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Karmenife X On Healing Through Being a Dominatrix and Subverting White Supremacy

Karmenife X On Healing Through Being a Dominatrix and Subverting White Supremacy

There is nothing shameful about your kink, there is nothing shameful about your fetish, but there is something so disgustingly shameful about not paying sex workers.

summer of sex

TW/CW: The following video transcript and audio contain mentions of sexual assault

By Karmenife X

My name is Karmenife X, but your dad probably knows me as Goddess Madame Namio. I am a professional and financial dominatrix. If you would have asked me when I was 18 if I could ever see myself being a domme, I would most likely say “hell no”. I never thought that this is a career that I would choose, but I am so grateful for it. 

On Becoming a Domme

Domme work kinda came to me in the form of healing, one thing about me is [that] I’ve always looked for creative outlets to take my power back and to give me just the power to keep moving on, and so I did this photo project in college called, “Reclamation” where I dressed up as a dominatrix and I dommed the frat guys that abused me in front of the frat house where I was raped. And I picked a dominatrix, because I always just thought, “what is the most powerful, strong, gorgeous goddess that walks this earth — like what is that?” and domme came to my mind. After that photo project, I was like, I need to keep doing this, so I kinda dove into the profession. 

You have to be extremely creative because it’s like ten jobs rolled into one: I am my own promoter, I am my own stylist, I do all my own videos, I am the one reaching out to clients. Like you have to be kind of everything. 

On BDSM, Kink and Societal Misconceptions of Domme/Sex Work

The cool things about BDSM, it’s so vast. Like there are so many fetishes and kinks out there, and that is one of the things that got me really excited about this job, was when I started doing my research, being like, “oh my god! I didn’t even know that that was a fetish.” You find out all these new talents that you have, for example, I have these beautiful size 11 feet—one thing that i know how to do, is that I know how to pinch really fucking hard with my toes—really fucking hard—and I never thought that that was a useful thing for anybody, but now it’s just like, “hey!” I get a lot of clients that are like, “I want you to tie me down and just pinch the shit out of me with those toes—with those big, beautiful goddess toes.” And it’s like, hell yeah, I can do that.

In-person sessions and my online sessions, there can be so many things [to consider]. I am always walking into a session very focused, present and there’s power in each step that I take, but also being very, very attentive—listening to the sound of my client’s voice, paying really close attention to their body language, because even though we may have safe words and hand gestures that we’ve established in the beginning of the session, sometimes they may not be able to say it, or they may not be able to get the word out or anything, that’s why you need to be paying attention and know like, okay, they look like they could use a break, they look like they could use some water. There is actually a lot of care that goes into this work, and that’s something that people need to understand—like it’s not just being this violent bitch. I can be a violent bitch if you want me to, but there’s also that element of care. 

Another misconception that people have about me and my work is that a lot of people just assume that all of my clients are white men. Everyone assumes that all my submissives, all my clients are all white men and that is so far from the truth. I am lucky enough to say that a lot of Black people in the community have come to do sessions with me, and a lot of the times it’s been their first session and I think there is also just this misconception that since Black people have to deal with so much oppression and so many things that are already out of their control, like why would they want to go to a dominatrix? Like why would they want to go to this person who was going to abuse them and take over, when actually, that’s the complete opposite what ends up happening. Yes, they give control over to me, but they make that choice and I am able to create an environment that is safe enough for them to feel like they can make that choice. And there is something really powerful and fearless about that, about letting somebody else just kind of take over for you, and trusting them enough to go on that journey with them, and I’ve been so grateful to be able to do that for members of my community. 

On Finding Healing Through Domme Work, Racism in the Industry, and Finding Healthy Boundaries As A Black Femme

I’ve also dommed other survivors of sexual violence, who oftentimes, after you’ve dealt with trauma like that, you’re told you’ll never enjoy having sex again, you’ll never enjoy pleasure again, you’re never going to be able to do any kind of kink or fetish or anything because you’re kinda damaged, and I say fuck that, fuck that, honestly—that’s bullshit. If you go to a domme who knows that they are doing and understands the basics of it, and the basics of creating a safe, secure environment—so many things are possible. And there is so much healing that can be done with that.

I am really proud of what I do, even though there are a lot of things that I believe need to be changed. Just because sex work and domme work have been such a healing experience for me, doesn’t mean that it’s not rife with racism, white supremacy — like you’re a Black domme, there is so much more shit that you have to deal with, and there are some things that even though I am Black, I’m light-skinned. Dark-skinned dommes get so much bullshit. 

The greatest gift BDSM has given me is learning what healthy boundaries look like, learning what it looks like to have someone healthily respect those boundaries, and also learning to speak up for myself, because when you are a Black femme woman, that is the hardest cross to bear—learning to stick up for yourself, because you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

If you are Black domme or sex worker, you’re going to have to deal with people low-balling you or trying to change your prices, or whatever, because at the end of the day there’s that white supremacist that is plaguing the entire society, it seeps into everything. And people are going to low-ball me because it’s like, “oh you’re Black, you’re like already this whore. You should be happy that I’m throwing you whatever the fuck it is.” Whereas, if you are a thin, white dominatrix, you are already seen as the ultimate beauty standard—you could be doing the dirtiest, filthiest things on your little video channel and you will still be seen as a person, and you will still be seen as someone with some kind of innocence to them. Like you will still be seen as a human being. Whereas Black dommes do not get that same courtesy. Working at the first domme studio that I worked at, I wasn’t making really making any money at that domme studio, because most of our clientele were Hasidic men and they didn’t want anything to do with me because I’m larger, I’m Black, and I’m seen as less valuable. And I’ll never forget one of the girls I worked with being like, “if you did your make up a little differently, you could pass as white,” and that just hurt me so deep inside.

Our Summer of Sex is made possible by the sponsorship of Planned Parenthood. With their help, we are able to bring you this thoughtful series delving into the subject of sex and amplify the voices of marginalized people and communities. 

On Subverting Oppressions Through Being A Dominatrix

As an Afro-Latina woman, you grow up with this sort of detachment within your body, because even as a child, I remember being sexualized from birth — this is something that Black women and femmes have to face all the time, where we’re constantly hypersexualized, we don’t get that privilege when we’re kids of being seen as kids, there’s no innocence. That’s the insidiousness of white supremacy that we even as children can be seen as innocent people deserving of love, care, respect, basic human rights. So growing up I felt this detachment with my body and also this hatred of it in a way — like I hated my hips, I hated my big boobs — I had so much animosity towards my curves because I felt like, “oh I have this, that’s why I am being treated like this.” 

I am in this body that never really feels like my own because I have the whole wide world supposing all these things about me: that I’m this sexual object, that I’m this thing to be used and that is something that I carried with me through most of my childhood and into young adulthood. Like in college, I really did see myself as this thing to be used by other people because that is what society basically teaches young, Black women and femmes, that your worth is totally dependent on the labor you do for other people. As a dominatrix, I have to twist all that shit up and put it right upside down, because it’s not fucking true. As a dominatrix, I am the one in power, you have to really believe, “I am this powerful goddess. Look at my chest, worship my body, worship my brain. You’re grateful to even fucking look at me. You are grateful that I am even giving you the time of day.” 

This work has just really taught me everything about not only myself, but that shame that I used to have, “oh I’m so big, I take up space”, now it’s like, “fuck yeah, I take up space — and I’m going to take up some more! Shit.” Kinda review what you may know about fetish, kink, BDSM, sex workers, sex work. There is nothing shameful about your kink, there is nothing shameful about your fetish, but there is something so disgustingly shameful about not paying sex workers.”

Karmenife X is an artist, writer, stand-up comedian and professional Dominatrix. Karmenife is known for her “Dommedian” style of performance where she brings her Domme work, power and Black Thot supremacism to the forefront of her comedy. Karmenife has been recognized for her Reclamation photo project, her memoir Sea Salt and Sandalwood, her comedy and the work she continues to do to create safe spaces for survivors of sexual violence and sex workers. 

You can support Planned Parenthood by donatingtaking action, and volunteering. At a time when our reproductive rights are under attack, it is imperative that those of us who are able to help lend our time, energy, and funds to combating the forces that seek to control our bodies and prevent healthcare access for marginalized people. 

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