Dec 032010

Some folks whose opinions I value greatly have been pressing me to go back to school. I’m not sure if a letter like this is an encouragement or a deterrent towards said goal:


I am a Sociology graduate student at Big Institution that Costs A Lot Of Money. I’m currently working on my thesis paper on Alternative Sexuality and am hoping that you might allow me to interview you and fill out an anonymous survey. Additionally, if you and one of your clients feel comfortable, I would value the opportunity to observe a session. My presence and, any information gained, would be strictly confidntial, of course.

My thesis looks at non-mainstream forms of sexuality, specifically BD/SM and fetishes. I reject the norm of classifying these activities as “devious”, and instead would like to investgate their prevelance in society. I would love to talk with you, a professinal Dominatrix, about the range of your clientle, the activities they’re involved in and societal response to your profession. My goal is to open the dialogue about alternative sexuality and question it’s “devious” classification.

Any information that you share with me will be strictly anonymous. It would help me greatly and I hope that you’ll consider it. My schedule is fairly free in the afternoons next week.

Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you.

Clueless Co-ed
Department of Should Be Teaching Their Students Better
Big Institution that Costs A Lot of Money

Putting on my glasses and sweater set, I reply:

Hello Casey.

First up, I’m pretty sure the word you are looking for is deviant, not devious. And it doesn’t need to be in quotes given the nature of your email and your stated side on the issue. Also its BDSM, which stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. The last is a rookie mistake since the proper definition for the acronym can even be found on Wikipedia. I would hope that you’ve at least made a dent in the considerable collection of published works on this topic before moving on to interviews. Not taking that step, not even knowing the basics of our language, is as disrespectful as traveling to a foreign country without even bothering to learn hello or thank you.

Secondly, most people pursue a field of study they either have a vested personal interest in, or issues with. If your mission is just to help us poor misunderstood kinksters…your energies might be better served pursuing a field of study you already know something about. There are many individuals, like myself, who are on the front lines of the Sex Positive Movement, and while we can always use more foot soldiers, no one likes to feel like they’re being used purely as a science experiment.

Lastly, I would no sooner invite you, an unknown grad student, into one of my sessions then any other therapist would be inclined to invite you into one of their sessions. Client confidentially holds just as true for my profession as any of the other healing arts. Which leads to the larger question of why you have contacted a professional dominant instead of contacting a member of our local kink community not advertising thier services on the internet. For a city that can boast the Center For Sex Positive Culture, The Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, numerous open to the public munches and workshops every week, and local networking sites with groups and event listings based on region…why contact someone who has already advertised that she puts a monetary value on her time when there are numerous other options and individuals for whom outreach and education is a key focus?

The kink community is very protective of itself, and it has every right to be so given the judgments that some of society still cast upon it…but that is nothing compared to the level of closure you will find from sex workers. The kink community, again, does have outreach in place for individuals such as yourself as well as for folks whose interest is not academic but of a personal nature. The organizations I mentioned in the previous paragraph should get you started. But I strongly advise you to look for your information outside of the sex industry. Until this nation’s laws reflect its desires, recognize that the women and men who do this work have much more to lose by talking to individuals such as yourself. And, no, a promise of anonymity is not an assurance of safety coming from an unknown grad student looking for one on one interviews.

Since you’ve contacted me under the heading of academic inquiry I hope you’ll view the nature and content of my response as an educational experience.

M Katherine

So, the last letter I posted got some wonderful comments on Facebook(since I linked to it) but the overriding theme seemed to be that I wasn’t as mean as I could/should have been. Well, for starters on that last one, that would have been giving said jack-ass free thrills. Secondly, bitchiness is like salt…you can always add more but you can’t take it away once you’ve added it. No need to foster a rep as an unrepentant cunt. I prefer to save that for role-play among special friends. It’s also called feeding the trolls.

But thanks for commenting all the same gang. Always love knowing I’ve added a bit of humor to your day.

I point this out since some of you might have the same thoughts on this one. Yes, there were a few more grammar/spelling issues I didn’t call them on. And opening the letter with Mistress(should I have responded by calling them slave?) and the general feeling of a form letter ads a bit more insult to an already heady brew of disrespect, clueless and entitlement. And though it probably isn’t the case, I did have the thought that this could just be an overly elaborate ruse by some would-be pro domme to learn/see how its done. Or as I loosely alluded to in my reply…they could be law enforcement.

But even though I get emails like this fairly often, I still choose to believe that most folks aren’t willfully stupid…just a bit empathy deficient. Sure, if they’d done their research more thoroughly before contacting me, their approach might not have been so epic fail. But that they clearly didn’t take the two second step of thinking how their email might be received by someone like myself, is what won them a stern lecture instead of the educational opportunity they’d hoped for.

And if you don’t tell them what they’ve done wrong, in a way that they can hear, they’ll never learn.

But honestly, when I play teacher, I prefer to do so in the playroom. So, who forgot to do their homework AND got caught masturbating in the library? Go ahead and bend over the desk while I oil up my cane…

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