I got an e-mail the other day that inspired in me an all-too-familiar feeling of annoyance. "I want to be a pro dom," it said, "because I'm really angry at men and I think I'd enjoy punishing them."

Jesus, talk about wrong-headed. That has got to be the worst possible motivation for becoming a professional dominant. But I've heard similar things before, from women who clearly don't understand what BDSM and sex work are really about. One woman told me she hated men and wanted to "work out her abuse issues" as a pro dom. Excuse me, sweetie, but unless you're booking sessions with Dr. Phil, your clients are not there to provide you with therapy.

There are good reasons and bad reasons to get into any branch of the sex industry. The good reasons are: You'd like to make good money with relatively short, flexible hours, and you think you've got a talent for facilitating other people's sexual experiences. The bad reasons are: any other reason. But the absolute worst reason of all is because you hate men.

I don't say this because I'm trying to protect the client population from a bad experience, although I do think polite guys who treat sex workers fairly and play by the rules deserve the same in return. No, this is about you. Let me tell you angry ladies exactly what will happen if you become a pro dom (or any other kind of sex worker).

The thing about sex work that you don't understand is that, contrary to popular belief, sex work itself doesn't fuck people up in the head--it just magnifies what's already there.

If you come into sex work as an emotionally whole and healthy adult, the experience will not be harmful to your psyche. Sure, you'll have good days and bad days, like any other job. And you may decide that you don't like the work and get out of the industry. But you can move through it without being emotionally damaged, because what you bring to sex work is what you'll get out of it.

On the other hand, if you come into sex work with a bunch of unresolved issues, sex work will make them worse. Much worse. Think about it: You're angry at men, so you're going to take a job that puts you in frequent intimate contact with them and has you dealing with their innermost sexual feelings? Not a good idea.

You may think that all pro dom clients want the Mistress to act like an angry bitch… but you'd be wrong. My clients want me to like them and enjoy our time together. However, let's say you do get clients who like the angry bitch act. Just how is some guy getting off on you dishing out verbal and physical abuse going to resolve your anger issues? How can you feel like you're punishing him if he's enjoying it? It doesn't work.

Now you have a job gratifying the intimate desires of people you hate. That's not a healthy situation and, if you're smart enough, you'll get out quickly. But the phrase "golden handcuffs" takes on a whole new meaning in this context, and you might be too hooked by the potential money to quit. So you stay, you hate your clients, you hate what you're doing, and pretty soon your self-respect goes straight down the toilet.

That's not a problem that will remain static for long; hating oneself pretty much always leads to hurting oneself in some way. Developing a drug or alcohol problem is, of course, the classic form of self-destructive behavior, but there's no need to stop there. You could, for example, gain or lose an unhealthy amount of weight, run yourself into the ground financially, or sabotage your existing relationships and get into an abusive one. The possibilities here are endless.

You need to trust me on this, because I've watched it happen way too many times to be wrong. You cannot have a positive experience in sex work if you come to it with a negative attitude. So if you want to be a pro dom, good luck to you. But work out your shit before you get into the game, or the only person you'll be punishing is yourself.