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Peepshow: Jessie Sage chats with a BDSM enthusiast

“Mr. X, an NYC-based writer, has discovered that for him, self-care means being beaten into submission by a professional dominatrix.”

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Jessie Sage - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
  • CP photo: Jared Wickerham
  • Jessie Sage

Self-care suggestions often include activities like jogging, journaling, yoga, or therapy. But, Mr. X, an NYC-based writer, has discovered that for him, self-care means being beaten into submission by a professional dominatrix. We talked about his experiences over morning coffee. 

Mr. X: I first got into BDSM in college after reading The Story of O, I was transfixed. There were certainly foreshadowings, like my fascination with the Stations of the Cross: The combination of suffering and grandiosity appealed to me, though I couldn’t really understand or articulate why. But reading O made me understand it as a sexual fetish. [The first time with a dominatrix] was divine. She really worked me over with three whips.

Sage: Was your wife interested in BDSM when you met her?

Mr. X: From early on I told her all about my dark desires. She was intrigued though not yet an enthusiast. I seduced her into the life. While she’s dominant, she’s still not physically rough, which I crave, so a little professional intervention fills that gap.

Sage: What impact has this had on your marriage?

Mr. X: Part of the reason this all works is that I have a deep trust in our bond and we can do all kinds of risky things, and it will survive, deepen even.

Sage: Do you have a sense of where your desires come from?

Mr. X: I think a lot of my interest in masochism comes from eroticizing sexual guilt. My mother always told me women don’t enjoy sex, and that men, with all their bad desires, impose it on them. Turning that into an erotic thrill is revenge on my mother.

Sage: Would you describe these practices as healing or therapeutic to you?

Mr. X: All of it, the dominatrix, the BDSM in daily life, is a way to have a very sexual life despite my mother’s toxic traces. I suppose an orthodox shrink would say I’m perpetuating them through my kinks, but I say F that.

Sage: What is the most positive impact of your time with dominatrices? 

Mr. X: I’ve seen maybe ten or so over the years, but Mistress Blunt is really in a class by herself. She’s very skilled technically, but she’s also very psychological. At our first session, she asked me all kinds of questions about my psychosexual history. Of course, I was naked, caged, kneeling before her, so it was not a standard analyst-analysand relationship. But we’ve continued that sort of discourse since.

Sage: Are there any particular sessions that stand out?

Mr. X: A few sessions ago she was asking me if I was being a good slave to my wife. I’d been acting up, being depressed and cranky, so I had to admit I wasn’t. After some conversation, Blunt whipped me, punctuating the strokes with admonitions to give up the ego. I came home, nicely marked (inside and out!) and recounted to my wife what we’d talked about, my need to surrender, the crankiness as a defense against that surrender. She says that I usually return from Blunt’s with a submissive glow that lingers, but this one had more explicit psychological content.

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In Episode 33, we had the opportunity to speak with the hosts of the popular podcast, Sluts and Scholars, where friends and co-hosts Nicoletta Heidegger and Simone come together weekly to “talk smart and f**k smarter.”

We reflected on the career risks of having a public show that dives into issues of sex. While Simone and Nicoletta are not sex workers, being porn- and sex work-adjacent means that they have found themselves subject to the same sorts of censorship often experienced by sex workers.

As a therapist, Nicoletta sometimes worries that the sex podcast may interfere with therapy if, for instance, clients were to listen to the podcast and want to process what they have heard in session. Yet, she says, “Therapy in and of itself is becoming less Freudian. We are real, individual people bearing witness to other real, individual people.”

As a full spectrum doula, abortion rights activists, and law student, Simone has made different choices. Given that anti-abortion protestors often search for ways to discredit abortion advocates, she has chosen to use a pseudonym for the podcast. She comments, “It would be really sad if something I was so proud of [the podcast], jeopardized my ability to do the legal advocacy that is so important to me.” 

For more, please turn to Peepshow Podcast, Episode 33. www.peepshowpodcast.com/peepshow-podcast-episode-33

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