Trust is a Moving Target: Thoughts on Trust, Consent and Carelessness
My most dynamic sessions occur when I get the opportunity to know someone over time. With time, limits can be stretched, boundaries can be re-negotiated safely, and the energy just flows seamlessly. When I am allowed the privilege of time to create an on-going relationship with a submissive, opportunities for a deeper trust open up and more freedom in how we interact with one another. A delicate sequence of salacious events can unfold seamlessly during playtime with a trusted submissive, initiating a depth that cannot be achieved in a first-time session. Knowing when someone has reached their limit during a specific activity and when to transition to another pursuit is incredibly nuanced and is fortunately something that is very innate for me.
I have been thinking on trust and what it means to me as a Dominatrix, as someone who frequently meets “strange” people from the internet, as someone who inflicts physical and psychological pain on willing playmates for fun. Cultivating trust on the spot has been one of the most challenging lessons of being a Dominatrix. Trust is a moving target.
There is a lot that goes into creating a good reputation when you are a Professional Dominatrix. I have invested many years of my life learning how to inflict pain without causing permanent physical damage to the body. I have studied the ins and outs of psychology to better understand how to hold space for healing and honesty between me and those I am collaborating with and whom I responsible for. I have risked persecution from society at large by appearing on covers of public magazines, giving public interviews and speaking at universities as a sex worker. I believe in what I do as sacred and creative and important and have treated what I do, my community and those who want and need what I provide with respect and compassion. I have tried my best to lay a foundation on which those who seek to live in their truth can be comfortable showing their vulnerable selves, because after all that is what is at the core of D/s relationships, even those that involve money.
When I began this odyssey, I believed that being a Dominatrix would be the easiest thing to do. Beating men, taking their money. It didn’t occur to me that I would care so much about the well -being of my clients. I would have never dreamed that I would hold precious the vulnerability that some of my subs have endowed upon me. Yes, someone offering their submission is an endowment. Consent and trust are given not taken. There is a misconception that being a Dominatrix is an easy job where the role is simply defined by being a bitch to the men who seek to submit you. There is so much more to what we do than calling someone a pig and slapping them around and then demanding someone’s whole pay check. Couple that misunderstanding with the economic inequality that women face under capitalism and you have a perfect storm for misunderstanding and violating consent.
I arrived at the BDSM doorstep at the tender age of 15 when I simultaneously was entering my life long involvement with the punk rock lifestyle. Historically the two have gone hand in hand, aesthetically and otherwise. Punk taught me how to play with power, how to throw a flogger and the joys of leather and bondage. Through discovering queerness many years later, I learned about consent, negotiation, boundaries and ethical play. Feminism taught me about the social and cultural importance of subverting power, equity and equality. The combination of all three of these things taught me how to push the envelope and turned me into the Dominant Woman I am today. Historically queers, feminists, punks, and sex workers have paved the way for modern sexuality and bodily autonomy. The right to fuck who you want and how you want with consent has been something that has been hard won by those existing in the margins and surviving in underground lifestyles and economies. Sex and bodily autonomy are at the core of true freedom.
The point of bringing this up is that a lot of people risked and continue to risk a lot to reduce stigma, persecution and create respect and understanding for those of us who live alternative lifestyles. We have been pushing back for generations. The continued harassment fear mongering of consensual sex workers through raids under the guise of saving people from human trafficking, censorship on the internet, shutting down life-saving ad platforms and FOSTA/SESTA make fostering trust between clients and providers all the more difficult.
I don’t need to give a lecture about capitalism and the financial inequality women and queer people face that bring most of us to the sex industry. The internet makes this industry all the more accessible to a young and/or inexperienced crop of aspiring escorts, porn performers, cam models, sugar babies and dominatrices. With the rise of people hurrying to make ends meet in a hostile economy has come the flood of “instadommes” with a lot of ignorance about the delicate balance of trust that sex workers cultivate with clients or the history of how and why sex and BDSM liberation is important to all of us. In the last month I have seen a spike of submissives discussing the disrespect and consent violations that they are experiencing. I open my feed to videos of Dominants beating subs who do not have a basic understanding of human anatomy and who are needlessly cruel. More than a handful of submissives reaching out to me this year for a first-time session have processed with me about their consent being grossly violated during a scene with someone they paid for their skill and time. I am finding myself trying to navigate someone else’s violation of trust with submissives who are weary of gifting, tributing or paying deposits for fear of being ripped off or mistreated.
The prevalence of cruel and careless dominants inundating social media is disappointing. Even as a lifelong sadist I find myself cringing at my screen and wondering what the fuck is wrong with people? BDSM and fetish play is meant to be an escape from the harsh realities of the world, a brief sanctuary we create as adults to have fun and to heal and for some of us to put food on the table at the same time. On the spot trust does not come easy and if broken can be very difficult repair. Being careless with submissives is a disservice to the health and delicate balance that is necessary to keep the BDSM industry and community safe for everyone, instadommes included. I want the exchange of money and power to flow seamlessly. I want new to the industry people to have access and I want what so many of us have been working on for generations to be respected.
In my 8-year tenure as Mistress Jade, I am humbled by the level of trust that I share with submissives who have chosen to continuously collaborate with me. Those relationships that have been established over time and nurtured have afforded me a dungeon, financial stability and an outlet for exploration. Obtaining trust is a part of BDSM, a part of the cat and mouse game we play with one another. Tit for tat, what will you give me if I give you this? I have come to think of trust obtained from a submissive as a kinky game that I have been playing all along.
Professional BDSM providers have laid the groundwork to establish their practices and provide information that is easy to find, confirm their identities and reputations. Ultimately it is up to the submissive to do their research before agreeing to send money or personal damaging information to complete strangers. It is as important to be ethical in the ways we play with subs and equally important that subs take on the responsibility of their desires.