Sexuality is an enduring and essential component of identity which roots itself deeply in how we express ourselves – a paradox of complexity and simplicity, real yet abstract, spoken yet hushed. It’s said that the sexual self is the truest version of yourself – the version which is representative of your core drives and desires. What’s reflected in intimacy can be indicative of your character – If you like to be dominated you probably lack absolute confidence and self-assurance. Oppositely, if you like to dominate you’re probably a pragmatist who is exhilarated by confidence, decision making and control.
- Emile Levy’s ‘Circe’ (1889) portraying the male desire to be dominated and controlled by female influence
I met in Dalston Superstore with Adreena Angela, a professional mistress who categorically falls into the bracket of pragmatist. I wanted to find out more about her experiences with male clients and how she strikes a delicate balance between creating a sensual experience whilst maintaining a professional standard. I wanted to delve into the intimate insight that she has with men and how they express themselves in private. I wanted to know how she managed herself into this life and made a success of herself in doing so, whether it affected her personal politics, her outlook on sexuality and what she thought it was that she’s providing…I decided to begin at the beginning:
Q: At which point did your sexuality shift from being a curiosity to something you pursued professionally?
Adreena: It started by accident – I was about 16 when I started going to sex shops and buying magazines, 17 I started going to fetish events, started working at them about 18/19, I was very much on the scene and knowing the scene but not doing it totally professionally. Then I was actually a pastry chef! The pay wasn’t great and I was working crazy hours and during this time I got invited to a foot worship party by a guy off of the internet…
Q: Was there any reservation like this guy could be a catfish type scenario?
A: I was nervous but I figured it’d be legit and it turned out to be a good experience, made some money and started doing that which led to private sessions – in private sessions people’s requests become more diverse – some people want to worship feet whilst wearing a dog collar and things such as that. I began getting enough work through that which meant I could quit my full time job. From there I began offering more services and researching different practices and fetishes and realized how much I loved it and expressing my sexuality.
Q: Was there any nerves throughout this process?
A: Oh definitely, for a really long time – whenever I get a new client you have to kind of guess what they like, whether they’re in to what you do…they can tell you what they’re into but there’s a certain amount of guess work involved also…especially via email.
Q: Which seems like, from what I understand about your interactions, examples that I’ve seen to be the most difficult part? Communication from the side of the client being difficult to discern or just simply poorly structured and opaque?
A: Sometimes it’s like that – now I get ones that are quite robust and more descriptive. Sometimes there’s emails from guys who from the start have an attitude and approach the whole interaction in completely the wrong way.
Q: …and do you avoid characters like that?
A: Yes absolutely – you’ve got to screen, if there’s someone I get a bad vibe from I don’t negotiate.
Q: What’s the average amount of emails that you’ receive from initial contact to session?
A: I try and keep it to around ten but it really varies on the client, some times it can be like forty messages…over something quite simple, like for example if someone requests electric work, I’ll say that’s fine and they’ll follow up like…’so…you’re going to use electrics on me?’…I’ll be like yes…they’ll respond…’okay so will you put it on my nipples?’…I’ll respond…well, they’re not going to be on my nipples so yes, they’ll be on yours. Examples like that where something obvious is drawn out. I think it’s a combination between nerves and some people just simply getting off on the fantasy of it.
Q: Is there any stiff competition among other dom’s or is it a supportive network?
A: Absolutely a supportive network – I know professionals and colleagues and we regularly meet up to share sob stories, experiences, advice…it’s a strong network. It’s women you know, women generally stick together. From my experience there’s no animosity from other dom’s it’s all very supportive. There’s a night called The Queen Bee Society where educators, professionals will meet up and discuss all of these issues.
Q: Do you have a large range of clients in terms of demographics?
A: Huge…the stereotype is middle aged businessman but it’s totally diverse. You actually get quite a lot of young guys. I think it’s because of the internet, people will search their kinks and find communities online that validate and share their fetishes whereas traditionally people would try to repress these things.
Q: What do you think drives men to want to do these kinds of things?
A: I wish I knew…it’s just sexuality.
Q: What’s the average duration of a session that you’d undertake?
A: Between 1-3 hours dependent on the person, their financial situation, the amount of times they’ve seen me, if we have a developed idea of kinks and preferences they usually last longer because an hour isn’t enough to get to where you ideally want to be.
Q: Have you had any experiences where sessions have gotten emotional?
A: Yes – there’s a saying that it’s 80% counselor / 20% dominatrix. There’s been situations where I’ve been jamming a rod down a mans urethra and he’s telling me about his mortgage. Clients have to trust you so it’s important to develop a relationship of openness. With this comes certain admissions, I’ve had men tell me about the times they’ve tried to kill themselves, about their depression, some will start crying. It can get heavy.
Q: How do you set boundaries and stop the illusion of intimacy from developing into a full blown obsession?
A: It’s hard…sometimes you can see it happening and you have to cut it off – there are signs that it’s beyond professional. Things like receiving texts late at night, a certain level of over familiarity, making jokes that are a bit inappropriate…that kind of thing.
Q: How long does a working relationship typically last?
A: It varies – I have some clients I’ve been seeing from the beginning, I’ve have one client who I’ve been seeing for two years, some people are one timers who come and go. It depends on if there’s any changes in financial status and other factors like that.
Q: I would guess that you’ve had to develop a character for this to function properly, would that be a fair point considering the fantasy element to it all?
A: I think you get different types of dom’s who have different approaches – I would describe what I do as fairly naturalistic, I would say it’s kink positive, nurturing domination. When you’re dressed for it there’s a different energy – I try to keep it as natural as possible though because I want them to know when they’re sessioning with me that they’re sessioning with me and not a character.
Q: What’s your opinion on FinDom?
A: I think it’s really upsetting for people who have a respect for the culture – to see these girls thinking it’s a case of simply exploiting men for profit. They’ll create profiles and just say to men online ‘loser, pin dick, give me all your money’ and there’s just a complete lack of creativity. If you’re going to do it, do it with some creativity and style.
Q: Has there ever been any extreme requests which you’ve had to turn down?
A: There was one time where I had a request for me to break someones leg, I had to explain I can’t do that, even if you tried to explain you wanted it – it’s illegal. That was quite intense. There was another time where I got a request of racial degradation – a Muslim man wanted me to insult and degrade him on the basis of his ethnicity and religion which I couldn’t possibly envision doing, even if he wanted it.
Q: How does this lifestyle relate to your personal politics?
A: Through doing this I find out so much from myself, I’ve discovered so much about my own sexuality and my own kinks whilst also understanding more intimately who I am. Outside of these personal discoveries and outside of work I feel more confident with who I am in general.
Adreena spoke with a candour, softness and sincerity about her story and experiences, she shed light on the real humility involved in her practices as she manages not just peoples bodies, but emotions along with it. She’s localized a part of male identity which hides itself away and she convinces it to come out; with confidence. My motive to speak to Adreena was to try and exact in on whether there was any correlation between the current mental health crisis that is claiming men’s lives on a daily basis and the submissive element of BDSM culture. It’s difficult to tell where this overlap begins and ends but the testimonies would suggest that BDSM culture is a form of therapy for certain people and it knows no stereotypes.
What is clear is that from the feedback Adreena receives and the service she provides is that it’s imbued with a rarely addressed nobility. It’s a type of experience which lifts these men’s spirits and invigorates their lives with a paradoxical submissive freedom. After our conversation I was left with the impression that despite the fringes of social stigma that exist toward the practices, in a sense; dominatrix’s are the unsung councilors, assuming a dark divinity which can influence men to lose control and feel comfortable without it.