Last year I began working as a financial dominatrix, after discovering that some men are aroused by relinquishing control of their finances to someone they communicate with via a webcam. I don’t do real-life meets, and it’s not about sex, even though my clients get turned on. Usually they are men in high-powered jobs who want the opposite of the authority they have at work. They like handing over control by transferring money to me, and being told they are worthless, pathetic pigs. One client asked me to blackmail him by taking photos of him and then giving me the numbers of his work and wife. I told him, “You’ll have to pay me or I’ll use these photos against you.” I could see that he was getting a kick out of it. I’ve learned to go with the flow, and nothing shocks me any more, although I refuse requests to refer to a client’s race or religion. Potential clients need to send me money via PayPal first, so I know they are genuine, … [Read more...] about My life in sex: ‘My clients like being told they are worthless, pathetic pigs’
Impostor syndrome – the feeling that you're a fraud, and any day now you'll be exposed – is presumably even more common than surveys suggest: after all, it's not the kind of thing to which people like to admit. Indeed, it can be hard to tell when you've got it: those others might have a syndrome, your reasoning goes, but I'm genuinely out of my depth. It's a classic case of "comparing your insides with other people's outsides": you have access only to your own self-doubt, so you mistakenly conclude it's more justified than anyone else's. This is a strange kind of self-doubt, when you think about it, since it's premised on the idea that you're highly talented at something, namely deception. Still, it's no fun, and if new research is anything to go by, it might be harder to cure than anyone thought. Two US sociologists, Jessica Collett and Jade Avelis, wanted to know why so many female academics opt for "downshifting": setting out towards a high-status tenured post, then … [Read more...] about This column will change your life: do you feel a fraud?
I met my wonderful, loving husband at 18 and married him at 20. That was 16 years ago, and while we’ve had a fabulous, supportive marriage, the sexual side of things had begun to grow stale. A couple of years ago, we decided to spice things up by visiting sex clubs together, a mutual decision that excited us both. While attending the same event, we both met other people we really connected with. It was completely unexpected, but we now consider ourselves polyamorous. My husband is still my soulmate, and I can’t imagine life without him, but I have an amazing boyfriend, as well. I also have a new best friend – my husband’s wonderful girlfriend. At first, we expected to feel some jealousy, but it never arose. Within the polyamorous community there is a word for the opposite emotion, “compersion” – the feeling of joy that someone else is happy. Now, the four of us consider ourselves a family and share holidays, nights out and celebrations, as well … [Read more...] about My life in sex: the woman in a polyamorous marriage
I married very young and had two children by the time I was 24. Twenty years later, when they were grown up, my husband divorced me. I had some brief relationships, but it took a while to regain my confidence. Then I met Graeme. He was handsome, warm and single – but as our relationship progressed he revealed he could never see himself as monogamous. Heartbroken, I ended things. But before long, I found that I missed him terribly and began to question my decision. I asked if we could meet, and he explained how non-monogamy worked for him: that he liked variety, and felt a sex life involving more than one woman was healthy, but that it didn’t preclude him having a primary partner. We kept meeting, and inevitably had sex. Despite initially hoping that he would change his mind about sex with other people, his honesty and discretion began to win me around, and we moved in together. It wasn’t always easy, and at times I struggled to get used to our arrangement. But having … [Read more...] about My life in sex: ‘Once I would have called a woman doing what I do a slut’
‘The biggest achievement of the anti-abortion lobby is making women feel guilty’ Sam, 26, and Diane Munday, 88, had abortions five decades apart Sam and Diane are sitting in Diane’s front room in Hertfordshire, hands warmed by mugs of coffee, chatting as if they are old friends. In fact, they have just met, brought together by their similar personal and political experiences, which took place some 50 years apart. “Back in the 1960s, nobody talked about abortion. It was a word that was never said, never written,” says Diane. When her dressmaker and friend, married with three young children, died from a backstreet abortion, “it knocked me between the eyes,” she says. She thought of her again when, married with three children herself, she became pregnant at 29: “I knew the minute that pregnancy was confirmed that I wasn’t going to continue with it. I had reached my limit in my circumstances.” Her choice, in 1961, was between an … [Read more...] about ‘You’ve got to carry on that fight’: strangers swap life-changing experiences