I'm not the most experienced woman, but recently I've had a few encounters that suggest I could be good at, and enjoy, being a dominatrix. I'm interested in pursuing this as work.
How can I learn the tricks of the trade? Are there possibilities for apprenticeship? Anywhere I can go to learn about practising as a dominatrix? I'm aware of the organization Stella, but not much beyond that.
Good for you, girl. Get out there and make some goddamn money.
Go on boards like MERB, TERB, the Red Zone, Eros and Back Page and peruse the dominatrix ads, some of which will lead you to personal websites. Check out Patricia Marsh's website to see how one of North America's best represents her business.
Note the various services women offer and look for services and presentation that speak to you. Send a polite, thoughtful email to these women and ask how much they charge for apprenticeship, if they do at all. Ask those who have dungeons if they would permit you to study their space and equipment in exchange for money or service. Don't be insulted or surprised if many don't get back to you at all - these are busy women juggling lots of different commitments. Be prepared to offer references so that they can confirm your identity.
Sex worker organizations like Maggie's occasionally offer workshops and resources that are BDSM-based. These events are promoted for sex workers only, though, so if you're just rubbernecking for now and not making any firm commitments, you may want to sit them out.
Carlyle Jansen from Good For Her offered these reading selections from the store's bookshelf:
"For how-to, SM 101 or Screw The Roses, Send Me The Thorns are comprehensive books to ensure emotional and physical safety. The Art Of Sensual Female Dominance is a how-to book from a female dominant perspective. Either of these is essential as a reference book.
"The Ultimate Guide To Kink is also a great how-to book. It includes more info also on sexual techniques like fisting and anal play with kink, as well as blending the spiritual with your kink.
"The New Topping Book, also really good, includes more information on the psychological rather than physical how-to. The psychological is equally important."
Looking at professional dominatrix websites may give you the impression that this is a costly and time-consuming venture - and it certainly can be. But I was having a conversation just last week with a dominatrix about starting out, and she made the same point as Jansen:
"Remember that the psychic space you create is just as powerful as the physical. I did elaborate BDSM in hotel rooms for over a decade, dragging a heavy suitcase that should have been on wheels. I value the learning I got from working that way."
Keep your eye out for fetish parties around town and attend them. There you will meet amateurs and professionals and have a chance to bend some ears and asses. You may also try practising your craft, making sure that your quarry is aware of your status. Always, always, always, in BDSM environments, ask first.
Here is something that may pique your interest:
Morpheous's Bondage Extravaganza during Nuit Blanche. Check out mbe2012.com. Morpheous's book How To Be Kinkier: More Adventures In Adult Playtime (available through amazon.com) is a great guide. My copy has mysteriously disappeared from my apartment. Damn kinky cat sitters.
For a personal history and legal documentation, nothing beats Dominatrix On Trial by Terri-Jean Bedford.
I've begun dating the most lovely vegan gal. She's conscientious, caring and in terrific shape. I want to make sure that I respect her needs, but I will tell you, it can be exhausting. Who knew honey was the nectar of anguish? And never mind that, who also knew that there were animal products in condoms that aren't even made of lambskin and that many of them are tested on animals? I'm looking for options, as well as maybe some other products I can buy locally that won't make me look like a careless knob when I pull them out in the bedroom.
It's true that once you commit yourself to caring, you also commit yourself to a life of lofty grimaces. It would help if sex products had a very specific certification system for vegan consumption, but as Jack Lamon from Come as You Are says, "Barely anything is certified as anything in this industry, so I think basically almost nothing is ‘certified' vegan. Yes, lubricant is certified, and I believe Sir Richard's condoms are as well. All of our lubes are vegan, and Hathor and Sliquid have a lot of certified-organic ingredients but are not certified organic themselves."
Come as You Are carries lots of dildos, vibrators and harnesses that are vegan (as far as anyone knows) as well. Check out the site ecosex.ca, run by sisters Amy and Kimberley Sedgwick of Red Tent Sisters, for more sexy vegan options.
Incidentally, the Sedgwick sisters are closing their Danforth shop and moving their business online on October 20. For those who've enjoyed the sex and fertility services provided by Red Tent Sisters over the past several years: "Amy and Kim are inviting you to celebrate their move and toast the new phase of Red Tent Sisters by joining them for an open house between noon and 6 pm on Saturday, October 20. This will be their last day at 810 Danforth, so they encourage everyone to stop by and enjoy giveaways, snacks and a chance to shop in person one more time. For more details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-463-8368."