose to not think about the consequences his actions will have on his life. And maybe that being totally broke will eventually end up being the rock bottom that forces him to take a good hard look at himself when he hits it, finally owning up to his own responsibility in his actions and thus beginning his journey towards healing the deep and old childhood wounds that turned him into an addict into the first place.

As for the Dominatrix, let me tell you what her responsibilities actually are. We work in a strange world of tease and denial. It’s all about dangling a carrot but not giving it. That’s how we make our living. We make men fall in love with us, right? Well… be careful. And remember: Boundaries!

I’ll tell you what is way more unethical than ‘not taking responsibility for a slave’s finances’:

Baiting clients and slaves into thinking there will be more than there ever will be. If you are a Dominatrix who makes your clients addicted to you by constantly dangling a carrot, making them think that one day they will be your boyfriend/lover, when actually that is never going to happen, you are a total cunt. You are actively taking advantage of their poor personal boundaries to take advantage of them financially and you should be ashamed of yourself. How a slave lives their life is not your responsibility, but managing their expectations of your relationship is. If you are leading someone on in order to leach them of their money, not only are you being abusive, but you are also opening yourself up to having a stalker in your life. If you make an emotionally fragile person with clingy tendencies believe that you are falling in love with them and that you two have a bright rosy future beyond your contractual involvement, you are playing with fire and have only yourself to blame when they won’t leave you alone and turn into a fully fledged obsessive stalker.

So to conclude, what lessons can we pull from this?

  • Don’t jump into relationships of any sort too fast
  • Never let someone become indispensable in your life as this creates a skewed power dynamic.
  • Learn the difference between a professional and personal relationship. Keep personal relationships personal and professional ones professional. Also, in my own opinion and from my personal experience, nothing good will come from engaging in a personal relationship with someone who met you as a professional or who you met through the professional scene. Your Mistress persona is not you. They are attracted to a fictitious character.
  • Your Mistress persona is a creation. She came from your mind, and you should be proud of her. But she is not you. People who are attracted to her are not attracted to you. Have faith in your own value as a person. Engage in your personal life with people who were attracted to the true you without the artifice of your Mistress persona.
  • Learn to express your boundaries. Learn to stand up for your boundaries as soon as anyone tries to cross them. Learn to not cross other people’s boundaries and encourage those around you with poor boundaries to express theirs in moments when you sense they might need such encouragement.
  • Discuss your need for boundaries as things come up. It’s better to have a difficult conversation now than a resentful conversation later.
  • If you recognise yourself in this post, either as a Mistress or a submissive, I really recommend that you read this book
  • Apply the rules mentioned here to all your relationships: Family collegues, friends, submissives, lovers… everyone.
  • Other people’s emotions are not your responsibility.
  • Other people’s lives are not your responsibility.
  • Nobody else is to blame for shit things that happen in your life. Learn to take responsibility for the chaos in your life.
  • Learn to think about the consequences of your actions before engaging in them
  • Learn to think about the consequences your actions may have on the lives of others, but do not crush yourself for others.
  • You invited those people into your life because of self esteem issues and not being able to see when people are disregarding your value as a human. Learn your value and learn to walk away.
  • Never give more of yourself to others than you can afford to lose if you don’t receive anything in return
  • Always give without expectation of receiving anything in return or discuss what your expectations are before giving.
  • A personal slave does not give you more value as a mistress on the scene
  • A Mistress who just lets you right in is going to be unhealthy for you. Learn to respect those that set boundaries.
  • If you want to be a slave, earn that right over time and take things slowly. Build up a relationship with healthy boundaries and open communication.
  • Only you are responsible for your addiction
  • It’s time to start sorting your shit out. Nobody else is going to do it for you and your life is nobody else’s responsibility.
  • Don’t be a dick.

 

Recommended reading:

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving – Pete Walker

The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma – Bessel Van Der Kolk

Boundary Power: How I Treat You and How I Let You Treat Me – Mike O’Neill & Charles Newbold

Captain Awkward – An amazing Agony Aunt style blog all about boundaries

2 Comments
  • A very interesting read. I concur from my own experiences and wish I’d read something like this when I started out as a Pro Domme. It is a very useful and thought provoking blog for newbies and those who’ve been in the scene for some time. Through word of mouth and via Twitter, it would seem that many a D/s dynamic faux pas is happening on a daily basis. It’s wise for people to set strong boundaries as you say above. Well done for putting the info out there!

    5th October 2020 at 11:36 am

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