heart shaped whip

Cathryn Berarovich is something of a renaissance sex worker; she’s currently employed as a pro-domme at a fetish house but has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry. 

I write a lot about the nightmare clients, the guys who I absolutely cannot stand, and I suspect my stories so far have given the wrong impression. It isn’t that I hate my clients, I just write a lot about the bad ones because they make better stories. It isn’t really fun to read about a guy with whom I had fun. It’s a lot more fun to read about a man who gets so drunk he is barely coherent, or a man who is so lonely he has moved into creepy territory and tracked me down, called my home number, and talked to my mother.

The thing is, most of my clients aren’t like that. Most of my clients are either boring or genuinely wonderful and it’s these wonderful men who make my job so worthwhile. The thing is, there are two kinds of clients, the men who pay because they want to–whether because they can’t or don’t want to come out as submissives to their wives or girlfriends or because they simply don’t have time for a romantic relationship–and the men who pay because they have to. The majority of clients I see are of the first variety, and I love them as much as I hate the second variety.

I’ve mentioned before that part of the reason why I love sex work so much is the way it allows me to help people. I like to think I help all my clients in one way or another. Sex is right smack in the middle of the hierarchy of needs, and while some of my clients do have sex with their wives or girlfriends, very few of them get the kind of sex they need.

Probably the most common argument against what I do is the old, “It’s not even natural–can’t these sick fucks just have normal sex with their wives? Why do they have to go to you?” and yeah, I get how someone might think that. It’s really easy to rationalize away the need for something a bit more involved than middle of the road vanilla sex if that’s where your interests lie, but if it isn’t (and it certainly isn’t where my interests lie) the idea of my clients giving up kink in order to honor a commitment they made to a woman they don’t even feel safe sharing their perversions with is absurd.

Deciding not to have pervert sex for whatever reason–whether because it freaks your partner out or because you think it’s wrong–is really, really fucking rough. It’s like drinking black coffee every day for years when you prefer lots of sugar and hazelnut creamer. It’s still coffee, which is better than no coffee, but it gets really depressing after not very long.

The guys who pay because they choose to–again, not because they have no other choice–are generally kind, respectful, and grateful. They don’t seem to think the hourly fee they pay for my time entitles them to any kind of special treatment, and because they don’t demand a special experience, their experience is special.

Every single one of my clients comes to see me with an idea of what the perfect dominatrix is like and every single one of them hopes I will be that perfect dome; however, the ones to whom I’m able to give the best experience hold one thing in common: they recognize that I’m a person with a personality and will therefore not necessarily be the perfect dominatrix. They’re willing to work with me and with my individual session style, and don’t expect unrealistic things of me. I have great affection for the men who come to me, not to some cartoon version of Mistress Charlotte they’ve built up in their heads, and it’s with these men that I’ve had some of the most honest, tender, human moments of my life.

Being a good sex worker requires so much more than a pretty face, a nice body, and a willingness to skate on the outside of what is morally acceptable to most of society and being a good dominatrix requires so much more than just being a mean lady with a talent for bullwhipping.

Fetish work is often seen as not only the most morally acceptable but also one of the easiest forms of sex work, while in reality it’s one of the most difficult. If I wasn’t able to see my clients as human beings, I would have no business beating and abusing them. If I expect them to submit to me, I first have to show them that when they aren’t naked and crawling at my feet I can see them as people. From the moment they call my dungeon and speak to me on the phone, until the end of the interview I give before I start a session with a new guy, I have maybe a half hour to win their trust.

As an escort and later as a stripper, I needed walls to keep me sane, but now I work in a field where walls are more of a disservice than anything else. I am Mistress Charlotte and Mistress Charlotte is me. The only real difference between my work self and my “real” self is that Mistress Charlotte prefers to abuse, while I prefer to be abused. I’d never tell my clients what a sub I am in real life, but that’s part of why I’m so good at what I do. I have an understanding of BDSM from the bottom, and so I’m able to be a caring and empathetic top.

After my sessions, especially the more brutal ones, I usually talk to my client for a few minutes, give him something to drink, and send him out the door with a hug. This is, in some ways, my favorite part of any session, not because the guy is finally leaving, but because it is so intimate, so caring and nurturing, and so very beautiful. It’s rare for whores to write love letters to the men who pay them, but in a way that’s what this is. I have gotten to a point where I can honestly say that I love most of my clients on some strange level and it’s made me appreciate my work even more.

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