BDSM How it could/should be – The Good Mistress

*this was originally printed in BOLT magazine and is reposted and somewhat rewritten here with the consent of BOLT’s Editor in Chief.

The paddle, beautiful, functional and it saves a Mistress from getting a really sore hand.

BDSM always seems to get a lot of bad press, literally.  Usually when it’s seen in the news it’s because someone was horribly abused by someone they trusted with their lives or even because someone has died in weird, very kinky, sexually fueled circumstances.  And there’s no denying that abuse does happen in BDSM relationships.  People do get hurt in ways that run counter to what they have given consent for.  But then again that is far too often also the sad reality of completely vanilla relationships.  The sad fact is that all walks of life are filled with abusive assholes no matter how kinky or not you and your lifestyle may be.

But I believe, no more than that I know that BDSM can be a force for immense good in a person’s life.  It can be the source of incredible strength and the catalyst that triggers vast personal growth.  Aspects of it can give some people a reason to live when suicide seems all too attractive to them.  It can be a framework for deeply intense, loving and above all mutually respectful relationships.

In other words it can be something worthy of respect and praise.  Every bit as much as the traditional vanilla monogamous relationship.

So that said it’s time I started to explore the world of BDSM that I see and share with the world a vision I hold dear in the hope that it will entertain all, educate some and help at the very least a few.

But before continuing please note that the definitions and terms I use in any BDSM blog are not by any means meant to be definitive in their nature.  The meaning of  words such as slavegirl, Mistress and even kinkiness are ephemeral at best. The way I use them in these articles reflects my own personal experience within the lifestyle so I hope you have safe, sane and above all consensual fun finding your own definitions

So now if everyone is sitting comfortably we’ll begin with a simple question.  What is a Mistress?

Hollywood would have us believe that a Mistress is a cold, dark, seductive temptress.  Who in a huskily sexy voice hand out stern commands which must be obeyed or else you, the poor powerless submissive, will suffer an uncertain future of punishment and humiliation.

Hollywood as is usual gets it mostly wrong.

Some Mistresses are dark and seductive, some of them even have the sort of husky voice that can melt a spinal column at fifty paces.   But most aren’t, most are just incredibly normal women who happen to be domineering as hell and joyfully embrace that dominant nature.

The key to beginning to define what a Mistress is starts with the word dominant.  Mistresses are all to a greater or lesser extent what the rest of the world would call, bossy bitches.  They love to be in control, more often than not, of almost everything in their lives.  Now that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily kinky.  Most Mistresses are kinky and do in fact have a toy bag somewhere in their house filled with pretty leather things designed to make a bold submissive’s bottom hurt.  But there are some who are content to just control day-to-day life in their own homes with a razor wire tongue and a vicious, flesh rending wit.

Where Hollywood does get it mostly right is that if you don’t obey your Mistress your future will more than likely be filled with interesting punishments.  Anyone  for picking up a kilo of rice, one grain at a time with a tweezers?

So Mistresses are dominant.  Good start and for an awful lot of women that’s all there is to being a Mistress, being dominant.  I am dominant therefore I am a Mistress.  Aha, right, does that come with a secret decoder ring?

Would you guess that I am not one of those women?

Being dominant is to my mind, and to the minds of the better Mistresses I have known in my life, simply one aspect of the mind which can sometimes lead a woman onto the path of becoming a Mistress.

The title of this article is “The Good Mistress” for a reason.  I don’t intend to flood the pages of my blog with horror stories, though I have far too many I could share.  I do intend to paint a picture of what the BDSM lifestyle can be and what I believe it should be.  Yes there are bad Mistresses, just as there are bad doctors, bad drivers and bad politicians. But there are also amazing Mistresses who walk through this world as wonderful examples of how you can be a Dominatrix and a beautiful, loving, weirdly gentle person.

What is a good Mistress?  A good Mistress is complicated and if she is truly good cursed.

She is of course dominant.  But that dominance instead of making her little more than a bully  makes her the sort of person who wants, even needs to lead.  She is the one who when she looks at her slavegirl asks the most important question that any Mistress can ask.

“How can I guide her in becoming a better person than she already is?”

The good Mistress is the one who when she sees a talent that is unused by her slavegirl makes sure that talent gets exercised.  She is the Mistress who takes the time to very carefully compose a code for her slavegirl to live by.  A basic set of rules that will help mould the girl in to what she might become with a firm but gentle hand guiding her.  The good Mistress is as much a surrogate big sister to her slavegirl as she is a kink fuelled lover.  Though thankfully without the risk of jail time that would be the cost of a truly incestuous relationship.

For the better Mistresses their lifestyle is more often a journey of personal growth than a way of getting some housework done by someone who will also be a source of hot loving on demand.  This means that being a Mistress should most of the time be not so much about giving difficult tasks and expecting them to be done or punishment will ensue.  Rather it is usually about giving lots of small relatively easy commands that gently guide the submissive on to what the Mistress, and often the submissive also, perceives to be a better path for them.

I haven’t mentioned latex, leather, whips, chains, shibari, strap-ons or even gags.  They’re nothing more than props.  Quite frankly having a great toy-bag doesn’t make you anything more than a collector of kinky sex toys.  What makes any Mistress good or bad is what resides inside her head and especially inside her heart.

And unfortunately for any Mistress who even aspires to be good at what she does that is where the cursed part comes in.  This is something which in the last few weeks has been very painfully brought home to me personally.  Just like so many other Mistresses I had a wonderful slavegirl who loved me and I loved her.  When we met she was a broken thing, her heart scarred by the sort of abuses the world seems to take so much joy in inflicting on those who are to any great degree submissive.

For two long years I protected her as best I could while we laboured together to make her stronger.  Her life was given a greater degree of structure to make sure she had time to do everything she needed done.  Her best efforts were always rewarded with little gifts, my arms wrapped tight around her and of course by being loved.  The aim was always to help her realise she could be a better person then she ever thought possible.  A person who could if it was needed stand alone, a person she could be proud to live her life as.  We succeeded and no longer needed for her to be safe or happy and though it has shattered my heart to do so I had to set her free.

The curse of the Good Mistress is that so very often all her effort and love ends with her no longer having a slavegirl.  But instead with the world having another strong woman in it proud of her past but looking to a future she now feels able to mold herself.  Meanwhile the Mistress who to be any good at all can never truly be cold nurses a joyful but broken heart.

So after all this what is a Mistress?  She is dominant yes but she is also warm, caring.  She takes broken birds under her wing to heal and while they heal she teaches them.  She is sometimes a lover, often a surrogate big sister, always a fierce guardian.  But especially, she loves strongly enough to willingly let her slaves go when it is time for them to live free.

19 Comments to “BDSM How it could/should be – The Good Mistress”

  1. Beautiful. Made me cry too.

  2. I’m glad you like it Karina. There’s a lot more of this sequence of blogs to come. Time to bring Artemisian to the masses.

  3. Makes for fascinating and somewhat heart-breaking reading… excellent work

  4. Why than you Claire. I’m trying to cover the more mental and emotional aspects of being in a BDSM relationship with these blogs. I’m glad you enjoyed.

  5. Interesting

  6. Hi, I really enjoyed this post. The thing is I’m new to this and I’m normally not a super dom type person but lately my man has been asking me to be more… well bossy. He wants me to tell him what to do. Give him tasks before I reward him. And I was wondering if maybe you had some advice. I know this doesn’t really fit the BDSM lifestyle. But I figured where else to ask.

    • Actually Amy what you describe is at the very heart of of the BDSM lifestyle, and I would be rather curious as to why you would think it wasn’t. My advice would be the following…

      1. Discuss in detail precisely what it is he’s looking for before anything happens, I would also make it clear to him what you wish to gain from his also.

      2. Remember that if he’s the only one who gets anything from this that you are not being a Dominant, you’re being a doormat with a capital “D”.

      3. Write out a short contract that lays out clearly what is expected of both parties, making sure it only has a certain lifespan, that way you can renegotiate things once you both have more experience, or simply walk away from it all having fulfilled it.

      4. If you’re very new to this ease in to it. Don’t dive in too deeply too quickly. It’s like anything new, you will need time to acclimatise yourself to your new normality.

      5. If you say you want something, stick to your guns. Most if not all submissives kick back against domination from time to time, some actually do this constantly, and so often a large part of being a Domina is simply holding your course in the face of defiance.

      6. If you’re not sure you can do something physical get advice on it first. A flogger, cane or whatever it may be is potentially dangerous if used incorrectly. But where ever you live, odds are there is at the very least a small local community with someone who has the ability to teach you.

      7. Have a safe word, and use it. Don’t trust that you will just know when to stop. Odds are you won’t, and only arrogant shits train/play without one.

      8. Make sure anything you do comes from a place of love. That includes punishments for willful failures. If you ever feel that an action your contemplating does not come from love, then stop, step back, and hold off until it does. Anger is dangerous ground in BDSM.

      Finally

      9. Have fun. A huge amount of what you’re going to be doing is ridiculously hilarious when you really think about it, and that’s a good thing. Enjoy the silliness of it all. And enjoy the closeness this can bring you both.

      I hope this has been some help to you. Sorry for the delay in replying, but if I can help more please feel free to ask specific questions. I’ll do my best to answer.

  7. Awesome! I am playing with the idea of learning how to bring my very dominant self in the bedroom too. Your post helps heaps!

    My sub and I met online but we plan to meet IRL. I have no experience whatsoever and he does. I don’t want to do something wrong and I want to know a lot before actually meeting. Makes sense?

    • That makes perfect sense. My advice would be that at the beginning less is very much more. Keep it simple, chose one or two activities to start with and build play/training about those. Also get in touch with your local scene and see if there’s local Dominant who is willing to show you some of the basic ropes. Read a lot, and I don’t mean erotica though that has its uses sometimes for when it comes to developing a play-scene, rather go to somewhere like the website of the Albany Power Exchange, the links to the right of the page I’ve linked is a great starting point. Though I would point out that they’re a very simple guide rather than Gospel, and should be leavened with your own instincts.

      As for doing something wrong, as long as you make sure you know his hard limits before you start, and obey them during. As long as you actually make sure you have a safe-word and make proper use of it. As long as especially in the beginning you keep gags out of the equation so that he can safe-word out while you’re learning his body. Well you can’t go too wrong.

      Just make sure he knows that you are learning from his body, and if he’s in anyway a decent human being, much less submissive he’ll help you to reach the point where you are the Domina you can be.

      • Thank you, Amanda.

        You say: “As for doing something wrong, as long as you make sure you know his hard limits before you start, and obey them during. As long as you actually make sure you have a safe-word and make proper use of it. As long as especially in the beginning you keep gags out of the equation so that he can safe-word out while you’re learning his body. Well you can’t go too wrong.”

        Well, he is one of the smartest people I ever “met”. He knows I am learning and I am giving him homework. Yesterday he got his first and today he delivered. He had as an assignment to write me down the definition of pleasure in a certain amount of words and nothing more or less. He did a wonderful job and like this I know a lot about his limits and what he expects from this.

        I still have to work on what do *I* expect from this… I want to grow better. But your comment about setting someone free got me worried. I am a psychologist and I struggle with deciding if to start this knowing there’s a huge chance that because of me he will end up strong and beautiful (definitely less “fucked up”, as he defines himself) and when that will happen I will probably have to put an end to it.

        Oh dear! I have so many questions! :)) I’m going to check the site you linked.

        Thanks again!

  8. I love your post! Thank you! You have a beautiful way with words. I have had some awful experiences as a submissive but fell in love with the lifestyle. I am now a fledgling Mistress to my long time friend and lover. I need all the advice I can get! I want to be the kind of mistress you wrote about. I want my love to shine through to her above all else. I want to heal her hurts while builder her up. I want to protect her from the world and teach her to love herself through it all. When I was a submissive, I was treated badly. I was cut and beat but never loved. It took me years to find my way in this world and learn that I am a strong woman who could accomplish anything. My lil pet has been hurt. She looks at me and I can feel her pain. How do I show her how beautiful and strong she is? While she is my sub, I see her as so much more. I seek wisdom not for me, but to help her. Again, thank you. Peace always!
    Mistress Cynthia.

    • The only real advice I can give to help you with you situation is the following.

      Always be honest with your little one. Seeing as she’s been mistreated she will need constant unflinching honesty to learn to trust the world again.

      Be fulsome with your praise, but only when it’s deserved. What I mean by this is that she should not be praised when she has screwed up, or not performed to standard, but should have no doubt at all when she has got something right.

      If you have any sense at all that she is not in a good headspace, DO NOT PLAY OR TRAIN HER! There should, and in fact must be times when she is just your love. And when she’s fragile is one of those times.

      I hope this helps a little, and if you have any more specific questions to ask I am very happy to answer them.

  9. Amanda you are a goddess….. I am a sassy, gigantic hearted, rough diamond and it’s time to explore my power. Only just starting the research so if there are any other sites you can recommend? I worked in the sex industry when I was 14, I became a receptionist in the industry in my 20’s so I know and am not afraid of anything except my own love and power. I LOVED how you said it’s a personal growth thing because that’s where I’m at and I’ve always taken in strays and been a healer. I’m ready. Thanks again for a great blog.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. My best suggestion for developing as a Domina, is to find your own path as much as possible. There are a few traditions in different countries, but most of them are to my eyes somewhat abusive of submissives. Better to sit down and decide what it’s going to be about for you, yourself.

      I can strongly suggest reading Dark Moon Rising by Raven Caldera. It’s a book on integrating Paganism with BDSM, so it’s filled with namby pambyism, as well as general insanity. However, it does a reasonably good job of illustrating how BDSM can be brought in to your life as a positive source of energy and joy.

      As for skills, most fet groups will have demonstrations, there are good tutorial videos out there. I would suggest starting slowly and developing over time. Too much too fast can lead to injuries and hurt feelings.

  10. Tears are in my eyes I so needed to read this

    • I’m sorry for the delay in responding, my laptop met an untimely demise and it’s taken a couple of weeks to get back up to speed with everything. I’m glad to hear that this was of help to you.

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