Erotic sexual denial, also known as orgasm denial, is a sexual practice in which a heightened state of sexual arousal is maintained for an extended length of time without orgasm, and is commonly practiced in association with BDSM and sexual bondage. Erotic sexual denial can be another name for or variant of orgasm control. Erotic sexual denial is a form of sex play.
One form of erotic sexual denial is the reduction or deprivation of all genital stimulation. To ensure a complete absence of genital stimulation, a chastity device may be used as a physical barrier to genital touch or full erection. Tease and denial describes a situation where a person’s genitalia are stimulated until he or she is close to the point at which orgasm would normally be inevitable. At that point, direct stimulation of the genitals is reduced or stopped, so as to keep the recipient on the very brink or “edge” of orgasm (as with orgasm control) but without the promise of orgasm at the end.
If orgasm still occurs after removal of stimulation, it typically brings less pleasure than usual, and is considered a “ruined orgasm”, as opposed to being a “denied orgasm” (sometimes known as “blue balls”). Alternatively (for men), the release of semen during the emission phase of ejaculation might be prevented by some sort of constriction (“blocked orgasm”). Depending on the relationship, subjects might be repeatedly teased to the point of orgasm several times, but without actual orgasm, causing feelings of intense arousal and psychological need.
To be able to control an orgasm of a partner in such sex games, physical restraints are commonly used. Situations involving bondage are typically called tie and tease and can be thought of as extended tease and denial games. This practice is often an integral part of erotic denial. Tie and tease activities are physically as well as psychologically intense, because the strong feelings of sexual frustration are escalated by the sensation of helplessness induced by bondage.
The practice of total sexual denial usually includes total avoidance of genital stimulation. This often involves the use of a physical barrier or device such as a chastity belt. Chastity belts or similar locking devices are available for both men and women. Depending on the situation, sexual arousal may still be achieved regardless of physical barriers to genital stimulation. However, this depends on the belt used.
A related practice is that of the deconstructed orgasm, in which stimulation and arousal is conducted at a very slow pace, allowing the ‘stimulator’ to obtain feedback from the ‘stimulatee’ (generally spoken, but conceivably obtained by means of body language or measuring certain bodily responses and functions). Depending upon the accuracy of the feedback, the progress towards eventual release can be judged more accurately than would be the case in an unfettered encounter, allowing the possibility of the orgasm to be delivered (whereupon observations and measurements may be continued) or of stimulation to be withdrawn or decreased in the closing stages, leading to a ruined orgasm as described below.
Where orgasm denial has been pushed to the limits, in some instances actual orgasm doesn’t materialize. This according to research accounts for a small percentage of the 70% – 80% of women that don’t reach climax during sexual intercourse. Erotic sexual denial, in various forms, is sometimes associated with creating a state of sexual need leading to a more pliable or agreeable outlook by the denied party.
Orgasm denial practices can allow dominant lovers to exercise control and training over highly intimate and psychologically significant aspects of their submissive lovers’ lives. This can extend to tolerance of increased stimulation and training both to hold back orgasm, or to orgasm on command. Dominant lovers can use this practice to experience enjoyable and sometimes intensely craved feelings of sexual control and erotic power. Submissive lovers can use this practice to help them experience enjoyable and sometimes intensely craved feelings of erotic submission, sexualised objectification and erotic loss of control.
Orgasm denial as a method of orgasm control is a widely practiced activity within BDSM erotic feminisation. The top will often deny the submissive feminised man sexual release to maintain his heightened state of sexual arousal, as a way to satisfy his desires for erotic humiliation, or as a way to satisfy the dominant’s own desires to erotically humiliate.
Orgasm control, also known as “edging”, “peaking”, “surfing”, and by other terms, is a sexual technique that involves the maintenance of a high level of sexual arousal for an extended period of time without reaching orgasm, although a climax may be reached eventually. If orgasm is not reached after the extended period of arousal, it is referred to as erotic sexual denial. If the partner whose orgasm is being controlled, sometimes referred to as the submissive partner, is put into physical restraints, it may better control the orgasm (the activity is sometimes called tie and tease and if orgasm is denied it is tease and denial). Another possibility is for one partner to help produce multiple orgasms in the other.
Orgasm control can involve either one-sex partner being in control of the other partner’s orgasm, or someone delaying their own orgasm during either sexual intercourse or masturbation. To experience orgasm control, any method of sexual stimulation can be used – for example, manual, oral, intercourse, or with sex toys – either alone or by means of one or more active partners. Orgasm control is sometimes called “slow masturbation” or “extended massive orgasm”. It is similar to the Venus Butterfly technique described by Leah and Bob Schwartz in The One Hour Orgasm (1988).
In a two-person sexual activity, one partner would stimulate the other, gradually bringing them up to the point high in the plateau phase where an orgasm is actually building, and will then reduce the level of stimulation to just below that needed to trigger release. By carefully varying the intensity and speed of stimulation, and by practising with the same partner to learn their responses, a person can be held in the highly aroused state near orgasm for extended periods of time. This process may be repeated as desired, but at some point repetition may cause the urge to orgasm to become overwhelming. Once enough stimulation to achieve an orgasm is provided, the release is often stronger than usual.
Since orgasm control prolongs the experience of powerful sexual sensations occurring during the final build-up to orgasm, the physical demands of being kept or keeping oneself in this highly excited state for an extended time can induce a pleasurable, almost euphoric state, and at times creates changes within an individual’s consciousness.
Orgasm control requires a degree of skill. It also requires enough familiarity with either a partner or one’s own responses to be able to vary the intensity and the timing of the stimulation accurately. If there is too little stimulation, or if it is reduced too soon, the experience is not as intense as it could have been. If there is too much stimulation, a person may pass the point of no return and orgasm occurs too soon.
Long term intimacy between orgasm control partners helps each to understand the level of erotic intensity required by their partner. The technique is an acquired skill that is developed through practice. Performing orgasm control with the same partner(s) for extended periods of time generally leads to greater success at the practice. The technique requires all partners to be aware of the others’ limits’. Likewise, in order to control your own orgasm, you need a good knowledge of your own body and how it reacts to different levels of sexual stimulation. Orgasm control is as much about knowing your own body as it is about the sexual skills of your partner(s).
Since solo masturbation allows for precise control over sexual stimulation, many people practice orgasm control by themselves. Masturbation is an easy way to learn one’s sexual limits. Wanking practiced with the aim of orgasm control should be carried out with the intention of making every stroke feel exquisite and not to relieve tension, in the way “simple” masturbation does. This can be done through a gradual stimulation of the genitals , followed by making connections between the primary area (penis or clitoris) and secondary areas (lips, nipples or other erogenous body parts). A proper connection between genitals and other areas has been established when they are stimulated with the same moves and to the same intensity.
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.
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.
As fetish culture is increasingly becoming more prevalent in Western media, depictions of dominatrices in film and television have become more common.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.