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Daddy An Li · Daddy An Li · Los Angeles BDSM Mistress

On social media, dominance, and authenticity

Sometimes when I spend too much time on social media, I start questioning who I am. Should I be more like this? Should I do more of that? Am I too happy? Am I too sad? Who am I?

I’m sure all of you have had that experience. Social media can be, after all, an endless feedback loop of emotional masochism. Be more attractive, be more successful, be more everything, and of course, be much better than who you are.

I get this way a lot with my Pro-Domme peers. I’ll spend a little too much time on Twitter, and soon enough, I’ll be down a rabbit hole of validation-based immolation. Here are a couple of thoughts that regularly pop up for me:

  • “I need to wear more leather and rubber.”
  • “I don’t look intimidating enough.”
  • “I should try to be more of a seductress.”
  • “I’m too fat.”
  • “My ass isn’t big enough.”
  • “I’m not as successful as her.”
  • “Does she not want to be my friend?”
  • “Do I do too many hand jobs in videos?”
  • “I should dress more ‘domme-y’.”
  • “I need to be meaner.”

I dwelled in it for a bit and felt bad for myself. And then I snapped out of it, reminding myself that I am very happy the way I am.

It has taken me some period of time to reach this place. I used to have complete breakdowns based on my very limited perception of who I was versus how my peers represented themselves. Some days, I snap out of it faster than others. Other days, I mope in self-pity for a while, truly feeling not good enough.

Social media makes it a little too easy to doubt one’s self. Spending time on it can be so confounding for me, because on the one hand, Twitter is an endless well of kinky inspiration. On the other hand, I find myself comparing myself with other Dommes, taking notes on what I lack and how I need to be better. And ultimately, I begin to dismiss my own Dominance. I truly begin to feel as if I am not good enough.

And here’s the thing: there is no one form of Dominance. Sure, there are archetypes. There are disciplinarian leather Mistresses, glamorous rubber fetishists, sultry three-piece lingerie vixens – the list of attributes goes on and on. BDSM creates a multitude of archetypes to represent Dominance, and we in turn, as Pro-Dommes, are expected to embody them. But these are heightened fantasies. They’re meant to be extreme, and they’re meant to be out of this world and unattainable. They are all wonderful and divine…and they also aren’t always me. (Which is not to say anything less about the rare Women who naturally carry this energy throughout their daily lives. They are rare and magical creatures. Hold on to them tightly.)

Sure, I can and have embodied these roles. If you catch me on a good day, I might even get into a full rubber catsuit for you. But just because I am not glamorous 24/7 (or even 9-5/7) does not mean my dominance is any less diminished. Dominance is complex, and ultimately, so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. What is Dominant for one person is submissive to another. What is sexy to one person is repulsive to another.

Here is the example I like to use the most: in my lifestyle D/s relationships, I am both bossy and lazy. I spend enough energy micromanaging people in session that I’d rather kick back and do nothing on my off days. I like getting spoiled. I’m sometimes quite petulant (just because I can, not necessarily because I am). Now obviously, between me and my slaves, I am the Dominant one in this scenario. But one could entirely flip the situation around and say that I’m a brat or little girl type of bottom. After all, brats in BDSM like to talk back. And little girls are often spoiled and taken care of by their Daddies. Really, the thin line separating me and a submissive is that I know I am not submissive, and my slaves know the same as well.

External deciders like the outfits I choose, the personality I have, and the activities I enjoy do not impact who I am as a Dominant person. Dominance comes from within. (cheesy, yes)

When I first started domming, I had an entire idea of who I thought I was as a Dominant – and she was every bit the archetype that any layperson thinks of when they think of a Dominatrix. Cold, vicious, cruel, with cutting words and a Cruella de Vil wardrobe. A leather and latex Bitch with a perpetual sneer.

I loved being her, but something also didn’t feel right. It took me a couple of years to find my own Dominant persona, and I still am refining her each day. But more importantly, she changes from day to day. She doesn’t need to embody a specific archetype to validate her dominance.

Here’s one of the first baby Domme photos. I don’t have a mohawk anymore and I wear a lot less corsets now (turns out if I wear them for too long, I get irrationally angry…), but I still love leather.

Most Pro-Dommes know that it takes a bit of time to find your voice – both literal and mental – and I found this to be stunningly true with each passing year. And the thing is that this voice needs to be genuine, or why even bother? We’re not actually in the business of being actresses. We’re here to play. Domination is an outlet for creative and personal expression. It is something that is incredibly sacred to me, and having come close to burning out many times, I refuse to allow that to happen just because I chose to not be true to myself.

I’ve spent this year really thinking about who I am as a Mistress. What kind of Mistress am I? How would I characterize myself? How do others see me? And while I have gotten quite a few common descriptors, I still don’t fully have an answer to that. Because the fact of the matter is that who we are as people is so complex that to narrow that down to a couple of words would be a disservice to all those involved. I could tell you that I’m quite sweet in sessions, but I could also tell you about the time where I kicked a man to the floor while he was crying. I could tell you that I’m not that into slave training, but then my cleaning slaves could tell you about my laundry list of protocol I have each time they walk into my house. I could tell you that I’m not that into seduction, but I could also tell you that one of my favorite sessions ever was the time I gave a sub his first full body orgasm with my breath alone.

I could tell you many things about myself, and then I could tell you something to immediately disprove it. And regardless of all of that, what I can tell you in 100% full confidence is that I am Dominant. The outfits, the activities, the persona – those are all fluff. They are cultural signifiers to tell the world, “Hey, look at me, I’ve put some simplified and direct labels on myself to tell you that I am Dominant.” These labels are fun and easy, but they are not the whole truth of it. The truth of the matter is that if I want to dominate someone in pajamas, no make-up, and a friendly smile on, I am not diminishing my own dominance in any sort of way. And neither are you (to any Dommes reading this)!

Sure, the Domme archetypes are magical and delightful to wear for a day (or a year). They’ve taught me a lot about who I am and who I am not. I draw on a little bit of each whenever I play. But I also want you to know that you and I, we are all perfectly Dominant the way we are, and we don’t need to concede to a simplified ideology to show that. Don’t worry about what social media, porn, or other subs tell you what you need to be in order to be Dominant. Just trust in who you are, and let that guide you along your kinky path. Be authentic about it. Be your own goddamn, authentic, fabulous, Dominant self.

So who am I today? I am currently in T-shirt and shorts. My phone has been blowing up with slaves begging me to make them eat cum and poop. I’ve been sitting on the couch all day. I’m planning out my next corporal punishment and latex maid shoots. I made dinner. And I still feel sexy and Dominant as hell, all hiccups aside. 💋