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.