By Angelo Gasbarre
Photo Credit: depositphotos.com
The following interview is with a dominatrix, a drag performer, and an activist. They are all the same person. They go by the name C. and this interview is a deep dive into their wild world.
Angelo: Okay. All right. Hi C. How are you doing? Hey, I’m doing well. All right. Um, I wanna ask, how did you start, how’d you become a dominatrix?
C: Uh, yeah, so I’ve been in sex work in some form or another since I was like 18. Uh, so it started with voice stuff. Um, uh, and that was like kind of as a hobby, uh, largely just cuz like, people like sounding sexy. It’s kind of f**king fun. And, having someone react to you in that way is, is very endearing. Um, and that just sort of like broadened out. I realized that the energy that people always got from me, Kind of intense, uh, kind of dominating. Um, and that’s, lucrative. That’s a good energy to have, both on like the, you make money from it and also people don’t f**k with you as much. That’s really nice, especially as like a queer creator. So I started with doing audio stuff and then I did scripts that were pre-recorded and then commissions. Which I made money off of. And then, moved into like video play/voice play, and this was before the pandemic hit. So I had like one in-person, one or two in-person sessions, that were done, within a dungeon setting. So like there was a lot of oversight. I was never in fear of like going into a stranger’s house or like having somebody in my space. But then the pandemic hit and so everything was online anyway. So there was this massive increase in people who were working in and who were doing sex work, especially like sort of kind that I had already had a foothold doing.
Angelo: All right, cool. So you started with the voice stuff and then people thought you were, kind of dominating and then you got into that. Did you like know someone else that was into it and then you were able to get into it?
C: So, there’s preexisting communities. I guess it’s easier now cause it’s just everything’s on f**king Twitter. Every sex worker is on f**king Twitter. Um, but like in my, in my case, like, you know, my earliest sexual experiences, with pornography had been all audio and they had been through this particular sub-Reddit. That I was just like a little bit obsessed with. Um, and so I just like started out just posting on there cause I’d already liked it and I’d enjoyed other people’s stuff before that.
Angelo: All right, cool. So, I know you’ve traveled a lot. Did you start doing this when you were in the US or did you start this in the UK since I know you just moved to the UK?
C: Yeah, so I’m still actually in the US right now. I’m moving to the UK in the next few months. I started all of this in the US while I was in living in Florida.
Angelo: Alright, So what exactly do you do as a dominatrix? Cause I know different people have different specialties and different things.
C: Uh, so I mostly do, audio work, and so that’s like a lot of scripts, a lot of commissions. That’ll be, you know, just talking somebody through being dominated from the first-person perspective. So like you’re speaking directly to somebody, it’d be like a P O V or like an ASMR video or something. All right. So, that’s a really big thing. That’s the main sort of thing I do, um, when I do in-person stuff, which like I said is pretty rare. Just like generally, cuz there’s more concerns. It’s a little bit scarier. Mm-hmm, it’s a little bit more intense and it’s a lot more expensive. It’s a lot of like dirty talk voice stuff. it’s all very personality based. I like, I like a good wrestle, but that’s, that’s more on the interpersonal rather than the professional.
Angelo: All right. What’s your, uh, what’s your clientele like mostly?
C: Uh, variety of gender identifications. The majority of people I play with are queer, just cuz. I’m Queer and a lot of straight people don’t wanna deal with the confusing elements of, of what I bring to the table. Um, cause like, while I, I say dominatrix because there’s sort of a long history of like dominatrix having that be sort of a feminine power. So I do use that word, but I, I’m more the gender-neutral term, like a, I’m a professional dom. Um, so yeah, I’m fine using that, that terminology, even though it’s not like whatever. Um, Was that the question? Oh my God, my clientele. Yeah. Uh, varied in gender, in age. I tend to be younger and smaller than the people I dominate largely because there’s an element of having somebody who’s a little more petite and a little younger than you telling you what the f**k to do.
Angelo: That’s pretty interesting. Cause I feel like usually it’s like they’re taller and, you know?
C: Most of the people I play with are, are bigger than me. I’m like 5’ 7, 5 ‘8.
Angelo: Yeah. You’re, not super tiny. That makes sense. Do you wear something specific even though you’re mostly doing voice stuff?
C: It depends. If I’m in person, I have like a few outfits that I wear. Uh, I like leather a lot. I have a lot of corsets. I do a lot of animal-based stuff, so like we have the cow suits, we have the tails, we have the ears. Lots of corsets, lots of leathers, lots of chains, mostly like body suits and stuff. The domination thing for me has no penetrative sex. There’s no like sex acts, so I stay pretty covered the whole time.
Angelo: Are the people you’re usually talking to, are they usually like naked?
C: So usually I have a pre-negotiations session where people talk about exactly what they want, how they wanna be dominated, the sort of ideas that they’re playing with. Hmm. Uh, cause I, I really do think that when you’re dealing with something like humiliation or domination and submission, you’re really dealing with these cultural and psychological fears and, and archetypes and, and these narratives that people are molding to fit themselves. And so there’s some common traits, there’s some archetypes, there’s some things you can guess that people want, but really people are aiming for this emotional release. And the best way to, get them that for them is to get really into the nitty gritty of what they want. So, Uh, that can frequently be like dictating what somebody’s wearing, telling somebody to strip. Or it could be telling somebody to put on certain clothing, and if that’s something that’s, you know, relevant and important to them, then I really, wanna take that into account just cuz my presentation’s important to me. So I assume their presence is important to them. Um, and if, but if they don’t, you know, say that they care about it, it’s usually neutral. Whatever the f**k you feel, I’m not gonna tell you what to do.
Angelo: You mentioned you do pet play stuff. How does that work with being a dominatrix?
C: Yeah, so there’s a lot of sort of umbrella terms for what people like and the sorts of play that people engage in. The big like spectrum that I usually play with, and, different kink practitioners have different concepts of this. It’s, it’s theoretical, it’s dare I say, academic. Um, but it’s, it’s variable. So for me, I do like the order to chaos. Like, are you, are you a lawful, dominant, a chaotic, dominant? Um, and that’ll be whether or not you have like strict rules. So that’ll be like high protocol submission. All right? I tell somebody ahead of time, here is the list of things that you will do, and you will do as I say. That’s the expectation. Um, and then on the other side of the spectrum, We’re going to fight. I’m going to win, and I’m going to hurt you, and you’re going to do what I say because I fought you and because I made you all right? So, uh, those are like, the big broad strokes. And within those, those are sort of like different aesthetics. So like a high, a very common, like high protocol sort of dynamic would be like, like a slave dynamic. You have somebody who has a set number of rules, roles, et cetera, that they play out on a number of occasions. Uh, pets on the other hand may be obedient or may not be. So you might have. A person whose character, whose subspace is defined by like being an unruly f**king animal who has to be put in its place. And that’s different, it gives them a different feeling. So not only are you playing with like these archetypes, these sort of roles that are sort of culturally constructed, you’re also dealing with the sort of individual psychology that informs the appeal of that aesthetic to them.
Angelo: That makes sense and you said sometimes you’ll like wrestle them?
C: Yeah, that’s common. When you have to like physically get somebody down. Like if you’re doing a chaotic. Like a chaotic submission. Wrestling is an easy way to just like physically prove that you’re above somebody very quickly, and physically establish that dominance.
Angelo: Do you do that with the voice work? Are those two separate?
C: The wrestling is only like in person, but it’s accompanied by some sort of you know, here’s what’s gonna happen. Here’s what you’re gonna do, you tell people exactly what’s gonna happen so they can anticipate it in both like a sexy way and also in like a safety way.
Angelo: Does being a dominatrix affect your romantic relationships?
C: Yes, I am poly. I have. A few recurrent partners. I think being polyamorous, specifically is helpful because you already have people who are okay with the thought of you with other people seeing you sexually, and having that be not an issue. I tend to think that monogamy is necessarily built on the idea that a person can own another person’s body. How can somebody own a person’s body when the other person is commodifying it? And is selling it to other people. How does that launch into ideas of ownership and, how do ideas of ownership tie into relationships? You know, these are complicated subjects that polyamory f**king bypasses cuz it’s awesome. Get into it. Um, but yeah, you definitely need a lot more boundaries. I’ve needed a lot of boundaries around like my sex life and my work life, keeping them separate, is a thing I think about a lot and I have to think about a lot and making sure that my sex with the people that I love, is not performative and not like what I’m doing as my porn persona, that I’m doing it from a place of love and from a place that’s for them specifically. That’s hard. It really leads you, to questions about what sex is for and why you’re doing it. And, it’s a constant communication process.
Angelo: Do you always tell your partners, like upfront, like, Hey, I do this.
C: Oh my God, everyone. I’m so annoying on f**king dating apps, in person, at bars, everywhere. I am terrible. I’m just like, here’s what’s up. I’m in love with five people. I do sex work, and I’m only here for 10 days. Like, it’s just, you gotta tell people and usually, they’re chill or they’re not. if someone’s not on the level, you don’t want them to be around cuz they’re probably not gonna be fun.
Angelo: I know you’re also trying to get your master’s in philosophy is that correct?
C: No, I’m in my last year of undergraduate. But I’m going to law school. Currently, I study philosophy and political science, with minors in ethics, gender studies, and global health.
Angelo: Does being in sex work affect your studies at all?
C: Not really. I genuinely, think it’s the same as having any other job. You have hours that you have to work, you have deadlines, You make it work? I think there are way more similarities between like my friends who work fast food than like anyone f*cking else like that’s, it’s the same gig. But, you know, anonymity is something that’s very important to me because I do worry not about my academics now, but I do worry about building a career for myself later down the line, making sure that, you know, the bulls**t I did to make money when I was 18 doesn’t stop me from having like a legitimate big-boy career.
Angelo: You also were telling me, you, you do a, like a drag creature performance. I’d love to learn more about that.
C: Yeah, so that’s, that’s more for fun. Uh, like, you know, we take tips and, and you do the whole f**king bit. If you’re doing drag and you’re not, like on f**king RuPaul’s Drag Race or not doing it professionally, you’re putting way more money in than getting out, which is why you should tip your local queens! I’ve been doing it for about like two years. Um, but I’ve done drag way longer than that. I started, I did Rocky Horror as like a f**king teeny, teeny tiny baby. Um, and like all my Halloween costumes, when I was a kid, were of every gender. I mean, I’ve, I’ve been genderqueer, pretty presenting since day one. I was diagnosed as autistic. I realized the amount of effort that I had put into constructing a mask and how, uh, associated it was with, uh, like my upbringing and, and the sort of areas in which I grew up, and my parents and all of the sort of baggage that I wanted to shed. But I had worked so hard on developing all of these skills. I don’t really wear makeup unless I’m working or going out. But I spent f**king years meticulously figuring out how to do eyeliner correctly and how to put on makeup and how to put on a face, and how to coordinate an outfit and how to dance and how to move, and how to do all these things in order to comport into femininity. Where do I put all those f**king skills? Like I do my girlfriend’s makeup. I, I’ll do things with my friends. I, I sew, I repair my clothing, but I dress like a dude all the time, and I don’t f**king wear makeup anymore. What do I, where do I put all of this fun, exciting, creative energy that used to give me so much joy? Oh my goodness. Here’s this cool, like genderqueer way of doing that. And, like drag queens are doing an element of femininity I don’t super wanna perform femininity. I did that for way too f**king long. Um, but what if we made this new thing? If I were to imagine what my soul were? What, if there were no constraints of preexisting thoughts on gender, preexisting thoughts of identity, or preexisting like archetypes, what would I be, what, what ideas would I pull from? Uh, and then you, you go from there. Um, Or more recent, let’s, that’s how it started. And more recently it’s been like, how, what do I have? How do I make a song? How do I pull a song through my lens? Uh, cuz at this stage in the game, I really perform, I’ll choreograph a dance to a song that I really like. Uh, and then perform that, and then make, build everything around the themeing of the performance. Um, so l the most recent gig performed to the song “Cult Leader,” Um, byKing Maya, Through the lens of my aesthetic and being pulled through was religious imagery, um, cult imagery, domination imagery. And so like what does it, look like when it’s done by me? Um, and how can I build sort of an idea around that as a way to construct and further my identity through this sort of playing with performance that I was no longer allowed to do as I transitioned.
Angelo: So you’re not always doing the same drag thing. Like sometimes you’re like a drag clown and then sometimes you’re doing something else.
C: Yeah, it’s completely different. My base makeup is, uh, usually a dual-toned lip like I’m doing right now. Um, and I’ll frequently wear a lot of like, anything on like my nose area, but that’s the only similarity. I do a, a lot of f**king looks.
Angelo: All right. That’s, that’s really interesting. Um, you mentioned your upbringing earlier. Do you think something from your upbringing led you to this? Like the sex work and the drag performing?
C: Yeah, I moved around a lot as a kid. Uh, I move around a lot now. That just makes sense. I realized as I got older that a lot of the things that I would do, I did growing up was for this con, sort of was, was a people-pleasing exercise. Was an exercise in constructing something to impress people. Um, and that, You know, connects, to being queer in the South largely, you have to pretend to be a lot of things. You have to construct the version of yourself that is gonna get you the least hurt. You have to be the exact right amount of honest, uh, to make sure no one f**ks with you. Um, And having to, feeling the need to lie and control the narrative and, and perform, um, informs my drag. It informs, uh, domination. It informs pretty much every element of my life in a way that I take joy in the way I get to have fun with it in drag, but I really mourn. other times when I, I think of what I could have been if I hadn’t, you know, if I hadn’t felt the need to perform, what, what does authenticity look like? Rather than just a series, of performances that come from, a feeling of truth. Does that make sense?
Angelo: Makes sense for sure. Um, where are some of the places you’ve, you’ve grown up?
C: So I was born in Decatur, Georgia. Um, I lived in Alabama. I lived in New York. I lived in Nashville, Tennessee, lived in Connecticut, lived in Boston, lived in France, but yeah, I, moved all around the US I lived in like basically 20 places before I was 20. Didn’t super feel settled anywhere.
Angelo: How old are you now if you don’t mind me asking?
C: I’m 21.
Angelo: Do you see parallels between doing drag and being a dominatrix?
C: Yeah, it’s, it’s really all about the creation of a new identity with aesthetics, um, it’s all about control. Controlling and comporting yourself in such a way that it creates a narrative that somebody else can fall for. Um, when you’re dominating somebody, the only idea that you’re communicating to them, you’re communicating a series of ideas to them before you even speak. You, you know, if you walk into a room with a certain cadence, with a certain heaviness of step, with a certain expression, you conjure a completely different energy than if you walk in, you know, with a, uh, a smile, you’re chipper and like you’re kind of skipping. Uh, if you seem excited to see somebody, you lose credibility. Uh, the illusion breaks. Same thing with the track. If you act a little awkward, or you’re not giving into the performance if you’re not being your costume. The illusion breaks. I think the necessity of performance, makes them very similar. And, for me personally, using both of them as a means for gender expression and exploration, uh, has been a major point for both of them in my life.
Angelo: You said you knew you were genderqueer since you were young right?
C: Yeah, So I didn’t have the language, um, until I was a bit older, but I’ve been out since I was like 14. Then prior to that, I like dressed in drag a lot. And like when people asked me like, what kind of girl I was, I would say I was a boy, and I was more likely to talk about being different animals than anything else. I was just a f**king weird kid. And weird kids have weird ideas about gender because gender is a weird f**king thing to a kid. Um, I never really got it. I was never really good at it until I learned that I didn’t have to be, I could invent my own. You know, it’s a weird situation, but yeah. Uh, realizing that like. Having somebody call me daddy for the first time, completely illuminated the way that I felt about masculinity, um, constructing this sort of new idea of masculinity that was based on being a caregiver, being somebody that makes somebody feel really safe and, and calm and collected and like they’re able to do anything. It was a version of really dominant masculinity that I like. That I really valued and seemed to take all the things that I hated about, masculinity that made me separate myself from masculinity and I want to exemplify that really that really specific idea.
Angelo: That’s really interesting. Thank you for being so open about that. Yeah. Do you have any like, advice for people that are struggling with their gender?
C: Oh my gracious. Try everything, try everything a million times. If you feel a certain way and you think that somebody talking about you in a certain way will make you happy. The people in your life will likely be excited to make you happy, and you deserve people in your life who are excited to make you happy, even if what you’re excited about is a little silly. Um, and that goes for anything that goes for, you know, wanting to be you, certain pronouns, wanting to be called a certain thing. Like there’s a million ways we can make each other feel cared for, and a really easy way is by letting them see our authentic selves. You’re doing a kind thing by letting somebody into the way that you see yourself and giving somebody the opportunity to treat you well in your truth is a kind of trust and love, that will hopefully bring you closer.
Angelo: Alright. Um, I’m trying to think if there’s anything else I wanna ask. This has been great, you have been really open. Um, do you have anything big coming up for you, like with either being a dominatrix or with your drag performance?
C: Um, honestly, I think my next step is stepping back from a lot of this. I wanna keep doing drag. I wanna keep doing performance stuff. I am moving toward a big-boy career though. And if I wanted to progress in this particular field (sex work), I would lose a lot of my anonymity. Um, the pool is oversaturated now. There are so many online sex workers and there’s so many people in the field of audio because frankly, it’s f**king easy. Um, don’t get started now for f**k’s sake. I’m really thinking about putting my energy elsewhere because the way to get a big following now is you need to become a personality, and that just does not allow you anonymity. It does not allow you boundaries. It doesn’t afford you some of the luxuries that that sex work had given me even in the past, past few f**king years, you know?
Angelo: Mm-hmm. . And how do you promote your work? Do you promote it on Twitter…
C: Twitter, b*tch. Yeah. Which every one’s on Twitter. . All the sex workers are on Twitter. Support and tell people to support their local sex workers, not just local, support the sex workers. Support, Queer sex workers, support black sex workers, support trans sex workers. One of the easiest ways is paying for amateur porn. If you’re not paying for porn, you’re not sexy, because free porn is so frequently exploited. All the sort of complaints that like sex workers and feminists have about the porn industry, we can combat by being pro-amateur porn, um, holy sh*t not all of them. I mean, there’s some ideas about like, you know, what it means to be a woman, and like there’s sort of these, these gendered ideals within the porn industry, but those largely come from capitalism, And the things that are popular are, are informed by culture of course, but they’re promoted further by these intense market forces. By taking the means of production into our own hands. Creating amateur works, promoting amateur works, paying for amateur works, uh, we take power away from big pornography, which is so f**king frequently, you know, tied to sex trafficking and deals with a lot of exploitation that you don’t have to worry about when it’s me hanging out in my dorm room, uh, being sexy in somebody’s ear for 20 minutes.
Angelo: All right. Interesting. Um, Yeah, that was, that was really well-spoken. I like all your thoughts on the industry as a whole.
C: Oh my, I have so many thoughts about the industry. I uh, well cuz I used to be on this like a big anti-porn deal. Cuz I was like, I was definitely groomed as a kid. I like 100% should not have been exposed to things I was exposed to so young. I was really worried about like, oh my f**king God. What does it mean for a whole generation of people to have access to this really kind of vile videos of sexual violence? What does that do to the psyche of a generation? Um, and obviously I’m not a f**king prude like I’m a dominatrix, like consensual power exchange is super f**king chill, but children can’t really understand it.
Angelo: I love hearing your thoughts on everything.
C: Yeah, I love talking about sex work. I love talking about capitalism. I love talking about like growing up. Also, I’m, a student activist, I run a sh*t ton of like sexual wellness stuff, like last year, last Valentine’s Day, I hosted 10 sexual wellness events in a week. Um, and all of them were about like domination and about kink practicing, but also like the social justice elements of sex. We had this amazing conversation about, marriage rights and disability, uh, that was just really groundbreaking, for me at least. I hadn’t had those conversations before, so yeah.
Angelo: Yeah, that sounds really interesting. I’ve never thought about marriage rights and disability like that.
C: Yeah, the infantilization of disabled individuals, leads to the sort of inability to recognize that the disabled do have sex in the same way that the old have sex. Also, disabled people frequently can’t get married, for fear of losing their health insurance coverage, because the government expects the other person to take care of them. They can lose complete, like access to a whole bunch of government programs just because they’re married. So there are a lot of disabled people who just do not get married to the people they, love cuz it would kill them.
Angelo: Wow. I had no idea. Is there someone trying to fix that, Is there a movement trying to change that?
C: Yeah. Oh yeah. Disability rights advocates have talked about this for f**king ever. It’s one of the big things that they’re talking about. The problem is at this moment, it seems like the movement is defined by individual advocates and you know, it’s a solid time to be organizing cause we’re in this sort of new digital age of organization. And yet there’s not a lot of revolutionary action right now, especially not the way that they were in like the eighties, nineties with like Crip camp coming out. Disability rights are another thing I’m very interested in.
Angelo: This is fascinating cuz it’s not something I really know that much about.
C: Yeah, if you wanna watch, um, on Netflix, the documentary Crip Camp is really f**king good. I think everybody should watch it.
Angelo: How did you, how’d you get interested in disability rights?
C: I mean, I’m disabled., I’m on the autism spectrum and I’m hard of hearing but I also have PTSDs. Um, and so like, you know, I’ve had to really fight for accommodation and have dealt with issues with being infantilized and underrepresented. So disability rights was initially purely f**king selfish. You know, I needed to bully a school into making sure that I could have my needs met and turns out, sh*t, a lot of people don’t have their needs met. How can I be a guard dog for them? That’s part of the reason I got into a lot of this student activist work. I also work on tuition decreases in higher education and academic decolonization. So, uh, diversifying what people are learning in the classroom specifically as it relates to environmental studies. The two big things I really give a sh*t about are the environment and disability rights.
Angelo: Tell me a little bit about your work as far as environmental studies go.
C: Okay. So like being in a class where only white climate scientists are cited when the majority of on-the-ground grassroots activism in environmentalist spaces is done by indigenous groups. That’s a f**king wild thing. The father of environmentalism is a f**king black dude. Like, you gotta watch, you have to be reading the right sh*t.
Angelo: That’s very interesting, we’re running out of time, and I was wondering if you have any final thoughts?
C: There are very legitimate discussions that we can have critiquing sex work, and critiquing what it means, to do that. But I think, um, I think a lot of the times the things that people get upset about is people taking control over their bodies and commodifying in the way they see fit, and that has a lot of repercussions that you have to deal with. It takes a lot of work to set up the right boundaries. It’s potentially impossible to do it the perfect right way and to leave completely unscathed. That’s true for any job. That’s the name of the f**king game. So let’s be critical about sex work. Let’s be critical about work in general. Let’s not devalue an entire profession. Um, the oldest one because there are some questions about the way to do it. Let’s just try to build a world where we can do it the right way.
Angelo: Thank you for your time, I really appreciated this!
C: Of course, anytime!
I hope reading this interview wasn’t a punishment for you, I hope you enjoyed it. This is Angelo Gasbarre signing off.