That’s the advice I got from a friend when I was just starting out as a professional dominatrix. Clients are not just looking to be spanked; they’re looking to be spanked by a cruel, latex- or leather-clad, larger-than-life mistress.
As is the case for any performer, maintaining an all-encompassing experience requires us to be “on,” using a specific domme mindset that sucks our clients in. But during this national crisis, being “on” comes with entirely new challenges.
“Emotional and psychological energy is in short supply for everyone these days, and I am no exception,” Lady Sophia Chase wrote on the home page of her website. Lady Sophia is a Chicago-based domme who uses her master’s degree in clinical social work in her domination practice. “I just can’t step into ‘Mistress mode’ for online sessions right now.… Instead I want to talk with you.”
Like many pro-dommes, myself included, Sophia is focusing her stay-at-home energies exclusively on digital offerings such as phone and video domination sessions and subscription platforms such as AVN Stars and OnlyFans. But those who call Sophia will find themselves talking to a different domme from the one they’d meet in the dungeon, because Sophia isn’t interested in getting into character right now.
The difference may be subtle. On a recent call with a long-time client, Sophia gave instructions for how to suck her strap-on—not something that naturally excites her. “But because my client wasn’t there serving as a physical distraction, I was able to zone in on what actually does turn me on and marry it to what turns my client on,” she tells me. “I feel like they got a more genuinely sexually enthusiastic me, whether they knew it or not.”
We choose this line of work because certain things come naturally to us: We’re not squeamish; we enjoy inflicting pain or discomfort; we need to be in control. All this is still true whether we’re in “mistress mode” or not. But during sessions, we’re frequently forced to play up how cruel or turned on we are and hide pieces of ourselves, such as gentleness or goofiness, that don’t fit the character.
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