(Originally appeared in Mutant Renegade Zine #13, Winter 2000)
BDSM stands for bondage & discipline / dominance & submission/sadism & masochism or sadomasochism. This is just one of the things I learned when I recently talked with Mistress Freya, a professional dominatrix in Dayton. We were also joined by respected local leather “toy” maker Lord Serpent, who is also the founder of the Dayton BDSM Support Group. The photographs of Mistress Freya have been altered to protect her identity and the innocent.
MR – Mistress, how did you get involved in BDSM?
MF – I’ve been involved in the scene for about five years now. I’ve been a professional dominatrix for about two years. I actually got interested in BDSM through a roommate of mine in Cincinnati who was into the scene. I got started basically through a dare. I was dared to put an ad in a local underground paper and I did.
Also when I was growing up, females start receiving mixed messages on how they should act when they reach the age of about 13. There would be guys who would go out with girls for what I call “one date wonders”. And in school other kids are cruel, making others feel stupid and ugly. That brings down the girls self esteem and they end up in an abusive relationship, which is where I came from.
Doing what I’m doing helped me to break out of the stigma that I received in high school. I no longer feel stupid or ugly. I’m happy with myself.
MR – What is it about being a dominatrix that appeals to you?
MF – I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the power trip. Also for me it’s very therapeutic. You can’t imagine the feeling of having someone kneeling down and kissing your toes at the snap of your fingers. And they enjoy doing it and pleasing me.
A lot of it is the mind fuck part of it. I was with a client who was blindfolded. I acted upset over something minor and told him that I was going to hit him with the riding crop. He was begging me,” no mistress.” And I hit him…. with a feather duster. See, he was getting all worked up, thinking I was going to hit him with a riding crop.
MR – What is the difference between a BDSM lifestyle and a couple tying each other up in bed?
MF – What you described, the people are called bedroom players. They are, in fact, practicing BDSM. Even when people use a blindfold in play, it’s all about sensory deprivation, which is BDSM.
You also have your lifestylers, who are people who include one or more BDSM activity in their day to day life, not just occasionally. There is one couple I know where the wife plays the dominant roll and as soon as her husband walks in the door his clothes come off. He’s not allowed to wear clothes around the house. It what works for them.
Then there are the professionals who are paid by someone. Many lifestylers are professionals.However there are some people who are just in it for the money and don’t care about the safety factor. Lifestylers who are professionals also care more than people just in it for the money. They aren’t out to injure. The first and foremost tenet of BDSM is safe, sane and consensual, which involves the physical as well as the psychological.
MR – What do you say to people who say that it’s just a form of prostitution?
MF – There are sexual overtones in BDSM, but there is no sexual contact. Everything that a true lifestyler and professional does in a BDSM is legal by law. There is no oral, anal or vaginal contact. I’m sure there are some that do that but they are nothing more that cheap hookers with delusions of grandeur. The only genital contact is confined to CBT (cock and ball torture) in which I basically tie up the penis with little pink bow and tease it, with feathers, clothespins, etc.
MR – How much is one of your sessions and why do you think that people come to you for this?
MF – My rate starts out at $200 for a two-hour session and goes up to $450. I think guys come to me because they like to put a face to their fantasy. It’s something that they fantasize about and for some reason or another, they don’t have a spouse that will help them fulfill their fantasies. I even had one client whose wife knew what he was doing. I invited her along to see what I was doing. She refused, but I still asked her. I also care for the clients and know when not to leave marks on their body, be it because of a job they have or they don’t want their spouse finding out. Most of my clients are middle-aged professional males who are doctors, lawyers, and even a coroner, believe it or not. They are always expected to be in charge, to be the one taking the bull by the horns. They want someone else to make decisions for a change, someone else to be in charge, and that’s why they come to me. They also come to me because I actually take the time to custom-tailor each session to each individual client.
MR – What about personal relationships? Are you able to maintain one while being a dominatrix?
MF – I do have a boyfriend. We’ve been together for five months now. At first I think that he was a little bit jealous, but after he saw what I did and heard some of the messages. I was left by prospective clients he got more comfortable with it.
MR – Is there ever a time where he’s in the mood for some BDSM, but you feel too tired to “take your work home with you?”
MF – Yes, sometimes, but it’s more of being worn out from my regular job. And for me a flogging is almost like a massage in that it helps me relax.
MR – So who has the power in the BDSM act?
MF – Oh, the submissive one has the true power. Before a session, we go over what’s going to happen and boundaries are set by the submissive on how far they are willing to go. In all sessions, safe words are involved. They can be any word, but typical safe-words are yellow, which means slow down or stop temporarily, we need to clear something up, I need to catch my breath and red, which means stop immediately.
There are times when the submissive is out of breath and can’t get the words out, but a good dom pays attention and can recognize this and will check and ask if the submissive is alright. Safety is a primary concern.
MR – What’s the ratio of women to me who are your clients?
MF – 99.9% of my clients are male with about 90% of them being married men who are looking for a little bit of excitement without cheating on their wives.
LS – I would like to add that the ratio of men to women in the BDSM scene is about 50/50. Also, there seems to be a higher percentage of males who play the dominate roll while the females are more submissive.
MR – I haven’t talked to you yet, Lord Serpent. Tell me how you got involved with BDSM.
LS – Actually it all started when I was about 13 years old and I discovered that I had a leather fetish. You see my father was a leather craftsman. I would have these fantasies, and of course I didn’t know what to make of them when I was that age. I didn’t realize that I had a fetish. And when I first realized it, it was like, “ah ha, this is what it is.”
MR – How much is one of your sessions and why do you think
MF – I had seen the movie 9 1/2 Weeks and have read the Kama Sutra and basically felt that I’ve been there, done that. I needed something more. It’s like a jigsaw piece where you can’t quite make out the picture and then you put the piece in and it all makes sense, well that was how it was with me. The piece just fell into place.
At this point Lord Serpent showed me a few of his handcrafted leather toys, including his pride and joy, the Great Red Serpent. His craftwork was quite stunning. I asked him to give me a demonstration by flogging my arm (really, it was my arm). The blows weren’t stinging, but did make a loud noise.
MR – Really, that doesn’t hurt at all. It sounds like it would. Is sound a big part in BDSM?
LS – The senses do play a large part in BDSM. It’s part of the psychological that goes along with it. For example, I had this one woman, who is just a blond bombshell, who was in for a session. She was in a rope dress and I had the soundtrack to Conan playing. Atmosphere is a big part of the whole experience as well. She was totally into the session.
MF – I was helping him with the session and she was so far into it that she didn’t know I was in the room. She just thought she was resting her head on two soft pillows, which were actually my breasts. When the session was over and she lifted her head, she had that kind of crackhead stare, she was so much into it. She was in subspace. She was basically experiencing what some people call runners high, which is an endorphin rush.
MR – Is there any humor to BDSM?
MF – Oh but of course. It’s all really about having fun and enjoying yourself. A friend of mine likes to paddle her submissives while singing the theme song of Green Acres.
LS – Here’s another story with the blond bombshell. I had her wrapped in Saran wrap, which makes the skin tighter and more sensitive. I told her that she wasn’t allowed to laugh, and if she did she would be punished. I then put on the soundtrack to Men in Tights. And here she was trying not to laugh, but she couldn’t help it. It was fun.
MR – How did you go about forming the Dayton BDSM group?
LS – It all started on March 28, 1998. I knew that Dayton needed a support group for the BDSM community. Others have tried to start one, but it just never took off. I had a few meetings and no one showed up. Then at one meeting when I felt like nobody was going to show up a couple of people walked in. I asked them if they were here for the meeting and they said yes. I then said the BDSM support group meeting. And they said yes. So that’s where it started taking off. And now we have 40 card-carrying members with another 30-40 who show up at meetings and are almost like members.
MR – So what do you do in the support group?
LS – We have social gatherings once a week where people get together and just socialize. Every couple of months we have play parties where people get together to socialize, show off toys and become more informed. At these parties there is a social area and a play area. There are no drugs or drinking at these events, and there is no nudity or penetration. Well, the only nudity that there would be are breasts, but not too often. The gatherings are mostly comprised of couples.
MR – If someone is interested in learning more about BDSM, where should they go?
LS – They just need to contact a local support group, which can usually be found via the Internet. Usually someone will volunteer to be a mentor for that individual or couple. The mentors usually end up being another couple.
MF – In fact I had a fellow who wanted to learn more and I mentored him. He would help me out in my sessions. And it is showing the individual how to be safe and do things in a safe manner. I didn’t charge him. It was true mentoring. I would suggest that anyone who is interested in becoming a dominate, should be a submissive first in order to gain better understanding of BDSM.
LS – I have to ad that the BDSM group is not a single’s bar. We have many social events, which are non-play events. We do have a review process for anyone who wants to join the group.
MR – Do you have any last words?
LS – A hardware store is a dom’s best friend.