Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When You Realise Who Has Power, Really, When You're Paid to Whip Men

'Whip Smart': Memoirs Of A Dominatrix

[cross post from *here*]

March 8, 2010
Audio for this story from Fresh Air from WHYY will be available at approx. 5:00 p.m. ET
Melissa Febos
Enlarge Caitlin Delohery,
Author Melissa Febos lives in Brooklyn.
Whip Smart
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March 8, 2010
Melissa Febos' new memoir, Whip Smart, details the four years she spent working as a dominatrix. Febos enacted fantasy sequences, spanked grown men and verbally humiliated them for $75 an hour in a dungeon located somewhere in midtown Manhattan.

Febos, who writes that she got started in sex work to pay for a drug habit, tells Terry Gross that working in a dungeon felt like "being in a womb."

"Pretty much all of the dungeons were outfitted with some sort of coat rack-related thing that had all sorts of floggers, riding crops," she says. "We had giant coils of rope in our utility closet — like thousands of feet that we would just cut off when you needed it. There were gas masks and cages and a big hanging Inquisition-style cage in the red room. And there were mirrors along all of the walls, and they were really vast — and with all of the walls and the ceilings painted, it had a very specific effect."

That effect, says Febos, was creating a fantasy world for her clients — and for herself.

"In the beginning, it did feel pretty powerful to act out those roles, but after a little while it wasn't my fantasy in most cases," she says. "In a lot of ways, [enacting the scenarios] felt more humiliating to me than it did to them."

Febos currently teaches writing at SUNY Purchase College and the Gotham Writers' Workshop. She received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.


Christina said...

I think this just shows yet again that women and girls are commodities whose purpose is to serve the sexual needs and fantasies of hetro men.
This whole domination thing is purely for the man’s sexually pleasure, it has nothing to do with the woman or her needs.
Any woman who believes that been a dominatrix gives her any kind of advantage has been horribly deceived.

DanceDreaming said...

From my brief foray into the strange world of BDSM, I have to concur. Basically all imagery and eroticism within the het bdsm community, be it femdom or maledom, is focused specifically around male fantasy.

Femdom bdsm is often portrayed as fairly private, involving elaborate and sexualizing costuming of the Domme, bizarre and elaborate role-playing, erotic 'humiliation', and a focus on the penis, or strap-on play. With very little focus on female sexual stimulation.

Maledom is generally far more public, with focus on the exhibition of the female sub. The male costumes are far more simple while again the female is elaborately sexualized. There is a focus on immobilization and pain of the sub, and a direct focus on male sexual pleasure and again the penis.

ProDommes are generally paid to recreate the by-men-for-men popular(porn) imagery of femdom.

There probably are some het couples playing around with femdom bdsm sexuality in a way that actually glorifies female sexual power, but if so it is without much direct support from the wider bdsm community, and against subtle(and not so subtle) reinforcement of the opposite. And against the loud and constant imaging and ideology of bdsm, much of which is formed via pornography(and seems to inform the fantasy world of most male 'subs').