So I know this dominatrix.
On Friday, we had a chat in London, at McDonalds in The Strand.
Outside, Extinction Rebellion protesters were blocking traffic in the street.
JOHN: So you are starting an online blog – The Dominatrix Diary. Why?
M.PSYCHE: Because I think it’s a good place to store the information and I want to develop an online presence.
JOHN: What’s your dominatrix name?
M.PSYCHE: BDSM Butterfly: Mistress Psyche.
JOHN: Why Psyche?
M.PSYCHE: It means butterfly in Greek. And I have an interest in the mental side – ‘mental’ as in the mind side, not the crazy side – of BDSM. The stuff that’s most interesting to me is the mental control of people rather than any actual physical domination.
JOHN: You have an urge to mentally control people?
M.PSYCHE: (LAUGHS) It gives people space to relax in a safe way.
JOHN: So being whipped is relaxing?
M.PSYCHE: It is for some people. I had guy who wanted me to nail his testicles to a board.
JOHN: Not his actual testicles?
M.PSYCHE: No. The scrotum sac.
JOHN: And he found this relaxing?
M.PSYCHE: He fell asleep while I was doing it.
JOHN: You’re joking.
JOHN: How long did it take?
M.PSYCHE: How many carpet tacks can you fit round a testicle?
JOHN: It’s not an area I have any expertise in.
M.PSYCHE: He found it relaxing. It gave him space where he didn’t have to think…
JOHN: Surely the thought that one of his testicles might be accidentally nailed to a board might keep him awake?
M.PSYCHE: He trusted me.
JOHN: The impression I get is that a lot of the clients for this sort of thing are men in positions of power – bankers, top executives, the masters of industry and let’s not even mention Cabinet Ministers and judges…
JOHN: …and I can’t understand why people who have spent their entire working lives wanting to dominate and actually dominating other people should want to be dominated.
M.PSYCHE: Well, for powerful men who have to be in charge all the time in their jobs, it’s quite mentally intensive so, to go to someone… with the pain, the bondage, the scrotum-nailing… it’s not the actual experience itself, it’s the space it creates in their mind to be able to relax inside yourself and have some time off.
JOHN: You surely can’t relax if you’re expecting the next stroke of the whip on your back or a cane on your buttocks or carpet tacks in your scrotum. You’re anticipating not relaxing.
M.PSYCHE: Not necessarily… SOME people ARE just into pain. They are going to be excitedly expectant and awake and aware that the next stroke of the whip is coming.
JOHN: Are you telling me they are not the predominant type?
M.PSYCHE: Most of the sessions I do involve relaxing people and putting them into a submissive space where they can relax.
JOHN: So you are like the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi?
M.PSYCHE: (LAUGHS) Yes… in stiletto heels and a leather skirt.
JOHN: Getting back to powerful men like politicians and the captains of industry… Is it not that, even though they are tied-up, they are still in control because you are doing to them what they tell you to do? So the person being dominated is actually dominating the dominatrix?
M.PSYCHE: People say that. I don’t think it’s true. I am definitely in charge of all my sessions. Beforehand, they tell me what they want me to do and then I will facilitate it, but I am definitely in charge when it happens.
JOHN: Surely, if I come along to you and say: “Hello, missus, I want you to nail my balls to a plank,” surely I am in charge – You are doing my bidding.
M.PSYCHE: No because, once you enter the ‘play space’, you hand over the power. I have to decide in advance if it’s safe and sane and consensual and then, as soon as the session starts, I’m in charge.
JOHN: Presumably you have ‘safe’ words.
M.PSYCHE: No. You can tell the difference between someone enjoying something – even pain – and not enjoying it… I mean, I’m not a sadist. I’m not interested in moving beyond the point of them enjoying it.
JOHN: The first stories you have posted on your blogsite are… erm… quirky.
M.PSYCHE: I’m picking out the more eccentric fetishes and… Well, to be honest, most of them ARE quite eccentric. There’s the Welsh guy who gets turned-on by inflatable PVC bananas and the optician who wanted to see things. He wanted me to give him some quasi-religious experience in the basement of a famous high street chemist’s shop.
JOHN: I’ve had a bad back for the last three weeks and had to see three osteopaths. One of them has several clients who are dominatrices because they have to do a lot of odd movements – I guess like whipping and caning – so they get what I suppose are repetitive strain injuries.
M.PSYCHE: Well, I don’t do those sort of sessions. I don’t do much whipping and beating and things…
JOHN: There’s scrota-nailing…
M.PSYCHE: …I mostly do transformative stuff. People know what I’m offering and, if they want a hard-core pain session, I’m not really the person to do it. They will go somewhere else.
JOHN: I’ve not seen your online pitch for clients…
M.PSYCHE: It just lists my interests. And there are reviews on the site where I advertise where people leave reviews of the sort of sessions they’ve had from me. I don’t deal with hardcore masochists. The review I have right at the top at the moment says: “She’s a sensitive and very lovely spiritual girl”… which (LAUGHS) isn’t particularly useful. I had to add underneath it: “I do like to give the client the session they request.”
That particular guy wanted me to gag him. I went along to meet him at a hotel in Park Lane and he took me for dinner and told me all about the fact a court had placed a ‘gagging order’ on him. He talked about it and that seemed to be all he needed to do. So I got dinner and a bottle of perfume. He just wanted someone to talk to.
JOHN: You must have turned some people down…?
M.PSYCHE: I only turn people down who want sex.
JOHN: Nothing so bizarre you don’t want to do it?
M.PSYCHE: No. I like interesting, bizarre stuff. Though there was one guy who wanted to be ‘un-gayed’. He wanted me to rape him with a dildo, which he hoped would un-gay him. I told him: “I’m not going to do that, because you’re gay and what you want is dangerous. It could cause internal physical damage.” He wasn’t looking to enjoy being ‘raped’; he was looking to be physically damaged to be put-off being ‘bummed’.
JOHN: So he was encouraging physical damage.
M.PSYCHE: Yes. So I said No.
JOHN: So you are more interested in… what?
M.PSYCHE: What I do is a sort-of renegade form of therapy. I’ve tried to help people but obviously, if you try to help people too much, it stops being sexually exciting. Which is not what they want.
JOHN: So why am I not interested in BDSM? I’m just a tad too dull? I’ve had enough emotional pain; I don’t need physical pain, thankyou very much.
M.PSYCHE: You might have a different form of masochism. I mean, I’m an emotional masochist. I like being slapped-about emotionally.
JOHN: Being unhappy?
M.PSYCHE: Yes. That’s my type of masochism.
JOHN: So you have analysed yourself.
M.PSYCHE: Yeah. I know absolutely all of my mental illnesses and conditions. I know what they are; I know how they get triggered; I know how to manage them.
JOHN: So you never get over-emotional?
M.PSYCHE: Well, I’ve figured out how to manage that. But is over-emotionality a sign of mental illness? What is considered ‘sane’ and ‘insane” changes over time. Being gay used to be presented as being… It’s all very dubious. I mean, they were still lobotomising people until the 1960s. That’s the nature of mental health: very fluid and also very culturally determined and that’s why it’s all quite dubious. I’m very glad I figured out all my stuff before I went to… I mean, I have never been to an actual doctor.
JOHN: You mean to a psychiatric doctor…
M.PSYCHE: Yes. Or to an actual doctor. Because I would have been prescribed things and I would have been given ‘diagnoses’ that are actually very unhelpful and limiting.
I had a random consultation when I was doing another job and this woman told me that, probably because I was abused, I have borderline personality disorder. Which has become much more mild. But they give you drugs for that. And actually NOT having the drugs has meant that I have been able to manage it myself and get it under control rather than using medication which just suppresses it.
I have a friend who was also abused who went to a psychiatrist after a breakdown and they basically just papered-over it. She’s still really mental. They just gave her drugs and coping strategies whereas, because mine is DIY, I seem to have done it at a deeper level and actually got to the roots of stuff and sorted out the real underlying issues causing problems. It’s about creating balance in yourself. It’s basically the Jungian idea that you’ve got light and dark.
JOHN: Jungian or yin and yangian?
M.PSYCHE: Jungian AND yin/yang and Zen and all these things that exist on a spectrum inside you and you need to find ways of balancing them and, if you can’t do it in one way, you have to do it in another.
JOHN: I’m not up on Jungian stuff.
M.PSYCHE: Basically, you have a shadow self. You can use these things as an access point to understand your shadow and integrate it because, in the West, we have a very disintegrated sense of identity and this is why you end up with these bizarre fetishes.
M.PSYCHE: Because we are disintegrated as individuals. We have stuff which is acceptable; we have stuff which is unacceptable – all the taboo stuff which you actually need to accept as being an essential part of your human psyche. This is why people don’t function properly: that they can’t just accept these things are actually an aspect of them.
JOHN: Being healthy is balancing the yin and yang…
M.PSYCHE: Yes, exactly. It’s a counterbalance. That’s what I’m interested in. That’s why I’m called Mistress Psyche.