(from the Latin dominatrix
, meaning a female ruler or Mistress; plural dominatrices
) or Mistress
is a woman who takes the dominant
role in bondage
, dominance and submission
. The counterpart term for a male dominant is "Master
". A common form of address for a submissive
to a dominatrix is "Mistress", "Ma'am", "Domina" or "Maîtresse". Note that a dominatrix does not necessarily dominate a male partner; a dominatrix may well have female submissives.
The term "Domme" is a coined pseudo-French female variation of the slang dom (short for dominant). It stems from the Latin words "dominus" = master, "domina" = mistress. The pronunciation is identical to the term "dom", by analogy to one-syllable French-derived words like femme or blonde.
Professional versus lifestyle dominatrices
The term dominatrix is often used to describe a professional dominant woman (or pro-domme) who charges money to engage in fantasy play with submissive clients. In reality most dominatrices are not professionals, but lifestyle dominants. A lifestyle dominant is a person who is assertive and in control of their relationships both inside and outside the bedroom.
Women who engage in female domination recreationally are known as dommes, dominatrices, mistresses, or simply dominants. A high percentage of dominants are lifestyle dominants, but some simply play the dominatrix role because it is a high-paying profession.
It is common for professional dominatrices who are also lifestyle dommes to have both paying clients and a "personal slave or sub" or slaves or subs, who are not paying clients. A personal slave will typically perform a domme's housework and run errands for her. A personal slave may or may not live with his or her Domme.
Professional dominants most frequently do not engage in sexual contact with their paying customers, as this can be construed as prostitution in some places. Outside of their life as a pro-Domme, they may or may not engage in sexual behavior with a devoted slave or sub. A common form of domination involves chastity where a dominant controls her slaves' sexual access, sometimes keeping them locked in a chastity device except for rare occasions.
The stereotypical image of a dominatrix is of a woman wearing a rubber or leather catsuit and thigh-length boots with high heels or, in a more elegant and teasing mode, black lingerie, stockings and high heels, or some combination of these two alternatives. Many professional dominatrices do indeed wear similar outfits for their work in order to meet client expectations.
Dominatrices in popular culture
In novels and short stories
- Venus in Furs, by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, deals with a man who is so besotted with a woman he becomes her sex slave. Also, the song of the same name by the Velvet Underground deals with the same subject matter.
- Ulysses by James Joyce includes a dominatrix named Bella Cohen, from whose hands the protagonist Leopold Bloom suffers from in the episode Circe.
- Exit to Eden a novel by Anne Rice, features a variety of dominatrices in the setting of an isolated island BDSM resort called The Club.
- Valtiatar Artemis (Mistress Artemis) there is a dominatrix who has come from space. Valtiatar Artemis is included in the anthology Athena-Artemis.
- Sex, Blood & Rock and Roll, the protagonist is a professional dominatrix who decides to open her own dungeon.
- Sword of Truth series, the Mord'Sith are a rank of dominatrices, clad in skin-tight red leather, who serve to torture, interrogate, and protect against the enemies of their master, the Lord Rahl.
- Exit to Eden, Dana Delany portrayed a dominatrix.
- Preaching to the Perverted, starring Guinevere Turner, depicts a dominatrix.
- Eating Raoul features Doris the Dominatrix, who, when off the job, is a married mother.
- Maîtresse, starring Gérard Depardieu and Bulle Ogier, depicted a professional dominant.
- Love and Human Remains, Mia Kirshner received a Genie nomination for her role as the dominatrix and psychic Benita.
- Payback, features Lucy Liu as the dominatrix Pearl.
- EuroTrip, Cooper Harris has an encounter with a dominatrix (played by Lucy Lawless) during the night when the group visits Amsterdam.
- Die Heilige Hure (which means saint prostitute) deals with a woman's metamorphosis to a dominatrix (Susanna Simon) in front of the Catholic church's double standards.
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Angelina Jolie plays a dominatrix in a scene in which, to her customer's delight, she reveals a PVC outfit.
- American Wedding, one of the strippers in the bachelor party is a dominatrix.
- Tomcats, the librarian is also a dominatrix.
- Moulin Rouge! there is a dominatrix can can dancer
- Walk All Over Me, a small town girl assumes the false identity of her dominatrix roommate.
- The Bank Job one of the members of the British Parliament is photographed during a session with a dominatrix.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the sadistic character Bellatrix Lestrange, has many characteristics of being a dominatrix. The character is portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter.
- Sleeping Beauty the 1959 Disney film, Maleficent is much like a dominatrix in her appearance and her imprisonment and taunting of Prince Phillip.
- Sin City in the film which is a near scene by scene representation of it's source comic, The character of Gail is an expert with human bondage even having some knots that are said to be inescapable ones and is in a bondage suit always carrying around a few pairs of handcuffs. portrayed in the movie by Rosario Dawson.
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has featured a recurring professional dominatrix character, Lady Heather, who is depicted in a sympathetic manner.
- Desperate Housewives, Maisy Gibbons acts as a dominatrix for her client Rex Van de Kamp.
- Alias, Jennifer Garner pretends to be a dominatrix.
- Addams Family Values Morticia displays many dominatrix attributes.
- Houseepisode entitled Love Hurts, a patient, Harvey, takes pleasure in the pain inflicted on him by his dominatrix friend, Annette.
- Nip Tuck in a Season 5 episode, Christian and Sean repair bite marks from a big time CEO's dominatrix.
- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Kafuka made Chie be verbally abusive to Usui using the logic that he wouldn't mind being criticized by someone beautiful. Later on, she was depicted with dominatrix attire.
- Jackass, Season 3, Episode 5, Preston is beaten by two Dominatrices in a hotel room. The stunt is titled 'Oklahoma', which is the chosen safe word.
- Big Brother Australia Series 1, Evictee #1, Andy Silva is a dominatrix.
- The Avengers episode "A touch of brimstone.", Emma Peel dresses as a dominatrix to be "The Queen of Sin".
- Sin City, stories in the comic book series feature the character of Gail, a prostitute and dominatrix whose speciality is knot-tying. She is one of the authority figures in Old Town, a part of the city run by female prostitutes. She has even shown some sado-masochist tendencies as she makes out with Dwight after he smacks her.
- Catwoman, DC comic books bears a strong dominatrix motif: her stylized mask, the skintight outfit and the whip, in combination with her strong-willed and at the same time sultry personality are the most striking of these characteristics. In Batman: Year One, Frank Miller depicts Selina Kyle, before she adopts the Catwoman persona, as a bustier-wearing domme humiliating a man in a Gotham brothel.
- Questionable Content the main character, Marten, is the son of a dominatrix who goes by the name "Veronica Vance".
- Demon Diary, Erutis appears in a mask and bustier, bearing a whip, and calling herself "Bondage Queen". She is quickly written off by Chris and Eclipse for her boyish figure.
- Sorcerer Hunters the alternate forms of Tira and Chocolate Misu have a strong dominatrix motiff and behavior.
- Ragnarok Online, MMORPG , the Zealotus monster appears in the Underprison levels of the Glast Heim dungeon. She wears a mask that covers half of her face, sports a whip, and can summon several 'Injustice' monsters to attack players.
- Soul Calibur Ivy Valentine is thought of by players as a dominatrix with her bondage clothing, whip-like weapon, and some suggestive attack names (Spiral Dominance, Pleasure Change, and Mistress' Justice).
- Battle Arena Toshinden, Sofia and Zola resemble dominatrices in their clothing, dialogue and use of whip weapons.
- Dungeon Keeper 2, features the Mistress as a minion that you as the Dungeon Keeper can recruit - they are visually portrayed as dominatrices in black leather with a whip.
- Warhammer 40,000, The Tyranid race from the game refers briefly to units known as the "Dominatrix" who are believed to be in control of the many groups of Tyranids in the universe.
- World of Warcraft, MMORPG, the Warlock's Succubus pet is portrayed as a dominatrix.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Mille Perkins, one of CJ's girlfriends is fond of BDSM and in "Key To Her Heart" CJ dresses himself as a dominator in order to convince her to give him her keycard.
- Guild Wars, MMORPG, a profession called mesmer, can wear thigh-length boots, masks and corset's. Mesmer-class also has spells which refers to some dominant action, such as "Domination Magic".
- Shadow Hearts II: Covenant, Veronica Vera is present, wearing a dominatrix style outfit and wielding a whip. She is often referred to as the "S&M Broad" and even has her own 'mini-game' where she tortures one of characters showing obvious enjoyment from it.
- Persona 3, The character Mitsuru Kirijo is seemingly controlling personality that rarely is subdued and is most associated with a dominatrix by Junpei and fans.
- Persona 4, Chie's shadow is portrayed as a long haired, masked, dominatrix which uses a whip as a weapon.
Dominatrices in media
- Gloria Brame, American author, sex therapist, and counselor is also a lifestyle dominant.
- Maîtresse Françoise, French professional dominatrix (pen name Annick Foucault) has written a book about her experiences as a dominatrix
- Georgia Payne, a Los Angeles based professional dominatrix who wrote a handbook on techniques to spice up a romantic relationship.
- Susan Winemaker, author of Concertina: The Life and Loves of a Dominatrix, about her experience over several years as Mistress Anna, a London dominatrix
- Claire Mansfield, author of Dominatrix: A Memoir, about her experiences as Mistress Chloe, a London dominatrix
Dominatrices in music
- Tomi Ungerer: Schutzengel der Hölle, Diogenes 1986, ISBN 3257020163
- Annick Foucault, Françoise maîtresse, Gallimard 1994, ISBN 2070738345
- Shawna Kenney, I Was a Teenage Dominatrix: A Memoir, Last Gasp 2002, ISBN 0867195304