This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
For most people, the idea of being told to hand over large sums of money provokes fear or dread. For others, the feelings are somewhat more arousing. Sexy, even. And as with anything else in a consumer-driven economy, where there’s demand, there is supply. In this case, that takes the form of an offshoot of BDSM-style domination, known as financial domination (or findomming for short).
It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Thanks to capitalism, nothing says status more than money. The more of it you have, the more powerful you are. Giving all your money to someone is the ultimate act of submission.
On the face of it, it sounds straightforward: set up a profile, insult a few people and receive money into your bank account. But as with every other type of sex work and kink, it’s a job that is far more complex and nuanced than the prevailing stereotypes would suggest. To find out more, I chatted to some findommes.
Mistress Karina Kalashnikova, Liverpool
VICE: How did you get into findomming?
Mistress Karina: I first heard about findomming on a Channel 4 documentary called Sex, Lies and Rinsing Guys. Then one day, a friend and I were on Omegle (a video-chat site that introduces you to strangers, like Chatroulette) when a random guy popped up and asked if he could give us money. He said he was financially submissive. It planted a seed, and I started looking into it more seriously after that. That was three years ago.
So how does it work exactly?
I have a variety of products that any clients (submissives in this case) can purchase. These vary from being my “human ATM” or “paypig”, to paying for personalised content or subscriptions through my account. I also advertise “Skype draining sessions”, where I will speak directly with a submissive and they will pay me when I tell them to.
With potential paypigs, in order to speak to me in the first instance, they need to send a tribute (a minimum payment). Then we’ll discuss the terms of the agreement, and whether they’d like to establish a “debt contract”. Usually that takes the form of payments at regular intervals.
How do you make sure you’re being responsible?
I practice the fundamental principle of safe, sane, consensual (SSC) BDSM, which means that I am careful and establish limits with my slaves based on affordability. It’s not fun if someone’s making themself destitute, so it’s important to be transparent and communicate clearly about boundaries.
How much have you made this year?
I think about £100,000. I consider myself a responsible findomme and am careful to ensure that my slaves can afford what they’re giving. It’s kind of limitless though – I know of people who have taken US$1 million in a single transaction.
How do you keep on top of your payments due?
Ha! I’ve actually set up a reminder on my Alexa...
Your Favourite Dominatrix , Devon, UK
VICE: What’s the biggest misconception about findomming?
Your Favourite Dominatrix: That all we do is demand money and get it – it’s so much more nuanced than that. Good findomming is an art form, and it takes a lot of work and effort to get it right. In my case at least it’s not just about money changing hands. One of my slaves likes doing things for me, like buying me coffee and delivering it to my house.
What advice would you give to people wanting to try it out?
I’ve seen so many “Instadoms” popping up over the past year or so, who just post pictures of themselves and ask for money. It can be dangerous just plunging into this work without previous experience of sex work. I’ve seen lots of scams recently on Twitter, for instance, of “paypigs” getting in touch with dominatrixes and using stolen cards to buy things from Amazon in their name.
How much have you made over the past year? Over how many hours?
I think about £30-40,000. This is my only job, and it’s hard to measure the hours, as sometimes I’ll be texting clients while doing other things. What I will say is that I have a very healthy work/life balance.
Finally, how do you stay on top of your finances? Do you have an accountant?
I’m so chaotic, I just have receipts all over the house at the moment which makes it so much harder when it comes to doing my tax return. You’ll laugh but my grandad used to do all my accounts back when I was a lapdancer. I’m an open book! All of my close family and friends know what I do, I’m not ashamed.
Goddess Mia, East Coast, US
VICE: How long have you been findomming?
Goddess Mia: About 16-18 months in total. I’m a student, so I started as a way of bringing in extra income. I don’t know how much I make exactly, as I live at home and don’t pay rent. It’s enough for me to buy whatever I need mostly. I don’t have extravagant taste in clothes or take big vacations with the money. I love buying weed and spoiling my friends and saving money for my future too.
How did you become interested in it?
I started just randomly. I’m a kinky person and this is almost like an extension of my natural personality – I realised quite quickly that I was good at it, and the rest is history.
How much do you earn?
I’ve made over US$1,000 in a day a couple times but it’s not a usual occurrence. I stay steady most days with over US$100 in either gift cards or payment app tributes. I have some good loyal subs that I have a good rapport with, so it’s pretty stable.
Do you know what your slaves do for a living?
Oh sure, the one who serves me best actually manages other people’s finances for a living! I guess that makes sense when you think about it.
Goddess Jo, Yorkshire, UK
VICE: How long have you been a findomme?
Goddess Jo: I began as a dominatrix about nine years ago and got into findomming, at the request of a submissive client, about 18 months ago.
How do the two types of domination compare?
I think financial domination comes a lot easier when you’ve been doing other dominatrix work. You have a solid understanding about “subspace” (the out-of-body ecstatic feeling that is the goal of most submissives) and the responsibility you have to support the client as they come out of it. For instance, after a session, you need to communicate with them and give them emotional support.
How does it work with new clients?
So they’ll usually send me a message, something like “Mistress I sent you a tribute, can you please humiliate me for more money?” Then we’ll discuss the parameters of that relationship and what it’ll look like – it’s different for every client.
What are some of the different ways that you interact with clients?
Some clients like to play retweet games on Twitter. I’ll post something about them on Twitter, and there’s a charge for every RT, response or like. You set a time limit and collect the debt at the end. Some findommes take full control over their clients’ bank accounts – paying their bills and giving them the minimum to live on, but I don’t do that. You have to be really careful to look after the mental health of your clients. With some clients, it’s a case of them having a certain amount of cash, and they’re only allowed to “edge” (masturbate without reaching orgasm) until the money is all drained. Adultworks is a good platform.
How much money have you made this year?
Around £25,000. I work part-time as a beautician though, so this complements my income.
How do your slaves pay you?
Clients pay me either directly into my bank account in my Twitter bio. Sometimes, I’ll send them receipts if I order a takeaway or something. Others will buy me things from my Amazon wishlist or send me gift cards.
Finally – how often do you get naked?
Honestly, never! The most my clients see is my feet or my backside covered by clothes. This is a big misconception!