'What the hell is financial domination?' You may ask. It's a kink and an actual job, despite the many misconceptions and confusion surrounding this area of BDSM. To find out more, we put our money where our mouth is and had a myth-busting chat with Qadesh - a financial dominatrix (Fin Dom) based in London.
sex+: In a nutshell, what does your work entail?
Qadesh: It involves exercising some manner of control over another person’s finances.
sex+: How does this work differ from more ‘traditional’ domination?
Qadesh: It’s primarily around someone spending money on me, quite often cash (although credit cards are involved as well), with the agreement that they won’t (necessarily) get anything in return. There might be little extras such as public humiliation, where clients hand over cash and get slapped, kicked in the balls, or forced to kneel without a word said to them, but it’s mainly limited to them buying gifts and paying for stuff.
sex+: What sorts of clients do you have?
Qadesh: All sorts! From people without a massive disposable income who buy the occasional thing now and again, to people with reasonable jobs who might want to set up a monthly tribute and then there are people with highly paid jobs who will splurge. My clients are 99.9% male, around 50% white, with a high proportion of the rest being Asian, the rest is variable.
sex+: Can you describe an average session?
Qadesh: Not really because there is no such thing as an average session! It depends on the client and what they want to explore. Before the session, there is always some form of interview where I find out what they want to get out of the session - it might seem they get nothing out of it, but of course they do or they wouldn’t be doing it! I craft my sessions around their desires, this may mean doing a particular action, saying something particular or even completely ignoring my client, for those who request that they would be upset if I did acknowledged them.
sex+: What do you usually wear?
Qadesh: For a lot of financial domination, I’m wearing my PJ’s because I’m sitting at home! There are occasions, if I’m meeting someone face to face, where I dress up in something a little bit sexy or put makeup on. I don’t tend to get dressed up in what is the stereotypical ‘domme’ outfit in full leather/corset unless the client has booked me for a generic session with financial domination as part of it.
sex+: Do you have to act like a 'princess' to be a successful Fin Dom?
Qadesh: To me, a princess is someone who is kept by a wealthy man. This is not a Fin Dom in the way that I do it, she is the opposite, a sugarbaby. Sugarbabies do not take control over someone else’s finances, they usually allow their clients to control them, often in subversive ways (usually with their money). For example, their clients would buy them clothes saying ‘you would look gorgeous in this’, instead of asking them what gifts they want to receive. It comes across as being nice, but they guys are still in control. The clients would say they are submissive, but what they are actually doing is giving over cash to very young girls, with no life experience or idea that they may be being manipulated by these men. Not everyone who identifies as a princess operates in that way, but an awful lot do these days.
sex+: There have been complaints in the BDSM circles that some women (e.g. princesses) do this work inauthentically and that they aren’t really interested in being a Domme, do you think this is the case?
Qadesh: There are a few answers to this, first of all there has been a massive increase in what is known as topping from the bottom this is taking over and it’s attracting a certain type of sex worker [who tolerates or even encourages this behaviour]. The Dommes in the scene who have been doing this work for a while haven’t changed their behaviour, it’s just that there has been a huge influx of new people doing things differently. That said, who defines what authentic is? It really is down to the individual and what they’re happy with - I don’t have to like it. What I have a problem with is the underlying misogyny and predatory behaviour that a lot of new Fin Doms and sugarbabies are exposed to. More experienced Fin Doms rarely tolerate it.
sex+: What's a paypig and a cashpoint meet?
Qadesh: A paypig is generally a submissive male who will pay for things that I want. This can be in person, such as going on shopping trips or I could be at my computer at any time and say ‘who’s gonna pay for this?’ expecting a paypig to meet my demand. A cashpoint meet is exactly what it says on the tin, I very rarely arrange these without a deposit to eliminate time wasters. We meet at a prearranged cashpoint, at a prearranged time - whatever they want to happen takes place (within reason!) it’s normally 15-30 minutes, they take out cash and hand it over. I’m careful about where and when I arrange these for safety reasons, and I’m more likely to see someone in the middle of the day than I am on a Friday night with lots of drunk people around.
sex+: Can you explain what clients get from Fin Dom?
Qadesh: In my personal belief, it’s a rebellion against the society we live in where men are the powerful ones and they have the control because they earn much more than women do and success is measured by how much they earn. For them to then (literally) hand over that money to someone for nothing in return is a power trip and a very powerful form of submission.
sex+: What do you get from it?
Qadesh: Apart from the money, you mean?! I enjoy the power trip and the humiliation (for those clients who are into that). It’s become an expansion of my BDSM world.
sex+: What's the history of Fin Dom? It seems to have gained popularity recently.
Qadesh: In my opinion it has been around for centuries, in times when women were commonly property and didn’t have any legal rights one of the only ways they could have any form of freedom, power or control over their own lives would be to get money or property of their own. If they could get their husbands or lovers to give them money or property through whatever means, be it blackmail, love or through domination, then they had power.
sex+: Do you think Fin Dom helps or hinders gender inequality?
Qadesh: It does both. A lot of what I do seemingly contradicts with my feminist beliefs and there are certain things that I would do in sessions that I would never do personally. I think that for myself and a lot of women like me, it’s very empowering. The downside is when we have new people coming in who think they are being empowered, but they’re actually being used and that kicks off a cycle of negativity. It’s a double-edged sword, as with any job in any industry, however in this field gender issues are seen far more clearly.
sex+: Is Fin Dom a reaction to hundreds of years of oppression?
Qadesh: Yes, where it’s possibly going wrong in some cases is due to lack of education in a society that is very single-minded, some women are using this work to try to change it, but they haven’t worked out yet how to do it. The Dommes doing a reactionary thing (and I don’t blame them for doing this at all) are going about it the wrong way. What they need to do first is educate themselves in assertiveness, independence and what is/isn’t abusive and then go and do it. When being reactive, people tend to do back what was done to them rather than actually changing things.
sex+: As a society we have a lot of shame around money, do you think your clients use your sessions to work through this?
Qadesh: For the vast majority, I would say yes. On some level they’re trying to re-balance things, they know that the job market is really unequal and as the money is where the power comes from. There has been a lot of shame creeping in around that and people trying to find ways to deal with it and some of them are doing so by literally handing over money to alleviate that guilt. Some of them possibly even do it to alleviate the guilt of living in a very rich country when there are billions of people on the planet and the vast majority live in poverty.
sex+: Has this work helped you see money differently?
Qadesh: ‘Yes’ and ‘no’. ‘Yes’ to the extent that sometimes it sickens me and sometimes it bores me because it becomes all about the money with some people and ‘no’ because essentially I’ve always known that anyway, it is just reaffirming things I believe. There are a lot of (primarily men) out there who have more money than they know what to do with. With my regular clients I always encourage them to make donations to charity or to do some good with their money at least once a year and they know they will make me happy by doing so.
sex+: Any advice for women looking to pursue this line of work?
Qadesh: Again, it goes back to educating themselves, so I would suggest that they start off by talking to other women in the industry who have experience, possibly taking a course with someone who can teach them to be a dominant in a safe and sane way. Also to assess why they want to do it because there might be underlying reasons that might not be healthy for them and could put them into difficult situations.