Monday, December 15, 2008

Getting through Finals

I have had requests to post something - thanks for your interest! I'm in the midst of finals, then out of town til the 11th. I will write when I can. Kinky dreams...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Midwifing Through the Bush Years

I've set up an auto-reply on my email and graciously passed on my tried and true to trusted cohorts. Months ago, I turned off my appointment line. And before that, I had already taken down my ads and commercial site. My decision to close this chapter of my life - sessions and dungeon rentals, interviews and checkpoints, inquiries and reviews - has been a long time in coming, as readers of my blog are likely aware.

My hesitation arose from my sense of caring and responsibility towards my cadre of submissives. I know all too well how much they put on the line by exposing their innermost secrets and offering up their bodies as they do. I would not say that the game of pain and subjugation attracts more dysfunctional souls than any other pursuit, it's simply easy to hide it there. So I felt it my duty to watch over my devotees, guiding and challenging them on their journeys of self-discovery, through the grueling moments to the heights of bittersweet, blissful surrender.

Yet there was a click. A sudden realization that I did not want to do this anymore and that I did not need to. A sense of relief, that I could let this go, because we had made it through the darkness into the dawn of a new age. In fact, it was the day after the presidential election. I didn't see the larger significance at first. Until I remembered how I got here. It was after 9/11 that I embraced my motto "carpe diem" and dared myself to live out my deliciously devious fantasies. Of course, there were other factors at that time, like the hot Eurasian pro-switch I made out with all night at Bondage-a-go-go who introduced me to the industry, then my best friend's sudden announcement of her desire to apprentice to a dominatrix, as well as my vanilla job fatigue, my boredom with swinging, and my desire for one last dash of frivolity at the end of my 20s.

But 9/11 and its aftermath had the greatest impact. I was working hard and playing even harder, popping ecstasy on weekends and jet-setting around to decadent parties full of beautiful people. Things were good, almost too good. It was like waking up from a dream. We were thrust into scary, ambiguous times. And we could not console ourselves with the certainty that we were still the good guys. I felt the grimness set in. I am quite sensitive to collective energy, to the flavor of the milieu. At times I wish this was less the case. But if felt right to tap into those tumultuous undercurrents, to connect with the pain and the suffering and the rage, as we hunkered down in our enslavement to an age of simple-mindedness and deceit. I midwifed through the Bush years, riding the dark waves as we all grew numb to hope. And so it is fitting that I felt this shift so completely - in my body, mind and spirit - the day after our historic election. The audacity of hope, indeed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Era

Well, I got my birthday wish! So things are feeling very different for me now. Turning 35, losing a woman who was like a second mother to me last week, yesterday's historic presidential election and my impending entrance to grad school... You know, lately every time I write in my blog, I get an email from someone new who wants to connect. I just don't have the time or inclination, no matter how sweet or enticing these notes may be. It just feels like time to pull back.

This feels like a new era to me. I'm breathing a sigh of relief. And I'm finally admitting to myself that it's time to move on, even from my trusted, loyal stable.

To fans of this blog, no worries! You can't shut me up that easily ;-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Requiem

For a brave, strong lady who fought the good fight 'til the very end. You inspired me with your fiery spirit and I will miss you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


-Dylan Thomas

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Not Much to Say

I haven't been inspired to blog lately. Here and there I'll have a fleeting idea that I could run with, but nothing that really moves me to sit down and bang it out on the keyboard. There's lots of stuff going on in my life right now. And above and beyond my immediate predicament, I feel like I'm holding my breath waiting for this heart-stopping presidential election to be over. Things like blogging seem so small in comparison with the global financial crisis and this historic election. And I have been swamped with school as well. I guess my priorities are shifting.

I'm happy to report that I rarely think about anything having to do with professional domination these days. I used to compulsively check out Max Fisch and other sites to glean the latest gossip and news. Thankfully, I'm too busy now and have more pressing matters to take care of. Somehow I'm reminded of this old episode of the Twilight Zone that had these two kids swim from the bottom of their swimming pool to this magical land of children, where they were free from their parents' shouting matches, harsh recriminations and abuse. At first, they could still hear their mother's voice calling to them - and they could even go back if they wanted, so long as they could hear it - but with each day the sound faded a little, the door closing between the two worlds.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Busy with Studies, Happy to Move On

I am so busy with school, and this will likely be the case for the next few years! I am loving it, but it has given me less time to blog. I am still writing - summaries, analyses, arguments and reports. I find myself challenged in new ways in that respect. In the past, I'd always rested on my laurels, relying on my innate facility. But I am no longer interested in taking the easy way out. I know enough now to realize that often times the work involved is there for a reason, that each experience can be an opportunity to expand one's understanding and skills, and that shirking it off can end up only cheating oneself.

It makes me chuckle now to think how caught up I was in the pro domme gig. It was awesome and I have no regrets. But it is liberating to not be focused on that level anymore. I can't believe how much I had started to worry about how pretty I am and how competitive I had begun to feel towards other women. I mean, the gods gave me my looks and bisexuality so that I wouldn't have to be like that, for heaven's sake! Admittedly, I still take a peak at all the domme boards and review sites for a vicarious thrill. When I was in it, I couldn't stand to look at those things, I felt so laid-out bare vulnerable as someone in the business, the subject of pointless petty discussions on such vulgar topics as my strap-on technique. Ok I know I'm a bit of a hypocrite like that, to be sex-positive and disdain such things, but really it has to do with one's underlying philosophy and approach as a Mistress, and for me that meant attempting to instill a high degree of dignity and discretion to the craft. When the queen steps down from the pedestal to consort with the submissively-inclined and perverted, must she necessarily wallow in muck? I think not!

Another aspect of the work that I will not miss are some of the entanglements I found myself getting into with session playmates. I never did the dating thing in high school, having surmised that my male peers at the time were simply not mature or deserving enough to engage with. I was content to read my pornography and play with myself until I got to college. So what a bizarre surprise to find echoes of the sort of dysfunctional, childish relationships I witnessed but did not participate in during my teenage years - echoes in the random dynamics I fell into with so-called regulars. Thankfully, as I refined my outward presentation via my website and blog, I scared most of the less evolved ones away! But what a trip, to find myself dealing with such regressive behavior during the highly personal interactions which occurred in session, when I had so deftly avoided such silliness in my real life.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Meditating & Headbanging

Just got back from a three-day silent meditation retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains. It turned out to be mostly women, with a range of ages and races. We had a lovely circle, wisdom through the ages.

Communing with nature in stillness was great, but I must admit it was good to get back to our scarily exciting real world, with all the fantastical financial events going on around the globe.

Funny, I pulled up this video to play for myself when I got back - a song called "Total Immortal" by AFI. Perhaps a bit of yang to the yin of my retreat. Healthy vegetarian meals, refraining from violence of any kind including the killing of insects, abstaining from indulgences and intoxicants, bowing, bowing and more bowing - the peace, purity and respectfulness of it is beautiful.

Yet true Oneness embraces the whole, including the darkness.

As one who plays with sadomasochism and dominance/submission, I find myself attuned to the shadows as well as the light. This often is not addressed enough in spiritual inquiry, as if by ignoring it, it will go away, the unfavored twin of the circle. Or by condemning it, as many religions do, it will whither away in the glaring light. What a violent thing, to want to scrub everything clean. In the name of the holy, no less.




You know I used to be a metalhead when I was an angry teenager, went to Metallica's final And Justice For All concert and used to go to sleep to their song "Fade to Black." I guess there's still a little headbanger in me!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yes on Prop K - Take a Stand for Sexual Freedom

All right dear friends, here we are with the first hints of Autumn in the air. So much change and flux everywhere. Whether it's a Chinese curse or a blessing, we are most definitely living in interesting times!

Amidst this goliath financial crisis and the culture wars of our upcoming presidential election, I have found solace immersing myself in my studies. It's been great to make new friends in my classes and connect with them on such a gratifyingly cerebral level. After my 6-year obsession with all things pro domme, it's awesome to switch gears and find myself discussing the ideas of Neitchze, Goedel and Freud on a regular basis.

But alas, there is always something to shake me back to reality.

I held my breath and felt my muscles tighten as one of my professors related a tale of a transvestite who was married to one of her patients. "He was wearing earrings... and woman's lingerie," she said, pausing with an arched eyebrow for dramatic effect.

Some details in life, one would rather forget. I guess it's a bit of cognitive dissonance, so as not to be reminded of harsher truths. Like the fact that sadomasochism is still listed as a disorder (classified as a sexual paraphilia) in the DSM - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a handbook for mental health professionals. I mean really, does it make any sense to group consensual power play alongside pedophilia? Granted, this is the same manual that listed homosexuality as a disorder up until the 80s.

Another little fact that I too often try to ignore - that our sexual freedoms in this country are quite limited, particularly for women involved in sex work. Look at what's happening in New York, where yet another house of domination was recently raided and shut down. A 21-year-old domina was arrested for prostitution for allegedly offering a prostrate massage for money. Don't vice cops have anything better to do than turn their masturbation fantasies into reality? I have nothing to say that hasn't been said before, but it does sicken me, how the entire pro BDSM scene in Manhattan is being terrorized by law enforcement.

Which brings me to my final point. Vote yes on Proposition K and take a stand for sexual freedom! From The San Francisco Chronicle : "Voting yes on Proposition K to decriminalize prostitution - to prohibit the city from arresting prostitutes - will make it easier for sex workers to report violence to the police and improve public health. The decriminalization of prostitution was the main recommendation of the citywide San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution more than 10 years ago. A recent UCSF study found that 1 out of 7 sex workers in San Francisco were threatened with arrest by police officers unless they had sex with them, and 1 out of 5 reported that police officers paid them for sex. Clearly, the policing of sex work is problematic."

New Zealand legalized prostitution in 2003, and you can see from this article that the level of discussion surrounding this issue is much more reasonable, with less moralizing and hypocrisy.

It's time to stop being complacent and complicit, living in fear and allowing others to smear us with labels of "criminal", "deviant" or "immoral." It's time to make positive change for justice, fairness and freedom. Take a stand!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Brain Tripping

Don't believe everything you think. I saw that on a bumper sticker a few years ago and it really stuck with me. I was heavy into meditation at the time, experiencing that expansive state of being more than just my little self with its biases and blind spots. I was drawn to sit because of shoulder and neck pain which had turned chronic, finding that the meditation allowed me to relax my own resistance to the pain, thereby lessening it considerably. But the pain was still there. The remainder went away only after I realized that it was repressed anger and fear manifesting physically. Shining light on the real issues, the physical pain disappeared, it's job done. Amazing how our bodies never lie.

It's so good to be back in school. I love the feeling of engaging on so many levels, getting my head firing on all cylinders. Here's one concept that's intrigued me. Our brain does something called the summation of inputs. We process things both in parallel as well as heirarchically. Both within neurons and between them, sensory information is collected and collated. Every little bit of data is not sent to a central decision-making area. Rather, the different pieces are coalesced and merged. So at each level, new information is being created and then passed up to the next level. Our brains are like a corporation, with individuals compiling reports which are sent to their manager who then sends a report from his group to his manager and so on, the information edited to focus on priorities and discard the extraneous, until it reaches the final decision-maker. I like thinking of it this way, because it reinforces my skepticism about my own thinking. Sometimes vital information can get lost in the shuffle, ignored or prioritized incorrectly. We have been wired to believe our own thinking is infallible, our emotions tell us so, yet in many cases we need to re-check our premises.

I've heard of a study where they could detect the impulse which triggered a movement before our consciousness seemed to make the decision to move. Our awareness just seems to be in control, but perhaps is closer to a projection of the actual processing going on. It's like our avatar, a representation which we wholly identify as our self. Yet brain trauma can permanently change this personality (and drugs can temporarily alter it). Our personal predilections, tics and habits are based on the existing connections and biochemical balance which is us in this moment, yet ultimately maleable. If you've meditated for a long period, perhaps you've encountered a bigger you staring at yourself, timeless and not attached to that little persona.

I enjoy thinking of this form I inhabit as my avatar. Yes, the geek in me feels an affinity with the idea, made popular in the film 13th Floor and elucidated in a lecture I attended by Nick Bostrum, that we may be living in a computer simulation. Yet really what it does is help remind me not to overly identify with the happenstance of my creation, but rather to embrace my many blessings and continue to seek out enriching experiences in this world.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Talking Head or Porn Star?

I was in the gym earlier today, tripping on how garishly made up the female anchors are on the cable news networks. These talking heads look like contract-girl porn stars. I admit I can have a hard time focusing on what they're saying. It must be a bitch for serious fellows they are interviewing to concentrate! Not that those channels ever seem to have much to say. Whenever I flip over to them, it always seems to be about a pretty woman missing from some small town in America. The only news channel that makes me feel sane is CNBC. I guess it just seems like less bullshit, focusing on the economy, even when I disagree with their pundits. Of course, the women on there are hot too. But in a more sophisticated and real way.

I was watching storm coverage on Fox last night and the mini-skirted blonde anchorwoman and brunette meteorologist in red seemed to be engaged in a little ego tussle as they debated the impact of the back-end of the hurricane which hit the Gulf Coast. They reminded me of the kind of girls who hang out at bars in the Marina, all smiling and giggling in front of the guys. But run into them in the ladies room, when the mask is off, and it's the silent treatment or eyes shooting daggers, then maybe later a well-placed heel to the foot or elbow to the ribs if they don't like the attention you're getting on the dancefloor.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Californication & Sex Addiction

With the semester having started and me finally getting serious in my pursuit of a graduate degree, I've been a bit too distracted to write in my blog as of late. I do feel guilty when I don't write, yet I've learned to not to beat myself up too much. I've come to realize that whenever my writing gets more sparse, it usually means that I'm having my fair share of adventures and am fully engaged in my life. There's a trade-off between living deeply in the moment and stepping back to muse, analyze and create. I used to chide myself relentlessly for not applying myself more to my creative endeavors. That was before I began to appreciate that what really matters to me is savoring every moment of this wondrous, mysterious existence with which I have been gifted. Indeed, there is magic latent in the world, and I enjoy mining it.

In the end, everything else is dust in the wind to me. We drive ourselves to make our mark, our desire for fame and recognition a quixotic quest for immortality. We forget there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from our fear of the inevitable. Of course, there is more to achievement than just personal glory. There is the desire to share what we create and collaborate, to impart insight and publicly wrestle with the questions which nag us. So in a sense too, I feel a responsibility to my readers. Now I have been half-waiting to get those emails pleading with me to post something, as in "Please Mistress, your fans want to hear from you!" Somehow that always works like reverse-psychology and deters me even more. Ah well, I admit there's no winning with me sometimes.

I read the other day that David Duchovny checked himself in to rehab for sex addiction. I've been meaning to write about his new series "Californication," having caught the first season on disc. I really got into the first 6 or so episodes (the first of the 2 DVDs). It had witty dialogue, great acting, some heart-tugging drama and laugh-your-ass-off moments, and of course lots of T&A sex scenes. The story is about Hank Moody, a best-selling New York novelist with writer's block who lives in LA and drowns his sorrows (his longtime girlfriend/mother of his child's impending marriage to another man) by having sex with as many beautiful women as he can. The opening scene of the first episode has a nun going down on him (OK it's a dream sequence). There are more shockingly hilarious vignettes in the first few episodes, including a head-shakingly funny bedroom scene involving doggy-style sex and vomit, as well as a BDSM threesome gone awry with a hot Suicide Girl.

To paraphrase a few of the best lines from the show:

"What I want to know is why is this city so intent on destroying the female half of its population?" Hank Moody asks to himself, in response to all the plastic surgery and self-esteem issues he encounters in the women he sleeps with.

"Life is too short to dance with the fat chicks," his philandering dad tells him. Not PC but funny as hell (maybe because it is so un-pc).

The series winds down as you get into the second half of the first season though, with fewer sex scenes or hilarity, and more heart-heavy drama. This is when the chickens come home to roost. For underlying all the wicked sex is a very traditional, monogamous-based view of romantic relationships. Hank's original sin was that he never asked his girlfriend to marry him, so when someone finally did she said yes. His sexual compulsions cause him to be blackmailed and lose the faith of his daughter. We watch him suffer and do penance, reaping what he sowed. This is when I lost some of my interest in the show. These people were putting themselves and each other through hell, ostensibly in the name of love. They could see no other way. But I do. It's called polyamory. Hey, even Dr. Edel was talking about it on the radio today.

I wish David Duchovny well on his recovery. I bet he had the ladies throwing themselves at him extra-hard after "Californication" came out, what with all those inspiring sex scenes. I always thought he and his wife Tea Leoni looked like swinger types - they both are hot and seem like open-minded, intelligent people. I'm still formulating an opinion on sex as an addiction. Unquestionably, it can be a compulsion. Part of me wants to tell him "rehab is for quitters!" But seriously, sometimes things get a bit too extreme and we over-stimulate our reward centers, so moderation is key. It's just too bad that nowadays we can turn anything into a problem!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sweet Sacrifice

A hottie named Mortisha turned me on to this song and video. Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Life's Little Adventures

I love it when my sweet sexy friends turn me on to porn! A submissive girlfriend of mine sent me several titillating links to videos on YouPorn.com. Very nice. . .

I headed downtown yesterday to meet up with Ava Noir at the Four Seasons. We took our time grabbing a bite to eat and chatting in the lounge before heading up to the suite where her slave was being held captive, "forced" to watch porn until her return. We spanked him and treated him like a slut while he tried to impress us with Japanese phrases he'd learned on a recent trip to Tokyo, like "I have a big cock." We just laughed and Ava told him to be quiet as she wrapped him in a cellophane thong. It was good dirty fun, but we had to cut it short since Ava had a masseuse arriving shortly to give her a backrub in the room. We moved her slave to the closet and I said my good-byes, an extra spring in my step as I made my way through the lobby.

I was at a party over the weekend and got to talking to a friend of a friend. "Sorry if I was a little uptight when I arrived," I said after I'd loosened up with a few drinks, "There was this situation that I couldn't get out of my mind, but I feel so much better now."

"Are you talking about a client?" the woman asked. We were standing apart from the rest of the revelers and she spoke in a slightly hushed voice. I stood there looking at her, dumbfounded for a second, not wanting to blow my cover. I don't exactly advertise among my social circle that I'm a dominatrix. She looked around, then said "Nobody knows here. But you know I've done escorting, right?" I nodded as the memory of a previous liquor-soaked confession came into focus. She talked for several minutes about how the business messed with her head, how before she did it she felt more sexually bold and free but nowadays she gets uncomfortable when a guy begins to express an interest in her sexually, worrying that that's the only thing he sees in her. It sounded like she needed a transitional "let's just hug" relationship to help her heal. As the conversation winded down, she said, "Look if your situation needs a little extra oomph, I'd be down to double anytime." "Really?" I asked, half incredulous that after telling me her sob story, she was offering up her services. "Like tomorrow?" I said, knowing I wouldn't take her up on it. "Yeah, I could do tomorrow," she said, a little fire lighting up in the corner of her eyes. I could have shaken her, told her "Snap out of it! You just finished law school. You've gotta pass the bar. Move on!" But well, that's not my style. Ah who knows, some urges seem to need to run their course.

Between working at dotcoms and starting the pro domme gig, I had worked as the personal assistant to a wealthy Chinese businessman and nightclub owner. He was a maniac, my first day of work he was on the phone with a tabloid leaking information about his Hollywood celebrity father-in-law who he was in a legal battle with over his mother's estate. In his luxury apartment on top of Nob Hill, he'd smoke speed out of a broken lightbulb - during meetings with straight-laced business associates! I would arrive in the morning to find evidence of the previous night's debauchery, often including pictures of strippers I knew from the swinger scene who he paid to come home with him and party. I've fucked that girl in the ass with my strap-on, I'd think as I flipped through the images. The Filipino doormen downstairs always made snide litte remarks insinuating that I was his whore, which completely annoyed me. Of course, my tenure did end when this blonde Asian with fake tits started sleeping with my boss and doing his paperwork, rendering me obsolete. I knew she wouldn't last, but I said my sayonaras and hightailed it to my next adventure. . . and that would lead me to The Gates.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Coming from the Heart

I am not someone who hangs out in the larger BDSM community. Instead, I have cultivated a few close friendships with others who also endeavor to approach this lifestyle from a place that is heart-centered and life-affirming. So it disappoints me when I hear stories of mistreatment from fellow players.

Of course, it may seem obvious to some that explorations of the darker side of the sexual psyche could lead to dysfunction. Yet I think it's such a cop-out to abuse the trust and vulnerability integral to this kind of play. It's all about the mind fuck. And as such, when compared to erotic exchanges that are based on a purely physical-sexual level, there's more room to get hurt and therefore a greater responsibility on the part of the participants, particularly the tops.

When I engage in power exchange, I am seeking to know myself better as well as connect in an authentic way with another being. Yet what I have seen is that these same rituals can be used as a substitute and barrier to intimacy. It can become a means of maintaining separation between oneself and the other. This other may be defined as client, male, caucasian, straight or vanilla person - whatever the label, it serves to dehumanize and distance, blocking true empathy.

I can see the defense mechanisms at play in this process, and recognize that many pro dommes protect themselves by creating these barriers, which they may regard as necessary boundaries. Yet disconnecting from those we choose to engage with only leads to our own emotional isolation. I have watched some move further and further away from mutual understanding with those who session with them, leading to bitterness as honest communication falls on the wayside.

What's troubling me most right now is to hear stories of how friends, who by no means fit into the alpha role within the dominant paradigm, have been subject to real cruelty and prejudice - in the lifestyle, as clients and as pros. These are people who already have to deal with judgments from society at large because of their race, size, age, physical ability and (trans)gender. What is it that makes people want to abuse those they perceive as defenseless? What joy does one get out of mistreating the less powerful? How heart-breaking to bare one's most precious secrets, only to have it thrown back in your face and made to feel wrong for being who you are, whether wanting to submit or top. What gets me is how some people act so proud of their "daring" alternative lifestyle, yet with their actions end up reinforcing conventional heirarchies and discrimination. I'm not talking about un-PC roleplays (which can be very hot), but about playing into the hands of close-mindedness and hatred.

When I top someone, I want to acknowledge their power. I want to pay respect to it by not assuming they're easy to conquer. I want to mentally and physically tussle until I have their submission. It makes the dynamic an earned rather than performed experience. That's the problem with so much pro play. It's thought of more as a performance than an encounter. So much of the good, juicy stuff gets lost in this illusion. And so much hurt can happen when playing mind games without heart.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Working the Kinks Out

A friend of mine - let's call her Dara - was training to be an aesthetician and offered to give me a free facial. I happily obliged. As we chatted during the appointment, Dara told me she needed more practice with men's bikini waxing. Knowing what I do, a lightbulb went off in her head. "Wait a minute! You must have some guys I can work on," she said.

"Oh, I'm sure I could talk a few slaves into the idea," I said. "But do you really want to see my people?" I asked, conscious that while she was open-minded, my friend was quite the innocent.

"Just send them over. It'll be awesome!" she reassured me.

So I emailed a couple of my boys and encouraged them to set up appointments with Dara. Afterwards, I received giddy messages from both letting me know how much fun they had. One of my sissies even chatted about feminization with her. Dara also contacted me almost immediately afterward to thank me for the referrals, letting me know how sweet they both were. "Somehow I could tell they were your slaves," she giggled.

I hadn't realized how powerful and titillating it would be to send my submissives off to be worked on by a friend, that it would in some ways be an extension of the existing dynamic between us. I think it must have felt pretty liberating knowing that they could be themselves with a trusted friend of mine.

The very act of waxing is sadomasochistic in and of itself. I hadn't realized how much so until I had it done. Dara convinced me to return the following week for my first bikini wax ever. I wanted to find out how it feels to have your pubic hair ripped out by the roots. I was thrown off by how much it hurt, letting out a little scream until I learned to cover my own mouth. Even after the disturbingly hot wax was pulled off, she wasn't finished until the remaining stray hairs were plucked out with a tweezer. Wow.

It's funny when we can turn normally vanilla situations into a kinky fieldtrip! Of course, consensuality for any overt acts is important. But along these same lines, one of my tried and true sent me a note about his experience at the dentist's office:

The dentist and her assistant were making a couple of soft castings of my mouth and during that process poured warm molten silicone rubber into my mouth and then used a lot of force and TLC to get it out once it had cured. They must have thought I was crazy to be smiling during this very uncomfortable process, but I thought it very cool to be subjected to this. Of course I didn't tell them that I'm quite used to having intelligent, beautiful women forcing silicone rubber products in and out of my mouth with semi-regularity.


Since winding down from the pro scene, how I go about my days could aptly be described as "lifestyle" kinky. Meaning that situations have become more free-flowing, less restricted to the dungeon and more integrated into my everyday life. Admittedly, I've always hated the word "lifestyle" and how it was used in a snobby sort of way to distinguish oneself as better than more commercially-oriented dommes. I've been fortunate in that I was not raised to buy into convention, so my lifestyle has never really been vanilla. And I've bristled at how alternative culture can simply replace one type of uniform and stereotyped thinking with another. But I suppose "lifestyle" can, at times, be a useful delineator.

Whatever you call this hybrid existence, I am enjoying not having to adhere to any industry standard, protocol, peer pressure and the like. I am enjoying not stepping outside myself to critique my performance in anticipation of a review, or otherwise getting bogged down in the hustle of it all.

I am revelling in connecting with my wants, not my shoulds. I am playing with people I deeply care about, trust and respect. Surprising and delighting myself with each discovery, I am unearthing new dimensions to myself, tapping into novel avenues of exploration and cultivation of my personal power. Working the kinks out is a very good thing...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Know Thyself

Know thyself. We are all familiar with the dictum. Yet I've come to see how difficult it is to maintain clarity in relationships closest to oneself. In particular, I am struck by our seeming inability to perceive clearly in three key relationships: with our individual selves, with our significant others, and with our family. There just seems to be too much attachment in these situations, leading to a sort of funhouse mirror effect on our ability to reflect back a shared reality.

I first started noticing a pattern to these blindspots in people during my observations of other women in erotic work. Most of us seem to need to put blinders on of one sort or another to justify ourselves, likely due to the lack of support in society as a whole for what we do. "What's up with her? I just don't get her. I feel like she's not really there," I was telling a mutual friend of a new girl at The Gates, back in the days when I worked there. I prided myself on being able to figure out what made everyone tick and act accordingly, but this woman remained a cypher to me, especially after an awkward double session together.

"You know, I thought about this a lot," my friend said, "It's weird because she can be really insightful when helping me sort out stuff going on in my life, but she can't make sense of her own predicaments. One time she thanked me for giving her great advice and I told her I just thought of what she would say to me under the same circumstances. There's this blurriness there when it comes to trying to understand herself, especially her self image in relation to men." She was not alone.

There was a woman who interviewed with me to be an apprentice dominatrix. A pretty young Eurasian just out of college, she had been stripping for the past five years and wanted to try something different. I was taken aback by how sweet and innocent this woman seemed to be, and as I talked to her I learned that it really wasn't an act. "Just so you know, this work is not about explicit sexuality. I have friends who escort, but this is not what it is," I said to her.

"Oh my God! I would never be friends with someone who does that!" she wrinkled her cute little nose in disdain. We ended our lunch on friendly terms, but she didn't follow up (she seemed disappointed when we talked about the money involved in session work). I ran into her a few weeks later at a swinger-themed dance party that was being thrown in one of the City's strip clubs. "See that older woman over there," she pointed to the stage where a hot Sandra Romain look-alike writhed topless, grinding against another woman. I appreciatively took in her olive skin and porn star rack, as well as the lusty sneer on her sultry face. "She tried to hit on me the last time I was here, but I think she's a prostitute." My stripper acquaintance said this last word with a snarl, almost like she should spit afterwards to get the bad taste out of her mouth. Later on, I saw her lap-dancing her date in a secluded area. It puzzled me, this strange mix of overt sexuality and prudishness, yet I would come to see it time and time again (even in myself!). It's like we tell ourselves that we're still good girls even though we do this and this, but if we do that - that awful thing! - then we are a bad girl and shame shame shame! My goodness, it's kind of ridiculous isn't it?

This inability to see things clearly when they hit closest to home marks our relationships with our family and significant others as well. I've read that there is a "primitive" society where children are never raised by their biological parents, but by their aunt and uncle instead. They believe the parents and children will have a better relationship for it, and that the aunt and uncle will not have the same attachments (i.e. over-identification) which can get in the way of nurturing independence and autonomy in the child.

"I told him you tell him that. He won't listen if it comes from me," a woman was telling me how she got her husband to take some much-needed advice by having a friend do it for her. The interdependence of our egos and the delicate balance of power in our relationships with significant others can sometimes call for such diplomacy. And the spelling out of overidentification in the form of traditional marriage (e.g. the woman changes her name to the man's name) makes seeing clearly that much more difficult, as spouses begin to think of one another as each other's possessions. I've always marvelled at how men I've met through my professional play seem delighted to hear of my latest exploits, and I've heard the same from other women in the work. There is this pure joyfulness in hearing of our pleasures, no attempts to control or restrain. So different from how most of us approach our "real" relationships. But of course, it doesn't have to be that way. Many of us are exploring new ways of being together through polyamory aka (but not necessarily the same thing as) swinging - I have many thoughts on this topic, deserving of its own post later. Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Knowing and Mystery

I headed out to the redwoods last week, practiced a little mountain biking skills on some trails. I always enjoy learning new things. It's like being a virgin again. There is a balance at play, between forging on with what is established and breaking new ground. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, other times we're too busy chasing novelty. But when we get it right, we're firing on all cylinders, making the most of what we know and what we are still discovering.

I am always wanting to know. To break through the mysteries. Well, at least I've figured out enough by now to realize that there is no holy grail, no answer to be found on this plane about why we are really here and what is the meaning of my life. So I am learning to enjoy not knowing. The mysteriousness which has worked to compell seekers to me -- the faceless Mistress with her provocative words and images -- is the same quality which I now embrace in myself. In those moments when we are stripped down of our preconceptions and projections, when neither our book knowledge or street smarts can point the way, when we are laid bare-naked in our beingness, illusion falling away to pure energy contained in these walls of flesh and bone... that is when I feel closest to the divine. It can happen in the most unlikely of circumstances, and usually does.

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I had endeavored for a month or so to write an account of my pro domme experiences. I decided that it's too early. I am still processing it and do not yet have the benefit of hindsight. One of my friends has told me how much she appreciates that I can completely change my opinion on a subject. And I do believe our fervant insistence on consistency is a plague on our ability to think creatively and explore critically. Yet for a published work, I want to have a certain degree of stability in my philosophy. Years later, I don't want to have to disavow its point of view, prematurely drawn and hastily concluded.

The effort also underscored another push-pull relationship: between looking inwardly to create and looking outwardly to learn. Like I think about how, instead of waiting patiently as my snake tried to break the seal of its old skin during a molt, I sat down on the computer to write about it, thus missing the actual event. That's not what I want, to be holed up away from the living, breathing world as I get lost in the mirror of my own thoughts. It isn't time for that yet.

I've also come to realize how important it is that my writing be about sharing my insights and elucidating my understanding of the world as a kinky, polyamorous woman trying to live out her truth in this age of wall-to-wall vanilla sexuality and monogamy for show. I don't want to be just another person climbing on top of a mountain shouting "Look at me! Pay attention to me!" If I wanted that, I could join a reality show. No, I want to highlight my journey and help guide others who feel lost in this wasteland of both suffocating restrictions and out-of-control mores.

We all hold up our sacred cows. I used to think to be an acclaimed writer would be such a big deal. Yet like everything, it is what it is and no magic pill. I have come to realize that I have a unique perspective afforded by my knowledge and experience in the areas of the modern spiritual movement (that is, the one aligned with meditation, self-awareness and traditionally Buddhist ideas), the cutting edge of technology and philosophy (accelerating change and the singularity, Craig Venter) and sexual freedom and other pleasures (BDSM, sex work, polyamory, club culture), all with the skeptical eye of a born-outsider rooted in the testy soil of Hollywood and nourished in the sensitive hands of San Francisco.

I want to share what I know, while giving myself room to stay out there and learn from the greatest teacher there is - my own direct experience. I believe we are each a learning organ of the universe, and that the knowledge we possess contributes to the evolution of a shared consciousness. And oh how much fun we can have in the process - amen to that!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Simple Pleasures

I took in the warm weather and good music on the bay this weekend at one of the summer day parties which I look forward to every year. I wore a batik sundress that flowed against my body's curves and let the sun's rays heat my skin, and couldn't help but feel appreciated by all the compliments I received.

Club culture is really my natural playground. From extended family celebrations in childhood to my kiddie raver days to the more sophisticated gatherings of the present - dancing, chatting and lounging with a community of like-minded souls has always been a part of my life. When I was deeply involved (read: obsessed) with my pro domme career, I let a lot of that fall away. The rush of taking on this role of "dominant on demand" temporarily replaced my other outlets for connection. I guess we all get caught up at times. Now I feel like I'm finding myself again.

I've been having fun playing the femme in pretty dresses spiced up with touches of my own unique style. There is something so innocent about taking in the sweet admiration of those moved by my appearance, without that undercurrent of an ulterior motive that comes with being more than just an amateur at seduction. I revel in the simple pleasure of flirtatious compliments from strangers in polite society, the rush of mutual attraction from furtive glances and nuanced body language, the victory of achieving an intriguing sartorial balance of self-expression and the fashion zeitgeist. When I consider what to wear for an event, I allow my mood to guide me, delighting in all the clever little ways we can convey our feelings in our dress. Slight shifts in fabric choice, cut, color and accessories can make a huge difference in messaging, changing the tone from assertive, to exotic, to sleek.

I'm fortunate that in my daily life, I am constantly reminded that I am blessed. Perhaps for some who turn pro, it's an opportunity to feel special. Yet for me, trying to fit into that commercial role squeezed out some of the complexity and artistry of my self-expression, dumbing down my assets for the masses. As I evolve into my next incarnation, I feel myself relaxing back into my natural confidence, wiping away the memory of having my body and face graded on a scale of 1-10 like an everyday product for consumption. When men pay, they are much more scrutinizing and critical. This is the ugly side of turning your womenly charms into a money-making enterprise. At a party, I only hear the good stuff. But when you put yourself out there on the market, you hear the bad stuff too.

Men don't really get how sensitive women can be to this process of evaluation because they haven't been trained their whole lives that their value is intrinsically tied to their physical attractiveness - I suspect most men would have an easier time than most women giving a number rating to their appearance. We are taught that it's ok to poke fun at a man's bald spot or paunch, but that it is extremely rude to do the same with any part of a woman's appearance. We are not allowed to laugh at women's exterior, maybe that's why there are so few ladies in comedy. Women are trained to have a hair-trigger sensitivity to criticism about their appearance, and that certainly doesn't engender a good sense of humor.

So perhaps the trial by fire that women in the entertainment industry are put through is good for them, facing that achilles heel of our fixation on beauty. That may be so, but I have to say I am enjoying my newfound freedom away from the harsh glare of the professional arena. There is both a heightened subtlety and refinement in real-life encounters, as well as an unpredictability and rawness from the unscripted, and the extra leverage to be had as a lifestyle pleasure-seeker. I'm too spoiled by my real life to have stayed a strictly session-based Mistress, which in the end could only satisfy on one level. It feels like I'm melting back into my true role as a radiantly multi-dimensional, intellectually inquisitive, creatively driven woman of the world - and that much wiser for my experience in the trenches.

I am diving back into a regular meditation, yoga and non-violent communication practice, as I am wanting to fully process and understand the roller coaster ride of these past few years. I am giving myself time to step back and see the bigger picture, placing my journey as a pro domme in the greater context of my life as a polyamorous, spiritual adventurer, integrating the positives and shaking off the rest, and endeavoring to come to a meaningful exploration and assessment of it all.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My World

I got a call the other day from one of my submissives, someone who has known me for several years now. He was on his way to buy a massage table to keep in his house for me. It made my day to know I have such dedicated attendants in my life. Although he has been devoted to me from the beginning of my pro domme days, I only recently allowed him to serve me again in scene, our dynamic's temporary demise the unfortunate side effect of an accidental acid trip. Oh yes, I do have some good stories...

I was lounging in the park with another of my dear submissives, and we mused about how life is sometimes like a BDSM sitcom. During one of our first play dates, I pulled down his pants to find the word "owned" carved on his ass! He had nervously told me beforehand how a recent scene with a friend went too far, and I knew he was worried about my reaction as I examined him. Not really knowing him at the time, I half wondered if this was some bizarre test to see if I'd freak out. In the end, I had a good laugh teasing him about it.

I've been enjoying sharing a nice meal with my submissives. People used to bug me for this, wanting to make a potential session contingent upon going out to dinner. I always refused, sensing that these strangers were more interested in "flexing their muscles," acting romantic (gag), or reinforcing the conventional paradigm as the waitstaff automatically deferred to them, the male in the party. No, it had to come from me, with my tried and true only. It was quite hilarious to watch one of my minions hem and haw when asked to make a decision. "I don't know. You're the expert, you work here. Why don't you decide?" he said to the waitress. It made me realize how much fun can be had at a restaurant, subtly training the waitstaff to direct their attention to me by having my submissive say things like "She's the boss, I'm just here for the ride."

It feels really good to step out of the professional limelight and sit back, enjoying the beautiful relationships I've developed with my chosen few on a much more lifestyle level. It's liberating to be able to take my sissy to the mall, a TENS unit secretly strapped to his privates, while we peruse the latest Victoria's Secret fashions for him. The sales lady doesn't even blink, assuming the 34Bs she's ringing up are for me.

I had thought I would still allow the occasional pro session with former non-regular clients who've seen me before at The Gates. But after one of them recently posted an unauthorized review, I've concluded that a few bad eggs make this an untenable option. I believe that even the most glowing of reviews, done without my permission, is an invasion of my privacy and a signal that the writer of said review does not truly believe or respect my position as a dominant.

When they can jabber on about what an enchanted goddess/all-powerful mistress/blah blah blah to my face and then write about me as a "provider of services" behind my back - I just don't understand some people. It seems like this last reviewer wanted to contradict the announcement of the closing of my stable, letting the guys know that not only am I still an object for public consumption, but that you don't even have to call me "Mistress." Oh really! Isn't it enough to have the privilege of a private meeting with me, why do you have to go write about it on the equivalent of a men's bathroom wall? And then they wonder how I figure out it's them, when I send them the letter of their banishment, letting them know that they have irreparably damaged the trust between us.

I ran into two lovely ladies of The Gates recently at a social event. One lamented to me how hard it was for her to take the reviews. "I remember you said I should never read them," she said, "But when I read them, it's like I see the real power dynamic. I realize I don't really have the power, even though I think of myself as the dominant one."

"No, that's just bitches getting their revenge," I tell her, "They're uncomfortable with their own submission, so they have to re-tool it after the fact as them being served by you. It is one perspective, but not the perspective. Yours is as valid as theirs. Don't buy into it."

Afterwards, I follow up with an email letting her know many esteemed artists, including a highly regarded director, no longer listen to what the critics say about them. They know holding onto the integrity of their vision is key to their being able to continue with their work.

I write to her: "Keep your vision of what you do, don't let a few online trolls taint it for you. The truth as much as anything is that you are using them for your satisfaction and gain. Don't let them pull you into their world, unless you consciously have decided you want to know. And who says just because knowledge is available we should know it. Do you need to see grisly pictures of a crime? It happened. It's true and real. But you are better off without being traumatized by that particular truth. As long as nothing overtly incorrect is being stated (eg more sensual than you get) leave it for them. It wasn't meant for your eyes anyway. I can even have my sub read any new reviews you get on the three main sites and vet them for you - just let me know."

Don't let them oppress you with their words. You will be able to hang in there longer, if you don't expose yourself to it. Take back the power and remember why you love this so much! As for me, I have no regrets, but am relieved to no longer give a shit. I have insulated myself well, surrounding myself with great people who share the same values of authenticity, intelligence, creativity, honesty, caring and discretion. Though I know I can never stop other people from doing what they do, I am content to wash my hands of it and move on. The volatile events of seven years past pushed me to embark on my pro domme adventure, knowing that we must celebrate our lives today in this very moment. And that same drive keeps pushing me further. Carpe diem baby!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On Driving (and monkeys)

"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles." I am thinking about the opening line in Less Than Zero, that seminal novel for me and so many other kids growing up in LA in the 80s, as I drive away from San Francisco. I am in the lane to the right of the fast lane, musing on how I like this lane better because there is less pressure to put the petal to the metal if someone is trying to ride up your ass. I figure the speed freaks behind me can jump over to the fast lane, which is wide open anyway.

Of course, I look in the rearview mirror and see someone is breathing down my neck. It just amazes me how many people seem to lack basic knowledge of physics - that for every doubling of speed, you are going to need four times the distance to stop (given the same amount of time). It never fails to disturb me when I find that people I know and consider to be thoughtful and considerate are actually terrors on the road: tailgating, cutting off cars, getting into a hissy fit over other drivers. I get the sense that the way we drive is a good glimpse into our inner selves. Sadly, it's often not a pretty picture. Coasting down a hill, letting the momentum take me, all around me cars are lurching and braking, using up all that precious gas. That jittery, greedy mind which stutters, hiccups and howls, always wanting more, more, more...until we suck this planet dry.

So this car is still tailgating me. Why doesn't it just pull into the fast lane? It finally does. I am keeping pace with the car in front of me and we have a respectable distance between us. Despite the fact that the fast lane is wide open in front of and behind him, the car now jumps in front of me. Maybe he (or she) gets nervous being alone in the fast lane, who knows? I laugh as he starts in on car that'd been ahead of me. Eventually, he gives up his pressure tactic and switches back over to the fast lane.

Taking this little incident further in my mind, I wondered what if this driver didn't wise up and change into the faster lane? What if he just kept accelerating dangerously close to the car ahead of him? The other driver could do nothing different, satisfied in the knowledge that if anything happened, it'd be this fool's fault. But for safety's sake, the other driver would likely change into a slower lane to avoid a mishap.

Our cars are lethal weapons, so staying the course when another driver is being overly aggressive is basically stepping up for a duel. Yet many of us would not back off. We've been taught that to do so is to be a coward. That the courageous thing to do is defend your righteousness and not back down. But is that really courage - to act suicidally, even homicidally, to make your point? Well when you put it that way Mistress, of course not! But our relationship with cars is strange because the rules of engagement we use on the road can often seem less rationale and more pushy than how we are face-to-face. There's a strong ego-involvement with our cars: with the way they look, with the way we drive them, and the way we react to other drivers and their cars. It's like how it's so much easier to flame people online rather than insult them to their face, we have that extra layer insulating us. Obviously, with cars this is a false sense of security.

In the western world, more people die in car accidents than anything else. Yet we fear and take measures against the abstract and the rare, not the everyday. When we drive, the first thing on our mind should be protection of ourself and others. What this means for a lot of people is protection not of their body but of their ego. Look at how we project our egos onto our vehicles. We merge our identities with them so completely, we say things like "Look at that car! Did you see what he did? He's crazy!" It's really quite extraordinary how we talk about the car and the driver as if they were one and the same.

People often like to criticize modern society for being too herd-like. But when I drive, I see how uncooperative we can be as a herd! Does that sports car zipping across lanes think he's exercising his individuality by threatening all our lives? Or how about that SUV driver with the glaring headlights, isn't she just affirming her right to be seen and recognized? It's absurd how we get it all mixed up, asserting our desire for individuality when safety should be first, yet moving with the herd on such personal issues as sexuality. Sometimes I wonder how we can be so bone-headed.

I am reminded of animal behavior I studied in my zoology class. In some ways, we are not so different. We are creatures like the rest, constantly jostling for position in the social heirarchy, staking out our territory and seeking to make ourselves attractive to potential mates, just as our fellow earthly brethren do. It's given me a better perspective on people and helped me to not take negative interactions so personally, to realize that a lot of what the average person does is motivated by these endless games, hardwired into us. It's funny how we often overlay logic and reason on our decisions after the fact, to justify actions which may have had more instinctive origins.

We have much to learn about ourselves. Perhaps as we evolve, we can align ourselves more with the peaceful, sex-loving, female-empowered bonobo monkeys and less with the violent, male-dominated, rigidly heirarchical chimpanzees. Out of our two closest primate relatives, I'm betting the bonobos are the better drivers.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Euphoric, Inquisitive, At Ease...

Euphoric, inquisitive, at ease... I am feeling all these things at the moment. Euphoric because I'm having fun again with my play. Inquisitive to see what new directions my latest adventures take me. At ease with this period of flux and change, yet focused on continuing my learning and growing to better myself as a person.

I went through this period of bitterness about my pro domme work, which infected all my erotic interactions. Perhaps a necessary come-down from such a long time of flying high with it. I had to step back and extricate the things that really were a part of me from the things I took on in playing that role. To even say that it was a role would have been heresy to me just a short while ago, I had I merged my identity so completely with being Mistress Xia, I believed my own propaganda.

It's taken me a while to find myself again. I am slowly teasing out the real from the artifice; the genuine from the mere performance; the "shoulds" embodied in industry standards and protocol with the "wants" of my heart's desire. Learning is such a fascinating process. We set out to know, but since we do not yet know, what we are looking for cannot be preordained. Rather, if we allow ourselves to let go into unknowingness, the truth unfolds before us like a mystery unveiled. In the end, we often end up in a completely different place than we imagined. That's part of the magic of life.

I feel liberated now that I am playing by my own rules, making them up along the way. It's so much easier for me now, away from the glare of the public eye that is cast upon actively practicing pro dommes. The reviews, ads, new inquiries, gossip - I am glad to be done with it, even if it doesn't always seem to be done with me!

I recently refused someone who has served me in session before. In his previous email to me he had included a link to an escort and asked if I could be a reference for him. I told him I thought it inappropriate and distasteful that he would presume to introduce me to this aspect of his sex life, lumping all of us "providers" in the same boat. I know I wouldn't be comfortable having him serve me again. Maybe I'm a bitch and a hypocrite, but that's how I feel. And what is this about anyway, if not my feelings as a Mistress? Is it wrong that I want to feel special? That I want my slaves to act as they would with a proper lady, waiting for any permission I may give before bringing it down to a more casual/crude tone rather than assuming that I am all right with such things? I ask because even I don't know. It's a curious process, trying to figure out all this uncharted territory...

What I do know is that right now, I am having fun again. The little censor in my head which used to monitor my "performance" to make sure I was acting "dominant enough" is creeping away, no longer needed because the people with me aren't there with some ulterior motive to suss me out as a pretender. It's amazing to truly relax into my role, knowing that we are all comfortable with the flow of the power dynamic and not fixated on the "right" and "wrong" way to play. I fell into the trap of buying into that spirit-defeating game of trying to please the peanut gallery, rather than staying true to myself. Thank the Goddess within that I have come to my senses. Sweet times ahead!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Battlestar Galactica" Satisfies. "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" Tantalizes

I just got caught up to the latest Battlestar Galactica. Wow! There is something about watching these ongoing, epic science fiction dramas (Babylon Five also comes to mind, though BSG is my fav) that can be so rewarding when they finally start to wrap things up. As a viewer, you've literally invested years following these characters and stories, cheering the daring, insightful plot developments along the way. With too many shows, I've had my hopes dashed as storylines veered off track from boldness, intelligence and originality to implausible or predictably neutered fare. Perhaps because BSG never drew the huge audiences of other shows, it has been allowed to stay true to its vision. Sci fi dramas like BSG allow us to thoughtfully explore the dangerous territories of us versus them politics and religion without all the baggage that comes from seeing it in "real-life" terms.

I caught a trailer for Showtime's Secret Diary of a Call Girl. It's interesting to note that while networks in the U.S. typically make homegrown versions of successful foreign shows, this one is simply the re-packaged original from the U.K. The cynic in me knows that lines like "Escort, hooker, prostitute, or whore, I don't care what you call me, that's just semantics" delivered with a smooth, upper-class British accent goes down a lot easier with Stateside audiences, somehow sounding more sophisticated than if those same words were pronounced with the more jarring tones of an American. I have yet to watch the series, but I will likely give you my two cents after I do.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vibrators, Geeky Science & Saying Yes to Creativity

Last night just before midnight on cable, I saw a commercial the likes of which I have never seen before. It was for the Trojan Vibrating Touch Fingertip Massager. The ad had everyday-looking women, older and younger, advising each other on the wonders of the product. We've come a long way to "Sex in the City" marketing baby!

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Science geek alert: check out the Nova on Epigenetics. If DNA is the hardware, this is the software. Epigenetics explains how genetically identical organisms can have different physiologies (eg how one twin develops autism but the other doesn't) and how environmental influences such as pesticides and smoking can permanently alter our bloodlines for 3 or more generations. Whether your grandfather was well-fed or close to starving during his late childhood may determine your susceptability to certain diseases and even your lifespan. If we're anything like rats, whether or not you were nurtured well as a baby can determine how often and what amount of stress hormones your body releases. These switchs are determined at different times depending on gender. The "sensitivity period" for females is in the womb, for males in late childhood (perhaps evidence that females truly are most sensitive!). This is a huge step in our understanding of the complexity of life and evolution, one that's already helping fight cancer. Pretty amazing stuff.

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Shortly after I started this blog in '03, I had a conversation with someone who questioned me as to why I was blogging. "If everyone writes a blog, then who's going to read them all?" he wondered. He seemed perplexed by the outpouring of expression by the masses. I think it made him nervous, upsetting the status quo where there are the people who perform and then there's the rest of us who sit back passively consuming, politely clapping afterwards. Perhaps it unsettled him to know that technology is quickly closing the gap between artist and audience, and that there'll be fewer and fewer excuses for not participating. In many so-called primitive cultures, things like story-telling, singing, dancing, playing instruments and making sculptures are activities not limited to an elite, but are done by everyone to bring people together. So many of us have our own snippets of truth and beauty to share. Our fast-progressing world is making it easier for like-minded souls to connect. Yes, the lowest-common denominator mega-audience is for the most part gone. And I say good riddance.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Being There

Over the course of multitudes of conversations with seekers of professional domination, I have gleened more times than I would like to admit a chasm separating my own mentalité from that of my prospective submissive. Part of this gap may be attributed to the parallel but not always overlapping points of view typically embodied in the male and female minds.

Beyond that, the source of the disconnect seems to come from a lack of critical thinking and presence in the moment. Projections, assumptions, stereotypes - they all come from lazy, pre-packaged thinking, which in turn is indicative of a lack of awareness of what's right in front of you. Lost daydreaming up our latest fantasies in our heads, we fail to see the human being in the room with us.

I get the feeling some prefer it that way. For whatever reason - be it shame, fear or disdain - some people do not want to really lay their cards down on the table, let you in their heads and truly engage. In my experience, it has been the most frustrating and ultimately dispiriting to walk through a scene with someone who really doesn't see me. I'd rather have someone insult me with a sexual request than act like I'm some Mistress fill-in-the-blank automaton, just going through the motions. This is not mindless manual labor. This is a craft inspired by heart and soul!

Folks like this will be better off when virtual reality is good enough to fool their brains into thinking avatars are real people. Unfortunately in the meantime, they will continue to torment dominatrixes who are interested in exploring authentic human connection.

I reconciled myself to these disconnects with the following compromise: if they cannot truly understand me, then at least they can worship me. And I don't just mean the euphemism of worship=getting sensual, but the concept of worship in a grander sense.

Of course, the Mistress is supposed to love the idea of being worshipped. We each reflect the sacred to one extent or another, and as such there is a god or goddess within us all. I have this lofty perspective now. Though I confess that when I got my start, I craved worship purely as a form of ego-buffing. All that fawning can get to your head. I did get a wake-up call early on during a double session, when I heard a submissive say all the same things he said to me to another domme, who was completely different from me in almost every way. That's when I realized so much of what comes out of both the sub and the domme's mouth are these canned sayings.

It's fascinating to watch others go through the same process. I enjoy seeing the excitement of initial discovery that comes from training a woman with latent dominant powers. I remember watching my apprentice H admiring herself in the mirror during a scene, and I knew she was thinking the same things I used to think of: how hot she looked in her fetish outfit, how much of a badass she was strutting her stuff, how fiercely and beautifully she ruled over these men.

It's funny how things change. Now when someone describes me as this all-powerful, exquisite goddess of supreme powers, I roll my eyes. It's cute. That stuff no longer does it for me. It kind of bores me now. But I'm glad because that means I no longer need that kind of puffing up. I'm too busy working on other things.

Another aspect to being a Mistress which usually goes unquestioned is the idea of having followers. Sometimes I'll take a critical point of view in this blog and I'll get an email vociferously agreeing with me while at the same time attacking the target of my critique to a point far beyond my own objections. It's a bit frightening to see how the game of telephone works on a psychological level. I suppose that's how we got zealotry in the first place!

I sometimes think some women and men like to take on the submissive role because they don't want to have to do the hard thinking. Maybe they know they're not that good at it. And I guess that's OK. Still, it's slightly unnerving when I feel like people are swallowing my words whole rather than doing their own chewing and digesting. I assume in my readers an understanding that underlying everything I write is the subtext: think for yourself. We each need to analyze opinions within the context of our own unique lives. In terms of self-awareness, there can be no Mistress to do the job for you. We must each be our own master and commander.

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I'm so taken with Manhattan. Right now, I am resonating with the no-bullshit, let's get work done attitude, the joie de vivre and the prickly heart. It's like LA but with culture and intelligence. LOL did I just write that??

I am contemplating staying out there for a month or so next summer. Never say never! You may recall me declaring as much in an earlier post regarding my retirement. I'm mulling it over at the moment, and am seriously considering taking sessions when I am in New York.

I've been in San Francisco for 12 years now. I've traveled quite a bit during my time here, though I've only left for an extended period once when I studied spanish in Costa Rica for 3 months. I am feeling the travel bug biting deeper into me again, especially the pull towards big, hi-tech megapolises. A short trip to Tokyo is in the works as well.

We'll see...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Impressions of New York

Just got back from a week in Manhattan, my second trip in two years. I am loving that city! We happened to arrive during a heat wave, with temperatures in the 90s and higher. I was pleasantly surprised at how un-muggy it was, despite the heat. And all the pretty ladies in beautiful, sexy sundresses - now that was a sight to behold. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway!) that New York is the most stylish and stylistically brave city in America. My issue with so many places is feeling like I'm drawing more attention than desired by the clothes I want to wear. Not every woman is asking for a virtual target sign by the fashion she dons. Sometimes she just wants to feel free to fully express her vision of herself. In New York, I felt that freedom.

Multi-ethnic groups of friends and couples were a much more common sight in New York. This also surprised me, as I had always thought of California as being on the forefront of racial harmony. But I saw many more mixed groups and couples hanging out - both young and old - to the point where it no longer seemed novel. Perhaps it's simply the greater number of people you can observe in that vast city. Yet my initial impression of it as a novelty seemed to reinforce its relative rarity on this coast. I guess they've had more time to work on that over there.

Contemporary New Yorkers defy the old stereotype of being unfriendly. One of my friends says it's because of 9/11, that after getting your teeth knocked out, it changes your perspective. Whatever the reason, my friendly encounters outnumbered the rude ones by at least 10 to 1. And not just friendly but helpful and actually watching out for you. I would say it's one of the most neighborly big cities I've had the privilege of visiting.

The only place that underwhelmed me during my visit was the local Hustler strip club. That being said, I was there on a Sunday night, which is supposed to be slow, and the blond Russians who worked the tables were just not my type. I'm sure on a future trip I can find a strip club to suit my tastes, though the Bay Area definitely seems to be the center for hapa hotties.

I checked out Brooklyn as well, since I have heard it compared to the Mission in San Francisco, which I call home. We took the subway to Park Slope, which I believe was Heath Ledger's neighborhood. I'd say that area is more like Noe Valley, with all the strollers and kids. But I'm glad I ventured over there, as it reinforced for me why places in Manhattan are so in-demand. I'm going to do a bit of research and figure out a way to stay there for a month or so next summer. New York has not seen the last of me!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gotta Love 'Em

Chatting with a fellow former dominatrix the other day, the playboy bunny reality show "The Girls Next Door" came up. "I'm just not sure about the show. Do you ever watch it?" she asked me.

I told her just in passing, as I didn't consider them "my people," but I pointed out that the show does put a spotlight on polyamory and sex workers, so it can't be all that bad!

I am a sucker for smart, confident, stylish, pretty and fierce women. My latest fascination is with punk pop princess Avril Lavigne, with her brooding stare, her bitch bratty attitude and her lack of giggly, girlish sexiness which is so everywhere. I think we'll be seeing more interesting transformations from her.

I joined in a Flash Dance street party the other day. These are part of the smart mob phenomenom, where emails and other forms of instant communication announce an impromptu event. We danced for 2 hours on Church and Market, with a booming bicycle-driven sound system and a flurry of friendly hipsters. Fun!

I'll be heading to New York until mid-June.

Live, lust, laugh and learn!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Skin

I watch my kingsnake rubbing its head against the grain of rough wood. It pushes its nose so hard against the surface, I can see its whole head shaking from the effort. It pushes again, and I see the muscles of its throat swallowing with the exertion. It's trying to break open its own too-tight, dull gray skin. Underneath, bright orange, black and cream scales are waiting.

I walk away to write this down. When I come back I see that it is done. The snake is tail to tail with its old inside-out coat, just about to pull apart from it after peeling it off its body. I make a mental note to stay put next time. I line up the shed skin next to a ruler, counting 27 inches.

I'm going to bring my snake in for a check-up, since it's been a couple years now that I've had him - or her. I'm also going to get it sexed, though it doesn't really matter to me. Friends bugged me to name it. I resisted, saying it would only be for our benefit and mean nothing to the animal. But as a joke I named it Psst, so that's what my friends call it.

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I lost my second iphone. Why can't they be smaller and less expensive? I was going to give up on them, but then a friend gifted me with the money for a new one. It was karma that took them away from me. Both times, gone in a fit of anger. It's only a phone, but it could be something a lot more precious. I hope one day I learn the lesson.

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I'm starting to wear dresses. For the first time in my life really. Jaded party people who've known me for years drop their jaws in amazement, never having seen me before like this. It's nice to know I can still pull off a new look. I like how easy it is to make an impression with my short hair and long, curvy dresses amidst a sea of long hair and pants.

Last time I had short hair, 7 years ago, it seemed like more women in pop culture were sporting the look: Madonna, Demi Moore, Linda Evangelista, to name a few. Remember Angelina Jolie in Hackers? Nowadays, everyone is going for the endless tresses. I think Victoria's Secret has got all the models vying to look ultra femme, though I miss that sleek, pulled-back look that Ms. Evangelista always wore so well.

I sometimes dismiss surface changes. Yet everything is connected, and it feels good to have these changes within be reflected on the outside as well.

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Someone said I am trying something different with my blog. I guess I am. I no longer desire to be worshipped, simply heard. Somehow, the latter seems more incendiary. Yes, I am working on a longer-form piece. But let's not discount blogging. I think one day it will be recognized as a vehicle of expression as artistically legitimate as the rest.

Why am I still putting up pictures when I am no longer seeking sessions? Well, to that I would ask does everything have to be about the commercial? I feel more free to publish the results of my creative collaborations, now that I have more distance from my audience.

I am still kinky, though I know I post about it less. This blog is about me and whatever I feel like writing about, now more so than ever. And the best reply to that is a "Yes Mistress!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Badass Chanteuses

In my procrastinating for my very last final, I got caught up on a bit of pop culture and watched some recent videos from mainstream female pop artists. Two vids that stood out for me were Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" and her duet with badass Shakira "Beautiful Liar." Now I'm feeling their femme power sisterhood - fierce, sexy and on top!

And my my, aren't we in geek heaven -- there are so many comic book movies coming out! Just checked out some trailers on youtube. Hopefully most will be good adaptations. Love it!

Monday, May 19, 2008

More on the Culture Wars

What a fantastic heat wave we had here in San Francisco. I took advantage of the great weather to bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge the other day. On the way back, my friend and I checked out Chestnut Street in the Marina. I hadn't been on that strip of shops in a long time, and I found it a refreshing change of pace to the Mission. True, there was shockingly little diversity in the faces that passed me - it seemed more like Walnut Creek in that way - but I enjoyed how so many women were wearing heels and cute sun dresses.

As we strolled down Chestnut, a group of ex-frat boy types were walking in the opposite direction. "Hipsters Suck" read the t-shirt of one of them in big bold letters. That's when I realized the silliness of all this cultural warfare. You've got the hipsters in the Mission versus the yuppies in the Marina. Like the socs and the greasers in The Outsiders. But in many ways they are two sides of the same coin because hardliners of both persuasions can be intolerant, uniform-wearing fascists.

I ran into someone who worked at The Gates with me outside a coffee shop in the Mission. She's in Cal now, writing papers on her BDSM experience and adjusting to the socioeconomic climate change from Oakland to Berkeley, as well as anti-white scapegoating by some of her classmates (not the first time I've heard that!). She describes what I'm talking about as class warfare. But it really isn't. Most of us are in the same class. It's more like consumer choice. Like fighting over whether you like Pepsi or Coke.

Like when I was in LA eating at that trendy seafood restaurant in Hollywood, which wasn't exactly cheap. The people seated next to us, who we struck up a conversation with, were a long-haired guy in a t-shirt that said "grow revolution" and a heavily tattooed Amy Winehouse lookalike. When I told her I grew up in Echo Park, she enthusiastically expressed her love of the neighborhood because it didn't have that "corporate, mainstream" feel (I held back from putting them on the spot by joking about how much better Echo Park is now that the bohemian white people have moved in! Seriously, I'll take yummy vegan cafes over gun-toting cholos any day). In fact, she confided, she owned two properties there. No this isn't about class, but about seemingly competing worldviews that in relatively peaceful times co-exist well enough. It's when everyone feels their back is up against the wall like these turbulent times we live in now, that people think they need to choose sides.

Take Burning Man. When I first went in '96, my clubber friends were bemused that I would want to camp out in the desert for a week. Back then, generators were banished to a far corner of Black Rock City, electronic music was banished a mile away, and just about anyone could shoot guns or blow things up without a second glance. Now those same clubbers who didn't get it back then all go, albeit in RVs like so many folks now. So of course a culture war has ensued over who really is an authentic Burner. I remember being out on the playa one year and there were these cute furry-dressed people gathered around a fire, having just witnessed the histrionic euphoria of an Extra Action Marching Band performance. Some members of the band came up to the fire and proceeded drunkenly berate these poor people, with some harangue about "yuppies go home, get off our playa with your stupid fur." Even though I'm a veteran of The Burn, I still get attitude from people who think they were there first, because I don't wear the "right" uniform. How fragile our egos must be that we have to hold onto such high school-level tactics of superiority.

I am all too aware of the subtle signals which people project and pick up to base their judgments and decide whether you are an "us" or a "them." Sometimes I wish I could turn it off, this ultra-sensitivity I have. At the end of the day, I think it's incredibly simplistic to make assumptions about someone based on what they are wearing - or even what kind of car they have. Like I've had a hand-me-down SUV for a number of years. It was such a mark of shame for me when I first started driving it, because all of sudden I was one of those people and I could no longer give that holier-than-thou scowl to SUV drivers. I remember I drove it to Rainbow, a health food grocery coop, and a woman with a baby threw me the look of death as I parked next to her. I felt hatred there, and I couldn't imagine how that would help, or be a good lesson for her child. But it also made me angry, how polarized and unreasonable we all seem to have become. [Speaking of going green, current issue of Wired magazine has a great article addressing environmentalism, with a lot of ideas that jibe with my own personal philosophy.]

It's a lonely road, not caving into convention on any side - be it hipster vs. yuppie, kinky vs. vanilla, altered vs. natural, pc vs. mac, organic vs. genetically modified, old Burning Man vs. new Burning Man... so many of these are false dichotomies. By not towing some party line by dressing and acting a certain way, you end up getting it from every direction. I'd rather endure the disdain, dismissals and misunderstanding. To me, this cultural extremism is frustrating, idiotic and downright scary. Whatever happened to free thinking and "no enemy?"

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tale of Two Cities

I'm positively bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, having just returned from the second day of Robert McKee's Story Seminar. This is the writing workshop that was dramatized in the movie Adaptation. Great stuff! I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

So my trip down to LA was an awesome mini vacation. I was there four days during a four-day heat wave and each day was hotter than the last. "You heated up the town. It cooled down as soon as you left," my sister told me over the phone.

It was a homecoming, in an odd sort of way. I feel like I've finally figured that town out and learned how to enjoy it, after all the pain it delivered to me in the past. Before, I was a big-eyed little mongrel from the wrong side of the tracks, and any time someone said "boo!" I'd jump.

With the wrong attitude, LA is the perfect launch pad for one's self-destruction, and because of bad memories I had been bashing it ever since I left. Early in my adulthood, I whithered in the unrelenting Southland sun, finding the nurturing shelter I needed in the sweet sensitivity of the Bay Area. But now, it's like I've grown my desert spines, and for the first time since leaving I'm receptive to its crazy, sexy, flashy, driven energy.

LA can be a blast if you don't take it all so seriously (it doesn't hurt that I can jump on a plane when it gets to be too much). It's a serious con game down there, and I mean that in the full sense of the phrase -- confidence game. It seems like everyone is trying to throw you off your game, spook you into flinching. I used to cringe at it all and get psyched out, my shy self hating all the showboating and posturing that seemed necessary to get ahead.

But I've changed enough to not see it that way anymore. I believe in myself so strongly now, I understand you don't need to perform, you just need to be yourself and hold steady. And what's really cool is that like attracts like, so when you're in a good space down there, you meet others who are too. Yes, there are some lovely souls who do not adhere to the prevailing "let's be assholes to each other" attitude. And in a way it's even easier to find the real good people when you put out that laid-back San Francisco vibe, since admittedly they are more rare!

Here's a pic from the trip. Faces blurred to protect the not-so-innocent! This is at a trendy seafood place in Hollywood where we saw the fat kid from Superbad - he was very sweet when I ran into him coming out of the loo. I actually saw tons of celebrities down there, pointed out to me courtesy of a friend who accompanied me. I don't think I would have noticed otherwise. But it was fun to realize they were there -- they made for great wallpaper to my own my little adventures.

Going out with a couple of my girlfriends down there at another posh eatery (the kind where the waitstaff are all obnoxious wannabe actors), we noticed how many women - as beautifully dressed as they were - looked uncomfortable in their own skin. We just ignored them and had a great time amongst ourselves. So I say if you don't buy into that insecure, competitive bullshit, you've already got a headstart. But I do think it's harder to get centered in LA. Of course it is - because LA has no center! At least not geographically, as for the rest you can decide for yourself.

So my change of heart about LA has come as a pretty big surprise to my loved ones. I mean, I've been talking shit about my hometown for 12 years straight! "What?!" was my soft-spoken sister's reaction when I told her I kind of missed it down there. "Are you feeling well?" is what my best friend asked. What gives? In two words: The Mission.

I knew that moving into the tragically hip Mission five years ago would eventually arouse a backlash within me. All those heroin-chic, thrift shop fashionistas with their "you're either with us or against us" extremism, self-righteous tattooed smugness and hypocritical "we're against the dominant paradigm" alternative uniformity is starting to get to me. I am not lookist, don't care about all the pot bellies or plumber's cracks. I don't even mind the scabby look so much. But when these same denizens of Valencia Street try to make me feel like I don't belong here because I haven't raked my appearance over in the mirror to erase any signs of the dreaded Establishment, then I've just about had it.

What one of my friends who is African-American says about the South is that she doesn't mind it there, because at least the racism is out in the open. That's how I feel about LA when it comes to appearance. The superficiality is out in the open. Not hidden in holier-than-thou tripe.

Here in the City, I used to feel like I had to bend over backwards to prove myself as a diplomat of the conventionally attractive. Places like Burning Man parties, where when I'm lost in the sensual embrace of one of my girlfriends on the dancefloor, a frumpy girl will try to butt in and get grabby -- without even a smile on her face -- because she feels oppressed by our display and wants to put us on the spot for her discomfort. I've learned that you can never please the deeply insecure, who usually end up projecting their own feelings of inferiority onto you by blaming you for perceived slights. I find people like this to be the most self-centered of them all.

There may be a tyranny of the beautiful people in LA, but in the City it's like that communist ideal where we are all supposed to be the same and not make anyone feel bad by standing out. But what if I stand out naturally? I used to go to efforts to try to ugly myself down before going to certain social events in the City, because I knew that people wouldn't talk to me otherwise. Enough with the pc double standard - why is it only trannies that get to look hot here?

I was even accused of being an interloper at one private polysexual play party I attended, which of course the accusers knew was ridiculous. It was simply their way of making me feel unwelcome. OK I'll stop, I don't feel sorry for myself - I'm not going to cry "don't hate me because I'm beautiful!" - I'm just pointing out how the Bay Area has its own brand of lookism and snobbery. But I still love it up here. Every place has its trade-offs.

One little snippet of a conversation I overhead sitting outside a bar and grill on the Sunset strip encapsulated LA nicely for me. These two women were talking animatedly over beers about a mutual acquaintance who had just published a book.

"It's fucken awesome, don't you see? She wrote a book! Who cares what it's about. It doesn't even matter what it's about. The fact is she wrote a book and got it published."

That's LA for you. Super into achievement, but a bit short on content - LOL! San Francisco has its intellectualism, though we sometimes get lost in all that processing. I am learning that there is room in my heart to love both cities, flaws and all.

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Modern Hero by Roger Woods

Sunday, May 4, 2008

No one is immune...

I was distressed to hear of the police raid and bust of the New York house of domination Rebecca's Hidden Chamber last month. Six women who worked as Mistresses were arrested for prostitution, their legal names made public record and published in the New York Post, New York Daily News, and USA Today, among others.

The New York Post article quoted a former client who wished to remain anonymous. He said it was widely known that the ladies of the Hidden Chamber would do sexual services along with the typical BDSM fare.

I'm quite skeptical of this information from an unnamed source, and find it interesting how others in the community have used it as a shield to deny the arbitrary and hypocritical nature of contemporary American law enforcement. They were doing something wrong, so they got what they deserved. But we don't do that, so we'll be okay. Dream on!

In The Tickling Forum, a Mistress KC from the Hidden Chamber responded to other poster's tsk tsks with the following:

"A pity!? Come on and use your head. Do you think a girl would waste her time sitting in a dom house and spending her money buying dom gear to charge $220 in exchange for sexual intercourse? Give us some more credit.

I'm very close with the women involved, being one of the 30+ mistresses who weren't arrested and call the HC home. We love each other like a family there.

They are our dear friends and I know I hate seeing their names slandered, I can only imagine what it's like for them and what they had to deal with while being held in custody. I hate it. The other 30 or so of us happened not to be working that day... it could have been any of us."

Worst case scenario - that they were engaging in prostitution - we are still dealing with an essentially victimless crime. Consensual activity between two adults. The same activity which is legal in brothels in the state of Nevada, which is given the blind eye at places like Mitchell Brothers here in San Francisco, and which is totally above board if recorded for pornographic distribution. Does this make any sense?

What it comes down to, once again, is society not being OK with women taking full control of their sexuality. When there are structures of establishment power in place that mediate women's individual control (i.e. where men can run things e.g. porn, brothels), then there seems to be more leeway. And women in these mediated situations are also given more of a break in that they are often portrayed as victim rather than brazen hussy.

But women who unapologetically engage in sex for financial gain, with their eyes wide open and without any inducement from men, are still being vilified today. Like a modern-day witch-hunt, they are castigated for their boldness and their intransigence. The intensity of the reactions they provoke speaks volumes about how deeply held the taboo remains. It is a form of discrimination which I hope one day will seem quaintly old-fashioned.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Shoe on the Other Foot

Now I know what it feels like. To be on the receiving end, listening to words you would rather not hear, getting a peak into a world you have never bothered to notice, feeling the confusion and anger of cognitive dissonance as you realize this doesn't make any sense to you, doesn't fit into your neat picture of how things should be.

My friend who is an escort is telling me about a client, an old man who was on top of her humping her, how his red face and sweaty body made her worry for his health, and how she wondered if he wore dentures, visualizing them falling out onto her face.

And I am thinking about the conversations I have had with straight friends, about swinging or domme work. How one-sided they were, with the other person looking away, not saying much, waiting for me to finish and change the subject.

There was a girl who hated me when I first started at The Gates, because I would walk into the lounge after a session and talk excitedly about the strap-on play I had just done. I couldn't imagine that anyone would not be interested in what I had to say, or couldn't take the graphic detailing of my actions.

Ah, how funny it is when the shoe is on the other foot!

My friend writes me a note about how lucky she feels to be having so much fun and making such great connections. I know she had an amazing "date" the other night, so she is buzzing with it. Hot sex while being treated like a $$$ princess seems like a dream job to her, no doubt in large part because of the ego boost. But I know there is a lot more going on.

I am happy for her. I support her. She is brave in her own way. Yet my empathy can only go so far. There is a reason why it wasn't anything I thought about too much, until it came crashing into my reality.

A voice cries out inside me that it's is so conventional, so materially-focused, so everything that I have strove against. Part of me is offended. That the professional side of the craft I consider sacred is full of interlopers who migrate from one type of sex work to another. That when I was still actively commercial with my play, my escort friends would ask me, "How's business?" as if what we did were the same thing.

It is not the same thing!

Yes, I am feeling sensitive about it right now. I know my feelings will change with greater perspective and distance from the professional role I held for almost six years. With hindsight, I would have closed my stable to newcomers after four years. Kept more of that lovely glow and a bit less of the tarnish. When you hunker down for fear of moving on, it can wear on you. Well, all the more critical insights for me to share about the experience! I admit this because no matter what critiques I may make, I do think professional domination is an admirable path to follow, for however long it works.

I am proud of the fact that, for most of my career, I was a house-affiliated domme. The sisterhood, the sense of security, the shared energy - these were all integral to my sense of enjoyment when I was a full-time dominatrix. I am saddened that there is such a dearth of houses of domination in the Bay Area - not even one in the City! LA and New York both have quite a few well-established houses. Maybe one day...

Independence was hard for me. The screening of new people and the disappointment when undesirables somehow made it through - that is where most of the tarnish came from. There is a dark undercurrent to domination. And I think that the more special you are, the more protection you need. Seeing new applicants alone as an independent made me feel too accessible.

There is a psychological difference between doing a scene in a house and doing one as an independent that is not often discussed. Ironically, because I felt safer about boundaries and therefore more confident in the house, I was comfortable wearing lingerie or something more "girly" into scene. Whereas with independence, I felt more vulnerable and intimate in the first place, causing me to want to don high fetish as a sort of armor.

I received so many congratulations upon my independence from would-be slaves. Yet I saw this act, necessary as it was for my personal growth, as a wrenching away of my community, thrusting me into isolation and artifice. It seems strange to me that so many session-seekers preferred it. On one level, I think it's because they can feel more special, more catered to, more the object of the Mistress' undivided attention. For me, not everyone deserves such treatment. And so, I closed ranks with those I already knew, trusted and liked.

And now, I have begun the first tentative steps in exploring "lifestyle" D/s relationships. At first, I could only get myself to play with women, finding the need to free myself from all the associations that gender brought up for me. More recently, I have started connecting in this way with a few close male friends - creative and accomplished individuals whose need to be taken by a powerful woman matches my own need to overtake, control and deliver.

I feel my power in a new way. There is a lovely ease to it. To be reminded that both my sadistic and nurturing desires, my urge to dominate and penetrate, truly come from within and are not simply profit-motivated. Before, when I considered integrating D/s more fully into my life, I worried over how it may disrupt my existing relationships. But now, it feels easy, like I was thinking too hard about it. And the craziest thing is, there are a lot more real submissives outside of the professional arena! Who woulda thunk? :)