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Girl Talk: I Was A Dominatrix

The following is an excerpt from Whip Smart: A Memoir, by Melissa Febos, who we recently interviewed about her four years working as a dominatrix at a New York City dungeon. Here, Febos is about to have her very first “domination session” with a male client at the dungeon, for which she is being paid $75.

An hour can be a long time. Hell, a minute can be a long time. The minute before your first kiss with someone is a painstaking collection of seconds, each one more bloated with anticipation than the last. The first minute of a tattoo is a long one as well. Pain has few rivals in its ability to slow time. Fear, excitement, elation — these are kissing cousins, all with the sensorial power to render each second humming with every tick and gasp of our bodies, the whirr of insect wings and distant car engines. Sometimes, I could savor these moments, relish them as opportunities to walk straight into the fact of being alive. In the seconds that crept into the minutes of my very first domination session, I had no idea what I wanted. The $75 certainly, but beyond that? Character- building life experience? I would have confidently named these motives right up until the moment that the door of the Red Room closed behind me. With the clasp of its latch, all bravado and ideology dimmed with the light of the hallway behind. It was only me, a naked old man, and 60 minutes of palpable expectation. An hour alone with a naked man with whom you do not intend to have sex can be a very long time …

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