Entitlement vs. Professional D/s

Where I am at, quite simply and happily right now…

I am currently taking on clients for professional Domination. Sometimes I am contacted by an interested party who has experience seeing a professional. Sometimes they end up asking for my services for free, for less than market value, for trade, or for, well anything else I — a female trans person — hasn’t indicated I work for. I find this not only distressing as someone trying to pay their rent using skills and expertise they’ve cultivated over time, but as a minority person almost exclusively responding to cis (usually heterosexual) white males who have probably never been asked to work for free, for trade, or for anything other than their professional pay rate in their life.

If someone mentions that they have an income flow situation, I sometimes mention that I might consider partial trade. Depending on our rapport to that point, I might also mention the possibility of engaging in a training arrangement, or maybe a personal sub dynamic if we find (through other occasions for play) that we have that sort of chemistry. Either of these options would make the amount someone is paying into my household a different negotiation completely. Those two options are far different from the “sessioning” model of professional Domination though. What I often get back in response are people saying yes, they want to be a personal sub because it’s “more personal”, and because instead of meeting for one hour once in a while when they can afford it, we can really go to town bringing them to new places over extended and frequent periods of time. I also hear from some of these same people they they aren’t interested in a vetting process, as they don’t feel they need it (after I’ve mentioned I have one). These people will list that they’re attractive, and can take a lot of pain, that they’re sexy, and love and respect Dominant people, that they really need to let go and give up control… This is their way of convincing me they’re good submissive candidates. Do you see the pattern of entitlement here? To me, it’s clear as day. It’s also one of my least favorite parts of this job and the reason why I negotiate with many, but actually scene with extremely few. Professional Dominants, frequently female, queer, and/or trans people, and not infrequently people of color, deal with an extraordinary amount of privileged consumers. The name of the game is boundaries — boundaries we’re often used to having to hold in our personal lives too.

Today I wrote a potential customer a letter in response to a few letters he had sent me. It took me a few days to generate the energy to respond to his bravado and complete missing of the boat about how negotiation with a professional works. He, like many men do, had glossed over the requirements of my vetting process, offered me less than my professional rate, jumped at the chance to make this an unpaid or underpaid “relationship” rather than a work arrangement, offered trade instead of pay, and went on about how much he had to offer as a picky, attractive, limitless specimen of male strength, who really needed a lot of attention and a professional’s trained hand to keep him interested.

A couple days after he hadn’t heard back from me he sent an email mentioning things on my wishlist, I can only guess as a way to keep my interest in him ongoing. Readers, please understand that unless I actually receive something from you with a nice, respectful note tucked alongside, chatting about my wishlist over email is boring and definitely not a favorite activity of mine. I hate shopping. I don’t get excited about things the way cartoon girlies do. I assure you that when I receive a gift I’m not jumping up and down in my panties clapping my hands, only to collapse in a perfectly reclined position, arms embracing my pillow, dreamily mouthing the utterance of your name. If you send me something I can use, I’ll probably want to hurt you with it or I’ll send you a photo of myself wearing it as a thank you. It will probably inspire a scene between us. It will stimulate further conversation if we’ve been out of touch. It may make me take a slight bit more interest in you, as I recognize that you’ve made an effort to connect with me, which led you to action… Action. That’s where it’s at. I like subs who are into action. I care so much less for “say”. Please: “do”. My wishlist is linked at the bottom of my professional emails to give you an impression of what my interests look like, and give you an opportunity to buy something I actually need or want for myself or my workspace, should you so desire. I am not a fish, and it is not a hook.

In writing my potential client back I found I had a lot more to say about what it means to be a sub and Dom in a D/s relationship dynamic than I thought. The letter also outlined for me the true difference between planning a session for professional pay, and engaging a person I wish to play with who allows me to plan our time together, and who offers me support and care exactly as I ask for it. They are different things, for sure. I do a lot more emotional and mental work planning professional service, as I’m usually heavily curbing an entitled ego in the process. I think a lot of people want to believe that they are cut out for a more personal dynamic than professional session play, but that’s frequently a fantasy. Most people just want to you do what they want you to do and call it your idea, take responsibility for the entire thing, and not need much of anything in return. Which is why it’s a paid service.

The person I was writing ended his last correspondence mentioning that he was wondering what my impressions of him were, and that he had high hopes, after months of research, about our potential connection — hopefully as a personal sub who could benefit from more time under my hands (and offer considerably less financial support). That is where this letter begins:

***   ***  ***

My impressions: You like to be in control. You think your idea of what subbing is is, in fact, what creates a good sub for a Dominant. You think you know better than I about the process of becoming a sub of mine. These are my offhand impressions… Honestly, these are particularly unattractive qualities for a potential sub.

Because of these impressions, I disagree with you wholeheartedly about what you think you are asking for. The position of personal sub is for those subs who have the heart of a submissive. One who wishes more than anything to be a part of their Dominant’s life in whatever way might make their Dominant’s life easier and happier. A person who is in training to potentially become a personal sub, learns to do the dishes, cook, clean impeccably well, chauffeur, offer massage and body worship as particularly as their Dominant desires, etc. They may be required to construct or repair toys as is needed and their skills allow, provide manual labor, or a host of other helpful tasks.

Concerning the time I spend with the very special person who would be my personal sub, it is time where that person is allowed to support me in some way of my choosing, and it is also a challenge of mine for them to please me in the way they complete such services. The more willing and happy they are to follow orders, to delight me, to be at my disposal and mercy, and to enjoy their own labor, the more inclined and inspired I am to treat them with a BDSM scene of one sort or another. It is not the sub’s “right” to receive anything in particular from me. The position of a personal sub is, yes, more intimate. There is a very personal balance of needs, wants, desires, and exchanges between me and a sub dedicated to our dynamic. Yes, I am also beholden to training them, to taking notice of their needs, and to maintaining a relationship which feeds us both. D/s cannot happen without equals deciding to respect one another and re-balancing the scales towards a particular and meaningful imbalance.

From your description of what you’re looking for, it seems you would like me to spend hours and hours playing with your body, attending to your needs, and taking you places you would like to experience and go. There seems to be no regard for the amount of effort, energy, planning, supply cost, physical capacity, emotional and psychological preparation, training, attentiveness, experience, inspiration, and consideration it takes to control another human being intimately for any amount of time.

There is a reason why sessioning with a Dominant costs as much as it does. It is for all of the reasons above and more. You have your vocation, I and others like me have ours. Very few people have the heart of a sub, and even fewer have the ability to let their egos go in an effort to enjoy the path they have signed up to be led along. It is a remarkable person who is able to feed their (deserving) Dominant in ways which keep them pleased, inspired, and wanting more from them.

I am not saying I know your heart. In fact if you can contemplate what I’ve written and see it for what it is, if what I have described is something within you which calls for recognition, please do write me further as I am game to discuss more. However, if in reading this you realize that you are actually more interested in the scenes we find ourselves in, and meeting up in order to “play” rather than to be trained in the art of pleasing a Dominant — with the opportunity of reward ahead, rather than the expectation or demand of it — then we should talk about sessioning together professionally instead.

I vet people. I do not play or session with random people who I know nothing about that I met on the internet. There are reasons for this, primarily that it is unsafe for both you and I. I require one to jump through various hoops in order that I would put my energy and talents into their body. It is my prerogative to do so.

If you are interested in sending me a gift, you should. As I get to know you any effort you put forward to please me or to support me is a step in the direction of proving to me that there are ways you value what I offer, and that you value me, myself.

You do not deserve my consideration. You may humbly ask for it. You may follow orders and present what I ask for. You may answer my questions thoughtfully and share yourself as honestly as you can in hopes to gain my favor and my time.

I do not deserve your submission. It is something which you may offer me and I may decide to accept for a time. You must be inspired to give it to me though. If you believe I am a potentially worthy Dominant, then let your courtship of the creature that I am begin. That requires you to offer me something of yourself. Of course you should be picky about who you entrust your heart, mind, and body to. All creatures should be. We are all worthy of love and respect, regardless of our physical attractiveness or particular skills.

I look forward to hearing back if you are inspired to continue discussions with me. If not, I understand. I wish you well on your journey,

***   ***  ***

I want to hold open options for people who cannot afford my services when it makes sense to do so. I especially want people who are transgender, queer, or live other minority realities not to suffer for finding BDSM action and exploration with a professional if that’s what they choose. On the other hand, to lessen my frustration I should probably stop offering trade and other options. I haven’t figured out where the boundary lies yet. I’m still figuring out the obnoxious world of marketing as a person who wishes to be free from the rules of our society… I suppose these conversations are ones which must be had for me to find my place with potential clients comfortably. Thank you for reading. Please write me if you have thoughts on today’s essay. I’m curious to know what others have found as their own answers to these musings.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

Admitting Fantasies

Photo by Rudy Aguilar

When you know what you want it’s infinitely more easy to get. Sometimes it’s hard figuring out what you want though. It’s even harder admitting some things out loud. These days I want games and fun. Imaginative interactions. Fantasies to come alive for me, and I want this colorful vibrant sexual world to not involve me having sex — piv/oral/anal… Winter marigniates me, fantasy rich and stir crazy, and even though I know there are a lot of people out there who probably would love these things too there’s a voice in my head that tells me I don’t deserve them. “Who would bother getting down with me if not for the end goal of sex?” However, if I can push past those fears and say exactly what I want out loud, I can start looking for it rather than either not getting my needs met at all or settling for something which will feel compromising and possibly unhealthy.

Talking about fantasies can help. When I can talk about my fantasies with others, it feels great and our conversations go places they wouldn’t if we just talk about what we “want”. It’s hard to say the words “I want” at all for many people, and even harder to say things that seem abnormal or vulnerable to judgement, sometimes especially to loved ones. If we can talk about our fantasies though, we can share these ideas a little more safely with one another. When we notice we’re curious about a partner’s fantasy we can ask, “is that something you’d actually like to experience sometime?”, and we might even finding ourselves admitting that yes, we’d like to actually try a certain fantasy out. Of course, fantasies are fantasies and some are meant to remain that way, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.

We live in a world that judges everything. Developing one’s “personal brand” is an effort so many people get tripped up over, and it’s natural that one should trip up on it. Branding is an aesthetic and a set of rules. Life, desire, sexuality, curiosity, hormones, impulses, growth, staying alive: these things are very complex, full of mistakes and ugliness, ofttimes messy. Perhaps this is why we like branding, it makes things which are not easy seem to be, which in turn makes them more saleable.

We learn to judge ourselves too deeply too early. We learn very early on that “someone’s going to think I’m fucked up for wanting this thing or that”, and our child’s mind clings to black and white meaning making, sorting ideas into “right” and “wrong”. As we grow, if we do not shed these early impressions and allow our thoughts to become more complex, our thoughts translate into things like “this person I love will get mad/grossed out/worried/stop loving me if I talk about this fucked up (wrong) thing I want”. And so unnecessary repression fills our bodies. We ache for things which we will not let ourselves have. Self-repression will always find a way to come out sideways though. Instead of sharing our intimate desires with our partners we end up blowing up in their faces when they’re in the middle of something which has nothing to do with us. We end up picking fights instead of rewinding back to that moment of impulse to say, “hey, you know what I really want tonight?”. Self-repression makes hearing the answer “no” hard for a lot of people too. However, it is the responsibility of each of us to fulfill our own destinies. It is no one else’s job to take care of your feelings after you blow up or engage in underhanded behaviors such as passive aggressiveness, withholding, manipulation, being untrustworthy, threatening, controlling, etc. Without learning to trust and love our own desires and speak about them, and instead of saying “can you help me?” or “who can help me?”, negative and abusive behaviors have become normalized and run rampant in our society.

Working at a sex store and teaching toy parties for a number of years, I found it fascinating to observe how people would talk about various sex or kink acts, games, toys, and body parts with objectification, disgust, denial, or dismissal. Usually the people who reacted the strongest to any of these conversations secretly desired to know more about them and were judging themselves for their curiosity, so felt a need to appear outwardly oppressive about whatever it was.

Curiosity, sex, sensuality, experimentation, and finding pleasure are what humans do though! We have these bodies exactly so that we can explore them as we desire. This sack of flesh and blood and bacteria is the only thing we have real control over in our years between birth and death. It is our means, our toolbag, and our primary universe for discovery.

Anal sex, pegging, male on male sexual play, degradation, threesomes, gangbangs, rape fantasy, ageplay, cuckolding (the list in inexhaustive)… All EXTREMELY common fantasies and forms of adult play. Yet these are the fantasies I’ve heard most people whisper about and confide to their affair partners and friends instead of their “monogamous” or even “open” lovers, if they speak them outloud to anyone at all. Until we stop whispering and start taking about our curiosities and desires openly easily fulfilled, normal, wonderful fantasies will continue to eat away at our senses of worth.

What if we could hear the word “no” and be excited and grateful someone else’s boundary was being bravely put forth? What if we could see our jealousies as information indicating we are not taking care of ourselves adequately, or that we need to find something for ourselves we have let slide, or that our boundaries are asking to be reevaluated? What if being attracted to someone outside of a relationship was cause for celebration and feelings of joy because finding someone attractive feels great and doesn’t always need action attached to it? What if we could appreciate one another sexually and sensually and not make unmet demands to have those fantasies fulfilled by treating the object of our interest as an object, but instead resiliently find those who share our interests or are game to play along?

Though human existence is messy, it’s also full of fertile information and opportunity. Acknowledging to ourselves and interacting with our desires or fantasies is invitation to knowing what we want. Owning what we want is invitation for growth.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

We Are The Creators of New Expectation

My “Ropes” performance adjusted for a film scene. Photo still from the short film “Legitimate” by Izzy Lee

Unless you’ve been under a very large dense rock for the past month or so, you’re aware of the current conversation about Harvey Weinstein’s history abusing women, the emergence of #MeToo, and the subsequent steady outing of a long list of popular men in the arts and politics as rapists, abusers, sexual predators, and unthinking opportunists. It’s an amazing time to be (or have had the experience of being) a woman. The bedrock concept that “women and minorities should be believed” is having a moment, and it’s striking how many people are absorbing that thought for the first time as a basic step toward building equality. At this same moment we are learning to let go of our desire to support certain celebrities as we take sexual assault and harassment more seriously than before. We are wading through the meaning behind which actions should get someone fired from their job or investigated, strung up by mobs, or lauded for the sincerity of an apology. Amidst these trials I recently read the article “What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?” by Claire Dederer in The Paris Review. It’s a good article which acknowledges a lot about the corners of current affairs which aren’t being mucked into. While I don’t share her point of view entirely, nor think her assessment of women’s transgressions are as applicable to current events as they could be, I applaud her willingness to stand squarely within a quandary we’re not talking much about and pose the question: what do we do with the things we love when they’ve been sullied.

In reaction to her article and in conversation in general I’ve often heard the sentiment: It’s art. We enjoy it. We also acknowledge that the creators of art leave a lot to be desired as role models.

I don’t think that answer goes far enough. Hearing that makes me pause and wonder if the person relating that perspective is already over the moment we’re having — trying to quickly move past “listen to women and minorities”, and leap all the way over to “we really grew as a society when all that happened”, which I feel is where we get to after we give up on hard conversations and move back into our comfortable old coping mechanisms. We’re in the middle of growing pains right now trying to evolve away from those old coping mechanisms, but without holding out into discomfort and examining our impulses for quite a while they will not change for the long run. I will note here, because I think it’s important to think about, that it is usually a cis male who has uttered this sentiment. In radio interviews, on social media threads, and in articles I hear women and trans people retort, “I hope we keep talking like this. I think we’re far from over, this is just the beginning and I hope we keep having these hard conversations. There is still a lot to uncover and learn”.

There’s a disinfected truth to it: “It’s Art. We enjoy it. We acknowledge that those guys who made it are shitbags…”. I can hear the “but” hanging at the edges of that sentence every time it’s articulated by someone new. “…But I like that movie and don’t want to have to boycott it”, “but that guy was my friend and I don’t want to feel weird getting beers with him”, “but eventually we’ll get to a place I can be comfortable again, right?”

There’s an impatient rush to say “we got better at the thing” and forget about it so we don’t have to examine ourselves or our friends anymore. Isn’t that entirely the point in this whole uprooting to begin with though? We must become comfortable not being comfortable in order to grow and evolve.

What artists wrestle with in the creation of their art is often (always?) intersecting things they wrestle with as human beings. This is especially true of (and often visibly outlined within) artistic careers. I think it must be hard to be great at anything without wrestling — even enjoying the wrestling which comes from — the uneasy factions between your personal instinct and impulses, against a history of professional training and the system of knowledge that’s come before. Assaults and molestations and taking advantages of are about power. Abuse takes in hand opportunity and pushes boundaries in order to one up and push out. Artists and other people of power must daily be opportunistic, manipulative, and transgressive to bring their particular (often unique) point of view to the forefront at work. Yet we know it is entirely possible to make great art without being abusive. How often have we lauded the alcoholic or drug addict as “art genius” in the past, even knowing it’s entirely possible to be sober and great at what you do? Conflation. Storytelling. Romanticism — beware of it.

We’re fascinated by these stories because we feel morally superior to them within the broad strokes, yet we’re also implicated in the details through our consumption and support. Is it a guilty pleasure or form of self flagellation to consume these good arts made by bad men, waving away the implication that we would ever do such things ourselves? We’re still maintaining a certain edge, a bit more raw and verboten, when we say “it’s genius regardless of the person who made it”. What we don’t say (but can be read between the lines of position and behavior) is “and I just keep giving them my money. I just keep giving them my time and attention. I’m not doing research to find the women and minorities and not abusive people who have also created genius things for me to consume”. This is not evolution. This is maintenance of the status quo even after declaring we have moved on and learned society’s current lesson. This is the Patriarchy profiting off of a good mic drop moment because we love a good mic drop, but what happens after the mic is on that floor? We go back to our beers. And pettinesses. And comforting privileged routines. The mic has become highway litter no one feels a personal need to be responsible for. Who picks it back up? The women and minorities. Always.

I believe there is no answer but to struggle. Struggle to invest in the lives of victims rather than perpetrators. Struggle to believe women and minorities and listen to their perspectives on transgressions and their transgressors. We must struggle because through struggle we begin to really know something, and a knowing struggle is what instigates those artistic articulations we believe to be genius in the first place. We (you and I) must remember those who struggle and do not transgress at a predatory level as a result. Nonabusive artists and politicians may not have had the privilege to become lauded heroes of the patriarchy before their fall — yet their existence proves struggle and creation within art/politics/etc. is possible to do with some amount of grace.

Until we can leave behind those who maintain abuse of power during the workings of their genius, and start supporting the geniuses of those who struggle to make without harm, we are only feeding the beast we profess to abhor and starving the healthy ones out. Shitty abusive coping mechanisms don’t change because someone gets slapped on the wrist and then goes back to their regularly scheduled programming. Shitty abusive coping mechanisms change because they are suffocated out when they cease to work anymore. When we empower those who wield power and genius humanely, we create a new standard for getting attention and resources. Only when we leave those with stunted coping mechanisms behind, will those people have to do the work of learning new ways to work and new ways to be.

We must be willing to do our work first. We must find ourselves loving and supporting different people. We must research and find alternatives to what the Patriarchy and white privilege has served up on popular demand for so long. We must demand more from one another. We must get comfortable being uncomfortable, and struggle, and do better. We must always reach for more.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

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