Being a little bitchy is a perquisite of my profession, and it's not like I've never given anyone the verbal equivalent of a good solid kick to the taint. However, there's a difference between being bitchy and being divisively sex-negative. Thus, I am officially fed up with pro doms insulting their professional peers by saying, "She's not a real dominatrix; she's just a hooker with a whip."

What does that mean? It means even if women choose to do sex work, they can still have inner conflicts and insecurities around it. Small wonder, in our sex-negative world. But instead of asking for support, some women resolve this with a system of mental gymnastics that enables to them to say, straight-faced, that it's okay to be a sex worker—as long as you aren't too sexy. "Too sexy" being defined as "more sexual than whoever is speaking."

True, pro doms generally don't have anything like traditional sex with clients. But it goes beyond a simple "That's not what I do." Real dominatrices must pour constant scorn on those hookers-with-whips, because their bad example encourages clients to attempt to wheedle us into being more sexually permissive. Yeah, right—because men never push women's sexual limits by themselves. It's always another woman's fault. And how could anyone expect a dominatrix to make rules and be firm?

I'm not buying it. And when I hear Mistress Foxy Von Badass—in her leather corset, with her cleavage cinched up and out so far I could eat dinner off it—complaining about how those dirty hookers are tainting the sanctity of her foot-worship and enema scenes, I am annoyed. It reminds me of adolescent girls judging and ostracizing anyone they deemed a slut. As in high school, any questioning of those judgments would clearly put one's own professional purity at risk, so in the past when I heard another pro dom say, "She's just a hooker with a whip," I just shrugged and thought, "You must think she makes more money than you."

That's bad for professional morale. However, when a pro dom uses the hookers-with-whips line with people who aren't sex workers, the result is self-destructive. The translation there is "I fear rejection because I'm paid to do BDSM. I must demonstrate adherence to social mores to ensure my acceptance. So I'll belittle women who get paid for intercourse, emphasizing our mutual view of them as bad, low-status people and distancing myself from them."

They might believe you—or they might see it as the sophistry that it is. But either way, in your attempt to enlist more people in your denial, you'll have sold out your natural allies while doing nothing to fight your fears. It's fine to tell a potential client "I'm not going to have sex with you." But a mistress who can't maintain her chosen boundaries herself without trashing other women? That's a poor excuse for a dominatrix. recommended