I don’t know – you get suckered by the perils of Twitter exchanges where you find you’ve half committed writing a post on the topic in question.
Up to now I’ve specifically kept away from the topic of financial domination. Partly because I knew I’d write way too much. Whilst I have mixed views on it a lot of people hate the concept with a passion. The subs, and I’m talking pretty much exclusively of males within the confines of FinDom, hate it because vast numbers think it’s wrong for them to have to pay for any service from a domme. These subs think it’s unfair to pay for what the domme obviously likes doing and they have lofty ideals of being above such sordid things as paying for her time.
The money question actually seems to go even deeper than this. I’ve been a member of kink sites where segments of the membership get very exercised about any female making any money out of kink. The most vociferous members are often women. Forums can become battle zones of purity in order to purge the site of anyone with a whiff of being a pro domme. I’ve seen it degenerate to arguing that any female with nothing more than an Amazon wishlist is profiting from participating in the kink and should be driven from the site.
I find this to be all rather irrational and silly. The excellent and much lamented Informed Consent would go through periodic bouts of pro domme hostility. I found their policy to be a good compromise. Pro dommes would register as such and agree not to promote their services except in selected parts of the forum. Otherwise, posts were in a personal capacity. The knowledge, advice and experience that a pro domme can bring to a kink discussion is invaluable. To cut off that wealth of experience because you object to them earning a living acquiring it always seemed pitiful to me.
I don’t think you can separate a discussion on FinDom from the more general issue of people being a sex worker and earning a living from it. Large parts of society have complex antipathies to this. For most of human history the survival of the extended family and then the tribe has required a strict social cohesion. That cohesion has ingrained certain behaviours and attitudes in our societies which go way back to before the major religions existed and their codified morals used to control large parts of the population. Specifically, most societies have constructed a moral view of the world that is heavily biased against women being sexually free and even more horrified (and frightened) of a woman using that sexual freedom to become independent and responsible for herself. The ironic thing is that there’s little argument and antipathy against women being independent by working in non-sex fields.
I’ll note in passing that quite often the most militant enforcers of these moral constructs are other women. There are some very complex bits of sexual psychology in play here that others are better placed to explore.
We’re currently going through a resurgence of this anti-sexual freedom as witnessed by Sarah Champion’s crusade. It’s a variant of the usual ‘think of the children’ argument proffered for most regressive legislation. This time it is ‘think of all those trafficked girls’ as a pretext to exterminate prostitution. Or, in other word, it’s time to destroy any woman who dares to make an independent living from sex work and force her back in to “my” superior moral straitjacket.
Enough of that. We see that despite considering ourselves as living in liberal societies there are many who have a problem with any form of money exchange for sex. So let’s look harder at the extreme of FinDom.
I’d get in to a quagmire of trouble examining in detail why especially women often react strongly against the concept of FinDom (though it would be an interesting side conversation). As a working generalisation it seems to boil down to sympathy, even anger, that a heartless woman is taking unfair advantage of some weak men. Women sympathise with the plight of the men being taken advantage of, and get angry with both when it seems that a man’s family responsibilities are neglected or destroyed when under the spell of a Fin Domme.
That’s a fair enough view and we’ll come back to parts of it, especially the responsibility.
As a little detour before tackling FinDom itself, I’d like to place something here. Some women can be as susceptible to this craving for attention as any man. The motivations and methods are slightly different. I’m thinking of the ‘lonely hearts’ scam.
At the base of it, whether it’s a lonely hearts scam or a form of FinDom, there are universal motivations. They are the fundamental human desires for attention and approval.
The psychology of FinDom is fascinating.
Male subs outnumber female dommes in vast numbers. They spend a lot of time fighting to be noticed. By and large these subs have no experience of actual D/s, it’s all a fantasy. They’ve never met a domme, nor been to a munch and had an actual conversation. When a domme’s profile asks “what can you do for me ? what can you offer of yourself ?” they don’t understand what she’s asking. They see nothing tangible inside themselves that would make them attractive to the domme.
The one tangible thing they might be able to offer that seemingly trumps their unattractiveness or any perceived way to stand out, is money.
I completely understand this. In my own time swimming feverishly with the tadpoles my way of trying to stand out was chastity. Admittedly, I already had that fetish and kink but at the time I never thought that I had other desirable attributes to capture and retain the attention of a domme.
I see little difference in the basic underlying motivations and progressions that I experienced starting chastity with a domme to those used to bind a fin sub. Call it a trap, if you will, but it’s a trap the sub willingly enters.
And how does the trap work at this stage ?
As I said above, for the sub it’s all about craving attention. Irrespective of kink or fetish, a domme knows how to work this to the max. Every contact, no matter how small – a tweet, a text, an email – causes a dopamine hit in the sub. The sub can spend hours pining away for the slightest acknowledgement from the domme that he even exists, and when he gets it the dopamine high can be intense. For some, the addiction to the dopamine high can be like crack cocaine and no sooner have they had a hit, they seek the next one.
A couple of things have changed since I was in that position. Firstly, as passive-aggressive as a sub can be with email and messages there’s no major incentive for the domme to respond to that cry for attention. Indeed, a fair part of the first experiences for a sub used to be about breaking him of making that cry for attention – that’s not to say that he didn’t still crave the attention, just that he learned to recognise the futility of seeking attention until the domme was prepared to give it. In the case of FinDom the sub has the means for his passive-aggressive attention seeking to be fulfilled. Just like an online gambling addict he can keep feeding the virtual slot machine and be regularly guaranteed a response that triggers his next dopamine hit. The fin domme does not want to train him to curtail his desire for attention, she wants to encourage it.
The second change is, I believe, even more important. This is the way that the nature of D/s is portrayed online has deteriorated significantly. I’ve written on this, so won’t expand too much here. In essence the public face of D/s on the Internet is one where the cliches rule. The message for male subs is that they are worthless beta worms, fit only for humiliation and degradation by some sublime goddess who will treat them with disdain and as the insignificant piece of dirt they know they are. Invariably, the primary suggested way to approach a domme, and especially a ‘goddess’ is with an open wallet.
It is very hard for a new sub not to buy in to these messages, there’s no alternative picture on display in these domains.
So, he sends some contribution to a domme and gets a response. That response will confirm how lucky he is that as such an insignificant worm as he has gained her attention. He’s encouraged to send more in order to maintain that attention. Her responses will probably not include anything positive, rarely a thank you. It’s all part of maximising that dopamine addiction by convincing him just how lucky he is to be acknowledged at all. And of course, the message is that he will only continue to be acknowledged whilst his wallet is open.
That’s a pretty damning indictment of the whole process. The real surprise may be that I don’t generally disapprove of FinDom as a kink. I do have issues with how it mostly reinforces negative self-perceptions by a sub. Sadly, that’s more or less universal these days in online D/s. I certainly do deplore the non-consensual and irresponsible excesses that some parts of FinDom can become, just as I would with any other activity.
Provided it’s done with responsibility by both parties it can become as satisfying as any other manifestation of D/s. For example, is a sub who pays a domme’s gym membership, or ‘owns’ her electricity bill and has meaningful interaction with the domme any more or less satisfied and valid than a sub who pays for a session to be caned ? In both cases the sub gets emotional fulfilment from the engagement.
Ask yourself about moral equivalence here. Why are people more likely to disapprove of the FinDom relationship ? I’ve known of subs who have impoverished themselves in order to keep seeing a domme in session, just as I’ve known fin subs who have fulfilling relationships satisfying their particular kink. As an extreme, I heard of one sub who spent £30K in two years on a fin domme. I can hear the howls of outrage. But in those two years she spent hours per week helping him put his life back together. She’ll have turned out a lot cheaper than a normal vanilla counsellor spending those kind of hours with him.
Like any kink, you can say that FinDom is harmless when done with consent between two responsible people.
The problem most people have with FinDom is that the examples of irresponsibility are often vividly apparent and it’s an area of kink that’s susceptible to irresponsibility.
It’s very arbitrary and lots of overlap, but I see the types of FinDom as follows:
Here there is a satisfying relationship of mutual benefit between responsible adults. The domme’s responsibility is to ensure that whilst the sub might struggle with the financial load as part of his service to her (and do note, that’s often exactly what he wants to happen), that he does not descend to a point where he can not meet his personal responsibilities. For a single sub, that means he can meet housing costs, feed himself and meet his other bills. Where a sub has responsibilities for family, the ethical fin domme will ensure that wives and children do not suffer from his kink. He might have to do with a crisp sandwich at lunchtime so that they always have a proper meal on the table.
As questionable as this activity might be for some people, it can be summed up as that no one gets hurt by it.
This category is, I would suggest, where new fin dommes start. They may move up or down the categories as they progress in their careers.
When FinDom first became a major thing its genesis was college girls finding that the Internet was a far better way of locating a sugar daddy to see to their tuition costs than small ads in a classified section of a newspaper or magazine.
As word spread there’s now a glut of young girls who think that it’s fine to put up a profile and that with little or no work, men will come to throw money at them in return for being either ignored or humiliated. The term often used is one that makes me cringe, they “rinse” the men. At this stage they tend to still believe that for them it is something for nothing in return.
I don’t think many remain in this category for long. To be a truly successful fin domme requires a lot more work than people envisage. That means a fin domme here will migrate to either being ethical or immoral, or she will give up. There’s always plenty more willing to join, so this is the most populous category, as well as the most naive for both dommes and subs.
Subs who get involved with a sub-ethical fin domme are most likely new at it themselves and are turned on by a flash of pretty young skin. The domme herself will not as yet understand the progression to a sub’s addiction and will probably let him off the hook to be caught elsewhere.
Now we are getting to the aspects of FinDom that are probably most people’s perception because of the negative aspects.
Here the domme knows what she is doing in respect to her control of the sub and she may have few scruples as to what difficulties he gets in to, nor who else suffers for it. If a sub has his bank account drained, loses his house and family she doesn’t care. When he’s reached the point that there’s nothing more she can take, she will drop him and move on to other subs.
How on earth can the sub get in to this state ? Very simply, she is his addiction. Her goal is to take as much as she can, if not everything, and although he knows that he must stop, he can’t. You’ll even see that when such a sub has been dropped and managed to stabilise his life that he will come back. She’s the crack dealer for the recidivist out of rehab.
Subs working two jobs to feed this addiction is not unheard of.
This, you might call the extreme category and fortunately it doesn’t seem to be highly populated. I’ve seen it more common with US dommes than UK ones. Perhaps because there is more legal ambiguity about some of the activities in parts of the US.
This is the place where the intention is not to farm the sub, but to actively profit by destroying him. It’s another topic in it’s own right, but some subs have the fantasy of being utterly destroyed. “Consensual” blackmail is a thing for such subs and when the adrenaline of the fantasy takes hold rigorous vetting of a domme who offers such a service is not high on his list of priorities. Engage with the wrong domme and there’s no limit to the potential blackmail and control. Financial ruin is the least of his worries if she is determined to destroy him. It’s probably just uncorroborated urban myth but I have seen threads about suicide and a domme with no remorse – I take that with a large pinch of salt.
It’s not impossible to imagine the result of an immoral domme’s machinations to lead to suicide. The somewhat irrellevant distinction being that it would be an “accident” and not an intended aim.
In the UK such a domme could have a blackmail contract notarised by the Queen and it would still be illegal. This may be why I’ve not seen such extremes emanating from UK dommes. My advice to any affected sub, as it would be to any person subject to blackmail, is to go to the police.
FinDom is a very complex activity of many complications and gradations. The generally negative perceptions of it seem to be because there are assumptions that a) someone is being taken advantage of, and b) that there are innocent parties suffering as a result.
The vast majority of FinDom activities float in the grey areas between categories 1 to 3. No one is hurt and everyone gets something of what they want. And don’t forget that in such subs there’s a strong fantasy desire to suffer at the hands of a disdainful ‘goddess’.
I’d say that it’s very easy to think of FinDom as causing dire straits because someone is getting money for nothing. Humans have an innate and vociferous moral repugnance at the idea of someone getting something for nothing in a dubious way and it’s quite hard to appreciate that FinDom is rarely an unambiguous one-way street.
However, what is also apparent about FinDom is that it is an activity that is prone to human frailties, especially greed. The tempting path of greed can wear away at concepts such as consent and responsibility. And I suspect that this is more true of the younger FinDoms with little life experience.
There certainly are aspects to FinDom which are reprehensible and need to be called out. But the majority involved are just like the rest of us – enjoying their kink.