The watershed moment when your therapist (s) goes from questioning why you see a dominatrix to coaching you on becoming a better slave


I’ve had the most curious turnabout experience in my life recently, and it has to do with therapy. Yes, my therapists are all helping me in my quest to find my true path through slavery.

A bit of background—why therapy?

Therapy is a valuable tool if used appropriately: the right therapist combined with the right attitude, willingness, and realistic goals.  Therapy has been a wonderful tool for me to break out of negative cycles, but not always.  In my own life it was also applied in a way that deepened childhood trauma.  This just underlines the importance of making sure that motivations and conditions are correct.

Why Now?

Mid-life offers a chance to scrutinise what has gone before and what lies ahead and is an opportunity to forge a new path free from the strictures and obsessions of the past.  This is not an exercise in regret, or a desire to expunge.  We are as we are when we are, because it is our best selves of the moment that are taking life one day at a time.  That implies a state of equilibrium—we are always in some relative state of equilibrium.  How I was, and have been, was necessary—to survive, but also to thrive under the conditions that I had in part laid before me.  But being your best self does also imply that we can grow and become better selves.  

I have had children, a wonderful career, and have lived a life which has been deeply fulfilling.  But I was not fully present.  To be in your own life and not fully present is to be not fully alive.  Not that I was checked out.  I was all in.  Just a big part of me was deliberately not invited to the party.  I am talking about being transgender.  This is more than just part of me, it is me, but I didn’t invite this part of me to the party because I felt that had I done so, I would not have fulfilled my “obligations”, or have even been welcome in my own life.  These “obligations” were mainly to myself and what I valued as much as to anyone else.  It mattered to me to marry a beautiful and intelligent, career-oriented, professional woman.  It mattered to me to succeed at work.  It mattered to me to have wonderful children.  It mattered to me to go on chic holidays and eat in beautiful restaurants.  I did not feel that I could achieve any of this by being fully me.  That was my choice.

Being transgender is a difficult path.  But its existence is not something we choose. We are either trans or cis, meaning your gender feels right or it doesn’t. By avoiding the path, one does not make oneself any less trans.  But postponing things does give relief when you finally do come out [conversation with my wife about coming out].  But this post isn’t really about being transgender; it could be anything.  We are all traumatised at some level, so you could just as well insert your own trauma here.

So, why now?  Because I have achieved everything that I set out for myself as a young college graduate, and in ways and to degrees I am proud of.  And as a result, I feel I don’t have to hide anymore, and can just be me.  Easier said than done, right?  I don’t want to hurt my wife, and I certainly don’t want to hurt my children, but ultimately my gender is about me and me alone.  But I also have a whole lifetime to live ahead of me, and think it would be nice for all of me to enjoy it, and think that I might possibly achieve quite a bit more if I am fully engaged.  At the very least, I will be a lot happier [and yes, this process is most definitely already happening].

But there is something much more important than coming out, being non-binary, and that is something that I have only learned recently.  It is the concept of “presence”.  It may be obvious to you, and certainly anyone who has practiced yoga or meditation or other forms of mindfulness, including prayer, will already know what eluded me.  I have never been present, actually “in the moment”, fully aware and alive to what was going on around me.  Ever.

Enter the Dominatrix

I was not born submissive [I was, however, born transgender].  This is something that came out of my early life experiences.  I am beginning to understand its origins, and why it matters, and what it does for me.  I am not wading into the age-old discussion of nature v. nurture here, but this is a perfect example in being trans and in being submissive, respectively.  And the difference is more than academic.  Submission has been a learned behaviour, and one which science now understands is biologically and environmentally true, but is also a response to environmental and social cues.  And I know that people try to explain away BDSM as the by-product of trauma.  While I cannot rule it out in my case, I have yet to discover a direct causal link to submission, to aspects of my kinky brain, yes, but not to submission itself.  Instead, I have wrapped submission into a mix of the feminine, love, beauty, tenderness, nostalgia, a place by the fire on a rainy day—which are things that I was born with but have suppressed out of a desire to fit in, keep a low profile, not stand out.

Yes, I had and do have kinky imaginings about dominant women, and some of those titillated me in my early days dabbling with catfish Femdoms.  The courage to approach a real Dominatrix coincided with a kind of growing up into my submissive feelings, discovering what they were really about.  This emerged as being coupled with a desire to do the heavy lifting associated with personal growth.  That knowledge certainly affected who I approached [I have written about how much time and effort I spent on finding someone I was comfortable approaching].  And when I finally did a professional Dominatrix, I was nearly paralysed with a fear that she would be uninterested in working with me.  When Mistress responded to my initial message I was elated, but also had the feeling in my guts of being at that moment on a rollercoaster just before the big descent.

There were three reasons that I found this particular dominatrix approachable for me.  First, she came across as a real person, with real life interests that coincided with mine.  Second, she has worked with people beyond my red lines, so I felt that I could comfortably be with her and know that I would not be made to feel ashamed.  Third, she came across as grounded, in nature, spiritual.  What these three factors together meant to me was that we could explore in ways that allowed me to discover my humanity, and that it would not be an exercise in kink fulfilment.  In a way, I felt I could “see” her. I could be with her as a complete person and not feel judged. Unless you feel this in your own life and know its value, it is hard to imagine just how meaningful that is when you have either been judged or suppressed yourself, or both, for your whole life.

I am struck now many months later at how often we laugh, including very often about my kinks, and that has been deeply healing.  Laughter is a potent tonic.  And when I think about our interactions, the word that strikes me most is “wholesome”.  There is an absence of prurience in our interactions.  Letting go of shame seems to have this affect.  Shame is a real ball and chain, and when you take it off, levity is palpable.

What I set out to do

The dominatrix preceded the therapist.  But when I sat down to lunch with Mistress for the first time to see what it felt like to be in her presence, I knew already what I was there for.

I am still puzzled by my prescience in committing to therapy at that first meeting, but I understood that a dominatrix could push me at pace, and work with me in ways that a therapist could not [see my post about slapping and self-love].  I also realised that it would not be fair at all to expect a dominatrix to be my therapist—I had no desire to burden her in that way, or to even convey that I might need her, or come to depend on her in that way.  That would not be healthy and it would not have been fair.  But I also know, and knew in theory already then, that to take on a submissive is an enormous responsibility.  In other words, although she is not my therapist, I can feel that she still takes on a duty of care towards me, and this is a beautiful and healing and nourishing thing.  This mix of care on her part and my own willingness to do the work is both the foundation of a healthy dynamic, but also the condition which makes it possible.

What did I set out to do?  In part, this is a process of ongoing discovery.  But put simply, I am seeking the chance to love without a quid pro quo.  The existential question I am exploring is finding strength of self and love of self and personal strength through expressing love to someone else.  To me, this is the essence of submission. Of course, there is also God.  God’s existence has not only never been a question for me, but my connection to God has been blissful. [It has also gotten me into hot water with non-believers who hate the concept of faith].  That kind of love that I describe is what others may find in God, and through prayer.  And for those who do not believe, there are other outlets that play this role.

It is a journey.  And what do we do when we embark on a journey?  We equip ourselves appropriately.  In my case, the first step was to find a guide.  That role is played by Mistress.  And my trust in her in this regard grows deeper with every passing day.  But I have also taken a posse of therapists, not just one, and that is for their expert assistance at key junctures.  How I am working with the therapists is discussed below, but I am finding it works for me.

But Mistress has added some really important things to my “packing list.”  First, she has taught me that the journey itself is the point, not the destination.  That how we live our lives is as important as our goals and ambitions.  It also means to always be in the moment, not off somewhere else, not in fantasy, not thinking about the next thing, but totally and utterly present.  And this does not come easy to me.  [The book on Five Personality Patterns explores how this might be more difficult for some personality types].

A whipping is one of many ways to be present.  Please don’t misunderstand.  I don’t have a kinky desire to be whipped.  Yes, I am curious, and I have asked her to whip me, but I am pretty lousy at it.  It is hard to be anywhere else when the lash falls, so for someone who has a tendency to be in my mind or off in fantasy, or just dissociate, this is one of the tools she has at her disposal to bring me into the moment, with her, right then, in my breath.  One is entirely present when being whipped.  I am grateful for her patience with me.  And yes, this is a kind of work.

I remember saying to her, “we can skip the whipping part and just go straight to aftercare,” and she explained to me how a whipping or anything else that we might “play” at together served the purpose of opening doors, and that they were an essential part of the process of discovery.  I heard her words, but it is only through play that I have found the truth in them.  I have expressed the same things about the kinky stuff, and through working with her, I have understood that what we found erotic, or arousing, speaks to our internal emotional, spiritual, and sexual landscape in ways that rational thought cannot always access.  And so, here too, is an important tool in the armoury.  Whatever we might be drawn to in D/s may just be a way of teasing the big issues to the surface; understanding and awareness is the first step in healing.

Second, she has taught me about how to connect with someone, how to meet them in an emotional landscape.  This too, requires presence, but in an extreme form.  To meet someone in this way is to let go of the self.  If you are hanging on to your ego, you will never be able to be present for someone else.  And in this regard, we meet my primary goal (love without strings attached), but we also reinforce the wholesomeness of our interactions, and ultimately touch the divine that lies within all of us.

Why this can only be done with a professional dominatrix

I am not suggesting that a dominatrix cures all ills, or indeed, is appropriate for everyone.  After all, in my case, submission is the medium through which all of this plays out and has a chance to come to life.  For others, it will be something else.

But there is only so much you can do when talking to a therapist about hang-ups, particularly sexual ones.  There is only so much you can realise when you are just talking to someone.  And for obvious ethical and professional reasons, no therapist will stray into this territory.

Ditto for a partner.  My S.O. did not sign up for being my healer or guide.  It would not be fair to ask a spouse to play this role.  Mutual respect is also the bedrock of a healthy marriage and playing out and living out the psychosexual dynamics inherent in D/s, may challenge that fundamental ingredient.  I entered my marriage with full disclosure, as best I understood it at the time, because to do otherwise would have dishonoured my wife.  But telling my wife that I am aroused by something is not the same thing as asking her to do it with me or expecting it of her.  

Some people might say, “well, you should just choose a partner that is sexually compatible with you.”  I did that once, and while the sex was great, other things that I ultimately deemed more important, just were not there.  A perfect partner may be a shibboleth, and our expectations of such are a great way to ruin a partnership.  Perhaps, it is better to try for as much compatibility as possible, and knowing the things that really matter to you, and then fulfilling the missing bits outside of this primary union.

Every relationship is different, and certainly finding a soul mate or more than one, is a worthy quest.  When my wife revealed to me in words what I already knew emotionally, that my sexuality disgusted her, she granted me the freedom to explore these aspects of me outside of our relationship with a professional.  That was an explicit recognition that it is not always healthy to do and feel everything with one person.  To expect as much may be unrealistic.  And while I didn’t take her up on this offer for 15 years, it has proven valuable, as it has allowed me to grow without betraying my vows, my fundamental and deep friendship with her, my commitment to her and our family life, and to my children.

Because Mistress is a professional (and a consummate one at that), it is safe to explore with her and know that there are unshakeable guardrails that protect us both.  Sexuality is powerful stuff.  Thank God there are people who can wade right into it and without flinching, help us wrestle with it in whatever way we need to become better, happier people.  And yes, I have found her to be more open-minded and un-judgemental than even some therapists who specialise in issues of sexual trauma.  And while you may take my word for it, a trawling of her Twitter feed will show you that I am far from alone in valuing her for this.  To be in the company of someone who does not judge the thing that has made many of us feel deep sexual shame, is so powerfully therapeutic it is almost divine.

What triggered this post?

The first sentence of this post referred to a turnabout in my life, one that has come about through therapy.  And this is what it is.  Initially, all of my posse of therapists questioned my desire/need to play with a dominatrix.  They asked me if I was trying to buy affection, if I was just wallowing in self-indulgence, if I was being addictive.  That’s good, that is their role—to help me with finding a more healthful me. 

I felt the need to advocate for Mistress to my therapists, in large part because BDSM attracts opprobrium even from “kink-friendly” and “sex-positive” therapists.  And, credit where due, a therapist is there to ask questions, to challenge, to help us introspect.  And, after all, they are paid to help us find our equilibrium.

So, we talked a lot about what I was doing with her.  The turnabout has come as all of my therapists have come to accept that not only is my relationship with Mistress a healthy one, but that she is also a “good one”, working with me without agenda to help me grow.  They have come to accept her lead in my transformation.  And the turnabout has come in that they are actually helping me with processing how to submit to her, because they have come to realise that submitting to her is not done for unhealthy reasons.  They recognise that “playing” with her is liberating me in all walks of my life and recognise that this is having a profoundly positive effect on me.  In other words, all three of my therapists are helping me to submit to her because they think it is good for me. 

Being a slave and how it fits

I may lose some of you here (if I haven’t lost you already).  I didn’t know before I started that there was something inside of me that sought to become a slave.  What does that mean, being slave?  Superficially a slave is obedient.  In D/s, it is said that a slave may not naturally express his or her free will, but seeks to be controlled by another.  It may be any number of things, but in truth, none of these are relevant for this discussion.  What matters is that a slave should strive to become selfless in service.  When I said before that I was looking to find a path to purity in love, this is what I meant.  To just love, to be love, to give love, and to do so without agenda, that is a form of surrender and devotion that is deeply spiritual.

This is what many mystics describe as a relationship with the divine.  And yes, that is what it is.  And no, I am not saying that I put Mistress on a pedestal.  On the contrary.  The more human and natural she is, with flaws just like anyone, the more deeply it becomes possible to let go.  That may be counterintuitive, but in truth, our humanity is divine, and finding and recognising this in someone else helps us to recognise and connect with our own divinity.  And so, what I am saying is that the more I submit to her, the more I let go of my ego, the more connected I become with my own divinity, my own strength, my own power, my own creativity.  And it is a bit like a flywheel…because the more I do that, the better I become at serving her, but also, the better I become at serving myself, and all of the people in my life—in short, I become a better human, and that much closer to fulfilling my potential, or simply growing and expressing myself in better and healthier ways.

I understand that the concept of becoming someone’s slave is hard to think of in a therapeutic context.  Even in the BDSM community, many don’t understand the slave mindset.  And perhaps, there is no standard here, so I will endeavour to explain what it feels like and what I strive for.  For whatever reason, becoming a slave is my way of letting go of my ego.  My desire to let go of my ego is a desire to stop letting my mind, my “monkey brain”, control me.  I understand that it is a self-preservation mechanism, and a good one, but I don’t need that anymore.  Growing up means letting go of old patterns, and this is the big one.

How I am working with therapists

I believe in therapy and its therapeutic potential.  Everyone has the potential to benefit from seeing a therapist.  It is remarkable for me to have gotten to this way of thinking about therapy as my own introduction to it was a form of abuse.  But as an adult, I had the self-sense to figure out that there were self-destructive threads in my life that were not serving me, and that I needed to let go of them, and that therapy was going to help.

The typical model is to have one therapist, and to go regularly.  They usually don’t like it when there are multiple therapists, and they certainly don’t like the idea that a dominatrix is in pole position…But here I am seeing three primary therapists, each of whom has a different approach, but all are united by common threads.  Indeed, it is uncanny how not just the three therapists, but also my Reiki teacher, my coach at the gym, Mistress, are all using the same words and touching on the same concepts—it reinforces the feeling of being in a boat and rowing in sync.

I have written about moments in my life in therapy previously:

What am I doing now?  I am shifting from a goal-oriented life to one where “how” I live becomes the guiding light—being present.  If I have been able to succeed in life up to now, it is a function of not being present and being in my mind. This came at the cost of not being true to myself, and a concomitant loss of joy.  But joy lies at the root of human potential.  Finding my way into my own skin, being reborn as a content, present, intentional person, is the benchmark of success.

My therapists

I have three therapists.  Those are the regular ones, but there are other “specialists” I call upon from time to time.  [I have written about several of them, Rosen, Cranio-Sacral, etc]  Egads!  My wife is bemused.  “Do you really need so many therapists?  What is it that they do for you?”  And I explained how each of them is working with me on different aspects of my journey.  After, I explained, she said, “makes sense.”

And yes, the dominatrix was one of them.  I refer to her with my wife as a life coach, the one who is helping with context and framework, which is definitely the case, but delivered in this way out of sensitivity to my wife’s abhorrence of kink.

While it may seem preposterous to have so many at once, there is a reason for it.  The nature of play with Mistress is so complex and deep that I couldn’t possibly cover all of its implications with one therapist in one weekly session.  It needs addressing in different ways—mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual—for me to get the full benefit from it.  Being with a dominatrix is a rare and highly concentrated and powerful tonic…to treat the time and work that both Mistress and I put into being present together without this level of respect would be a dishonour to the investment we both make.

What the different therapists do

When I described this to my wife, I described four therapists, not three:

  • First among them is the dominatrix.  I referred to her as a coach, the one who provides the overarching framework that I am working within.  She is also able to go places that therapists do not, because she can be blunt in a way that they cannot…I relayed the story of her slapping me when I demonstrated behaviours inconsistent with my goals, and how one of my closest friends picked that thread up metaphorically, knowing how healing it would be.  “What you just said does not display self-love.”  Smack.  That is an awful lot more effective than asking, “how did it make you feel to say what you just said?”  It has taken a while, but now all of therapists accept that the overarching framework has been co-created with a dominatrix.
  • My talk therapist is the primary therapist.  We talk to understand, to process, to analyse.  She has been concerned about trauma, co-dependency, my motivations, kink as an obsession.  But she has also understood after some months of working together, that the dominatrix is a healthy influence—and that for me to seek to grow and improve is a by-product of that relationship.  She understands now that my desire to be a slave is not prurient, and is genuinely wholesome and healing.
  • My second primary therapist is helping me with meditation, understanding how it feels to be present in my body, and about following my heart rather than letting my mind run the show.  I speak to her most often, particularly before and after I interact with, as she is very “hands-on” and practical.
  • My third primary therapist is an internationally renowned talk therapist and cranio-sacral practitioner.  [I have written about cranio-sacral therapy with another provider here].  She helps me by connecting all of these things to my body.
  • Separately I see a variety of different people on a very irregular schedule—massage therapist, yoga teacher, personal trainer, Reiki practitioner, etc as a means to move forward on various things.

What is the journey?

First, it is not a destination, but a process.  It is the process itself which counts.  It is called living.  Being connected to living, savouring every moment, that is what I seek.  To do this, I must achieve these things:

  • Let go of shame
  • Overcome vestigial trauma (psychosexual and other)

Why?

  • To build self-love and all the benefits that follow
  • To accept the confusing maelstrom that is life as transgender

How will I know I have succeeded?

  • To be able to let go of ego, and to love without conditions
  • To know that shame is outside of me, not inside

Why does all of this matter?  Well, although I believed that I was playing in this D/s arena for wholesome and positive reasons, the social stigma attached to it is all around us.  And that makes it harder to accept the choice I have made as my way of healing and growth.  We all might choose different ways.  But the moment that my therapists all came into alignment was important to me because it proved to me that not only is there nothing wrong with this, but that it is working, and working well.

Last Thoughts on a Very Long Post

The parallels between my D/s play with Mistress are very much like therapy, but she can go places with me that I cannot go with vanilla people–therapists, friends, family. She is not my therapist–I don’t expect that of her, and yet being with her is intensely therapeutic. I know that others will have different experiences, but I also find that the kind of therapeutic experiences I discover with Mistress are not fleeting, like a massage, but that they are digging into my psyche and readjusting things that were just stuck or not working. Fundamentally, she is helping me come to comfort with myself. And as my Reiki Master said [incidentally the person most challenging of my desire to see a dominatrix], “there should be no limit to what you spend on yourself to heal, because it gives you permanent joy and an ability to share that with others…it is a gift that echoes.”

A person like Mistress must have that therapeutic gift. She must also have an ability to intuit and feel in a way that gives her great sensitivity, working as she does with the outer reaches of the human psyche. She must be witty and charming and great company–able to engage and command on many topics of conversation because she is at least as educated as her clients. But she also must possess the most extraordinary ability to not be fazed by the kinky things that she sees and does. I like to think of myself as open-minded, but I know that no matter how hard I tried, I would not be capable of the empathy and understanding that she brings to her role. In other words, to be good at what she does takes extraordinary work, professionalism, dedication, and emotional energy. Add to this the social stigma attached to the profession. I see her standing in the rain, holding this great perspex shield above her charges, people like me, protecting us, helping us to heal and grow, with a defiant fist pushed back at the evils of the universe, and I just want to stand with her, to support her arm, to support her, because what she does is rare and beautiful.

God bless this Mistress who means so much to me, and God bless all the other Masters and Mistresses who help their charges as she has done me.

14 thoughts

  1. There is a lot here, my beautiful friend. I have read this post twice, once just now and once last night. I think the part that stood out to me the most was about finding a compatible partner (a spouse). I have come to believe that while Daddy and I have a strong foundation of mutual love, respect, and caring…that we may not always meet each other’s ever single need. I am grateful that we are both secure enough in our love to allow other explorations. It sounds like this is very much what you have with your wife, and that she is supportive of you exploring and developing your true self. While I know your sexuality may not be “her thing”, she loves you enough to want you to go and figure it all out, even with the help of a professional Domme. I think this is a beautiful testament to your connection with her ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Nora…thanks for popping in! First, let me just say how moved I am by what you are going through. The spouse is the life partner–thick and thin, sickness and health…my thoughts and prayers remain with you.

    You and I both have found that the spouse may not be the only source of our needs from people. We are both blessed with open-minded partners who allow us to fulfil ourselves outside of that primary bond. And it is necessary. Just as we need friends outside of the home, it is important to ensure our needs are met.

    Like you, sex outside of the primary relationship is a red line…but my conundrum is that it has also been one within the relationship. And this is tough, because, like you, I am an intensely sexual person. And the truth is that I am just all that much more so with a Mistress…but it is an odd thing, which is that I am finding that sexual fulfilment is possible without orgasm…or at the very least quite close. But boy, when they come (no pun intended), it sure feels good!

    Mistress is encouraging me to think through my own feelings of touch with my wife, though she would not presume to tell me how to interact with my wife. I appreciate her concern for my happiness and well-being. It is very odd being a submissive. It is like having a permanent security blanket. I feel it makes me stronger in every other aspect of my life…that I care much less about what others think because I have a growing base of confidence.

    I don’t think you can get all of what you need from a partner, and it is not fair to expect it. And I have observed that when you do, and try to force it, what you get is resentment and quite possibly blowback that pushes your needs even further away. How many bickering couples do you see? How many relationships that ultimately fall apart because of unrealistic expectations?

    I am not saying that we should ever lower our standards, or our expectations, but that our expectations should be fair–you cannot seek to change people, you cannot ask them to be what they are not, you cannot expect of them…but you can give to them and see what comes back…and if you find harmony in that, then work to preserve it…and tend it like a garden.

    Separately, do you know anything about horse-whispering? I am getting into that…can’t wait to write about it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this thoughtful response to my comment, my beautiful friend! Expectations can be the death of any relationship, if they are not reasonable of the person you are having them of. Often times, I think that our expectations have more to do with us, than they do with our partner(s). Smiles. I know nothing of horse-whispering (is that similar to being a dog-whisperer?) and will look forward to reading more 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And I know nothing of dog-whispering! It is connecting to a horse in a way that it will follow your lead without need for bridle, bits, etc…it is quite something to watch, but I think more evolved people now are recognising that horses, like bees, are deeply empathic animals. And yes, you are right, expectations are a killer…especially non-verbal ones.

    Liked by 1 person

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