Most of us are are already having sleepless nights wondering how we’re going to cover the extortionate cost of rent or bills. But what if your income relies on the sexual gratification of the person handing the cash over?
Many would-be findommes think that financial domination is an easy solution to any cash flow worries. You set up a profile and wait for the paypigs and finsubs to flock in and donate cash hand-over-fist – how hard can it be, right?
But findomming is more nuanced and complicated than meets the eye. And relying on people to willingly give you lump sums of money – often totalling hundreds, if not thousands – in this economy? In a world slumping towards a global recession? Let’s just say: like with any job, the cost of living crisis is affecting findommes too – just not in the ways you might think. To find out more, I chatted to some financial dominatrixes.
Vici Vail, England
VICE: Hi Vici, how did you start doing findomming online?
Vici Vail: I started on the more “vanilla” side of OnlyFans, but it just wasn’t exciting me. I was scrolling through Twitter and found other girls posting about findom. I thought, ‘This is quite interesting maybe I could do this.’ So, I did my research and I guess here we are.
Are people still paying for findom?People are still willing to pay, but are they willing to pay as much as they used to? That’s another question entirely. I think people are worried about their finances with the way of the world at the minute, so people aren’t spending as much as they were last year.
How is this affecting the sex work you do online?
I’ve had to diversify what I do, so I can still do well. Finsubs are like unicorns – for every 100 clients you have, maybe one or two will be into financial domination. I get approached more for other things now rather than strictly findom. Last year it was easier – I would receive more messages from finsubs. It could've also been because I was relatively new, and they felt it was easier to approach me, whereas now I’m more established. — @vicivail
Goddess Holita, UK
VICE: What’s the biggest misconception about findomming?
Goddess Holita: The most common is that you will make money from the moment you join. It’s not easy at all. You need knowledge, drive, patience, determination, and the ability to be self-sufficient. Similar misinformation persists about sex work as a whole. During COVID, people thought if they made an OnlyFans they would become rich instantly. In reality, not many people survive their first month and give up completely.
What steps have you had to take in doing findomming responsibly during a cost-of-living crisis?
I have always vetted my subs even prior to the current crisis but it is something I am very conscious about, especially now. I only engage with those in the right mental and financial mind frame. Morally, I won’t contribute to someone else doing something that could put them in a bad situation, especially with everything going on economically. I am here for fun and a good time, not for self-destruction.
Does the cost of living crisis make you worry?
No, it doesn't for my findom experience. There will always be ones who can still spend. It's hard to see to tell if what is happening is affecting us financially as subs come and go so quickly. But of course, fear of your own personal expiry will always haunt you, during a recession or not. — @Holitabun
Mean Molly, US
VICE: So, Mean Molly you have been doing this for 17 years now. What is the biggest change you have seen?
Mean Molly: A huge influx of new people coming into the fetish, for sure. When I first started on Yahoo! Chat, there were perhaps 10 to 20 of us online doing this. A combination of exposure and tough financial times, like the pandemic, has attracted more people into findom. More fetishes are expanding to include findom. However, if you strongly keep to your boundaries, it’s been a positive change, it's brought more opportunities to the community.
So, with more opportunities because of more people, has your income grown even during the recession?
My living costs have gone up by 30 percent but my income has increased to match that – maybe sex always sells. But the way my clients pay me has changed. So one-off payments have gone up expeditiously, but my contracted payments have probably gone down a bit.
Why do you think your contracted payments have gone down slightly this year?
In an average year, my contracts amount to $80,000 but this year they are nearer to $50,000-$60,000. Finsubs who do contracts, are numerically minded and are more financially cautious, hence why it’s contracted. They like to feel in debt and want to keep it up long-term, rather than a singular rush they will eventually regret. A couple of my contracted subs also pulled back during the pandemic. — @MeanMolly
Honeybee Deity, South Carolina, US
VICE: You started findomming back in 2017, did you know about it prior to that?
Honeybee Deity: Before I started findomming, I became enthralled [by] BDSM and kinks via Tumblr and fictional books. As I was learning about kink, what I liked and enjoyed, I knew findom was something I wanted to do. I was well-versed in findom and the protocols before I began, but now I honestly feel like the lines in the community are becoming blurry.
When did the lines get blurred?
When the pandemic hit everything started snowballing. People we’re losing their jobs so many turned to survival sex work. But many came and went because sex work is still work – hard work, in fact. A lot of mislabelling goes on… We have started to have hybrids of fetish content creators who also double as findommes, not that there is anything wrong with that – but it leads to an avalanche of blurred lines.
Is mislabelling a prevalent problem?
Many people label themselves as pro-dommes or findommes, take every dollar from a sub and then throw them into the trash as if nothing happened. It’s happened so many times and it’s sickening. We are not only here to fulfil a fantasy, but also look after our submissives. A good findomme makes sure a submissive is as happy and healthy as they can be. Because after that, comes mutual pleasure in the dynamic. Aftercare, understanding consent, having a relationship with subs are all important parts of findomming.
How do you feel about the deviation from the base values of findom?
It’s frustrating because it’s not discussed how the most meaningful relationships in findom are the ones where you can go back and forth, from chatting to findomming and vice versa. But I think there has been a big shift in the community. People are sick and tired of how it operates… If we don’t fix these problems then as a community we will crash and burn. — @HoneybeeDeity
Goddess Alexa, Maryland, US
VICE: You’ve been doing online sex work since you were 18, did you start in findomming?
Goddess Alexa: No. I started as a cam girl but I felt uncomfortable doing full nudity, so when I found findom, it was something that suited me more. Being mean to people who were paying me did not come naturally. But here I am a decade later! It’s definitely something I have grown into.
You’ve been doing this for a decade. Do you notice times of economic hardship change the findom community?
During these times I notice an increase in people trying their hand at findom, because there are more people who are in a position where they need to make money. Twitter now compared to two or three years ago is worlds apart. I would often get backlash for giving out advice to others because “game is sold not told”, but the oversaturation of inexperienced dommes is becoming an increasing issue.
How is this affecting how the financial submissives interact with dommes?
They are a lot less trusting. Personally, I have heard from many subs that they are more hesitant to approach or pay initial tribute because they will pay and then realise a domme has no idea what she is doing or is not following consent and ethics. Also, impersonation is an issue. A TikTok user claimed they make $1,000 a month by impersonating women and scamming finsubs. [Finsubs] aren’t here to be catfished or tricked.
How do you see financial domination changing in the future with the recession only set to get worse?
Over the next couple of years, it is going to take newcomers more time and dedication because it's getting increasingly difficult to stand out. However, I would say education is the key for your success and safety. There is so much to learn – it isn’t just messaging a man “hey loser, give me your money.” — @goddessalexar
Ruby Hexx, London, UK
VICE: You have been quite successful with findoming and sex work online, right?
Ruby Hexx: I started off grinding on the Twitter scene, during the first COVID lockdown. But I was very fortunate, for me it snowballed. Going viral on TikTok and being in a Sidemen video really helped. But people see success and misconstrue the nature of this work. It is a difficult job – it takes so much work and dedication.
How has deplatforming on Instagram affected findommes during the cost of living crisis?Personally, it's not an economic worry but it’s a frustration. It impedes potential growth, social media-wise and financially. The censorship of findommes pushes girls off platforms into in-person sex work, even more so during these economically precarious times. It isn’t illegal to findom online – I pay my taxes online, so why do platforms make it so difficult to do our job? The most frustrating part is people are happy to consume 18+ [content] but don’t care about those making it.
What advice would you give other findommes during the cost-of-living crisis?
This type of work does have a shelf life. My advice for anybody that is doing any type of sex work is to think about how you are going to sustain through this time. Think about creating a sustainable income for yourself which is not reliant on your findomming, whether that’s a business such as a bar or restaurant. — @rubyhexx