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Be better about public play · Mistress An Li · Los Angeles BDSM

Be better about public play

You may have seen some kink-in-the-wild in your Twitter feed recently.

A photo went viral on Twitter yesterday of a ProDomme walking her human dog in a market. In the following tweets, she was described as “whipping” [sic] her human pup in the store.

Here’s a response article interviewing the Domme in question. I find this article a bit absurd (and not just because the writer calls a dungeon a “sex dungeon”). The article superficially discusses bystander consent and brings in the Domme’s perspective – that people are threatened when confronted with sexuality – and then proceeds to miss the entire point by wondering if those recording the two should have gotten the Domme/sub’s prior consent.

Here’s the thing: both D/s knew they were going to get attention by holding their public humiliation scene in a busy vanilla business; the exhibitionism was the point. Taking a viral photo of them was hence the zenith of that entire interaction, and positing about consent violations because of said photo is entirely redundant. The author, in trying to reverse the blame to the one sharing the photo, showed a poor understanding of what consent truly means here.

Sometimes there’s a thin line between people taking creep shots of someone who may stand out and people taking photos of an exhibitionist who wants their photos taken. This is not that thin line.

Now here’s the thing: I am all for public humiliation. I’ve also walked a human dog in public, played in front of vanilla bystanders, and have a bit of an exhibitionist streak myself. I am not kink shaming anybody, as somebody who regularly shits on men.

I am, however, disappointed in the lack of thought that went into this scene. Public play absolutely needs to be done in calculated ways. It’s one thing if it’s you and your slave in a private room. Do whatever the hell you two have consented to do. Go wild. Live out your deepest fantasies. But when you bring it out to public? Those acting out the scene need to be made aware that it is no longer just themselves in the scene. It’s now all the onlookers and bystanders.

Here are a couple of reasons why this scene had some consent violations and lack of foresight:

  • The scene took place in daytime at Erewhon, a popular and busy market in Los Angeles… AKA an all-ages vanilla store AKA a place where there could be children.
    In the article above, the Domme says “domination is something that shouldn’t be sexualized necessarily” – while this is true, it is still not a valid excuse to engage in these activities around underage people.
    What we do are adult activities, be that actions as innocuous as bootlicking or human furniture. These activities involve attraction, many of which are deeply rooted in our sexuality (whether or not they give us a boner). As BDSM professionals, we intrinsically understand that while sexuality can often be purely psychological with zero physical turn-on, it is still sexuality nonetheless. To argue that these activities shouldn’t always be sexualized is irrelevant to the point. We, as professionals, should not engage with or around minors in a scene, regardless of the content.
  • The scene involved corporal punishment. This is an absolute hard no with public play at all times. Domestic abuse is a real thing, and many people are triggered by it.
    Now listen, I am not the trigger-warning-police. I do a lot of reckless, violent shit that causes an immense amount of pain, and I say a lot of really fucked up, inconsiderate stuff that makes myself ashamed sometimes. Even I know that you shouldn’t beat someone in public. If you want a scene involving corporal punishment? Do it with consenting adult onlookers. Invite your friends over. Hire some other professionals. Don’t do this in public. This should be common sense.
  • The man is crawling around the ground in a professional establishment during COVID-19.
    First off, this is an inconvenience to those working here. It could impact how the employees handle the rest of their day: do they need to deep clean the floors afterwards? Will they need to make apologies to other customers? Will this affect who is on shift? Doing this scene in a business establishment where nobody has consented is inconsiderate. At best, the employees had a laugh. At worst, people’s livelihoods are at stake.
    Secondly, stores are already limited in the number of people allowed indoors due to the pandemic, and now this nice kinky couple have created more logistical issues by bringing their play into this establishment. The presence of a fully grown man on the floor affects the flow of customers in the building, and probably not in a productive way. Be respectful of the people working in an already very fraught economic climate.
    Finally, this is a market. Please act appropriately. I shouldn’t need to explain what appropriate behavior is as a goddamned Dominatrix who shits on men, but here we are. Would you allow your kids to do this in a supermarket? Then why would you as an adult do the same?
  • The location was a contained place that had zero audience consent. This is not a location that skews heavily towards people receptive to BDSM, and so I can guarantee you that many of the audience did not consent to this. Instead, these two chose an indoors location where people are trapped in the same place as them, making it difficult for those who didn’t consent to easily leave.

I’m not even going to go into how this is dangerous as a sex worker, because that’s not my business. Everybody can handle their own business with as much or as little risk as they want, and that’s on them.

I’m also not offended by the subject matter of the scene. People should be allowed to wear what they want, how they want, so long as it’s not hurting others (ie: no unconsensual nudity, hate crimes, etc.). I’ve walked fully slutted out crossdressers down the Hollywood strip at night and made gimps lick my boots in city streets while wearing full leather. Context is key here, however. Environment, location, and audience matter.

Would I be disappointed in this if it had happened in a sex store, the strip club, a dimly lit bar, or a deserted alleyway? Absolutely not. These are all locations that eliminate underage audiences, allow for consent to be asked (if not by context of the location then at least by tipping heavily), allow for a little bit of discretion and plausible deniability, and overall skew to a population that is a lot more accepting of these sorts of activities.

Hell, I wouldn’t even be mad at this if it were just the two of them calmly walking in the store, with him wearing a collar and her holding the leash while he quietly walked behind her (and there was no beating involved). Those limitations would make it innocuous enough where I would let it slide by. But it’s the combination of so many factors – the punishment, the crawling, the location, the timing – that make this entire scene poorly thought out.

And of course, this does no good to an already stigmatized community of sex workers and kinksters. This viral representation of Femdom contributes to a lack of understanding what we do as Professional Dominatrices. We should not engage in public scenes in this way because reckless play endangers everybody, from the active players in the scene to the bystanders, and finally to the ProDommes and kinksters who will now be typecast by someone’s ill-informed first impression. Unfortunately, many people may develop a distaste about Dominatrices now…though we were never going to sway their opinions either way.

Ultimately, I’m just another Dominatrix who gets more and more crotchety every year. You can do whatever the hell you want to do. Just know that what you do has an impact on those around you, especially when you choose to engage in a public sphere. This scene is no longer contained to just you and whomever you’re playing with. It is much more than that now. So please, for the love of Goddess, be more considerate about how you play in public.

– a crotchety Daddy

PS: Photo by Amikoland