There are only a few, selective memories of my childhood that I actually remember, but some of the most prominent ones involved my idolization of two fictional television characters in particular – Xena the Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both heroines were strong, sexy, independent women whose skills surpassed most (if not all) men in their respective series. And who were they to me? They were my role models, and the embodiment of female empowerment to my seven-year-old self.
So it only makes sense that when my boyfriend brought up the words “dominatrix” and “mistress” in a casual conversation about our intimate fantasies, these women are who I imagine. Not the stereotypical leather-clad she-devil brandishing a riding crop so often featured in fetish pornography. And although BDSM culture has been around for a really long time, I find that with the recent popularity of 50 Shades of Grey (which, after reading a few excerpts, I believe is terrible writing) the idea has gone mainstream to the point where anyone from young hipsters to stay-at-home-moms have convinced themselves that it’s the “new, edgy, cool” thing to do nowadays. Take a look at the classifieds on Craigslist, if you don’t believe me. On a related note, if you want to read good BDSM-themed literature, I’ve heard great things about Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. (Which I’ve also conveniently added to my wishlist page, lol.)
So for the sake of research, curiosity, and wanting to be an open-minded girlfriend, I purchased The Mistress Manual: The Good Girl’s Guide to Female Dominance by Mistress Lorelei from Amazon for about $11. Not only do the first few chapters cover the psychology behind female domination and power exchange, but it’s a recurring theme throughout the book – even when it gets technical about the more hands-on skills. My favorite thing about this read, though, is how she dedicates an entire chapter to each of the five archetype fantasies: Nursemaid, Governess, Queen, Amazon, and Goddess.
Because the author takes the time to describe these archetypes in-depth, the reader gets a thorough understanding of the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the relationship between Mistress and sub during role play. For example, in the simplest terms: the Governess is more inclined towards punishment and reward, whereas the Amazon style relies on bondage and the struggle for power. On the other hand, the Goddess fantasy is heavier on the servitude and worship aspect.
The goal is to identify which archetypes reflect both you and your significant other’s needs, and come to a compromise so that both parties are satisfied and fulfilled. In a way, this manual is a metaphor for planning, preparing, and enacting the perfect theatrical play. Ultimately, she emphasizes that it’s easy to get carried away, and there should always be a line drawn between fantasy and reality. Importance is placed on a safe word, as well as a mutual respect for each other. She sincerely believes that dominance play is healthy for relationships because it takes the highest amount of trust to give someone that kind of power over your physical self.
Some of the phrases and vocabulary are a bit dated, but otherwise this was an excellent book that opened my eyes to a different lifestyle. And although it may not be something I ever saw myself doing, I have noticed a significant and positive difference in my self-image since starting to experiment with it. So much so that I lent it to a good friend of mine who is having issues with her overbearing boyfriend, because I think that it has the ability to change your own attitude about your self-worth as a woman. Definitely a recommended read. If you’re interested, a few chapters are available for free here. Enjoy! ^.^