Financial Domination is an area of BDSM which often elicits strong opinions. With other BDSM activities such as spanking and bondage, at some point, after the Safe, Sane, and Consensual scene is over there is no damage done and things are typically physically back to the way they were. However, if a sub’s money is given or taken in a Financial Domination situation, there may be “permanent" "damage” done.
I used quotes around both words. A person’s monetary assets often fluctuate but the word permanent applies because that money is permanently gone even if it is later earned through career or some other means. This “damage” to one’s monetary net worth is measurable but may or may not be considered as damage by the sub.
I believe that this high potential for “permanent” “damage” is why Financial Domination is such a hot button topic in BDSM discussions. For this reason, very few subs who enjoy this dynamic appear willing to publicly post about their desires and experiences. There are plenty of male submission blogs and posts about spanking, domestic discipline, and many other D/s dynamics but very few, if any, directly from the sub’s point of view about Financial Domination.
By contrast, there are hundreds or thousands of online accounts and profiles of women who enjoy Financial Domination. This is not surprising because while there are many women who enjoy the kink and D/s aspect of Financial Domination, there are also some women whose only enjoyment from it is the increase in their financial assets, just as most anyone would enjoy earning money through work or some other non-kink activity. That said, it is not fair to believe that a Financial Dominant is in it “only for the money” because there are many who are in it for the D/s enjoyment, and subs have indicated to me that these dominants are usually easily recognizable over time as being good at what they do.
There is a difference between a Pro Dominant which is defined as someone who gets paid to dominate and a Financial Dominant who participates in the kink of Financial Domination, although a dominant may be both a Pro and a “Financial Dominant.” If you are looking for a Financial Dominant, then that is usually indicated in the dominant’s self-description.
There are many sub women who enjoy financial domination of one type or another, so what I describe is not specific to male subs, although the Paypig dynamic (described below) is stereotypically involving a male sub and a female dominant.
Here is something which may be surprising, though: There are several different types of Financial Domination, including dynamics which do not involve the dominant receiving any money whatsoever. This is often not understood when some people rail against Financial Domination as a legitimate kink.
One of the most popular forms of Financial Domination is for a sub to provide a gift – monetary or some other physical gift such as shoes or jewelry – either through a demand by the dominant or through the sub’s own initiative. When one person buys a gift for another, that is usually not any form of domination on its own but if the participants consider it as part of their D/s dynamic, such as a sub giving a gift to earn the favor of the dominant, then it can fit within the realm of Financial Domination.
There are many profiles on FetLife and other sites in which a Financial Dominant provides a link to an online shopping wish list with an indication that a sub may or must (depending upon the dominant’s profile) send a gift. Why would a sub man send a gift to a dominant woman he has never interacted with? Possibly in the hopes that he may be able to earn the right to interact with her, as I think many of us would expect if we were to see this situation, but also because just that act of giving a gift to a dominant woman is exciting to some sub guys. For some sub guys, there is a thrill at reading about a dominant woman demanding a gift in a well-written profile, and obeying by sending her a gift. I believe that the most all of these men would hope for correspondence and some sort of further interaction beyond an initial reply (if any), but just sending that gift is exciting on its own for some sub guys. Making a dominant happy can be very fulfilling for some subs, even if it is done anonymously.
And of course for a sub guy to send a gift to a Financial Dominant he has already been interacting with, this act can be very exciting as a part of their D/s dynamic and/or as a source of gratitude. In some cases, the dominant demands and the sub obeys.
To clarify, the inclusion of gifts as part of a D/s dynamic does not necessarily mean that there is Financial Domination at all. There are many potential reasons to send a gift, even within a D/s dynamic.
Blackmail is not consensual and thus is not part of BDSM, so the term blackmail here refers to “consensual non-consent blackmail” in which a sub agrees to allow himself to be blackmailed by a dominant.
A BDSM blackmail dynamic may encompass a large variety of potential activities. Typically it involves a sub giving to a dominant information which the sub would not want to be revealed, thus giving the dominant a threat with which to assert authority over the sub. The threat may just be a role-play situation in which false or unimportant information is shared, it may be very real and potentially damaging information, or it may be somewhere in between, depending upon what sort of interaction is negotiated between the participants.
The information itself may give the dominant direct control, such as password access to a bank account or to a computer. One popular form of consensual blackmail is for a sub to give control of his computer to a dominant through an internet application. Just as examples, the dominant may then access pictures of the sub as well as family, work, or other e-mail address to threaten the sub in order to force obedience; the dominant may lock the sub out of using the PC unless the sub performs certain tasks; or the dominant may activate the PC’s webcam to check up on the sub’s level of obedience.
What the dominant does with the authority is up to the individuals involved, whether it involves the sub enduring pain, humiliation, loss of money to the dominant, or anything else such as forced donation to charity. This last example, forced donation to charity, seems much less controversial because the dominant is not receiving any money and so by inference is clearly enjoying the authority and interactions and not the money received.
It is my understanding is that there is typically significant discussion and trust built up before blackmail information is shared. That may seem obvious but to some subs, it is extremely exciting to think about giving up blackmail information to a sadistic dominant and it may be tempting to throw caution to the wind. There are Financial Dominant’s websites in which a sub may fill out a blackmail form, even without any other prior interaction. Despite the excitement of rushing into things, I believe that almost all subs who enjoy being blackmailed by a dominant take their time to build up trust. Or maybe I am naïve about that and do not read about those who dive in head first.
“Paypig” is a common term I have seen to refer to a sub whose monetary assets are drained (consensually) in some way by a Financial Dominant. Humiliation does not need to be part of this type of Financial Domination but it often is, and Paypigs’ submissive feelings are often enhanced by a skilled Financial Dominant who is also a skilled humiliatrix.
I believe that this is what most people think about when they encounter the term Financial Domination, as a draining of monetary resources. Some claim that these sort of Financial Dominants prey upon subs who are weak and unable to resist giving sometimes large sums of money to satiate the sub’s need for a “fix” of feeling defeated and humiliated, but in my view, this is not at all a fair characterization.
As we know from articles about other topics on submission, it is not weakness which drives a sub to reach for his or her desires, it is a strength. Subs to Financial Dominants may risk or suffer a great deal of “damage” (as I discussed early in this article) and it takes strength to reach for fulfillment and experiences when that desire goes against the norms of society.
Probably because of the stigma involved in others judging their kink, Paypigs seem to avoid posting about their desires and experiences on public forums. When there is a topic opened on FetLife to discuss Financial Domination, there is inevitably a discussion of whether or not it is even a valid kink and plenty of judgments and hostility against it. From what I have seen, Paypigs do not seem to want any part of that hostility and rarely post in a thread like that. Imagine posting on a FetLife thread that you enjoy spanking or bondage and having people belittling you for it? Not a fun proposition. Hopefully, someday this sort of Financial Domination will become more accepted within the kink community.
One form of Financial Domination involves a dominant consensually managing the finances of a sub, in some cases taking none of the sub’s money. Once trust is built up, a sub may give control of bank accounts and direct paycheck deposits for the dominant to manage the money, including possibly giving an allowance to the sub. The exact arrangement could vary greatly and may be anywhere between being for the financial benefit of a sub who may not be good at managing finances, to being a kinky way to maintain authority with a sub having to beg for scraps of allowance or for bits of mercy from whatever torment the dominant inflicts.
For one member of a relationship to manage finances is often not related to D/s at all, but it can be considered D/s if the participants view it that way.
This type of relationship is discussed by selkie in her excellent Submissive Guide article here: Letting Go of the Bank Account
Another Financial Domination dynamic is for a sub to be financially dependent on a dominant who has authority over the sub due to this. This situation of financial dependence is of course very common outside the realm of D/s, but within consensual D/s it could be a role-playing situation, a gigolo who “must” obey or else get cut off from needed funds, or any other play or non-play dynamic in which the need for money puts the sub consensually at the dominant’s mercy.
Safe, Sane, and Consensual
All of the dynamics I have described involve consent given from everyone involved. As with any form of consensual D/s, there is agreement about the terms of the dominant’s authority and frequently there are limits negotiated, such as control being limited to one bank account. Trust is very important due to the potential harm, just as with most other forms of D/s.
Is it safe and sane? What if, for example, a sub gives all bank account information and Financial Dominant leaves him penniless? Or what if a blackmail dominant actually harms the sub by revealing the information or reformatting the sub’s PC hard drive to erase all of his personal documents? In my view, the question of safe and sane would need to be looked at individually. A sub once told me that he was trying to find a Financial Dominant woman who would truly bankrupt his accounts because money was not a big deal to him and could be regained through his career whereas the experience of being dominated in this way would be a “dream come true” for him. An opinion of safety about a situation depends upon the specific sub’s view of harm.
It is up to a sub to safeguard his own well-being and that is where a long buildup of trust can be important, especially for some of the more extreme dynamics. I believe that typically authority over money is given in increments over time as trust is developed. For those who enjoy being in bondage, do you just allow anyone to bind you in private without first getting to know and trust them? Hopefully not!
Another often overlooked issue is that Financial Domination is frequently only one component of a D/s relationship which may include S&M sessions or other activities in which the financial authority may be integrated. An example for a sub who is not a masochist would be having to take pain and agony until agreeing to pay money to stop it. Or the Financial Domination may just be part of a deeper D/s relationship.
In summary, there are many different types of Financial Domination, and only a few of them are listed above. Even though there is a potential for financial gain for the dominant and potential “permanent” harm to the sub, it is a legitimate kink for Dominants and subs who enjoy it. Money is very important in our society and to cede authority of that can be very exciting for some subs while having that authority over a sub can be very exciting for some dominants.