I remember the very first day I stepped into a commercial dungeon as a professional submissive—the round-the-clock nerves, the inexperience, the humiliation of wearing a sleazy cheerleading outfit and unstable Pleaser heels I had no business wearing. My shift is quiet and I refrain from speaking with the other women. I am timid, so unsure of myself. I browse my unfamiliar surroundings—a caged passageway of implements, gaudy furniture, my innocent mug framed on the wall of the reception area. I am a naive little wench for leaving the pillow on the floor, but am eager to greet the client who will open my eyes to the gripping world of sex work.
An older gentleman approaches the gated entrance of the reception room and tugs on the hatch to let himself in. Dear Lord, I think. The girls were right. This man is past his prime. His silver hair glows beneath the doorway and his balloon-like belly protrudes far beyond his torso. I purse my lips together and clench my jaw to restrain from breaking out into a cheeky grin. Be nice girl, be fucking nice. I stand up to introduce myself and shake his hand. I lead him into the adjacent room for a brief conversation about boundaries and house rules, and he details the activities he desires in our session.
Knismophilia: a fetish where individuals receive sexual pleasure and arousal from tickling or being tickled.
I take a breath and we handpick a trickle of feathers before heading up to one of the vacant rooms. I climb the unleveled stairwell and hold on tightly to the banister. You’re not going to fall. One step at a time. Fuck these shoes. I feel his heavy eyes staring at my backside and up my pleaded skirt. We enter into the chamber of red and black furnishings and paraphernalia. A black leather bondage table, nickel-patterned flooring, an ample cage and a scarlet beam. I remove my navy blue cheerleading costume and stand there wearing nothing but my darling lace panties. I nervously fiddle with my Lolita heart-shaped collar. I am exposed and self-conscious, but he tells me I have a very nice body and I thank him.
He asks me to get up onto the bondage table and lie on my back. I do as I am told and anticipate his next feat like a game of chess. My heart is racing and my skin is warm. I lie there and stare at the popcorn ceiling while trying to remember the last time I was tickled. Right. My abusive alcoholic aunt who poked and prodded my tender armpits with her claws until I cried. This thought makes me anxious and I take another breath. The client unbuttons his plaid dress shirt and removes his jeans. He stands over me with his balloon-like belly still protruding far beyond his torso. He smiles with eagerness and grabs hold of the long ostrich drab plume resting beside my body. I feel the delicate sensations of the neon pink hairs circulating along my bare chest, down toward my belly button, and between the insides of my thighs.
I am static and silent and stiff like a white porcelain doll. He continues to play, alternating between the fluff and his jagged fingernails. Ten minutes of caressing and titillation feels like an eternity and I find myself completely dumbfounded by my actions. How the fuck did I get here? What happened in my life to make me think that accepting money from someone’s grandfather in exchange for sensual tickling was an acceptable day job? He asks me to flip over and I do as I am told. I adjust myself and pull the panties out from between my ass crack. He proceeds to stroke my flesh with feathers and every now and then I let out a fake giggle to break the silence of his wheezing and tittering.
He tells me it’s his turn and requests to relocate to another area of the room. Wait, what? What do you mean it’s your turn? He drops into the black leather loveseat and demands I sit beside him. He places his arm around me and pulls me in closer to his musty aroma—a peculiar blend of old person smell and shitty cologne. His furry gut is still swollen and extended. He hands me a violet quill.
I lean toward his body and lightly trail the tip of the feather along his bare chest, down toward his belly button, and over the tops of his thighs. He moans and groans in pleasure—high-pitched whimpers and sighs. And then it happens. He hoots frantically like the mother fucking Pillsbury Doughboy. My eyes grow large. I purse my lips together and clench my jaw to restrain from breaking out into a cheeky grin. Be nice girl, be fucking nice. I completely lose it. I cough in hopes to drown out the sound of my laughter and choke on my own spit. I look the other way to hide my face and recollect myself. He tells me I am very good at this and I thank him.
Our tickling affair goes on through the hour until we hear the sound of the buzzer. The session had finally ended. He gets dressed, hands me a very large tip, and lets himself out. Well, this is what you do now. Own it, girl. I tidy up the room, saturate my hands in rubbing alcohol, and head back down the unleveled stairwell. Only this time, there is a little more confidence in my step and I let go of the banister.
From tickling grandfathers and fierce corporal punishment to rope bondage and some of the most hysterical role play scenes I have ever been part of, becoming a professional submissiveI has taught me the true meaning of unadulterated vulnerability. After receiving an array of messages from curious readers wanting to know what it’s really like working at a commercial dungeon, I thought it was finally time to share my story.
I entered the world of sex work as a professional submissive on November 23, 2018, and after one year, I was granted the opportunity to expand my craft and learn from a handful of incredible women and mentors. Developing a range of skills and a newfound love for bringing out the dominant in me, I soon became a switch with very sadistic tendencies.
From creative role play, corporal punishment, and impact play to bondage, electro play, cross-dressing, and of course, tickling, the women at a commercial dungeon provide a consensual and comfortable environment for a human to explore their innermost fantasies. Whether submissive or dominant, we expose our most vulnerable selves to an array of clientele to create both satisfying and meaningful experiences.
A common misconception of our work is that it involves sex and happy endings, but this is the furthest thing from the truth. Our engagement with clients never expand further than consensual psychodrama and fetish-related activities. In fact, our panties remain on during every scene and while it may be controversial territory, everything we do within the doors of the dungeon is considered safe, sane, and legal. My experiences at the dungeon have yielded a cocktail of gratifying, playful, repulsive, and completely ludicrous sessions that have not only changed the way I view sex work, but have also allowed me to become a more assertive and perceptive woman.
The dungeon attracts a diversity of clientele—both men and women—but they tend to skew on the older side. I have engaged in sessions with younger cats ranging from 22 to 30 years old, middle-aged folks, and others who are at the mercy of a walker. I once had a client so excited he picked me up and almost tumbled over onto the floor. This may be amusing, but the broad age range is unsurprising.
Regardless of youth or seniority, gender or sexuality, our needs for passion and intimacy do not have a limit. Humans crave connection, acceptance, and adoration and that is a really essential piece of knowledge to embrace as a sex worker.
The majority of clients who find the courage to enter a commercial dungeon are aching to experience new kinds of intimacy in a non-judgmental environment. With an overwhelm of rejection, sexual shame, and emotional pain flooding the hearts and minds of our toxic society, a client simply wants to feel significant in the eyes of others. They want to be heard and welcomed for exactly who they are—perversions and all. There are those who pine for comfort as they vent about broken marriages and others who need to be beaten until they bruise as a reminder of their strength and ability to feel. There are clients looking for lighthearted role play during their lunch break and clients simply wanting to sit beside a beautiful woman and feel appreciated for existing. The work we do as sex workers reaches far beyond the average understanding of the profession and it is a community I will forever be grateful to be part of. Sex work is work.
The Frame of Mind
The role of BDSM professional is emotional, physically taxing, hysterically funny—like the time I had to roar like a goddamn lion and crawl on all fours to fetch a plastic clothespin with my mouth—unnerving, and at times, unexpectedly arousing. Wandering in and out of varying sessions throughout a fully-booked day can be a challenging endeavor. Every 30 minutes to an hour we approach a new scene with a new client and we are continuously forced to readjust our energies and attire accordingly. This can be incredibly exhausting, especially when we are lined up for a heavy round of play or back-to-back sessions with nothing but a battered ass and a half-eaten granola bar in your belly. Fun fact: I fell asleep on a bondage table during a hypnosis role play scenario.
With an eclectic range of clientele, we are immersed in a myriad of sessions and are exposed to many kinds of unique scenarios and personalities. There are scenes we have found to be remarkably enjoyable, those that enable genuine connection and play that is mutually delightful.
There are scenes that provoke our triggers and urge us to quit, and those that leave us feeling a type of way—unpredictably aroused and wet—regardless of physical attraction.
This was an uncomfortable truth for me to face. It took some time for me to understand that while I was not physically smitten by the client, I was emotionally stimulated by his words and my body was simply responding to that.
There are good feelings and there are bad feelings—the feelings that make us cringe and bite our tongues. One of the hardest realizations I had to come to terms with as a sex worker is that it is not for the faint of heart.
The harsh reality is that while the majority of clients are harmless, we have to take precautions to ensure our physical and emotional well-being. We must be alert and aware of our surroundings at all times. There are clients who have zero experience in the BDSM world and are using our precious bodies as a practice target. There are clients who have no aim, no knowledge of safety protocol, and no sensitivity to the discomfort or pain they are inflicting because we are a transaction. There are clients who leave consent at the door and repeatedly push our boundaries until we are forced to physically intervene and end the session. There are those who ignore our safe words, place nipple clamps on the tips of our nipples rather than behind them, and bound us so tightly in rope that our fingers throb and tingle.
As sex workers, we are forced to maintain our professionalism, regardless of boundary pushers and displeasures, and that can take a toll on our hearts, our minds, and our bodies. While we have the right to turn down a session or remove ourselves from a scene that is no longer safe, the fact is, a client can take it too far, and sometimes, we are shackled to a bondage table, nude and powerless.
When I originally began working at a commercial dungeon I was fairly new to the community, but I was eager to explore and thought it would be a good place to continue my journey.
My initial experiences were challenging—allowing strange men to beat me with wooden paddles, learning the spontaneity of impromptu role play, and conversing with clients in provocative lingerie as I kneeled before them.
I was uncomfortable in my skin, the subspace I craved was unattainable, and I lacked the real-life D/s experiences to truly take on a submissive role in a commercial setting. After interacting with a handful of clients in the span of a few weeks, the discomfort diminished and I found myself evolving into the bottom I knew I had always been. Working at the dungeon helped me to become more familiar with implements, personal safety, negotiation, consent, and protocol—a valuable education that I quickly incorporated into my personal play and partnerships.
While readily committing to a steady schedule of four seven-hour shifts per week, I started to experience severe burnout. I noticed big changes in my mood and after back-to-back shifts, I was left frazzled and fatigued. I had no desire to be touched, let alone hit or played with. I was agitated and yearned for solitude, Netflix, and a bottle of wine. I realized I had been giving away too much of my energy throughout the day and not allowing myself time to recharge or partake in the aftercare I so desperately needed. As a result, I removed one shift per week and learned how to be more conscious with my time and spirit, both at the dungeon and at home. This allowed me to play in my personal and professional life with mindfulness, ease, and a lot more enjoyment.
Now, after over a year, I have slowly retreated from the professional side of play. The pandemic not only changed the world of sex work, but it also enabled me to reflect on my life and where I am headed. I came to the realization that the dungeon is no longer serving my highest self. Sex work is work and while it’s not for everyone, it was for me during a beautiful era in my life and I will be forever appreciative to the extraordinary women I have come to know.
Favorite role play?
A heavy impact play scene with one of my regular clients.
Weirdest role play?
An interrogation scene about whether or not I wear tampons or maxi pads with my pretend boss who also happened to have dissociative identity disorder.
Least favorite implement?
The Silicone Ball Crop can eat a dick.
The sensual scenes that aren’t really scenes and consist of excessive groping and unpleasant boob massages.