Category Archives: colorado professional domination

WHAT IS PROFESSIONAL BDSM?

What is Professional BDSM?

            Professional BDSM is a multi-faceted, ritualistic practice that occurs between consenting adults who wish to act out sexual or non-sexual fantasies that pertain specifically to the exchange of power and trust. BDSM sessions, also called scenes, can include physiological and psychological stimulation, role-play scenarios, costumes, make-believe, and objects that have certain meanings attached to them – otherwise known as fetish objects. All scenes involve a dominant and a submissive, also referred to as a top and a bottom, respectively, and usually involve two people, although scenes with multiple people can also occur. Professional scenes can last anywhere from one hour to multiples of hours or days and include negotiations beforehand to discuss boundaries, limits, safe words, and desires. Sessions should – but do not always – include aftercare. Aftercare is the intentional allotted time that occurs after the scene in order for the dominant to offer comfort, a space to process, and communication to the submissive. Many players consider aftercare to be the most important part of a scene. Most importantly, BDSM scenes are conducted in an environment in which players can allow any emotion to surface without feeling judged or shamed by the external constructs of mainstream society. 

            There are many different styles of BDSM. The type of play is dependent upon the emotional and physiological awareness of the dominant, his or her expertise, as well as the intentions set for the session – if any have been set at all. There are many practitioners who cater more to physical sensations in a session as opposed to psychological; there are practitioners who focus only on the psychological. My ideal style of play is a holistic approach that incorporates both physiological and psychological stimulation. For me, the exchange of trust and emotional intimacy are paramount. I prefer to use my sessions as safe spaces where people can build relationships, learn to express needs, explore their bodies and minds, learn about shame, and allow fears to exist without fighting, running, or freezing. Fighting, running, or freezing are also responses to trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it is no mystery to practitioners in the community that BDSM can be used to help people work through PTSD. 

            Sensation play and sensory deprivation are huge components of BDSM. Some examples of tools that can be used for sensation play are crops, floggers, whips, clothespins, paddles, and neurological tools, such as the infamous Wartenburg wheel – a metal pinwheel with sharp points that spin on an axle, or the violet wand – a handheld device that administers static electricity to skin. Some examples of tools that are used for sensory deprivation are ropes, blindfolds, gags, earplugs, cages, and hoods. Sensation and sensory deprivation have functions in play, and either or both give the dominant more ability control what type of experience the submissive may have. 

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NEUROLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL IMPACTS OF BDSM

BY DOMME DANIELLE

            The release of endorphins is the crux of the physiological aspect of BDSM. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are responsible for nearly all of our physiological and emotional experiences. Our bodies release neurotransmitters all day, but certain activities cause fluctuations that can put us either above or below baseline. Fluctuations in neurotransmitters cause fluctuations in emotions. Without neurotransmitters, we would not eat, sleep, have sex, be motivated, experience emotions, or form human connections, among many other things. To put it simply, pain administered during BDSM sessions causes a response just as pleasure does. It has also been shown that the anticipation of reward and punishment causes a surge of endorphins.[1]Endorphins are also released as a result of the emotional attachment and chemical bond that that occurs between the dominant and the submissive.

            When the body experiences pain, chemicals such as serotonin, noradrenaline, and endogenous opioids are released.[2]This rush of endorphins causes feelings of euphoria, elation, and pleasure – or what some might refer to as feeling high. The main neurotransmitter responsible for getting people high is dopamine. Units of dopamine are released during certain activities, with the normal baseline being around 100 units. Sex causes an increase to 200 units; nicotine, 225; morphine, 200; cocaine, 350; and methamphetamines 1,000.[3]

            Sub-space is a neurological experience that occurs as a result of the activities in a session. It is the feeling of relaxation, euphoria, and sedation as a result of the flood of endorphins. A similar example would be the feeling a runner gets after he or she has gone on a run. Many submissives engage in play specifically to enter sub-space, and some submissives are unsure as to whether or not they have ever experienced it. Some submissives regard the flood of endorphins as magical or spiritual. Either way, after a session it is important to make sure everyone is safe. A big part responsibility of the dominant is to keep the submissive alive.

            A similar experience had by dominants is called top-drop. Top-drop is the crash or fatigue that occurs after an intense psychological or physical scene. For me, top-drop is rarely an occurrence anymore. However, if I have not been playing that often, when I do, I can feel very tired afterward. Dominants need to take care of themselves just as much as submissives do. Having plenty of snacks and water post-play is mandatory.

            BDSM practitioners and submissives often form very deep and intense bonds. These bonds occur due to the exchange of trust, love, emotional intimacy, and touch. Oxytocin is the primary neurotransmitter that is responsible for the physiological aspect of connection. It is a hormone that is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding. It is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and building relationships.[4]

            It is entirely possible for BDSM sessions to be cold and disconnected, depending on the players involved and the capacity for each person to access vulnerability. However, due to the fact that I have worked on my attachment trauma from early childhood and have maintained that emotional intimacy be paramount in my professional and personal relationships, it is rare for me to have a disconnected scene. Throughout my career, I have received feedback that clients’ experiences with me have been warmer than their experiences with other providers. Perhaps, it is my desire for emotionally intimacy – or oxytocin – that is to blame.

            The relationships formed between dominants and submissives are often long-term, stable, and predictable. They can provide opportunities to deconstruct societal gender expectations surrounding sex and also to teach about boundaries, consent, and communication. More specifically, they can be part of the journey in healing attachment wounds. Attachment disruption occurs in early childhood and is the result of neglect or abuse from our primary attachment figures. When we choose partners as adults, they then become our primary attachment figures, and that is when our childhood wounds tend to surface. These wounds can manifest as being overly attached, codependent, and enmeshed – and they can manifest as avoidance to intimacy, detachment, or ambivalence. Generally, attachment wounds include an inability to express needs and desires, poor self-worth, and a lack of communication skills. 

            Communication is imperative for creating and maintaining trust in intimate relationships. This probably more true of Dominant/submissive (D/s) relationships. By using D/s relationships to teach or encourage communication, clients can learn to trust and to express their needs. Most importantly, they are taught that as long as they respect the strict boundaries of the dominant, they will not be abandoned, shamed, or rejected for being vulnerable. The absence of shame when responding to the emotional expressions of men is crucial when healing the wounds of patriarchy. 

            What follows is an account from one of my clients who I met four years ago. I saw him about once a month to every three months up until a year and a half ago. At that point, scheduling conflicts and distance prevented ongoing sessions. My prompt to him was to share his positive and negative experiences with BDSM. The reason that certain words are capitalized when they otherwise would not be is because with D/s protocol, capitalizing words that denote power is seen as a sign of respect. Many submissives derive pleasure from these rules of engagement.

My background was kind of emotionally troubled, which led to my inability to be truly open with myself or other people. It also led to alcoholism and drug addiction. I always had fantasies about being totally dominated and punished and being forced to do sexual things. The problem was that I was unable to allow myself to being vulnerable. After getting clean from my addictions, and working on the inside of my head, I became able and trusting enough to act on my long-held secret fantasies of being dominated by a Mistress.

After beginning my journey with a professional guide, I learned very quickly that BDSM is 90 percent psychological, and 10 percent physical. This is how I kind of break it down anyway. It was a real eye opener for me. The psychological aspect is definitely a key to the outcome. I consider it one of many triggers to be used to drive me, the submissive, deeper into my own psyche. I have discovered that the mind is hands down, by far, the most powerful sexual organ that I have.

When I am led through a BDSM Journey at the able hand of my Mistress, if I allow myself to become completely vulnerable and open, the results are astounding. By getting pushed so deep into my own mind, with the physical torment as part of the driving factor, it is spiritually, and emotionally cleansing for me.

I was raised with a very religious background, which I believe contributed to much of my emotional and addiction issues. I hated myself and was incapable of allowing anybody to get close to me. I believe that allowing myself to be dominated physically, psychologically, and emotionally has been incredibly healthy and helpful to me. I like myself and other people for who they are today. I am capable of being vulnerable in all aspects of my life. I don’t have to try and control everything around me anymore. I understand, respect, and am tolerant of other beliefs and lifestyles. I am truly comfortable in my own skin. This is a huge step from where my addictive mind was before. I can attest that BDSM, if used correctly and professionally, can be therapeutic.[5]

            In the following account, we learn about a different BDSM experience. This person came to me after he became aware that his wife had an affair. I think it would be fair to say that he wanted revenge. I had approximately six sessions with him over the span of a year and a half. One of the things he requested happen during the session was to be humiliated and degraded for having, what he deemed, perverse desires. This was not something I was willing to entertain. I prefer to use my sessions to build sex-positivity. However, as a compromise, I punished him for wanting to be shamed. 

These days, I feel that BDSM blessed and cursed my life, alternately and concurrently. It was therapy, and I didn’t even know it. Physically, BDSM fulfilled fantasies and a desire for extreme sensations, many of which I could not do with my partner because they made her extremely uncomfortable. I think this gets confusing because it does not necessarily have to do with release (or orgasm).  

Emotionally, it gave me what I think was an appropriate and safe venue to explore shame, fear, and anger, as it related to my childhood and religious upbringing.  I also did not know that I was looking for that safe place at the beginning. I know it did help me to cope with the anger, sense of loss, and jealousy that arose upon the discovery of my wife’s affair. At that point, I also believe it saved my life, because I’d become depressed and was having suicidal thoughts. My experience with BDSM is that it supplies a surprisingly arena for self-awareness to go as deep as you care to go into your emotions.

However, as someone who suffers from low self esteem, I also discovered that I could use BDSM to reinforce negative opinions of myself. This wasn’t the case in the beginning, as it felt incredibly freeing. On the up side, it was through BDSM that I discovered I was tearing down self-esteem every day without realizing it – kind of practicing self-assassination.

Spiritually, the jury is still out. There are symbols and roles that I accept as being artistically and spiritually significant to me in BDSM. I believe that BDSM connects and dovetails with Christianity, and that it has expanded my awareness of spiritual relationships, but what it means is currently shifting. I think about that all the time.

Finally, politically, being a BDSM client is not comfortable for me right now. You, Nicole, made me aware of the fact that the fantasy of female domination is predicated on a belief that women are inferior, and that it hinges on privilege. I find that repugnant, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot; about underlying assumptions that are unhealthy and not at all useful. What BDSM did for me was open my mind. At least, I hope it has.[6]

            Although the psychological aspects of BDSM are monumental, sensation play also possesses its own unique set of purposes. One example is how sensations can be used as a pivoting point for working with painful emotions. Primarily, this occurs by bringing people to heightened emotional or physical states and then mindfully working with the responses to such states. This is an effective manner in which to reveal habitual tendencies to stimuli and to increases awareness surrounding reactions to pain or pleasure. By providing stimuli to submissives and instructing them to maintain relaxed and receptive states, they can learn that expectations, tightening, and fear can actually cause a magnified response to stimuli. 

            Sensation play can also be used as an opportunity to teach about impermanence and emotional acceptance. When stimuli are given in a controlled manner, submissives learn that physical or emotional sensations are temporary and about the dichotomous relationship between pain and pleasure. When submissives are given permission, encouraged, or even instructed to allow emotions to arise as a result of sensation, they are able to learn emotional intelligence and acceptance. Personally, I use sensations to challenge my clients – who are primarily male – to get to a space where they feel emotion. In a session, men are given permission to feel anything, and that is part of the healing process.


[1]Charles Adams, Grace M. Fong, Daniel Hommer, Brian Knutson, “Anticipation of Increasing Monetary Reward Selectively Recruits Nucleus Accumbens,” The Journal of Neuroscience, No. 21 (2001): 2. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ef88/c4889561a36202297c9ff792925b2342baa3.pdf?_ga=2.78573907.655450162.1543366100-353552470.1543366100.

[2]Armando Hasudungan, “PAIN! Physiology – The Ascending Pathway, Descending Pain Pathway and the Substantia Gelatinosa,” YouTube Video, posted by “Armando Hasudungan,” April 16, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c8maFAhqIc&t=264s.

[3]Chiara, Effects of Drugs on Dopamine Release, 1988, http://www.supajam.com/news/story/Levels-of-dopamine-that-you-get-from-food-sex-and-drugs-compared. 

[4]Markus MacGill, “What is the Link Between Love and Oxytocin,” Medical News Today, September 4 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275795.php

[5]BDSM Client 1, email message to author, November 26, 2018.

[6]Client 2, email message to author, November 28, 2018.

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MY STYLE OF DOMINANCE

One of the things I have learned in the 11 years of being a BDSM practitioner and intimacy coach is that there are many different styles of dominance. If I were to sum up my style of play I would say that I am primarily a psychological dominant who thoroughly enjoys sensory stimulation, attention to detail, playing with fear and trust, intimacy, connection, communication – and also the unspoken dance that occurs while in session.

I have always said and strongly maintain that it is not what you do but how you do it. I recently advised a novice dominant who had purchased an entire set of expensive new toys that, “Someone can have a session full of fancy equipment, but if you’re not psychologically involved it won’t matter. Impact play with nothing more than a kitchen spatula can be hot as fuck if you know how to bring your psychological a-game.”

Although I can role-play scenes that range from age-play/incest to the more “innocent” power exchange of the naughty girlfriend, there is always an underlying thread of integrity that exists while I’m playing. In session, I teach not only the physical aspects of BDSM/submission but also the importance of being present – of being in the body and consciously feeling sensations and staying deeply aware of the unfolding experience. To put it simply, I am a space holder. While BDSM can engage the creative and lighthearted aspects of the mind and body, I tend to approach my sessions with depth, intimacy, and focus. I use the space to explore breath, erotic energy, and intent to connect on a very deep level – in session.

The light side of BDSM is engaging in an experience of pure pleasure, fun, creativity, and release. It is a space where things that are considered taboo can be normalized. It is acceptance and sex-positivity. I love this part of BDSM. I think we need to play more – not less – as we age. BDSM can help us remember what it was like to be imaginative, carefree, and expressive.

Another purpose of BDSM is using it as a tool to work through issues surrounding trust, PTSD/trauma, and attachment wounds (attachment as it is defined here). To put it simply, a relationship with a dominant can help one heal. However, I would not trust any dominant to dive into the depths of the psyche. If you are looking for a healer, you had better make sure the person is well-equiped from either in-depth personal or professional experience/education. To be a survivor of trauma or abuse is not enough – it takes having studied the mind objectively, which isn’t possible unless the person has done some major internal work on BOTH intellectual and emotional fields.

So, yes, my sessions tend to be very involved, regardless of whether or not the intention is to have fun or to heal wounds. I’ve always been a very sensitive being, and I see great strength in sensitivity. The way my mind works is anything buy neurotypical. My brain does bottom-up thinking (specific to general), I think in pictures, notice all details in the environment, and have an uncanny ability to read people. So, it is only natural for me to take a very involved stance with submissives when we are in session. Being sensitive has taught me a lot about boundaries, that’s for sure, which is why I have strict communication policies for outside of session. Basically, I never engage in emotional labour for free.

My focus on substance as opposed to superficiality transfers to the type of clothes I wear for sessions, too. I’m all about CFNM (clothed female, nude male). It is not my style to be naturally preoccupied with the costume and dress-up part of BDSM. Sure, I will occasionally wear wigs and certain fetish items like stockings or boots, but I’m not a costume fetishist by heart. If you haven’t already gathered, my fetishes lie within the mind, body, and emotions, and anything else can just be a distraction. Quite frankly, dressing to be sexy for a sub couldn’t be more counterintuitive to the reason we play. Now, dressing to be comfortable for myself, well, that’s hot to me. Again, this comes down to my philosophy of the psychology mattering much more than anything else. Confidence is sexy.

Anyway, by now you should have an understanding of my innate style as a dominant. I also pride myself on being real. How can I expect you to show up honestly if I’m too scared to do so?

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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PAIN AND LOVE

My motivation to write an article on the dichotomous relationship between love and pain lies heavily on the most common complaint I hear from couples I coach outside of the BDSM world.  The most common complaint I hear is that most of my clients experience an inability to connect with friends, family, or lovers – sometimes even pets. It presents as an inability to connect, to be vulnerable, and to experience empathy. I’m not talking about superficial connection that revolves around pleasantries, and I’m not talking about not being able to do activities with others. What I’m talking about is the connection that is often called “intimacy,” the connection that makes us feel safe, can make us feel comfortable sharing our bodies with others, and the connection that is a result of feeling seen, heard, and respected in our experiences.  Continue reading THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PAIN AND LOVE

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THE GIFT OF SUBMISSION

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Submission is a gift. Submission is not something that Dommes are entitled to, and it is not something to be taken with force (unless of course there has been negotiation in regards to a role-play beforehand).

So, why is submission a gift? Continue reading THE GIFT OF SUBMISSION

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUR DENVER DOMINATRIX

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know of some upcoming availability changes due to MY BIRTHDAY! I will be unavailable for the entire week of June 6 and will not be answering any emails.

If you would like to show your support for Continue reading HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUR DENVER DOMINATRIX

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WINTER BREAK

Hello kinky people! It’s your favorite Dominatrix informing you of my winter break that will occur from December 21 through January 2. Continue reading WINTER BREAK

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