Chuck Petko is an addictions counselor in Western New York. He started one of the internet's first support groups for people suffering from financial domination addiction. He's currently developing a website he hopes will provide advocacy, understanding, and information on ways to overcome addiction to fin dom and other online sexual fetishes.
Financial domination has destroyed the lives of men all across this country. Although the fetish may start out small, it can lead to insurmountable, incomprehensible suffering and debt.
I first discovered the niche fetish, like many people, in the late 90s, during the nascent days of the internet. It was at this time that the foundation was laid for today's sprawling ecosystem of websites with dominatrixes who can make six-figure incomes humiliating, blackmailing, and extorting money from submissive men. These men participate willingly because they get sexual gratification from giving the women their money, and if they get ridiculed or mocked along the way, it turns them on even more.
Unfortunately, for some, this fetish can turn into an unhealthy obsession. Through my online support group, I've met with subs who have lost everything to accommodate the lifestyle of their goddesses. Their addictions have ravaged their finances, relationships, religious affiliation, and physical and emotional health with the same intensity that an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or gambling would.
Of course there are guys who become "cash slaves" and still manage to keep it under control and lead perfectly functional lives. However, those aren't the most desirable subs for fin dommes. The dommes want the addicts, the ones who would willingly allow themselves to get drained dry. Their preference makes sense after all, considering fin dom is a business, and what's better for a business than a customer who pays up like clockwork?
One of the main tools a domme will use for reeling in a sub is masturbation. In fin dom, the submissive men allow the dommes to tell them when they can and cannot come. Beating off becomes a privilege that is often only granted after tribute is paid—even then, sometimes it's denied.
I've seen dommes lead subs into bankruptcy, maxing out credit cards, taking out a second mortgage on a house, stealing money, and even prostituting themselves for cash. It's these men who get trapped, because they actually enjoy the suffering—it's part of their fetishization for humiliation and degradation. And their guilt for their poor life choices can also inadvertently reinforce their desire and need to seek out more experiences with their dommes. It's is a vicious circle.
I know one man who faced this situation several years ago. He happened to come across fin dom in passing on an adult website. He messaged a domme and began regularly communicating with her. It started out with small tributes, ranging from $25 to $50 dollars a week. She slowly encouraged him to send more. If he didn't, he was not allowed to masturbate. Due to his submissive nature, he found her control over his masturbation schedule to be sexually arousing and stimulating.
Eventually, his PayPal tributes exceeded $100. Then, she started to ask for contributions two or three times a week, prefacing her requests with the fact that he would not be allowed to masturbate if a tribute wasn't made. He held a well-paying job, and she was aware of this. She eventually coerced him into sending specific information about his employer and kids. He signed a blackmail contract which outlined specific rules that needed to be followed regularly. If he failed to abide by any of her requests, he risked being exposed to his family and employer. With this information, she was able to take more of his annual earnings. When he expressed frustration with her requests, she would threaten to call his wife or email his boss. He hated but loved her at the same time.
She had an opt-out blackmail fee in the thousands, which he eventually paid. By that time, he had spent tens of thousands of dollars on her, taking money out of his children's college savings and maxing out his wife's credit cards. Eventually, after some time off, he started to talk to the domme again. She would often make fun of him for his "relapse." The humiliation of his failure to cease this lifestyle only furthered his obsession and pulled him deeper into addiction.
Watch: Our Documentary About Cash Slaves
Fin dom is a fetish that underlies deep sexual fantasies and desires, like the need to be punished. Ironically, you find that many of the subs in fin dom possess high-powered positions in their professional life. One man I know referred to it as "a temporary escape from reality and the need to be in control of everything. Instead of making decisions or being in charge of an outcome, I just sit back and listen." This can make the exchange even more powerful and addicting. Fin dom can be seen as a release sexually and emotionally. When there is an emotional component to every exchange, it can make it even more challenging to break the cycle.
So where should you go if you struggle with fin dom? Unfortunately, there aren't enough options out there right now. A big part of this is the lack of study and classifications done around general internet addiction. Despite a lot of debate, internet addiction isn't even a category in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. And there are only a few accredited inpatient programs in the world.
Oftentimes, if you enter a clinical setting seeking help for fin dom, you will be treated under a category that doesn't actually represent your problems. This is because the insurance industry dictates services and has yet to widely recognize fin dom or even internet addiction in general. Because of the lack of research done on fin dom, there is also a lack of accuracy in terms of diagnosis and agreed-upon treatment.
It is important to remember that there is more to beating problems like being addicted to fin dom than just going cold turkey. You've got to tackle the issue head on and strive to understand the underlying issues behind the addiction.
However, after talking with so many men who suffer from addiction to fin dom over the years, I've found that if you have found your life being crippled by financial domination, doing the following five things can help you get on to the road to recovery:
- Seek out a 12-step group (Sex Addicts Anonymous) and individual counseling (psychotherapy).
- Avoid environments where you might encounter financial domination. If you find yourself going online and engaging in fin dom when you should be doing work or studying for school, try to complete all your internet-based tasks in a public setting or around a friend or family member in an open area of your home.
- Talk about your issues with fin dom. If a you feel uncomfortable discussing your urges with a partner, find a trustworthy source to share these feelings and potential guilt. Talking is important, because you don't want to be forced to cope with all of those distressing feelings on your own, which can conjure up unhealthy thought patterns.
- Buy a protection software that monitors search engines and blocks certain websites. NetNanny is a pretty decent option. These can be effective in preventing accessibility to commonly searched fin-dom sites and platforms. They're usually password-protected, incredibly efficient, and trustworthy. However, it may be necessary to give someone else the password to prevent you from impulsive decision-making.
- Only use the computer/phone for necessary tasks. A lot of unnecessary and meaningless time can be spent online, which may start as a healthy exploration of non-sexually explicit websites, but eventually lead you back to fin dom.
It is important to remember that there is more to beating problems like being addicted to fin dom than just going cold turkey. You've got to tackle the issue head on and strive to understand the underlying issues behind the addiction. What I've outlined can be helpful tools, but if you don't work to understand why you have cravings for fin dom, it will be difficult to make any lasting changes.
Another important fact to remember is that unlike drug and alcohol addiction, experts on sex addiction argue that it's less about abstinence and more about engaging in healthy sexual behaviors.
Is there a way to engage in healthy fin-dom exchanges? Eh, that's a tricky question that depends on you and the situation you're in. You must find confidence in your own actions and determine if it elicits guilt or is wreaking havoc on other aspects of your life. This type of emotional congruency can often be found through objective conversations with a therapist. It depends on the person, of course, but I would highly recommend counseling services or groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous to those struggling with fin dom so that they get the professional support they need to start rebuilding their lives.
If you are suffering from addiction to fin dom or the internet in general and looking for someone to talk to, non-profits like Mental Health America can help you find affordable counseling services.