Question from Dan Savage
Why are dominatrices so fucking expensive? I live in a big city with lots of doms, and they’re all $250/hour or more. On top of that, many of them ask for “tributes” on their websites and strongly imply that the hourly rate is just the beginning of their charges. Now, I’m sure there are expenses involved in the business and I don’t know much about being a dominatrix, but it seems to me that your average dom would get a lot more business if she lowered her rates a little so many people would not get priced out of the market. After all, basic economics tells us that non-essential services are price-sensitive.Anonymous
The question of why dominatrices cost so much is legitimate… though, the condescension in tone makes this question hard to take seriously.
Asking why they are so expensive is like walking into a Louis Vuitton store and saying, “why is everything in here so expensive.” The simple answer is, because the market dictates it. LV is a luxury brand. We, the professional dommes are a highly specialized, luxury service. There is a market that dictates both. In a highly specialized service, specific needs and intimate desires of a submissive requires a high level of thought and attention. Lowering prices would reduce quality and thought and attention. And in this intimate world of kinks and fetishes and transcendence and bliss, would you want a reduction in the quality of thought and attention put forth by your provider?
“…(B)asic economics tells us that non-essential services are price-sensitive”.
Only people who don’t know anything about economics use this phrase. We, the dominatrices, are the actual market. So, when you look around to see the market showing you a particular number, maybe it isn’t the worker who is overcharging. Others in the thread have already outlined the steep costs of equipment, rentals, training, education, clothing, tools, toys, societal and criminal risks. I won’t go into those. What I am focusing on more is the real question.
“…(I)t seems to me that your average dom would get a lot more business if she lowered her rates a little so many people would not get priced out of the market.”
The thing that I dislike the most is not even the self-centered, self-benefiting nature of the idea that rates should be lowered. Most of us are looking for a good deal. We all like to pay less. If I could get a pair of Louboutins or a car for less than market price, I would do that.
What is really grating is the unspecified amount of “a little”. What’s a little? Should dommes lower their rates to whatever you, the domme bargain-hunter decides is within your comfort zone? What is that number? And how did you come to it? Who are you speaking for when you talk about the “many people” who are being priced out of the market?
This isn’t about other people or even economics. This is about you pushing your own limitations and selfishness under the guise of economics and a market. As you said, you have no understanding of what it takes to run a business as a pro-domme. It’s not my job or my desire to teach you about this. You simply want the rates to be lower because you are uncomfortable with your own lack of resources, lack of skills in budgeting & saving. So, when you see that the market is at a certain price, maybe it’s not the market with the problem.
Asking why something is so expensive isn’t going to get you closer to your goal.
I am primarily an online domme. The cost of entry (to a session with me) is generally lower because you can begin talking with me, and schedule shorter phone or cam sessions and spend less than the 1 hour or 2 hour minimums required by in-person dommes. So, I get fewer questions of this blamey-why-are-you-so-expensive nature because the initial amounts seem lower. However, if you add up my fees, the per minute charges, per text charges, the many other ways of interaction added up, 250 becomes a rather small number.
The upfront cost of $250/hour the listener mentions seems really steep at first. And as many have already commented in the original Twitter post, this includes so many things built into the experience.
My point is, this person is asking the wrong question. What is the real question here? Asking why something is so expensive isn’t going to get you closer to your goal.
The question should be: How do I get this experience? Simply wishing the rates to be lower because you are uncomfortable with your own limitations will not help you get what you want. Whining and complaining and giving silly economic theory will not get you what you want. Finding the domina whom you really admire and working up to her expectations, within her boundaries, and limitations… this is how you get the experience and connection you truly crave. The economics fall into place when you prioritize your own experience and the value that a domina can bring into your life.