These days everyone struggles to make ends meet. As a professional dominant, I’m part of an industry that relies on discretionary spending and suffers when times are tough. Years ago when I finished my PhD and started seeing new clients again, nobody balked when we talked “Tribute”. Now, some prospective clients ask about bartering or negotiating rates. When someone hears a number on the phone, they contextualize it as an hourly rate. However, the reality is more complex. In this blog I explain some of the factors that contribute to the value of your BDSM session.

You found me online, on a website I pay monthly to keep, through one of many ads I buy. It was the professional photos ($350 for the shoot) that caught your eye and made me stand out on the Domme directory website. We emailed a few times to assess compatibility (I never charge for this), then had a friendly 20 minute phone call (also gratis) to set up our first session. When we meet, we chat again (off the clock) about safety and limits, because it’s a valuable investment making our experience positive. In addition to the time I’ve already spent with you, I’ve invested over 20 hours each week behind-the-scenes, unpaid: answering emails and calls from people who never book, conducting correspondence with regular clients, answering questions from curious lifestyle couples, editing photos, building ads, updating my website. For comparison, how much is 20 hours a week of your time worth?

Before I greet you, I slip on a $250 leather dress and $75 elbow-length lambskin gloves, because you mentioned a preference for leather, and a pair of $200 heels I’d never wear outside or I’d break my neck on the sidewalk. I get pedicures ($40 every few weeks) so my feet look attractive when you kneel in front of me and kiss them in submission.

I have a private dungeon that’s an entire floor of my home. I could rent it out for $800 a month if it wasn’t play space, so I have to recoup that much for a cost-neutral situation. I remodeled it, installed new flooring, put in a new bathroom, painted the walls, and brought the stairwell and exits up to code. I’m paying to heat that space during fierce New England winters.

I have walls full of dungeon equipment. I have dozens of whips that cost a few hundred apiece. Even if I only use a few on you, those three or four implements could be $1000. That TENS unit you want me to use? It was $400, and that metal attachment you’ll really enjoy is another $100, but it was a gift so we won’t count that. The leather hood that adjusts to your size was $250, because I found it on sale. All of these items had to be ordered and shipped, and I can’t zip down to the mall to purchase a replacement.

Between sessions I spend (unpaid) time cleaning and conditioning my leather equipment and vinyl surfaces so everything looks professional and lasts longer. My toys are an investment, and I treat them as such. After our session, I use hospital grade disinfectant ($30/bottle) on everything we touched, because the generic stuff isn’t proven medically safe and can degrade leather and metal.

The other cost of self-employment? I have no sick days, no 401k, and prior to ObamaCare I struggled to find a health insurer that would accept me. I pay social security and taxes like everyone else. When I broke my arm, I was lucky to have health insurance. I also had a pelvic sprain from the accident, so I couldn’t stand for a month and couldn’t wield a whip until 6 months later. I had zero income for the first month I was injured, and I couldn’t see corporal punishment clients until my arm healed. As a result, the tribute I receive for sessions has to include a small amount for emergency savings.

When I see a doctor, I want the one specialized in treating my health problem. When I need a contractor, I hire someone with years of experience. When I pay a massage therapist and trust them to touch my body, I seek out someone certified to do their job. I’m paying for the time they spend with me, for their clean facility, and for the years invested in learning their craft. Professional dominance is no different. Why would you trust your health and safety to a discount dominatrix?

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Responses

  1. Greg Gorman

    Well said Lady Elizabeth!

    I know a few Domes analyzing their rates now. For many years there has been a fairly standard rate across the US, which I find ridiculous. It’d be like all cars being sold at roughly the same price.

    And one thing you didn’t mention the on going training. There is a huge amount of skill and knowledge difference among BDSM Professionals. Making something that is inherently dangerous safe isn’t easy. Making it look easy is even more difficult. That requires going to someone who knows and learning from them. That means travel costs, convention costs, private instruction costs. And the list goes on.