Monday, November 17, 2014

Findom: the world's priciest fetish

Findom is ill-understood and controversial. People think of women exploiting men's weird sexual fetishes. The notion of "easy money" is generally disliked. It is perhaps the only fetish where the female "dominants" outnumber their male slaves.

The other day I read an ultra short post on mistress Arella's findom blog which triggered this post:
"For my birthday wishlist click here. My birthday is in April. Stuff can be posted into my PO Box or choose cash (Paypal) or e-voucher."
Perhaps it is the language barrier but "stuff" sounds detached, almost careless, lacking emotion. The entire post is just two lines. Short and to the point. There were more quick entries on topics like holiday fund, Christmas wish list and shopping slaves. Are posts kept short as part of the presentation? Is this what money slaves want to hear?

Control can be a very erotic element in BDSM. Bondage is a form of control I thoroughly enjoy, solitary confinement I do not and not because I would fall asleep but for lack of interaction between mistress and slave.

Control is a major element in findom but I keep wondering about that short post. Does the format work? Are there men who send tribute or gifts to unknown women out of the blue? What do they get out of it? What does it all mean?

The gift of giving
All men (no exceptions) will bankrupt themselves to buy gifts and presents for their girl. After the money runs out most of us will probably rob a bank or two to continue their habit of buying her prezzies. That is what women do to us. Men spend money on women. Women are the sole reason for our existence. Without you we would live in a Mad Max world. The razor would never have been invented but power tools were around from before the first ice age. Soap? Never. Chanel No. 5? Come on! Beer? Yes. Fights? With or without beer.

Men buy women gifts for the same reason they do for children: a unique chance to see pure undiluted happiness. Eyes light up. Smiles brighten. Something magical happens. That is how you get us hooked. Not the sex, that is a bonus. Men care much less about presents. Buy us an expensive racing car and we are happy until we crash it, which probably won't take more than a couple of hours. Give us a cheap plastic ball and we are just as happy playing football with friends. Throw in a few cold beers afterwards and all guys will envy your man.

Unbiased research
Giving presents is great, but still a long way from findom. I was not in the mood for pre-approved opinions (Fetlife) so I searched "definition of findom." The first result that got my attention came from The Democratic Underground that calls it the stupidest fetish ever and a lonely hearts scam. Two readers left comments. The first one referred to it as "the definition of a bad relationship" and the second contributor called it "marriage". This must be the mainstream view of findom. The Daily Dot has an article that illustrates how people struggle with the concept of findom. The title says it all: the twisted world of the Internet's priciest fetish. Twisted and pricey. You do not even have to read the article.

Slave to the money
The second interesting result is from Venus O'Hara. Her initial description of findom is straight out of the twue-ism textbook:
"A key part of financial domination is the slave’s acceptance that he should only live on the cheapest groceries available so that his Goddess can enjoy more luxuries at his expense. To permit his domme to live like the Goddess that he knows She is, a good slave will make any sacrifice and – more importantly – take huge fetishistic pleasure in doing so. He expects nothing in return except the continued honour of serving Her."
OK, the slave gives up everything and expects nothing in return except for huge fetishistic pleasure. There you have it: the paradox behind most BDSM activities, receiving pleasure from what is generally considered the antithesis of pleasure. Financial domination is a myth. Not everything is as is seems. When O'Hara does away with the twue-isms she hits the nail on the head pointing out how the one in control is not really the one in control. The one with the money is in control:
" any situation, the customer is always right. The person with the money is the one with the real power in a BDSM relationship as in any other."
She goes on to point out there is no such thing as a free lunch and reverses her initial statement when she explains how a domme:
"...has to maintain Her charm at all times to ensure Her continued value to Her slave and all of those subsequent treats and envelopes of cash."
So the domme has to ensure her continued value to her slave. Venus O'Hara's descrption of the dynamics underlying findom are honest, insightful and elegant. Unfortunately her analysis makes the capitalization of "Her" name a bit ironic.

box full of cash, gift wrapped

Doctor Who?
The next search result to catch my eye comes from the Dr Sue Review. I included it for the comments. Apart from confusion, Dr. Sue herself does not add much to the discussion:
"In some cases the submissive male even dreams of complete financial ruination. This is extreme but has been done by many femme dommes in the past."
Of course there are submissive males who dream of the ultimate financial mayhem being brought upon them which apparently many femme dommes have done so in the past. Now that did not really make sense, did it? Even though a few lucky slaves get exactly what they want, I feel for them. Torn apart by a pack of femme dommes. For the first time in the history of femdom the "fem dommes" outnumber the subs. I think we just discovered the origins of the latest economic crisis.

"Done by many femme dommes in the past." How does one arrive at that conclusion? Perhaps from the recently launched Academic Journal of Porn Studies? (also here and here). Fortunately the journal is both "scholarly" and "a labour of love". Who says academia is boring? Back to Dr. Sue:
"The true fetish doesn’t involve sex at all because the dominant female wouldn’t dream of having sex with an unworthy submissive. The fact that he’s giving to her is simply because he feels that he isn’t worthy of the money but she, being more powerful and beautiful, should be made to enjoy her life with his money but without any tangible benefit to him. The mere fact that he has given the money is the benefit to him."
If I understand correctly the argument goes something like this: findom has no sexual component, it is about inferiority (?) and despite all the money the slave does not get anything out of it except giving the money itself. Whatever. It contradicts with a lengthy testimonial of a sexual nature on mistress Arella's blog. The slave gets an erection the very moment he steps back from the ATM to let mistress take the money. Guess he is just glad to see her.

The WWF has added the twue dominant to the list of endangered species. Dr Sue is a rare opportunity to see one in the wild and to study a few superb twue-isms. She thinks he thinks she is more beautiful. Sounds like a case of substituting what she thinks he thinks for what she needs him to think he thinks. That bizarre logic results in a female dominant so repulsed by the unworthy submissive that she would not dream of having sex with him. Because she is not interested in sex it follows that the true fetish does not involve sex. Doctor's order I guess.

I have an advanced degree in Sherlockology and I can tell that she is a twue domme because she does not bake cookies and shit. Just smell her website. She asserts her dominance by sleeping in leather pyjama's every night. Everybody knows that is what all 'riel dommes' do.

Dr. Sue continues with an explanation of the church as a metaphore for findom. That makes even less sense. The only sensible thing I can distil from Dr. Sue is how hard it is to understand what drives anyone's fetish.

Comments on Dr. Sue
The first one is by Leon. He claims to be a financial slave to three different woman. His story reads like a downward spiral that will eventually ruin him.
"I have been a financial slave for years. As of right now, I live broke for most of the month, because I pay the bills for 3 women..none of them know each other but I pay electric, rent, car and phone payments. I have even bailed their boyfriends out of jail, took out loans and still continue to get credit cards and max them as well. My credit is now pretty bad and I’m not sure if I’ll ever break this bondage…but in reality it turns me on. I love to see them out enjoying themselves on my money…even though these girls dont humiliate me or anything, they sure do take..and I cant stop giving."
Next there is Miss Mona who perfectly illustrates why findom is such a controversial topic:
"Is there a possibility for legal repercussions? And if a FinDomme wants to remain anonymous in transactions, how does she go about it?"
The question about legal repercussions is a good one. More worrisome is Miss Mona's desire for anonymity. Is she allergic to taxes or is there perhaps something more sinister going on? A desire for anonymity is the surest way to set alarm bells ringing.

The next reply comes from Goddess who thinks her clients are pathetic. I assume she is pursuing an advanced degree in psychology:
"...mostly because they have been unable to find balance in their lives, and unable to attain what they need in healthy and productive ways, ways that would require work… so they take the easy rout for instant gratification and further self destruction. It’s that mentality of being “helplessly” addicted to something that I find pathetic and sad."
Insightful? Perhaps. Judgemental? Definitely. Maybe she is addressing her slaves rather than the general reader. Clearly the irony of her own situation escapes her. Her bills are paid by people who take the easy route because they are unable to attain what they need in healthy and productive ways, ways that would require work... Suddenly I see black pots and black kettles everywhere. The noise is overwhelming. The most offensive thing is a clear lack of respect for the people who pay her bills, while at the same time claiming superiority. Goddess goes on explaining how she has certain lines she does not cross no matter how lucrative. There is some empathy left in her as she ends with:
"Secretly I hope all these men overcome their addiction, but until then they are paying my way through college."
And probably long after that. A few comments later a cheerful new princess enters the scene:
"Hi Everyone!

I am a new princess. I would like some advice since a Pig has engaged in conversation with me today. Are there any tips you can give a brand new princess?"
Princess surely is brand new. She has a lot to learn. Never ever capitalize "pig", it is bad for business. The jury is still out on "Everyone!"

Not everybody believes there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Reader rdddd1111 wonders if there is a hidden agenda. I never considered the possibility but Dr. Sue warns about the risks of taking over a banking account or getting trapped into a money laundering scheme.

False prophets
The next interesting search result is a blog called Lessons of the Female Dominant. The author despises findommes who exploit slaves just for the money but lack a real interest in financial domination. It infuriates her. To her findom is one of many forms of domination:
" domination is brilliant, but only if both people involved really enjoy it."
Her argument makes sense to me. Pain does not turn me on, the pleasure of a sadist does. Have me whipped by someone who does not enjoy it is probably the most evil thing there is.

What I find missing from her argument is the acknowledgement that different people look for different dynamics.Venus O'Hara pointed out how the person with the money is the one with the real power in a findom relationship. According to Dr Sue the slave does not feel worthy of the money. Maybe handing over his money to a woman is all they look for? Knowing some women are not into findom or femdom may even add to the thrill.

In a post on fakers mistress Arella voices a similar warning:
"I would also like to urge all financial slaves NOT to send money or gifts to a fin domme who doesn´t have any history or reputation on the internet. You have no control over where your money goes if you tribute the first pretty face you stumble on."
All those concerns put a smile on my face. Impersonating others is not OK. Neither is not contacting someone who paid for your services but it all sounds a bit like complaining about competition. Findom is an expensive paid for fetish and competition helps those who enjoy it to get value for money.

Russian roulette
Slaves keep a certain degree of autonomy over their finances in a paid for findom relationship. Some slaves want to go all the way and dream of a life without possessions or money. Few are able to achieve that in their relationship or with a like minded life style domme.

The complexity and risks of such a life style are mind-boggling. Everything has to be formalized in legal documents. You need to think long and hard about precautions in case something happens and even then it is impossible to anticipate all future events. If the domme dies in a car crash, ownership of assets can be reverted back to the slave. But what if she ends up in a coma and the courts appoint a guardian to look after her financial interest? A lengthy legal battle awaits which you probably loose because you have no money for lawyers. Even a minor stroke can change someone's personality and have them change their mind. Then there is the government with tax brackets, banks falling over and other unpleasantries. A good domme does not automatically imply being good at handling money. I do not think there is any realistic scenario for completely giving up your financial autonomy without incurring a lot of risk.

Help people with their finances and you run the risk their problems becomes your problems. Findom can hold that risk. Not only do you have to manage someone else's finances, you also have to make sure they have enough money to cover their daily needs and you have to plan for contingencies. Sounds like a lot of work. In a loving relationship I would never allow my partner to be exposed to risks that cannot be managed, not even by legal documents.

Leading by example
A while back there was an interesting post on Fetlife about a domme who was approached by a slave to assume complete control over his finances. She clearly liked the idea and the power dynamics involved but had to decline. She looked at it very seriously and considered an array of issues that might come up like medical bills and retirement and other what-ifs. Both were located in the United States. Unfortunately I cannot find that post but I was impressed by how she dealt with it. Honest, realistic with an eye out for the slave's interest. If I remember correctly she concluded it was to much of a responsibility under the current circumstances.

A few good women
German domina Lady Samantha works as a psychologist and focuses on in-depth psychological explanations for BDSM inclinations. She explains the success of the “money mistresses” as an expression of the protective instinct of the male.

Findom is a style of domination mainly practised by women probably for the same reason that men who live of their wife's money are considered loosers. Think of Jefferson Darcy, the Bundy's neighbour in the nineties sitcom Married With Children. For all his good looks and sex appeal men simply do not take him serious. Living of your wife's money is perhaps the most humiliating thing that can happen to a man, you become the source of ridicule and most people loose their respect for you. Not many dommes practice this form of humiliation. :)

What draws us towards certain fetishes is near impossible to understand. A small group of fem dommes is genuinely interested, they enjoy the control and d/s elements of the findom fetish, but most women practising findom see it as easy money, whether that is true or not.

Some dominas have expanded into the field of findom saying their slave asked for this kind of service. Slaves are warned time and again never to say I will do anything for you mistress, so why should mistresses not limit themselves to those activities they truly enjoy? Most of them would not dream of adding scat to the menu without a clear interest in it. How is findom any different? Sounds very much like Venus O'Hara is right when she says that the one with the money is the one in control. If that is true can it still be considered domination or is it a mere fetish delivery system to which so many object?

Implied consent or informed consent?
Consent is the argument commonly used for defending findom, along with the non-argument that people "simply do not get it". Within the BDSM community consent is often used like some magic wand when there is no other way to defend a certain practice. Even if that argument is valid it does not resolve the practitioners, particular the findoms from their obligation to look after their slaves, just like any other kink where the sub hands control to the domme. Unfortunately the well-being of their pay piggies is not on everybody's mind.

Consent is often given while "in character". Gambling away your house can feel like a consensual act in the casino but when the fever of addiction fades, no-one would gamble their house away. Consent should not be confused with lust either.

I do not get findom and I do not like it, especially that certain sense of entitlement even if it just for show. That does not mean people should not enjoy it. What is life without a little risk? Unfortunately findom has much room for abuse. Like all fetishes over time you will need more and more of it to get the same fix but findom carries more risks than most other fetishes.You may get addicted and run up a huge debt. Not only will that debt stop you from enjoying your fetish in the future it will also ruin your life.

If you are a money pig you are out of luck. Your feelings will not go away. You can either find a (relatively) safe way to enjoy your fetish or look for a therapist, who will probably drain your finances as well. Find someone you can trust who keeps an eye out for your interest as well. That will probably be the hardest part.

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