We Interviewed a Dominatrix to Answer Your Burning Questions

Fear vs Power:

Motivation is our innate process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It includes our biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior.

 Motivation is why a person does something.

For many that unconscious motivation is fear; fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of death. It has the power to acquire control over your environment. A certain amount of controlling behaviors from yourself, environments or other people can is healthy for your natural survival instinct, but after a while, it can become detrimental. Our underlying desire for power is ultimately designed to eliminate fear. The more fear you hold, the more control over your life you think you need to feel secure.

Social norms and apprehension to deviate from social order can lead to suppression of our desires, which can then create a conscious or unconscious drive to manipulate our fears and break from the norms. which can lead to a complex response that drives us to play with fear and the desire to deviate. One example is sexual desire. This can provide yearning to take ourselves out of comfort zone and play with control.

Where once we may have shown ambivalence or apathy, we crave the adrenaline and memory making consequences of fear from this comes the role of an aggressor or in this context, seductress or dominatrix. However, we see that a professional dominatrix in a unique position, not only in the social world but the sex industry. She responds to stigmas directed toward her both as a sex worker and practitioner of sadomasochism. But interestingly enough, we find that there are many psychological benefits of BDSM, specifically around domination.

Those who are BDSM practitioners have personalities and traits associated with being more outgoing, more open to new experiences and more conscientious and less neurotic.

Personality characteristics of BDSM participants

Neuroticism is correlated to anxious attachment, need for approval, and sensitivity to rejection, and a lower view of self-worth. Being high in neuroticism makes you more self-conscious, which can be tied to emotions like guilt, shame, and embarrassment. On the other side of the spectrum, people who are less neurotic don’t seem to share these emotions. Dominatrix’s, scoring low in neuroticism, are less easily embarrassed, shameless, self-confident, less shy and do not feel guilty when delivering punishments to their subs. On top of these emotions, they usually have little regard for seeking approval of their behaviors, and rather, expect for others to gain their acceptance.

Dominatrices also score higher in openness to experience, which is associated with “sexual sensation-seeking,” the desire to be sexually uninhibited and to explore novel sexual experiences. Not only are they open, but they also score lower than the general population in rejection sensitivity. The lack of regard for people disliking them leads to a reported higher level of happiness and security in relationships. 

Self-discipline, which is connected to traits like orderliness, achievement pursuing, high need for orderliness, and an acclamation for rules and boundaries are connected to being high in conscientiousness. This alines with one of the core principles of being dominant- imposing rules and structure on others.

We see that the main difference when it comes to being submissive or dominant lies in differences in levels of agreeableness. The dominatrices, being lower in agreeableness, are more prone to making tough choices, and can tend to be thought of as demanding. It seems that doms have actually found an interesting adaptation to a generally negative trait. By channeling the disagreeableness in a way that is wanted and encourages by their submissive partners, opposed to being seen as rude in their otherwise day to day vanilla situations.

With more aware of sexual needs and desires could translate to less frustration in bed and in relationships. Coming to terms with their “unusual sexual predilections” may also take hard psychological work that translates to positive mental health, he said.

Research actually shows, potentially contrary to popular belief, that those who take on a dominating role in sex are the most mentally healthy, in this subgroup. When you compare their mental health to the general population, they also do not score any lower in mental health. Research has not found any connections to dominatrices having any type of damage to their psychological profile or any type of psychopathology or personality disorder.

The professional dominatrix is paid by clients to perform the role of the dominant in scenarios involving bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadomasochism, and ‘fetishism.’ Unlike other sex workers, who must often feign interest and act flirtatiously in order to make clients feel desired, the dominatrix is asked, at times, to express emotional displays such as indifference or displeasure. Multifaceted and dynamic constructions of emotional labor that would typically be considered contradictory and unpredictable from the point of view of normative emotional displays in work. While her job is defined by dominance and can at times involve aggression, compassionate and care-taking traits are perhaps just as important in defining her emotional labor.

So, we took it to the streets… not really, we took it to Google which lead us to some email interviews. As much as we can lead from theoretical perspectives and personality research, it’s important to get first-hand experience and a point of view. Though we asked about 20 professionals to do our interview, most fell short- expect one: Mistress Veronica Steam. This badass woman was as professional as she was open and we were thrilled to be able to share her inside look into the world of being a professional dominatrix with you! Our questions are in bold, and her answers are below!

Your Burning Questions, Answered

What does it mean to be a dominatrix?

To be a dominatrix means you thrive on watching people squirm whether it’s from pain or pleasure. It means you push yourself and your submissives to be the best versions of yourselves you can be. It means taking on control and responsibility for yourself and others.

Can you explain the differences in dom/ sub / sexual masochism?  I know from my perspective there seems to be a fine line of causing distress in everyday life (as it’s in the DSM as a paraphilia)

  • A Dominant enjoys certain control over a submissive but the submissive has rights and can always the safe word.
  • A Submissive enjoys submitting to a dominant within a certain scope of what’s acceptable. (This would be something they have negotiated)
  • A Master has 100% control over a slave. There is usually a collar involved in a M/s dynamic.
  • A Slave enjoys submitting every part of their selves to their Master. They are regularly seen as prized possessions.

What does it mean to be a *professional* dominatrix, are there different levels? How can we picture this as a career? Is there anything comparable – like in the hierarchy way of a business job or something? Or the pressures of retail? (haha)

I wouldn’t say there are different levels. There are different types though. You have Findom Goddesses, Bratty Dommes, Sadistic Dommes, Latex Dommes.

There is a flavor for every type of person. 

A Professional dominatrix sees many different types of people, from all walks of life. Sometimes people want a session and you’re not in the mood to take on that responsibility at the time. You have to be able to push through and put on your domme hat. You may not be attracted to some of the people you see and their kinks may not be your kink. You just get your ass in gear because you know once you get started with the session, you will enjoy it. For me, the fetishes themselves don’t matter a whole lot.

What I enjoy the most are the vibes and the high I get from my client. There is nothing else like it.

How did you get into your interest in fetish/kink/sex in general? Was there a during a point in your life where you said to hell with vanilla I want rocky road?

I was introduced to kink when I was a teenager. A couple of friends of mine tied up someone and flogged him. It was like a winter wonderland to me. I had to know more! That quickly turned into an obsession of mine.

Do you need special attire and gear to be into kink? Or are there any “DIY” or at home things I can use?

There is no special attire required. I regularly go to kink event and see everything from nude with a squirrel butt plug to a three-piece suit. It all depends on what makes you feel your best. If you’re looking for toys on a budget, I recommend the dollar store (yes really). There is so much you can find! For example, fuzzy gloves. You can use those in sensation play scenes. You can find clothes pins for nipples (or other fun body parts). The options are limitless!

We recently wrote an article about cultural appropriation, and this actually came up (in my head) how do you feel about seeing BDSM specific accessories in pop culture and high fashion? Does it piss you off? Does it make you happy? Do you think it’s helping to normalize the culture or taking away from it by trivializing it?

It honestly doesn’t bother me. I’m a Goth by nature. In my day to day life, you will see me wearing a spiked collar if it goes with my outfit. Does it mean I’m submissive? No. I just like how to accessory goes with the outfit. I think collars, leashes, ect themselves mean nothing. It’s all about the intentions behind them. Just like how a normal necklace can be a day collar for those who need discretion.

Are you a part of a community (ies) that help you to grow and evolve? How did you find them if you are?

Yes, I am. I’ve assisted in the running of many local kink gatherings in my community. If people are looking for events, I highly recommend a website called Fetlife. It’s so easy to meet people and find events to attend.

You hear a lot about “safe” words in tips articles or pop culture. Can you tell us how you begin to have the conversion about using a safe word and then actually how to pick one?

When I speak to someone about safe words, it’s not a lengthy conversation. I am blunt by nature. With scenes especially, it’s extremely important to me that everything is crystal clear. In my scenes, I pick the safe word. It’s always “Red”. Why? Because it’s something that is ingrained in us from childhood. Green means go. Red means stop. I don’t have to worry about the submissive forgetting that word unlike if he chose “Ice cream” or “Historian” or whatever just came to his mind at that moment. I let my subs know that “Yellow” means that you are approaching your limit but you’re not fully there yet. “Red” means stop everything right now.

For someone to pick their own safe word, they need to think of what makes their brain become alert. Any word will do but it needs to specifically get your attention.

I find “zombies” and “lawsuit” to be quite useful safe words.

Is it a part of your job to gauge the situation? Say if a person looks like they are in extreme distress but have not used the word, can you call it quits? Then how does that work?

Yes. I like to say reading people is why I get paid the big bucks. It’s so easy for someone to hit subspace and not know something is physically wrong. Another situation is when a submissive really want to please their Mistress and is enduring something that is hell on earth for them.

My job is to be able to see this is happening even if they can’t or even if they don’t want me to see it.

I will stop the session, bring them out of sub space, and discuss what’s going on. If it’s something easily fixable then we adjust and go back to playing. If not, we either stop or move on to something else.

Are you ever afraid of certain people finding out this is what you do? Or has that ever been an issue?

Not really. I just am who I am. If people don’t like it, they can sod off.

Do you sign contracts or NDAs with your clients?

Many of them yes. It protects both parties.

What would you say to someone who wants to find their dom? Or someone who wants to become a dom?

My advice would be to know yourself first. What do YOU enjoy? What do YOU crave? What are YOUR limits? That’s for doms and subs alike. You don’t want to be mid-scene when these things come up. Once you know these answers, get out there. Meet people. Don’t be a wallflower. If you see someone doing something cool, wait until it’s over then ask permission to ask questions. Finding a mentor is a great option. Learning from books is great but learning from a person is better in my opinion. Above all, know your worth. Don’t settle for something if it doesn’t fulfill you.

Unfortunately, when people think of dom/sub relationships their mind often goes straight to 50 Shades of Grey. I’m sure you’ve been asked this a great deal, but what are your thoughts about the movie(s) and how to you feel it represents/misrepresents dom/sub relationships? If you haven’t seen the movie or read the books, do you have any thoughts about the representation in mainstream media in general?

In pure honesty, I first watched 50 shades of Grey when my friends tricked me into it. They suggested we have a glass of wine and watch a movie. I agreed and next thing I know that movie was on. They were cracking up watching my reactions to the movie. It was like a train wreck. I was one of those people who yell at the TVs haha.

Even now, if I need a good laugh, I toss on 50 Shades of Grey.

On one hand, I am thankful that 50 Shades of Grey came out because it brought kink into the mainstream. I think it’s allowed people who had no idea BDSM even existed to explore themselves and their relationships more. After all, we all need a little spice in our lives right?

However, I think it’s a bad representation of how to have a proper D/s dynamic. Submissives should have a voice. Their opinions are important. For a Dom to pressure a submissive into activities is abusive. Plain and simple. When I see Christian Grey, I always think he could benefit from a dick up his ass. Give him to me for ten minutes and watch him be a different person. When I saw “50 Shades Darker” I watched it with a kink friend. We laughed so hard we almost peed ourselves.

There were two moments in the movie we connected with. The first was when Christian Grey tried to be vanilla. We both exclaimed “Oh no!” because we have both made that mistake. Don’t fight your kink urges people. Embrace them! The second was when Christian snapped his fingers to make the slave who was going after Anastasia (can’t recall her name) kneels. I know many people ask why this happened. It’s because of her level of devotion. He trained her to respond to snaps. Even though they were not together, that training remains in the back of her mind and always will. I think those two moments are the most accurate depictions of things that happen in BDSM on a regular basis.

Can you recommend any books, podcasts, websites… ect?

  1. “Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns” by Phillip Miller
  2. “The Loving Dominant” by John Warren
  3. Podcast: “The Dirk Side with Dirk Hooper”

We had a BLAST chatting with Mistress Veronica Steam! If you have more questions, email her at:

VeronicaSteam@gmail.com

and follow her on socials @@veronica_steam

 

  • A Dina Pinsky, A Tania G. Levey T ‘A world turned upside down’: Emotional labour and the professional dominatrix D 2015 J Sexualities P 438-458 V 18 
  • A Constellation of Stigmas: Intersectional Stigma Management and the Professional Dominatrix Tania G. Levey & Dina Pinsky Pages 347-367 | Received 19 Apr 2014, Accepted 09 May 2014, Published online: 09 Dec 2014
  • A Gaither, George & Sellbom, Martin. (2003). The Sexual Sensation Seeking Scale: Reliablity and Validity Within a Heterosexual College Student Sample. Journal of personality assessment. 81. 157-67. 10.1207/S15327752JPA8102_07
  • McGreal, Scott. “BDSM, Personality and Mental Health.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 25 July 2013, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unique-everybody-else/201307/bdsm-personality-and-mental-health.
  • Wismeijer, A. A. J., & van Assen, M. A. L. M. (2013). Psychological Characteristics of BDSM practitioners. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10, 1943-1952. DOI: 10.1111/jsm.12192.
Sasha

Co- Founder of Psych n Sex, previous writer and campus educator for the Kinsey Institute & published psychology researcher. Manhattan girl obsessed with post ww2 abstract expressionism, beet juice, vintage clothing & Scandinavia.

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