Performing at a Sex Party Helped Me Find Myself
This is chapter 1 of my non-linear memoir about my journey as a professional dominatrix.
Tatiana had just finished tightening her corset when I heard Judith knock on the bedroom door. Judith and her attorney husband, Barry, were hosting a swinger’s party at their house. Tatiana and I were getting ready in their bedroom.
A month earlier, Judith contacted me through my dominatrix profile on a professional BDSM website. She asked if I’d be up for a performance at her fete. She wanted a show to warm up the partygoers. Could I dominate someone to turn on the guests? "So they'll get to fucking, and not just stand around talking,” Judith explained.
I’d been working as a dominatrix in Los Angeles for two years by then. I was heavy into my BDSM exploration, so much so I’d begun to switch. Not professionally, of course. No, I only dominated male clients for money. But I met up with different dommes to sub privately.
Tatiana was a woman I sometimes submitted to. We pretended we had a thing though it was more of a friendship. We made out once while drunk at The Dresden Lounge in Los Feliz, garnering a crowd of men who hoped to sandwich themselves between us. No man managed it, and so I’d gone home with Tatiana, but she’d passed out drunk before we could get it on.
We kept on hanging out together, mostly to drink and occasionally to take drugs. Sometimes we played. She was hot. I had a thing for her. Still, I couldn’t totally figure out if it was a sexual fixation or not. Such confusion would come to characterize much of my exploration into BDSM.
I had fantasies about bisexualism and sexual submission but when it came down to actually acting out my fantasies, I was unsure if I even liked them. But my curiosity lingered. That’s what compelled me to agree to perform at Judith and Barry’s party. Well, that and the $500 she promised to pay me in exchange.
Because I wanted to explore submission, I invited Tatiana to dominate me. She readily agreed. So there we were, in Judith and Barry’s bedroom, getting ready to put on a BDSM show at their fuck-fest.
The couple put on a sex party once a month at their sprawling mansion in the Hollywood Hills. They were exactly the type of Sodom-and-Gomorrah elites who red-state politicians and Bible-thumpers love to decry. By then, I was used to hobnobbing with such people, so I felt right at home at this party. Plus, I was wasted. Tatiana and I were swigging Jim Beam as we got ready for the show.
Tobias snapped photos of us while we prepared ourselves. He was a friend who I invited along to “memorialize” the event. I was also trying to have a sexual relationship with Tobias, though he was celibate, so that wasn’t really happening.
We’d never had sex though he sometimes tied me up and poured candle wax on me. But he was essentially asexual. He once told me that my labia looked like the tied end of a balloon, frilled and floppy. I don’t know what I saw in Tobias other than it was another experience to be had. Oh, and he was very cute and was a photographer.
The fact was, experimenting was a rush. I’d been out of college for seven years by then. I’d tried corporate life and found I hated it, but now I was finally on my own, able to figure out who I was as separate from my family. But who was I? I didn’t know. I was trying to find out through my job as a dominatrix and my sexual explorations.
Judith poked her head into the bedroom. “Everyone’s waiting and ready,” she said, our sign that it was time to perform. I was wearing a latex garter belt attached to black-seamed nylons and nothing else but platform heels. I took another swig of bourbon and dropped to my knees. Showtime.
Tatiana attached a chain leash to my choker. She yanked on the chain, and I crawled behind her out of the bedroom. Glowing votives led our way to the living room where the partygoers waited for us. I turned my head to my left and saw nothing but floor-to-ceiling glass that gave way to a rolling lawn of emerald, a black-bottomed pool, and a view of the entire Los Angeles basin. The twinkling lights invited, but I preferred my place in the clouds. But how the hell had I gotten here?
I was a “nice” girl from the suburbs with a degree from UCLA and parents who voted Republican across the board, but was now working as a professional dominatrix and about to submit to another woman in front of a room full of swingers. My parents didn’t know I had this job. Most of my friends, whom I had told about it, judged me for it. I had wandered so far from who I was taught to be through my childhood. This often made me stressed but I also didn’t want to stop exploring.
I was a fish out of water, wandering deeper and deeper into a maze I didn’t totally understand. A few months after performing at Judith’s party, I’d realize I’d wandered so far away from the identity I’d been given growing up that I forgot who I was. This wasn’t all a bad thing, of course, though for years I thought it was. In a sense, I needed to be broken down and built back up into a different person. That didn’t mean the process wasn’t weird and sometimes emotionally painful, even if it was also exciting.
Tonight was exciting. I’d discovered I loved performing. I adored being watched. It was freeing for me. So much of my shyness seemed to have been imposed upon me by my parents. They were so strict and rigid and I was so curious and creative. I’d had to subdue myself just to get through my childhood. Now, I was figuring out who I really was. I was breaking free.
Tatiana led me crawling into the living room, which was decorated entirely in white. The walls, the couches, the pillows, the carpet, and also the animal-fur rug upon which we were to perform, were white. The swingers in attendance made space for us as we approached the rug. The air was dry-hot, even though the decor of the room was arctic.
A twenty-five-year-old man with smoldering handsomeness stared at me with erotic hunger. His girlfriend, in a bra and panties ensemble, gave me a cheeky grin. Two blondes dressed in Catholic-school uniforms, flanked by a surfer dude with copious pecs, were all eyeing me. Tatiana and I came to a stop on the rug.
As I was on all fours, my genitalia was exposed to the crowd. This didn’t embarrass me. I wanted these people to look at my pussy. It excited me to have my nakedness stared at. What I change from how I used to be. Both my parents and society at large had instilled so much sexual fear in me growing up that I didn’t even see what my vulva actually looked like until I was twenty. I was too scared to. Once I did, I thought it was ugly. It made me feel ashamed.
I felt the same way when my college boyfriend demanded I let him photograph me naked before I embarked on a summer abroad program without him. He’d ordered me onto my hands and knees on the bed and I had burned with resentment as he snapped photos of my vulva. He claimed he wanted to have something to remember me by while I was gone, but I hated what he’d made me do. I’d felt forced by him to bend over to bare my private parts to him so he could shame me more by photographing them. But look at me now.
Not only was Tobias taking pictures of my pussy as I waited in front of this audience, but all of them were staring at it, too. What a difference a few years made. There was a time when I didn’t even like to walk around naked in front of my boyfriends. Having sex nude was one thing, but being casually naked with another human being was quite another.
I certainly wouldn’t have wanted a bunch of strangers to be staring at my vulva back then. This was one great thing that working in the sex industry had done for me: it had liberated me from my fears. Though I wasn’t required to session naked, I sometimes did. I was finally enjoying my naked body. Doing this work allowed me to embrace my true form.
That was another thing about my childhood. I hadn’t been allowed to actually own my body. At least it never felt like I had. Not only were my parents highly embarrassed about their own bodies—secretive about being naked—I had been dissuaded from doing physical things, period.
I was only to use my brain. I was to get good grades. I was to grow up to be white collar. Only the “low-born” did jobs that necessitated physical labor. Add to what was verboten for me as a developing young woman—to experience my body sexually.
I was told not to have sex with a boy or he would just use me. I would get a reputation. My female friends backed up my parents’ fears by gossiping about other young women who did have sex—or at least what was considered to be “too much” sex. Sex without commitment.
My parents never talked about sex with me, growing up. At least they never did unless it was in a negative way. I had to learn about sex by groping around in the literal and figurative darkness. Though my girlfriends and I did discuss our couplings with boys, we never talked about pleasure. We certainly never talked about masturbation. I didn’t masturbate until age twenty. I felt too ashamed to.
My body was a region left unexplored. But now I was investigating it. I was doing this with other people. Other people were looking at my body, touching it. And I loved it.
A male partygoer exclaimed, "What a pussy!"
I locked eyes with a forty-year-old redhead in Gucci. She snaked her acrylic-nailed forefinger into my mouth and I sucked the digit between my lips. I hoped this would do the trick to get the crowd fucking after our show.
I felt Tatiana's riding crop smash against my muscled ass. She ordered me up on my knees while she busied herself with strapping on a harness that held a black-rubber dick.
"Suck my cock, slave," she demanded, and I took the phallus deep into my mouth. It felt weird to be doing this in front of other people and even a little humiliating, but I was also aroused by it. I continued to suck Tatiana’s fake dick until she ordered me to roll onto my back.
“Spread your thighs,” she said.
I obeyed her order. She lay on top of me, entered me, and began to thrust inside of me. The crowd started clapping. I didn’t come but it was exciting enough to be watched. I knew I’d masturbate about this later.
Tatiana pulled out of me and then stuck the rubber phallus back into my mouth. I tasted my juices and revelled in the attention. But it was more than that. I felt like I was finally inhabiting my body. I had crossed taboo boundaries and finally found myself. Or at least, I’d found a part of me I never knew existed.
I noticed a woman hovering near me. There was something conservative about her, like in her "real" life she filed papers for an accountant in Century City. She reminded me of what I used to be like before I started on this journey.
Back when I was a magazine reporter, before I became a dominatrix, I had interviewed a sex worker and felt like I was better than her. I felt like we had nothing in common. She was strange and perverted. I, on the hand, was proper, obeying society’s norms.
The sex worker had showed up for the interview, dressed in a revealing top and tight jeans. I had on a blazer and a skirt. Even being around her made me uncomfortable. How times had changed since then. Now I was a sex worker. Now I was the “slut.”
“I've never kissed a girl before,” the conservative woman told me. I kissed her, our tongues swirling around in each other’s mouths.
Another woman approached. She was wearing a lavender teddy. “I'm fisting this chick,” she said. “Do you want to watch?"
I didn't answer. I just said, “Fist me.”
I lay back down and she squirted a dollop of lube onto her right hand, then slowly inserted her hand, finger by finger, into my vagina. She only managed to get four fingers in. Still, I’d never had an experience like this before. It was invigorating—a head trip. I didn’t orgasm with the stimulation. I didn’t need to. I was exploring myself. That was enough.
I thanked the woman and realized Tatiana had walked off. I roamed the party on my own. Soon, Tatiana found me again. She tied my wrists behind my back and paraded me around. I pushed out my bare breasts and felt my power. There was power in submission and in my nakedness—in the freedom that I was allowing myself to feel.
Judith caught up to us to thank us for the show. Our performance had done the trick. Groups of people had slid off to extra bedrooms in the couple’s mansion. People were fucking because of us—because of me.
I felt proud as Judith shared information about how long she'd been putting on these parties, about how she and her husband got into swinging. And then her lips were moving, two scarlet semi-circles coming down upon one another in a staccato of movement because I wasn’t listening anymore.
It struck me that, just three years earlier, I’d also written an article about swingers and had mentally classified my subjects as "freaks." I remembered noting how I thought the husbands were just conning their wives into swinging. I called swinging "institutionalized cheating."
I’d completely written off the concept that women could be into wife-swapping. They couldn’t possibly enjoy sex with any other man than their husband. I believed that only men got to explore their sexuality. Women just weren’t that into it.
I had not only absorbed the lies of society but I’d decided they were true. My own sexual explorations had helped open my mind. Judith was simply exploring her sexuality, as I was. Maybe putting on these parties had even been her idea. It was a fallacy that sex was the domain of men. Women also wanted pleasure. We had a right to it. We just had to give ourselves permission to experience it.
That was the gift that working as a dominatrix had given me: the permission to experience the whole spectrum of my humanity, which included my sexuality. In this serialized memoir, I will break down where I came from, how I got here, what effect it had on me, and how working as a dominatrix changed my outlook on the world for good.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. More to come soon.
Emme Witt is a writer living in Los Angeles. Read more of her work on Medium. Follow her on Instagram. Support her work by buying her a cold brew.