The economical impact of the Covid pandemic is often a topic in the news and most goverments are trying to help big companies as good as they can. But often they forget about self employed and even more about people working in the sex industry. Today I’m talking with Master Dominic, a pro dom in London.
Hi Dominic. You’re working as professional Master in London and normally you’re also travelling as pro Dom around Europe. It is your job to lock and restrict subs who are visiting you. But at the moment the Covid-lockdown is restricting you. How is it as sexworker in these strange times?
Hi Marc! It’s been rough, I won’t lie. I’m clinically vulnerable to COVID, so I had to stop taking physical bookings in February 2020 when infections in London started climbing.
I went from working 60 hour weeks between sessions and running my dungeon, Facility-X, to literally nothing that involves meeting people overnight. Working face to face with people is always what I enjoy the most about my line of work, so I miss being in session all the time.
I do have clip sites which are a source of income but not my full time job, so I’ve had to try to get my head around webcam sessions, text sex, etc. It’s not the same as physical sessions but it’s better than nothing!
Is it just your medical pre-existing condition which was the reason to stop with physical encounters with clients or have also other circumstances restricted your work?
It’s all of the different factors – even if I were completely healthy I would have stopped seeing clients. Many are older, or have families they go home to. It would be totally reckless to carry on seeing people even if I wasn’t at risk myself.
The lockdown rules are confusing and change all the time in the UK – who can and can’t book a session, or the dungeon, or a class, is really difficult to navigate legally. So, to be sure, I just stopped working in any way that involves leaving my house.
Same here in Switzerland. In some cantons, e.g. Zurich prostitution is forbidden by the Covid regulations, in others like canton of Bern or Geneva it is allowed, in other cantons prostitution is allowed but bordells and dungeons have to be closed. It is really a legal mess. That doesn’t make the situation easy for sex workers.
It’s so frustrating, isn’t it?! I do think common sense should prevail – wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and (unfortunately) don’t keep any play dates you’ve booked.
The problem is BDSM is a heightened state of human connection. The need for intimacy, sex, release are so inherent to being a human that we can easily make reckless decisions, like playing with someone during a pandemic. Pair that with confusing laws from an incompetent government and you have a really difficult situation to navigate.
The economical impact of Covid is nowadays often a topic. How is it for you? And do you get any compensation for your loss?
It’s been brutal. Sex work is unpredictable at the best of times – I have months where I have 2 appointments every day, and other months I have no session bookings at all. I’ve been a sex worker for 15 years and so I’m used to having to save money in case I get a slow month, but now every month is very slow given most of my clients want physical sessions, so it’s very stressful.
There’s a self employment income support scheme in the UK which is a lump sum every 3 months or so. That’s definitely a huge help, but it’s only 80% of your earnings once every 3 months, so times are definitely tough. The only thing I’ve given a good battering to this year is my savings account!
How stresful is the whole situation for you at the moment?
I won’t lie; it’s incredibly stressful, on all fronts. I worry about money, obviously, but it’s concern for my clients and colleagues’ wellbeing, too. Money can always be figured out one way or another but the mental health ramifications of being isolated, worried, unable to experience human contact and unable to have that time away from it all in a session is going to have a lasting impact, I think. I’m hoping my business will bounce back in time – if it doesn’t, it’s time to look into another line of work, which would be a real shame. I love what I do.
I think that Covid has shown us, that social distancing is not really what the human being needs. People are becoming a little crazy. Can you feel that too?
It’s completely necessary when dealing with a pandemic, obviously, but it’s not what we’re designed to do, no.
I’ve noticed a lot of pretty dramatic changes in peoples personality during covid, and in the emails I get from clients. There’s a palpable tension and rushed tone – people are lonely.
We’re so close now – vaccines are being done, we just have to hold back the COVID-crazy a little longer!
Do you think that the pandemic has a different impact to the sex worker branch than to other selfemployed?
“Given it’s based around human connection and feeling each others energy I think it’s been really hard for a lot of us to convert it into a covid safe job. I’ve been doing webcam sessions and I’ve struggled with getting the vibe going, which then leaves you with that sort of ‘that could have been SO MUCH BETTER’ feeling, so you stop taking bookings to re-asses, and then you’re broke! It’s a really weird thing because we have all this incredible technology like eStim boxes with digital control so you’d think an online session would be easy, but it’s just not the same, at least for me. I definitely want to get my claws into my clients skin, not into my keyboard.”
With all the vaccination there is a light at the end of the tunnel. What is your hope for the upcoming months and for the future as pro dom?
I just got my first shot and I could not be happier. I’m hoping everybody makes sure they don’t fall for misinformation about vaccines, gets their shot, and we can all be elbow deep in each other this time next year!