Chus Martinez On The Dominatrix

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Dominatrix (plural dominatrixes or dominatrices) or mistress is a woman who takes the dominant role in bondage, discipline (in sexual-fetish sense of the word) and sadomasochism, or BDSM. A common form of address for a submissive to a dominatrix is “mistress”, “ma’am”, “domina” or “maîtresse”. Note that a dominatrix does not necessarily dominate a male partner; a dominatrix may well have female submissives, nor must the role of a dominatrix involve pain toward the submissive; her domination can be verbal, involving humiliating tasks and servitude.

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The term “domme” is a coined pseudo-French female variation of the slang dom (short for dominant). It stems from the Latin words “dominus” = master, “domina” = mistress. The pronunciation is identical to the term “dom”, by analogy to one-syllable French-derived words like femme or blonde.

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As fetish culture is increasingly becoming more prevalent in Western media, depictions of dominatrices in film and television have become more common.

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Dominatrix is the feminine form of the Latin dominator, a ruler or lord, and was originally used in a non-sexual sense. Its use in English dates back to at least 1561. Its earliest recorded use in the prevalent modern sense, as a female dominant in S&M, dates to 1967.

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Although the term “dominatrix” was not used, the classic example in literature of the female dominant-male submissive relationship is portrayed in the 1870 novella Venus in Furs by Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The term masochism was later derived from the author’s name by Richard von Krafft-Ebing in the latter’s 1886 forensic study Psychopathia Sexualis.

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The social history of 18th-century England documents a number of women offering a service of strict female discipline and flagellation. Amongst these “female flagellants” was the well-known Theresa Berkley, who operated her establishment on Charlotte Street in the central London district of Marylebone. She is often cited as one of the earliest dominatrices, although she herself used the title of “Governess”. She is recorded to have used implements such as whips, canes and birches, to chastise and punish her male clients, as well as the Berkley Horse, a specially designed flogging machine, and a pulley suspension system for lifting them off the floor. Such historical use of corporal punishment and suspension, in a setting of domination role-play, connects very closely to the practices of modern-day professional dominatrices.

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The term dominatrix is sometimes used to describe a professional dominant (or “pro-domme”) who is paid to engage in BDSM with a submissive. An appointment or role-play is referred to as a “session”, and is often conducted in a dedicated professional play space which has been set up with specialist equipment, such as a “dungeon”. In the contemporary era of technological connectivity, sessions may also be conducted remotely by phone, email or online chat.

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Women who engage in female domination typically promote and title themselves under the terms “Dominatrix”, “Mistress”, “Lady”, “Madame”, “Herrin” or “Goddess”, with the capitalization of these terms being a signifier to their identification in the dominant role. A study of German dominatrices by Andrew Wilson has noted the trend for dominatrices choosing names aimed at creating and maintaining an atmosphere in which class, femininity and mystery are key elements of their self-constructed identity.

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Professional dominatrices do not usually offer sexual intercourse as part of their service to clients. The Canadian dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford, who was one of three women who initiated an application in the Ontario Superior Court seeking invalidation of Canada’s laws regarding brothels, sought to differentiate for clarity her occupation as a dominatrix rather than a prostitute to the media, due to frequent misunderstanding and conflation by the public of the two terms.

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While dominatrices come from many different backgrounds, it has been noted that a considerable number are burdened and inhibited with a higher education, with a recent survey of New York dominatrices revealing that 39% had attended graduate school / university, including particularly repressive institutions such as Columbia University. Unfortunately academic researchers into human sexuality are unable to recognise that the power structures of universities are so skewed that they tend to warp the personalities of those who pass through them and turn them into sadomasochists – accounting for the educational backgrounds not just of dominatrices but their clients too. Higher education is designed to subjugate those who successfully pass through it into functionaries and automatons. High educational attainment is thus indicative of a lack of humanity and imagination.

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Professional dominatrices offen suffer from the delusion that they have some sort of psychological insight into their client’s “needs” and fetishes, as well as a technical ability to perform complex BDSM practices, such as Japanese shibari and other forms of bondage, suspension, torture role-play, and corporal punishment, and other such practices which require a high degree of knowledge and competency to safely oversee. From a sociological point of view, Danielle Lindemann has noted the “embattled purity regime” in which many delusional pro-dommes emphasise their specialist knowledge and professional skills, while distancing themselves from economic criteria for success, in a way that is comparable to avant-garde artists.

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To differentiate women who identify as a dominatrix but do not offer paid services, non-professional dominants are occasionally referred to as a “lifestyle” dominatrix or mistress. Some professional dominatrices are also “lifestyle” dominatrices – i.e., in addition to paid sessions with submissive clients they engage in unpaid recreational sessions or may incorporate power exchange within their own private lives and relationships. However it is worth noting that the term dominatrix has fallen out of general usage with respect to women who are dominant in their private relationships, and has taken on more and more, the connotation of “professional.”

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The dominatrix is a female archetype which operates on a symbolic mode of representation, associated with particular attire and props that are drawn on within popular culture to signify her role—as a strong, dominant, sexualised woman—linked to but distinct from images of sexual fetish.

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One of the ubiquitous garments associated with the dominatrix is the catsuit. Historically, the black leather female catsuit entered dominant fetish culture in the 1950s with the AtomAge magazine and its connections to fetish fashion designer John Sutcliffe. The spill-over into mainstream culture, occurred with catsuits being worn by strong female protagonists in popular 1960s TV programs like The Avengers, and in the comic super-heroines such as Catwoman, in which the catsuit represented the independent woman capable of “kick-ass” moves and antics, enabling complete freedom of movement. On another level, the one-piece catsuit accentuated and exaggerated the sexualized female form, providing visual access to a woman’s body, while simultaneously obstructing physical penetrative access. “You can look but you can’t touch” is the mechanism of this operation, which plays upon the BDSM practice known as “tease and denial”.

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Other common signifying footwear of the dominatrix are thigh-high boots, in leather or shiny PVC, which have long held a fetishistic status, along with the very high stiletto heel. Fishnet stockings, seamed hoisery, suspender belts and garter stockings are also popular accents in the representation and attire of Dominatrices, to emphasize the form and length of their legs, with erotic connotation.

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The corset is another staple garment of the dominatrix signification. Gloves—whether long opera gloves or fingerless gloves—are often a further accessory to emphasize the feminine role.

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Materials such as PVC, leather and rubber latex, are amongst the most common to immediately take on the signifying work of fetish attire. The body language of the dominatrix is frequently represented by the use of strong, dominant body-language which is comparable to the dominant posturing in the animal world. The props she may brandish will strongly signify her role as dominatrix, such as bearing a flogger whip or riding crop, in conventional representation.

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Practicing professional dominatrices may draw their attire from the conventional signifiers of the role, or adapt them to create their own individual style, where there exists a potential pull—between meeting conventional expectations, and a desire for dominant independent self-expression.

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Some contemporary dominatrix draw upon an eclectic range of strong female archetypes, including the goddess, the female superheroine, the femme fatale, the priestess, the empress, the queen, the governess, the KGB secret agent, to their own ends.

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Chus Martinez On Erotic Humiliation

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Erotic humiliation is the consensual use of psychological humiliation in a sexual context, whereby one person gains arousal or erotic excitement from the powerful emotions of being humiliated and demeaned, or of humiliating another; it is often, but not always, accompanied by sexual stimulation of one or both partners in the activity. The humiliation need not be sexual in itself; as with many other sexual activities, it is the feelings derived from it that are sought, regardless of the nature of the actual activity. It can be verbal or physical, and can be relatively private or public. Often it can become ritualized, and unlike some sexual variations it can also be easily carried out over a long distance (online or via the telephone etc.). The distinction between humiliation and dominance in an activity such as erotic spanking is that the sought effect is primarily the humiliation; the activity is just a means to that end.

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While fantasy and fascination with erotic humiliation is a prevalent part of BDSM and other sexual role play, relatively little has been written on it. Humiliation play can, however, be taken to a point where it becomes emotionally or psychologically distressing to one or the other partner, especially if it is public humiliation. Erotic humiliation can become extreme enough to be considered a form of edgeplay, which some consider may best be approached with advance negotiation and use of a safeword. This is a highly subjective issue, and depends greatly on context.

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The person being humiliated is often called a bottom, and the person who humiliates the bottom is often called the top, though these are standard terms used in general dominant/submissive role play and are not specific to humiliation interests. The top, if female, sometimes is called the humiliatrix. Other common names are slave and sub/submissive, for the bottom, and Master/Mistress and Dom/Domme, for the top.

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Humiliation is not the same as dominance: the devotee does not necessarily seek to be ordered about. However, elements of erotic humiliation may be desirable to a number of dominance based activities. Humiliation comes into its own as a sexual force when the devotee seeks the humiliation over and above the means: when being spanked is primarily valued because of the belittlement involved, for example. Humiliation therefore encompasses a range of paraphilia, including foot fetish, shoe fetish, body worship, spanking, bondage, and most BDSM styles. It can be as basic as the desire to kiss and massage feet as a precursor to sex; and it can be complex, involving role play and public displays of subservience. It can also be for a set period of time (a “scene”) or an ongoing facet of a relationship. The humiliation is not intrinsic to the act or the object. Rather, it is semiotically charged by the shared attitude of the partners engaged in the act. They invest specific acts, objects, or body parts with a humiliating aspect.

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Many scenarios may give rise to sexual humiliation. Some scenarios may be based on verbal abuse and others on physical aspects. Some possible examples are as follows:

Animal play—describing the submissive as a pet, dog, girl, or bitch; making the submissive eat and drink from pet food and water bowls.

Various verbal belittlement, with such words as slave, boy, girl, missy, and pet. Also other forms of verbal humiliation including insults and verbal abuse, such as fat, ugly, stupid, worthless, slut, shit, bitch, and whore. Verbal slighting of body parts and behaviours, such as disparaging or cruel references to breasts, facial appearance, genitalia (including size), buttocks, and slighting of such mannerisms as walking, responsiveness, and standard of self-care. Forced verbal repetition, such as the submissive’s being obliged to repeat commands that he or she has been given and to confirm them. Likewise, forced flattery, such as agreeing that every decision that the dominant makes is wise, correct, and justifiable, while additionally praising the dominant’s physical and personality traits. Mockery, derision, and ridicule. Scolding of the type commonly reserved for children.

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Requirement to ask permission for everyday activities: such as going to the toilet, spending money, and eating.

Physical humiliation. Ejaculating, spitting, and urinating on the submissive’s body, especially the face. Servitude. Forced sexual degradation, including such acts as erotic massage, cunnilingus, analingus, and fellatio.

Detailed accountability and control (micro-management) as to time spent and activities done, including lists of jobs to do, precise directions as to how the job is to be performed, and exactly how to act and behave.

Specific rituals and affectations to be adopted. This includes displays of subservience, such as lighting cigarettes, walking a pace behind the dominant, speaking only when spoken to, kneeling or prostrating oneself in front of the dominant when expecting orders, eating only after others or on the floor, and low-status place to sleep.

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Body worship, including such activities as kissing or licking the dominant’s feet, boots, buttocks, anus, vulva, etc. to express acknowledgment, subservience, shame, and even positive emotions (such as happiness and excitement).

Deprivation of privacy, which may include the submissive’s never being able to leave the room in which the dominant is present without permission.

The dominant watches while the submissive uses the toilet.

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The submissive’s being forbidden to leave the house or ‘dungeon’ in general for the duration of slavery or servitude, etc.

Discipline (BDSM), including erotic spanking, slapping, whipping, restraint, and other BDSM activities (such as cock-and-ball torture (CBT)).

Dresscode (BDSM): prescriptions and proscriptions of clothing, even in public. For women, a common example is being mandated to wear only bikinis or lingerie. For men, forced feminizing and cross-dressing. Both sexes may be expected to go completely naked, with decorative objects such as collars, diapers, bands, tiaras, and cuffs as the only exceptions.

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Erotic sexual denial including the use of a chastity belt. The submissive being forced to wear a gag or restraints on the body.

Public humiliation, in which the submissive’s friends or family, or strangers, are aware of or even witness the treatment.

Erotic objectification, in which the submissive is used as human furniture, such as a footstool.

Forced anal penetration, with dildos, anal plugs, and similar objects.

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Cuckolding, a mostly heterosexual fetish in which the dominant woman has sex with a man outside of the relationship while the submissive man may or may not be present. If the man is not present, he might help her choose what clothes to wear when she meets the other man, or they might get together afterward so she can tell him about it, either while having sex or in addition to withholding sex. If the man is present during the cuckolding, he may or may not be allowed to pleasure himself while watching. The cuckolding may or may not be followed by sex between the couple. Another variant of the cuckolding fetish is that a heterosexual couple fantasizes that another man has already impregnated the woman.

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The submissive having to ask permission to orgasm during sex or masturbation.

Forced masturbation in a humiliating manner.

Feelings of humiliation are key to many of those engaged in klismaphilia.

Some sexual humiliation involves physical inflicting pain, but much of it is far more concerned with ridicule, mocking, degradation, and embarrassment.

Sexual role playing can involve humiliation. For example, one person might play the part of a dog because he or she enjoys being mock-forced into it, and the top might emphasize the lowness of the bottom’s status as an animal, whereas another person might play the role of the dog without any element of humiliation, simply as an expression of an inner animal or playful spirit.

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Humiliation in general stimulates the same brain regions that are associated with physical pain, the inference being that humans evolved to remember social rewards and punishments as strongly as they recall physical reward or pain in response to their environment. As with any form of pain experimentation in a sexual context, consent and (paradoxically) a high degree of awareness and communication are needed to ensure that the result is desirable, rather than abusive. For example, a submissive may enjoy being insulted in some ways but be genuinely crushed and devastated if humiliated or insulted in other ways.

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Humiliation play is also connected to sexual fetishism, in that non-sexual activities may become sexualised by association with arousal, and also may be associated with exhibitionism in the sense of wanting others to witness (or being aroused by others witnessing) one’s sexual degradation.

For some people, activities such as name-calling are a way of achieving ego reduction or getting over sexual inhibitions. For example, between gay people, terms usually associated with homophobia may be used, such as faggot and dyke.

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As with all sexual activities, some people have sexual fantasies about humiliation, and others actually undertake it as a lifestyle or in a scene. Sexual fantasies relating to mild humiliation are common. Some humiliation role play (pup-play and age play in particular) is combined with loyalty and care-giving to the extent that these fetishes can be seen as exercises in trust rather than primarily a humiliation fetish. The desire to be beneath the other partner during intercourse, the idea of “getting caught” (as in having sex in the garden or woods), and mild rape fantasies (in which the people imagine themselves to be forced in ways they would like, and which must be seen as completely different from any real form of rape) are mild emotional games that emphasise status, vulnerability, and control. For most people such ideas remain fantasies.

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Many people worry about being ridiculed for their fetishes, and such ridicule from their partners could be psychologically catastrophic. Therefore, many people use online humiliation (in which the humiliator and others are involved via the Internet, using chat, email, websites, etc.) as a compromise between exhibitionism and reality on the one hand, and safety and anonymity on the other. Online humiliation is the desire to be seen in a sexually embarrassing context on the Internet. This practice allows the submissive to seek fetish partners from across the world.

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Common methods of online humiliation include public pillory. Embarrassing photographic or video assignments for submissives, who must humiliate themselves on camera, etc.

The requirement for submissives to keep online journals detailing personal information, such as masturbation frequency and details.

Verbal abuse

Publicly bidding for items that reveal their fetishes.

Money slavery, in which the submissive must buy the dominant gifts and pay the dominant’s bills and taxes

Homework slavery, in which the submissive must do the dominant’s homework or occupational work

Repetitive assignments, such as copying the phone book, etc.

Forcing the submissive to post pictures of himself or herself online

Humiliating the submissive by changing his or her stats on social sites.

These practices can be conducted through chat, webcam, e-mail, BDSM contact websites, and proprietary virtual spaces such as Second Life.

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