Part I—Haven the Great
You can call her Goddess Haven—although, on Twitter, her handle is @Haven_TheGreat—and if you’re what’s known in the curious world of financial domination as a “pay pig,” you’re going to have to offer her a “tribute,” if you want her to even acknowledge that you exist.
In “findom,” as it’s known, it’s all about the money. Or, as Haven puts it in her Twitter profile: “Pay first, learn about me later.”
Haven is 24, based out of Orlando, Florida, and supports herself by monetizing her talent for financial domination, a BDSM fetish-based relationship in which women financially dominate men for profit.
Haven, who got into financial domination at 19, is a natural.
“I guess I have a dominant bitch personality,” she says. “I’m naturally a pretty mean person. I don’t even really feel like it’s work.”
Financial domination takes many forms. Some men get turned on by giving a dominatrix money, some men want to be insulted while masturbating during a live web camming session with a dominatrix, and some men want to send gifts and be ignored. Many of these interactions are technology-based—phone, texting, emails, Skype. Fundamentally, the pleasure for the financial submissive is in offering a payment—known as a “tribute”—to the dominatrix.
Ask Haven if she likes her job, and she’ll tell you: “I love it.”
Once upon a time, Haven was a go-go dancer. Then she started camming—conducting live webcam sessions for paying clients. Along the way, she heard about “sugar babies,” young women “kept,” financially, by older men, “sugar daddies.” She was intrigued—except she didn’t want to have sex with the guys. When she heard about “findom,” she thought, “There’s no way this is real. There’s no way men can give you money for no reason.” She joined a fetish website, created a profile offering financial domination, and started making money.
As Haven sees it, findom is “a power exchange with financial transactions.” The men are surprisingly normal, she says. “A lot of these guys are, like, really stable people, but they really just want a switch up from their everyday routine.” Many, she says, are white collar professionals—CEOs, lawyers, real estate investors—in their 30s or older. Some men do financial domination—straight, gay, posting photos of their abs or dick pics to social media to attract willing pay pigs—but far more women are financially dominating men.
On video hosting platforms like iWantClips, which specializes in “The Best in Amateur Fetish Video Clips,” Haven sells original video clips. “I’ll do verbal humiliation, where I’m insulting them. ‘You’re such a fucking loser, you’ll never be with someone like me.’” On other sites, a client pays her a flat rate or by the minute to communicate with him. With live web camming, “Usually, it’s a guy waiting for instructions on whatever he paid for. If he paid for jack-off instructions, I have to be like, ‘Take off your pants, loser,’ and I have to tell him to go fast or to go slow, until his time is up. They‘ll keep paying for me to keep degrading them. Sometimes we have to sit there and watch them jack off, while we take their money.” Another client might “clear” her Amazon Wish List, buying her everything on it.
She’s only done a “cash meet” once, she says. “This guy literally drove down [to Orlando] from an hour away, handed me some money, took me and my friends to get our nails done, and took us shopping.” In “wallet rape,” she says, “You’re just taking whatever it is you want from” a submissive who “has no limit” to what he’ll spend, through whatever platform or mode of communication he prefers.
Perhaps the most extreme version of financial domination requires TeamViewer, a software package that enables remote viewing of a computer. The client surrenders his passwords to the financial dominatrix, and she takes command of his computer. She drains his accounts as he watches. “I’m literally taking over their computer.”
This year, Haven estimates, she’ll make six figures.
One financial submissive bought video clips from her and exchanged messages with her online. On one occasion, he gave her $42,000, she says. On another occasion, it was $44,000. He was a vice president at a bank. “He’s into foot fetish, so he just wanted to talk about feet, really. He talked about his life and stuff. I like to act interested—because it makes more money, obviously.”
According to Haven, she deserves what she gets. “Women were meant to be happy and pampered, while men work.” Women who get into this, she says, “just want to take control over our lives.” (Some men have told her that a woman of color who does what she does should charge less than a white woman doing the same job.)
At first, her boyfriend of four years didn’t like her career. Now he doesn’t really care. “Sometimes he says he thinks I’m weird and that I don’t really have a conscience, for taking money from these people. I think I’m offering something in return. It’s therapeutic for most of my clients. It’s a sense of release.” She files taxes as an independent contractor. As for profits, “I save a lot of it, and I invest a lot of it into real estate with my dad.”
Still, it’s always a hustle, and financial dominants are hunting for a “white whale,” that rare financial submissive who isn’t a “time waster” and tributes thousands of dollars. It’s the equivalent of winning the lottery in the findom game.
But whales are few and far between.
Part II—The Pro-Dommes
“Financial domination is pretty much not what people imagine it to be,” says Tara Indiana, who’s been a dominatrix for 28 years. “You imagine they’re rich, powerful executives. That’s not always the case. They tend to have a very stable job. They work for the government, or they work in an office—a steady job with a steady paycheck.”
For someone like Indiana, financial dominatrix is but one more tool in a box of BDSM tricks. She’s done both real and virtual financial domination. “Very often, you don’t meet them or see them in person,” she says. “The idea is that the only way that they can be with a woman that’s beautiful like you is by giving up the money. That’s the only thing they have to offer.” For some men, it’s not so much sex, per se, but wanting a “trophy.” “So it’s all about lavishing and pampering and keeping you in the lifestyle that you’re accustomed to.”
Is financial domination about sex or money? “’Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power,’” says Indiana, quoting Oscar Wilde. “It’s about surrendering your power to a dominant person. That power could be a whip or that power could be money.”
A long time ago, before financial domination was a thing, Indiana worked the phones at an escort business. One man liked to book appointments with escorts and negotiate a generous budget—$5,000, $10,000, $20,000. “He’d send the girl to him at his house,” Indiana recalls. “She would handcuff him to his radiator and take his credit card and go up and down Fifth Avenue—to Chanel, Dior—and go shopping, and she’d pick out an outfit.” The escort would call the man on the phone, telling him what she was doing. “‘Oh, I just got this olive green dress with matching alligator shoes.’ She’d describe [the clothes] in American Psycho detail. ‘And I just spent $7,000,’ and she’d laugh, and he’d scream at the top of his lungs and hang up on you.”
Justine Cross—owner and “Head Bitch in Charge” of two popular Los Angeles BDSM dungeons, Dungeon East and Dungeon West—has turned domination into a successful business. Her extensive repertoire includes financial domination.
“I have people [that I’ve never met] who will just send me money or gifts,” she says. “I had someone purchase me thousands of dollars of lingerie, and I said, ‘I’ll show it to you on cam,’ and he said, ‘No, I just wanted to give it to you.’ Other people want to go shopping with me and buy me gifts.”
As Cross sees it, what’s “sexual” is hard to define. “It’s always sexualized, but some people have a different definition of what that means,” she says. “Some people are really getting off and giving money, and some people are really getting off and giving money.”
Nowadays, competition is growing. On social media, more women are angling to get what seems like easy money. A newbie might set up an account on Twitter or Instagram, start posting sexy selfies, and hashtag away: #findom, #paypigs, #tribute, #walletrape. But findom is hard work. “I always say to people, ‘Do you know how hard I work to wake up one morning with a few extra thousand dollars and [Christian] Louboutins on my doorstep?’” Cross says.
Some financial dominatrixes are full-time, but not most. “They’re not just doing one thing. They’re doing things like NiteFlirt, and clips, and private webcam shows. So there’s a lot they’re doing. It’s not like there’s a lot of people doing that. There’s a handful of top earners in the world of BDSM.”
Not all pay pigs are committed or financially faithful. A friend of Cross’s landed a whale. He paid for her Central Park West apartment and gave her $60,000 two times a year. It turned out he was doing the same thing with five other women. “There’s a lot of money out there,” Cross notes.
Part III—A Sensual Sadist
Mistress Mara Julianne is 28. Based in Los Angeles, she’s a “sensual sadist” who employs financial domination as one of the many tools at her disposal. “I really like dishing out pain, but I’m one of the nicer dommes.” Currently, she’s a solo operator; in addition to paying clients, she has a “sub,” a man who is submissive to her but doesn’t pay her, and with whom she’s involved in a personal relationship. In 2013, she started working at a local dungeon. Right now, being a professional dominatrix is her career, but, she says, “I do play on my personal time when I can.”
In order to support herself as a full-time dominatrix, she meets a variety of fetishistic needs. She does bondage and is studying shibari, the art of Japanese rope bondage; she loves impact play: spanking, caning, and flogging; there’s body worship, in which a client caresses or massages whichever body part of hers that he fetishizes; using plastic wrap, she mummies clients; in role-playing, she might play the part of a mother or girlfriend; for pet play, she pretends her client is a puppy or pig and “the submissive doesn’t get to answer like a human, they have to roll over or bark, and I have to take them on walks.” Foot fetish is big, too. For “the longest time, my mother told me I had stinky feet.” Men pay her to let them massage, lick, and smell her feet. Of course, she does financial domination.
Depending on what a financial submissive wants, she issues orders. “I can instruct them to pretty much do anything, whether it’s giving me money or ignoring them. When they’re done with that, they hang up.” One regular gives her $100 three times a week. Recently, they met in person for the first time. He gets off on “the satisfaction of knowing he’s improving my life.” He’s married, retired, and lives in Orange County. On “Takeover Tuesdays,” she picks items on her online wish list, and he buys them for her. “He used to be some sort of software engineer,” she adds.
Before she became a dominatrix, she was a photographer and graphic designer, skills she’s using to brand herself. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, in online financial domination. “A lot of these girls are young, and I don’t know if they want all this coming back to them later on in life. I’ve chosen to expose myself, and I know the risks that come with that. They think it’s really easy. Most of the girls that try it drop out within two weeks to two months. You have to market yourself.”
In financial domination, some women of color get low-balled by their mostly-white clientele and some leverage their race to increase their revenue. Mistress Mara targets a niche. “I’m a mix—Chinese, Filipino, Spanish.” She intentionally plays into a stereotype of cultural strictness or cruelty, one she believes comes naturally to her due to her “tiger mom.” “It’s been tailored into my play for corporal punishment, because that’s kind of what I went through.”
While the number of amateurs doing financial domination is rising and some pro dommes do it solely for the revenue, Mistress Mara prefers a sensitive approach to emptying a man’s wallet. “I see them as human beings, even if I treat them like crap, because they are willing to give themselves completely to me—emotionally, spiritually, financially,” she says. “That, to me, is the biggest gift a human being can do that for another person. It’s almost like an act of love, in a way. I know, it’s romanticizing it. I’m not going home with them. The session will end. It’s monetary-based. But I give 110 percent every single time.”