As the great philosopher Coolio once said: “Power in the money, money in the power.” If history has taught us anything, it’s that money and power are synonymous – as are power and sex.
So it makes a lot of sense that power, money and sex are tied together for some people. For those who get a kick out of spending, referred to as “slaves” or “paypigs” within the BDSM community, the act of transferring money out of their bank accounts and into someone else’s pocket is thrilling. It’s a form of submission to someone else’s power, and one that many describe as producing a sensation of extreme calm, known in the community as entering the “sub space”.
The dynamic involved in financial domination (findom) isn’t well-documented outside of the BDSM community, despite its ubiquitousness in the day-to-day manoeuvrings of capitalism, where money bounces constantly back and forth between vendors and sellers. Intrigued, I chatted to some paypigs to find out exactly what it is they find so beguiling about findom and how much they spend on it.
ASIF, 25, DRUG DEALER, MIDLANDS
VICE: How long have you been into findom? How did it start?
Asif: I started with a foot fetish and one day I stumbled across findom via a porn site. That was a couple of years ago now, and it’s since become a bit of an obsession.
Is it addictive?
Absolutely. It’s the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. I served time in prison last year and that’s when I realised how addicted to it all I was. During those few months I became totally consumed by thoughts of findom, and it was pretty much the first thing I did when I got out.
Can you describe the feeling?
You know that feeling of being turned on? I guess that for a lot of people they’d react to it by masturbating or having sex, and then moving on with their day. But for me, it’s an addiction. Findom allows me to stay with that feeling all the time.
Sounds powerful. How much would you say you’ve spent on it in total?
God, it’s so hard to estimate, because my income isn’t really tracked, of course. But I think probably around £150,000 in a couple of years. I live at home and often have to borrow money from my mum to pay off debts to findommes – she has no idea. It’s hard because it’s a part of me I enjoy, but I’d also really like for it to all go away too. It’s a love/hate thing. I’ve tried everything to get past it, but nothing works. I even went to therapy recently.
How did that go?
Not great! I don’t really know how but I ended up floating the idea of her being my findomme, and er – I still transfer her money every couple of weeks.
Ethical nightmare. Finally, how do your various findommes make you pay up?
I’ve given some of them lots of personal information about me and photos they can blackmail me with. The fear of being publicly exposed adds another facet to it all.
SIMON, 45, ACADEMIC, LONDON
VICE: How much do you spend monthly?
Simon: It fluctuates a bit, but I’d say roughly £150 per month.
How do you budget for it?
I have a clear sense of my outgoings and obligations: like most people, I have responsibilities – bills, loved ones, savings – and for me these things always, ALWAYS, come first. Money that I spend on findom comes from the pot of money one might spend on treats. Essentially, findom is a luxury, and I recognise that I’m very privileged to be in a position where I can indulge in it.
What's the most you've ever spent in a single transaction?
Roughly £200 in ten minutes. It was a thrilling experience, and I would certainly love to experience that intensity again, but only under the right circumstances.
Can you describe the feeling?
This sensation can take many forms, depending on the nature of the interaction. Some interactions are gradual (e.g. multiple small sums being “drained”), while others are more abrupt (where a single larger sum is spent). Also, while many interactions are private and online, others may be more visible – for example, a meeting between dominant and submissive at a cashpoint.
Is there a pattern?
Roughly: the submissive knows they might be permitted to give up power to the dominant; and the dominant knows this, too. There can be an interplay between these, a dance between knowledge and anticipation, culminating in the release of transferring funds. In the end, payment commonly feels like an honour and a thrill.
Do you have any advice for how to keep your habit in check and not let it slide into addiction?
BDSM is guided by the principle of “safe, sane, and consensual” (SSC): people on both sides need to be transparent about limits and operate ethically. Therefore, building on this, I’d say know your limits, and communicate them. A responsible dominant will accommodate these.
MARK, 23, STUDENT, THE SOUTH
VICE: Hi Mark, how did you get into findom?
Mark: It started with some glamour models I followed on Twitter. They began posting wish lists from Amazon or other sites with things they wanted people to buy for them. And I liked the idea of it, and was 18 at the time – so I bought some boots for one of them. And it just kind of evolved from there.
Where does your income come from?
A bit from my student loan and then some savings from other jobs. I have to be careful not to let it get out of hand, basically.
How much do you spend on average monthly?
I try to keep it under £200, but it really depends. I once was on a drain (a session with a glamour model) who took over my computer with TeamView and transferred money herself. That cost me about £600 in one go but it was also fucking hot.
Do you have any debt contracts?
I’m paying one off at the moment, £50 every couple of weeks for £600 I owe after playing a retweet game with a dominatrix (where I pay an amount for every retweet, like and comment on a tweet she posted).
Do you worry about the cost?
Not really. I just really enjoy it! Everyone has things they spend money on that give them pleasure, this is mine. I guess it’s like where gambling meets sex – you’re chasing that thrill.
DARREN, 50, CARER, NEW YORK
VICE: How much do you spend on findom?
Darren: Around $200-300 a month. I think I’m at the low end of the spectrum really, although it’s a lot to me, as I don’t earn a lot.
How did you get into it?
I’ve been into female domination (femdom) my whole adult life, and a few years ago I started thinking more about findom and learning about it. To me, it felt like a more extreme version of femdom, and the most effective domination you can experience without being in the same room as a dominatrix.
What is it specifically about findom that you enjoy?
The loss of control. Most findommes are very arrogant and I get so aroused from being humiliated and degraded. I love to do domestic chores so cocky women can relax and spend my money as I toil for their benefit. Imagining these people living luxurious lives on my dime is hot – and many do just that.
What sort of tasks do you perform?
It depends. For instance, tonight I have to write lines for my dom. She loves the new Fiona Apple album Fetch The Bolt Cutters, so demanded I write out all the lyrics for her by hand.
What’s the most you’ve ever spent in a single transaction?
I guess $50 but I’ve done that multiple times on the same day before. I once bought something for a findomme from her wishlist that cost $100.
How do you make sure it doesn’t go too far?
When it feels like it's getting like that, many of us run away for a bit then return to someone new and start again. I don’t know if I could ever stop for good, or how I would.
*Names and some details have been changed to protect anonymity