Paragraph 8 reads: "Both the money and the work. White had recently left an emotionally abusive relationship, a relationship that left her raw and anxious and on a full slate of antidepressants. But taking out her pain on her willing male clients was therapeutic for her, and her mood steadily improved."
Paragraph 18 reads: "'I can’t help but think that the medication I was on helped facilitate me doing what I did,' she says. 'I think I needed to be a bit numb in order to do it, and now that I’m off the meds, that’s changed.' She attempted to re-enter the industry about a year ago, after having been off meds for several months, and found she struggled emotionally with the demands of the work. 'I couldn’t do it,' she said. 'I felt so dirty, I was disgusted by the guys and I just wanted to cry'.”
The Teacher Who Became A DominatrixAn academic turns to whips and chains for the paycheque, but gets pulled deeper into the sex trade
Published July 16, 2009 by Marliss Weber in Lifestyle
Madalyn White gives new meaning to the phrase “hot for teacher.”
A couple of summers ago, White (not her real name) was working on her Ph.D. in English at the University of Alberta, teaching the odd beginner English course to first-year students. A career academic, White was passionate about the role of women in literature and foresaw a long career in dusty libraries and hallowed halls.
But a few years into her Ph.D., White became disenchanted with the academic life largely because she hated making $1,200 a month as a sessional instructor and was tired of the publish-or-perish grind.
So White made a career change. After more than 10 years in academics, White became a dominatrix.
“I had no idea what I was doing at first,” she confesses with a laugh.
So how does a former academic learn to dominate? How to whip and flog and incur pain without lasting damage? “I got it all out of a book,” she says. “I did my research in a library.”
White’s research skills apparently paid off. She got a job at an adult massage studio and immediately started to work. “I’ll never forget my first call,” she says. “I was so nervous, but the guy was actually pretty okay, and it was kind of fun.” And when she was handed her pay after her first day, she almost had enough to pay her rent that month.
“I was astounded,” she says. “As an academic, I had never made so much money in one day. I admit, it felt kind of good.”
Both the money and the work. White had recently left an emotionally abusive relationship, a relationship that left her raw and anxious and on a full slate of antidepressants. But taking out her pain on her willing male clients was therapeutic for her, and her mood steadily improved.
In fact, she started to see herself in ways she never had before. “I wasn’t very confident,” she says of herself before her work as a dominatrix. “Especially around guys. I was always the dorky girl who liked to read. But this industry helped me to embrace myself as a sexual being, and frankly, I felt attractive for the first time.”
Her newfound sexual power, coupled with her fattened bank account, led to a summer of manic highs. And some serious lows. “Yeah, I had some clients who were serious jerks abusive, completely disrespectful. Guys who didn’t respect the rules of the studio. Guys who smelled bad, guys I didn’t want to be anywhere near, let alone do anything with.”
She started out in the industry as a dominatrix only: she was happy to flog her customers and inflict pain upon them, but she drew the line at actual sex. But the temptation of the money became too strong, and she soon found that everything has a price.
“Sometimes I actually enjoyed the sex, but most often, it was just a job,” she says. “Some of my clients were handsome, a lot of them well-dressed and well-educated. Some of them weren’t, and it was hard to be that intimate with someone who smelled bad or had bad breath,” she says. “But on the other hand, I loved how attractive I felt in their eyes.”
White coasted on the emotional high of the job for two and a half months, during which time she made more than $25,000. And then she left the city, and moved to another province to start another program at another university.
As for the emotional ramifications of the work, White is only now, years later, starting to be able to reflect on it. “In some ways, I think that whole summer was good for me,” she says. “I felt empowered and beautiful for the first time. And I totally stepped out of myself and did something out of character, and that was fun.
“But it also kind of screwed me up.”
She tried to continue working in the sex industry in her new city, and found that the longer she did it, the lower she felt. A few bad bosses and bad experiences left her numb and depressed, and school wasn’t going well either. “I realized I had to take some steps to get my life back in order,” she says.
And those steps included quitting the sex industry and working to get herself emotionally healthy so she could be medication-free. And despite a low-paying job at Starbucks, today White is happier, healthier, and drug-free.
“I can’t help but think that the medication I was on helped facilitate me doing what I did,” she says. “I think I needed to be a bit numb in order to do it, and now that I’m off the meds, that’s changed.” She attempted to re-enter the industry about a year ago, after having been off meds for several months, and found she struggled emotionally with the demands of the work. “I couldn’t do it,” she said. “I felt so dirty, I was disgusted by the guys and I just wanted to cry.”
That was the day she quit cold turkey. “After that experience, I knew I’d never do anything in the sex industry again.”
Today, White says she feels a lot more grounded. “In some ways, I think my reasons for going into the industry had a lot to do with how disconnected I felt from both myself physically and from who I am emotionally. My work as a domme helped connect that but not necessarily in a good way. It’s hard to say exactly why I did it, but I do know that now that I’m out of it, I’m a better, healthier person and I’m more connected to who I am.
“I worry about the girls who do it for too long,” she says. “I’m one of the few people in the industry who did it for a short period and then got out. And I’m one of the few people who are well-educated and older when I started. A lot of girls start when they’re only 18. I was 32. I think even age not maturity necessarily, but age helped me keep it a bit in perspective.”
That perspective doesn’t make the lure of the money any easier to resist. “I’ve been working at Starbucks for the last few months, making seriously crap pay. I keep thinking about the money I made as a domme and I miss that aspect of it. Anyone would. But now I’m looking for a career-type job, communications or something in the government, so I hope I won’t be working for Starbucks much longer.”
So hopefully the teacher turned dominatrix turned barista will be adding civil servant or communications officer to her résumé. That would be, for this former happy ending gal, a happy ending indeed. “I’m anxious,” she says, “to get a real job, get on with my life, and be happy.”