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What It’s Really Like to Be a Professional Dominatrix

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Welcome to Doing It, a column where sex educator Varuna Srinivasan explores the deep connections between sex and emotions. This month, we hear from a professional dominatrix to learn what her day-to-day life is really like.

Given our societal taboos and pearl-clutching toward all things kink, depictions of dominatrixes are still relatively rare in media. Even rarer still are accurate portrayals of this — highly skilled and sought-after yet nevertheless stigmatized — profession. But what does a real-life dominatrix’s job actually entail?

Eva Oh is a full-time dominatrix with a thriving practice in London. In addition to seeing clients in her home, which is also a play space, she works on TV projects, mentoring others and teaching people how to be submissive. 13 years ago, a boyfriend encouraged Oh, to become a dominatrix because of similar reasons. While it was meant to be a joke, she started seriously looking into it. Thankfully, Google’s “safe search” was off. A dungeon based in Australia was looking for people to train. One phone call, three questions and a reading list later, and Oh has never looked back.

Oh has a voice that is soft yet commanding — the kind that holds more than enough power to effortlessly take control of the room. One might say it is similar to that of a prime minister, an enigmatic leader, or, most appropriately, a professional dominatrix. As we chatted on the phone, I found myself hanging onto her every word. I immediately understood her allure and popularity, and why she has more than 110,000 Instagram followers ready and willing to do her bidding. Oh generously shared details about her fascinating journey and experiences with me for this column.

Allure: What does a day in your life look like?

Eva Oh: A day in life so much more different now than it did back then. The first job was with the dungeon in Australia. My first week on the job, I would just shadow anyone else who was willing to have me. When I started, I had to do a minimum of three shifts a week of eight hours each.

My life would be waking up, getting ready for my shift, and walking down to the dungeon and waiting for any bookings or people to come in off the street.

Allure: What is it like in the dungeon? Like any business, I assume there are logistics.

EO: Essentially, it’s like a shift job: You’re an independent contractor and you’ve got [to] work job to job. The house gets 40 percent of whatever the fee’s going to be, and you get 60 percent. [The house] would handle the booking; they would handle the person coming in off the street. They would handle some scheduling, [determining] the price for you and, if [working] at a dungeon, all the facilities and equipment were at my disposal. It was all quite easy.

 

a colorized image of someone putting on a fishnet tight

Allure: You mentioned getting to the dungeon and working with people who simply walked in. How would you know what they wanted, and how a session would go?

EO: At the very beginning, when people would walk through the doors, I had no idea who they were. They were just fresh off the street. They also had no idea what they wanted, so I would just ask a lot of questions and gauge their reaction.

Allure: What kinds of questions?

EO: [Questions like,] What kind of porn do you watch? What about that was interesting for you? And is there anything in particular that maybe spoke to you in terms of a feeling more like an object, like a shoe or a moment or a look? I also ask them to tell me their desires. Like even their vanilla self, you know like non-kink stuff.

Allure: Can you tell us more of what happens during a session? If you can share more with us, that is.

EO: Oh, I disclose a lot of details on my podcast — but I won’t mention any names. I would say that everybody is so different. The commonality is that they want to feel like you understand them and that you accept them and that you don’t judge them.

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First and foremost, I introduce them to the concept of a safe word. Then, I’ll slowly walk them through maybe a little bit of bondage, maybe a little bit of sensation playing. Playing with the concept of maybe a tiny bit of pain. It could just be nails going against the chest and just drawing them in. But how I work is going to be different to the next person — and, if you want to have a successful session, you have to respond to them.

 

That said, I would say some of the common things that people were interested in is that. I mean, people with prostates tend to gravitate towards any anal play a lot. And lot of people absolutely love feet. There’s a sexualized aspect to feet for so many people. Water sports was also commonly of interest in the dungeon. Strangely, not out of the dungeon, but in the dungeon it was very, very much requested.

 

feet with heels

Allure: And water sports is like a golden shower, correct?

EO: Correct, correct, yeah. Being used just like a toilet.

Allure: And [are people] expected to have sex with the clients? Is there any penetrative sex that happens at all?

EO: It’s very rare that you hear anybody doing any penetrative sex. I mean, it’s totally up to the provider, but it’s not a commonly understood part of the experience since you’re only engaging with fetishes.

Allure: Speaking of your podcast, I listened to an episode where you mention that there is a certain amount of risk involved with this work.

EO: I think there’s different versions of risk, and it really also depends on what you consider a risk, [as well as] your environment. For example, when it was in Sydney, which is a decriminalized place for sexual work, you have a lot more protections. A business number, bank account that functions, health organizations, friends — who are not judgmental, of course — and other places where you can speak freely about this. It depends, I guess, where you are and what you consider a risk. But I think that there’s more risk when you don’t have authorities that you can go to if something that does happen.

Allure: I think you have done such a great job of building this kind of ecosystem around you. There is such a one-dimensional view of what a dominatrix does, but it sounds like you’re really building safe spaces and educating people. What are you working on now?

EO: Well, now I have a closed-book system and I charge 10 times more than I did. As a result, I [work] with a select few. I probably only see them a couple of times a month since I have diversified my business, having pivoted more towards education and building a brand. I decided I needed an online product so I created my membership site. People just sign up and they’re doing retroactive courses that I created a while ago.

Allure: Is this the “How to Be a Submissive“: course?

EO: Yes! You log in, you have a dashboard, you have an option of all of these different courses, and one of them is how to worship different parts of my body. For example, I focus a lot on feet and in teaching people how to worship it. It’s basically a step by step process in terms of how I like to be entertained, how I like to be served.

 

To learn more about Eva Oh’s work, you can follow her on Instagram or visit her website.

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.


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