Reviewed by Jim Lyon
It’s difficult to pinpoint the target audience for Mistress Miranda’s Fifty Shades of Domination: My True Story. Although the title seems to hint that it is in some way similar to the hugely popular Fifty Shades of Grey that really isn’t the case. It is actually an autobiography of a professional dominatrix – who sexually dominates men for a living – whereas the E.L. James book is erotic fiction that chronicles a young woman’s entrée into the world of BDSM and sexual submission.
Doubtless Mistress Miranda is well known in some circles, yet hers is not a household name. In terms of celebrity, she probably wouldn’t even rate the D-list. Nonetheless, she has led an interesting life and through this book shares her journey that traverses growing up in nearly hopeless poverty to becoming a successful entrepreneur and dominatrix extraordinaire.
In many respects Miranda’s story is a classic rags-to-riches story, only the source of her success is somewhat unconventional. While trying to support herself through university, she takes a job as a receptionist at a low-end brothel. When a client shows up one day wanting to be dominated, Miranda volunteers to do it after the girl on duty says she doesn’t know how.
Her naturally dominant nature pulls her through; henceforth she starts picking up extra money taking clients with similar requests. Eventually Miranda realizes that this is an untapped niche, and with the brothel manager’s blessing starts a one-person business specializing in servicing clients seeking domination on an outcall basis.
Balancing her job, her new enterprise and her studies became increasingly difficult, but by sheer fortitude she managed to pull it off. After graduating she took a job in her given field, only to find that she was making less money than she did as a fledgling pro domme and that the sexist culture at her employer’s business precluded any real opportunity for advancement. Quitting her job and resurrecting her dominatrix business soon became a no-brainer.
With the exception of the first few chapters, which provide a here-and-now glimpse into the mistress’s current day activities, her story is told in chronological fashion starting from early childhood. Personally, I would have preferred more brevity in the recounting of her childhood trials and tribulations, but readers with a different temperament will probably dote on that aspect of the book. Certainly that section depicts the influences that molded her character and drove her to succeed and to pursue a career path that gave her pleasure.
Readers enticed to buy this book based on its title alone may be disappointed that it doesn’t have much erotic content. It is, after all, a memoir not an erotic novel. Most of the text that does delve into the specifics of scenes with clients and lovers is not overtly graphic – often matter-of-fact and somewhat distant. Even so, the ambiance and passion of the encounters are conveyed in an inviting manner. Overall this is an entertaining and well-written book that can be enjoyed by all but the most closed minded of readers.
Those unfamiliar with BDSM basics commonly have difficulty differentiating a professional dominatrix from a lifestyle mistress. For them, let me clarify:
Mistresses dominate men or women, with whom they have a casual or committed relationship, for their mutual enjoyment, even if there is pain involved. How that is manifested varies greatly. Sex of some kind may or may not take place in a scene. Very likely all parties involved are active in the BDSM lifestyle to some degree.
A Professional dominatrix is basically an independent contractor who dominates submissive men or women for a fee. Rarely does sex per se take place during a scene. Very often clients of a professional dominatrix are not appreciably active in the BDSM lifestyle. They tend to compartmentalize their submissive and/or masochistic needs, maintaining a conventional sex life most of the time.
A professional submissive I once interviewed told me that many in the BDSM community in her area were uncomfortable with professional dommes and subs. I don’t know if that is a prevalent attitude, but I’d hope that people into such alternative sexualities would be inclusive rather than exclusive. By and large the same fetishes and fantasies are involved, so it really shouldn’t matter whether the dynamic between participants is play for pay or not.