This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about financial domination. In case you're not up to date with the latest in illogical, emasculating fetishes, it basically involves men getting turned on by the act of giving dominatrixes large sums of money online. And that's it; they don't even meet face-to-face, let alone do anything actually sexual. It's difficult to see the appeal, but, you know, different strokes, I guess.
After the article was published, I began to receive emails from men claiming that their addictions to being financially dominated had ruined them—that some "pay pigs" (to use the industry term) were donating thousands of dollars a year, often maxing out their credit cards and overdrafts to sustain their fixations. Turns out there are even support groups for addicts, and a number of blogs written by recovering addicts.
I contacted a financial dominatrix by the name of Goddess Minoa to ask her whether she thinks addiction is a serious problem among her clients. "I would say the majority of money slaves have their head on their shoulders," she told me. "I also indulge in other fetishes. There are those who have a limit and there are those who simply do not. The same applies in financial domination."
She made a compelling argument, but I was still curious to know the extent of the impact this addiction can have upon people's lives, so—via his mistress, Gisy Scerman—I got in touch with an Italian "money slave" who runs a blog about his attempts to get clean. Let's call him "Max." Here's what he had to say.
VICE: How did you get into financial domination in the first place?
Max: I've always visited cam sites a lot. One of the girls there spoke on her profile about financial domination, and I decided to google it. I remember reading blogs, visiting goddesses' sites and looking at them for days. Then, one time, I decided to try it.
What's the appeal of it for you?
It most probably comes from the act of being made to feel a fool by a beautiful woman who uses your weakness to make you do what she wants.
How much do you spend a year on it?
Some years ago, I started taking note of my expenses, hoping it would help me to stop. It didn't help, but now I have an exact number. Last year, I spent £16,000 [$24,000].
Wow. When did you first realize this was a genuine addiction?
A couple of months after I first tried it. I was spending a lot, so I tried to stop. After a few days, I was back at it again, unable to stay away.
Have you taken any steps since then to curb your spending?
I tried, but failed. Now, my "solution" is to work harder. I have two jobs, and one of them pays for my addiction.
Do you think most people who spend money on financial domination have a problem, or do you think that the majority only spend within their limits?
I think everyone who starts this faces a big problem at the beginning. It's almost impossible to predict how much you will end up spending, so, at first, it can be tough—but human beings always find ways to survive in any situation, so everyone finds his balance after a while. For some, the balance can be to give almost everything to their doms. For others, it is to give them their savings. It all depends on the person.
Do any financial dominatrixes take steps to avoid dealing with slaves they believe have an addiction?
I don't think I have an addiction that causes me huge problems, so none of the goddesses I've served have had to stop me.
You've spoken on your blog about maxing out your credit card. Can you say a bit about that?
It has happened a couple of times. It wasn't a nice experience, but, deep down, it was exciting.
What's your life like outside of being financially dominated?
I work as a programmer and have a marketing job. I have a wife and a daughter, and, believe it or not, my family always comes first. I try to work harder and harder to feed my addiction, but I don't let this take anything away from my family.
Do you find it difficult to keep your addiction hidden from your wife, given the extent of your spending?
Well, it sure isn't easy, but I only ever spend money on it very late at night or when I'm not at home, so it's not that difficult, either.
Do you think an element of shame prevents financial domination addicts from getting help?
It's not just financial domination addiction that this applies to; it's the same for any kind of sexual addiction.
Are you a big spender outside of the financial domination?
I live a normal life. I can't say I spend a lot, but can't say I don't spend anything. I have two cheap cars, a PS4, a smartphone, a tablet, and pay the mortgage on my house.
What advice would you give to other financial domination addicts who are trying to quit?
Don't try to quit; try to adjust financial domination to your financial situation. Decide upon a budget and stick to it. Try to let some time pass between one session and another, and take things slowly, but don't try to quit, because it's a part of you—and, sooner or later, it will come out again, or, even worse, you'll feel bad for not living it. It's way better to look at your financial situation and decide how you can fit financial domination into it.
So you wouldn't want to quit ever?
I don't think it's possible to quit and live happily ever after. Would you ever quit listening to the music that you like?
I suppose not. Have you ever come close to quitting?
A couple of times I actually thought, OK, this is it; it's over! But I always got back into it.