In my seven years as a dominatrix I’ve sessioned in quite a few different kinds of venue, all over the world. Each location provides general positives and negatives, although the specifics can vary greatly from space to space. Always check in with your Domme if you have specific questions; in all likelihood she will totally understand why you’re asking and be sensitive to your concerns. Sometimes the client has an opportunity to choose what kind of venue in which to see his or her Domme, but frequently you just have to go with whatever is available. If you do have the luxury of choice, the below list should help you decide.
PRIVATE DUNGEON – The top choice for many slaves.
- Positives: The Mistress has her own equipment, and if she’s successful enough to have her own space reserved for sessions she should have a pretty comprehensive collection. You can usually expect good sanitation standards, and the Mistress will be able to quickly find and correctly use each piece of kit. The space is typically VERY discreet and controlled, so that you won’t have to see other people or deal with the “energy” of others using the space while you’re there.
- Negatives: Private dungeons can lack some bigger or more elaborate pieces of BDSM furniture that you can find in rental dungeons. There may only be a dungeon room, not a domestic space for lighter or “vanilla” sessions. Mistresses will often have stricter screening protocol for their private spaces, vs. a rental space. Some private dungeons are not centrally located, as the Mistress will have to pay rent on the space herself, monthly. Real estate in the center of town is expensive! As a result, many do not offer private dungeon sessions at all.
RENTAL DUNGEON – Second most common choice.
- Positives: There is usually A LOT of equipment to choose from, and sometimes pretty impressive interior design, depending on the facility. Most rental dungeons are centrally located, which makes for easy scheduling. Sometimes there is even a staff of Dommes working shifts, which makes it simple to bring in other women for doubles or, if you are inclined to go that route, just try a solo session with a house Domme. The pros and cons of house Dommes vs. independents are too myriad for this article, but suffice to say I am independent for good reason.
- Negatives: One of the biggest turn-offs for rental dungeons is the issue of sanitation. A lot (as in hundreds and sometimes thousands) of people have used those spaces, and there is no guarantee that ANY of the equipment has been cleaned properly after it’s been used. Financially speaking, the Mistress will have to pay a rental fee per hour, which she may end up charging you for on top of her tribute. At times there are other people sessioning out of commercial dungeon spaces in the next room, which means you may overhear other people or even see them in the hallway depending on the venue. Sometimes I’ve also experienced certain things that just come with the territory of a public space: cigarette smoke, evidence of previous sessions, bad attitudes from other Dommes or dungeon staff, etc.
DOMESTIC SPACE – Third most common request.
- Positives: A domestic setting can feel more “realistic” in that you can act out many of the domination fantasies that you’ve been thinking about incorporating into your “normal life.” Scenes in the bedroom, living room, or kitchen can be quite erotic with the right Domme, and if she’s creative she can take everyday objects and turn them into weapons of torture and titillation. You usually can count on complete discretion, as often times the Mistress will be working either out of her home or a domestic room in her private studio. It also makes some roleplays a lot more “convincing” depending on the scenario. Domestic settings are a natural fit for any slave wanting a roleplay about a girlfriend, mother, teacher or babysitter, or any ABDL, humiliation, or sensual sessions.
- Negatives: If you want a hardcore scene, the lack of some BDSM furniture can be frustrating. It can also be a hindrance if you’re doing a particularly messy session and either you or the Domme is worried about disrupting the space. Pausing to put a tarp down or clean a mess off the couch can really break the mood. At times a more relaxed space can either make the slave feel like the session is not intense or taboo enough, and sometimes it can lull a Domme into becoming too relaxed or even boring–the Mistress herself may slip into “vanilla” mode without even realizing it, though she would of course NEVER admit to it.
HOTEL ROOM – Common when traveling.
- Positives: Neverending towels and a guard at the desk are a huge perk for me, and in general I am much more comfortable seeing slaves in a hotel room than I am in a rental dungeon. There’s also something delightfully naughty about sessioning in an unfamiliar space. The elicit anonymity of a hotel room can really add to the taboo nature of a session, making it feel like more of a lifestyle encounter than a transaction. Hotel rooms are generally designed and decorated well (at least the hotels I stay in), so I don’t have to worry about uncomfortable furniture or distasteful artwork on the walls. Most Mistresses, including myself, will intentionally choose centrally located hotels in order to maximize the number of sessions they can take when traveling. It bears mentioning I have NEVER, not once, had an issue with security or noise complaints at a hotel, and I have stayed in probably a hundred different properties all around the world.
- Negatives: Most hotel rooms are pretty dirty, though the upkeep is designed to reassure you otherwise. You should NEVER drink out of the glasses or coffee maker without washing them first, and ALWAYS line the ice bucket with a plastic bag before filling it. Some hotels require key card access to use the elevators, which can be a major setback if you have a nervous client. It’s not a big deal for most people to hitch a ride with a hotel guest on their way up to your room, but if a client has paranoia about discretion it can put a damper on the first part of the session as his heart rate gets back to normal. Some clients don’t like the anonymous energy in hotel rooms either, finding it too tacky or “sex worker-ey” to be able to enjoy themselves. Finally, there is the limitation of equipment: a Domme can only fit so much into her suitcase each time she travels.
PUBLIC – A category all of its own.
- Positives: Adding in other humans to your session can be terrifying, but if you’re ready to “break the fourth wall” as it were, public interaction can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. It presents a layer of unpredictability and “realism” that cannot be replicated in any private space. Humiliation, adrenaline and exposure are the default settings for public scenes, and a Domme can put in very little energy and imagination while getting maximum reaction out of her submissive. There is also the constant threat of danger and even arrest, which is of course always under tight supervision by the Domme (we hope) so that it remains only a delicious threat.
- Negatives: You’re limited in the equipment you can use, and sometimes the presence of other people can be a hindrance not a benefit (like when they decide to participate in a way that is not welcome). At times a Domme can embarrass herself inadvertently, which can disrupt the entire scene. If a submissive has a freakout, he may go well beyond what a Domme is capable of dealing with, including walking (or even running) off, or suffering some sort of small panic attack that he is unable to escape. There is also, always, the danger of being arrested or kicked out of the public venue. And many Dommes who specialize in public humiliation fail to take into account the inherent nonconsensual aspect of what they do: it’s a fine line that requires respect for ALL parties, including the public audience.
For any nervous first timers who want to ease into their virgin voyage with a Domme, a domestic session is a great, low-pressure environment. If you’re ready to jump into the deep end with your Mistress, you should opt for a dungeon. And if you’re not in New York and are obsessed with me, you should just fly me out to see you and put me up in a hotel!
When I session out of hotels, I always travel with a full kit which fits into two large hardshell suitcases. I pack carefully for each trip after going over my notes on each confirmed client. There’s nothing worse than showing up for a session and realizing you don’t have the crucial item you need. If there’s something in particular you’re looking to try, for example a humbler, electric probe, or toilet hood, tell me in advance and I’ll make sure to pack it, assuming I own it.
My own private space is a cross between domestic and dungeon: I have a limited selection of BDSM furniture but enough equipment to stock several dungeon rooms. Most of my kit is “hidden in plain sight,” however, as I like to keep things looking deceptively vanilla. If you decide you want to see me in my private space in New York City, you should note my screening process. I require either a good reference from a reputable independent, or a paid consultation in advance of the session in order to make sure you are safe and sane. It’s well worth it though: my space is gorgeous, immaculate, and always smells great. Just like me.