‘I enjoy it and slaves want to see me’
MARITA is standing in a Gold Coast hotel room dressed in leather. She is holding a whip. It can be swapped for a chain.
The 22-year-old is one of the few dominatrixes in the city. Her office is normally a secret building in suburbia called the Dungeon, where clients or "slaves" from all shapes of life can pay from $300 an hour to suck her toes.
Despite the stigma of bondage, collars and submission, Mistress Marita has one main rule: No sexual activity of any kind.
Her other job is a position in the corporate world.
This is her double life:
HOW I STARTED
ABOUT a year ago, Marita started attending fetish meet-up groups.
They can easily be found online with a simple "fetish services Gold Coast'' search.
A man offered to be her slave for cash. She thought she'd take him up on the offer.
Before long a "normal" young woman had become "domme (female dominant)", allowing her to "express my inner goddess".
"I have been curious about BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) though for as long as I can remember. I don't know why,'' she says.
"Even when I was under 18, I used to love going to sex shops and seeing all the toys they had.
"Growing up Christian, I have first-hand experienced the shame with regards to talking about sexuality so I can relate to a lot of my clients who try to live a 'vanilla' life most of the time because of the shame created by society.
"I went on Fetlife which is a social network for the BDSM, fetish and kinky community.
"I had someone offer to be a slave so I thought perhaps I should do it for money. So I started advertising.
"It's a lot of fun. I wish I started meeting people in this world sooner.
"I think if you don't enjoy it, it will put the clients off. They really want you to enjoy it and be authentic in the session."
The Gold Coast dominatrix industry is made up of just a couple of women.
One of them is her teacher, from whom she has learnt the tricks of the trade. She sometimes phones for advice about clients or more training.
"Many mistresses are in their 50s. I haven't met a mistress that is younger than me yet so I look forward to learning more and more.''
Mistress Marita charges $350 an hour (although a foot fetish-only service is $300), $650 for two hours and negotiates on any time longer.
"I charge pretty standard for the industry,'' she says.
"I have to afford, you know, things to buy like outfits and so much time goes into planning."
MOST of Mistress Marita's clients have been with her long term.
They come from all walks of life and book for an hour or two. Some have overnight sessions "where they are locked up, like they were kidnapped".
"My clients are every ethnicity, every age and every job,'' she says.
"It's not just rich men with really powerful jobs. It's people from all parts of society and it's often the biggest secrets they have.
"Some people may come in on their birthday as a special treat. It really depends on their budget and how important it is for them.
"Some slaves visit me during work hours to hide it from their wives or go at lunch time. Some can make it on the way home from work.
"Sometimes a man in his 60s may have got married when he was 20 and has kept his kinky life a secret for 40 years. Some of those clients can be highly secretive."
Often Mistress Marita is asked by clients to dress in latex and lingerie, but slaves "love" leather cat suits that she "always wears with my black leather boots".
Popular is the $300-an-hour foot fetish service.
"They (the clients) are really turned on by the feet. They will lick my feet, suck my feet, give me a pedicure or kiss them for an hour. It's very common."
Mistress Marita says it's "easier to look after existing customers than find a new one" because the person's preferences have to be understood.
Some sessions are not just about whips and chains, but the psychology of why they are there and what they need.
"Often it's not just one session. It takes some time to understand what the client wants and for them to be able to communicate it,'' she says.
"Psychology is very hard to read in a book and learn that way. For me it comes from meeting clients and really understanding what makes them tick.
"It can be really gross … Guys will ask you to shit on them. They want to drink your pee, they want pegging. It's not as clean as some people may think.
"A few people try (dominatrix) and realise it's not what they thought it would be."
She strictly insists she does not offer sexual services and says there is a stigma around her line of work.
"Every (domme) is different. I personally don't do anything sexual. I would rather have less money than do that," she says.
"I do pretty traditional BDSM.
"I have such a different range of clients.
"I had someone ask me to permanently disfigure them. People asking for tattoos or to be castrated, but I won't do permanent damage.
"But then you have other people who have a foot fetish or they just want to dress like a lady."
At the end of a session Mistress Marita says she likes to have a chat and aftercare.
"I check in to see how they are feeling and if they are OK.
"At the end of a session there is often a lot of cleaning. Hygiene is so important.
"Some sessions take ages to clean up, especially when body fluids are involved."
Mistress Marita admits she had seen clients out in public but has "a hard time recognising the slaves when they are in their usual wardrobe".
HIDDEN in Gold Coast suburbia is Mistress Marita's office, a lair.
Inside, it is dimly lit and filled with BDSM tools. These include cages, handcuffs, dog bowls, restraints, ropes, collars, costumes for feminisation, gags, whips, floggers and paddles.
"A lot of the furniture is really good for bondage and tying people down," she says.
"It's dark with candles and really moody but I keep the lights on.
"The one I use (on the Gold Coast) is in a suburban industrial area. It's really unexpected and good for client privacy."
Rooms are also rented by the other few mistresses on the Gold Coast.
"We have very limited dungeons in Queensland. In Sydney and Melbourne, they have places you can rent with several different types of rooms - like a medical type of room which looks like a hospital.
"But in many suburban dungeons there's only one or two rooms."
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, dungeons in Brisbane and the Gold Coast are not permitted for use. It means Mistress Marita has had to rent a hotel room for clients.
"I don't do out-calls. I don't really feel safe doing that.
"I do have security in place. Security is really important to me. Generally, the client doesn't know about it.
"You can get their ID before you do the session. There is always lots of security in place before meeting someone."
MY OWN SECRETS
MISTRESS Marita leads a double life.
By day, she dresses in office wear for her "high-powered corporate finance job".
Outside of work hours, she's in latex and holding a whip.
"It's hard to juggle them both. My job is quite flexible and I have a bit more time for the dominatrix,'' she says.
"I had to shut down during COVID but when I opened up again it was really busy."
Only a few of Mistress Marita's friends know about her secret profession. Her parents have no idea.
"I come from a really conservative upbringing. It's not something I could reveal to my parents. A few of my friends know but it's not something I tell.''
Mistress Marita says concealing her double life from work mates, family and friends can be difficult, but telling them "would cause more problems".
"A lot of people don't understand what I do so it may upset them if they don't understand this world.
"People often assume it's super sexual or you're selling your body.
"That's not what I view it as, but it's hard to communicate that to other people. It carries too much stigma.
"I have so much respect for people who are open about (being a dom or sex worker) but at this stage it's not for me to share what I do. (Being a dom) can cause more problems and complicate your life but, at the end of the day, life is short.
"If you enjoy it, making money from it and having fun, then that's awesome."
The extra money has helped her travel overseas.
She says she doesn't often buy anything expensive but one day would like to own her own home and a dungeon on the Gold Coast.
Mistress Marita says she sees herself staying in the profession for a long time.
"Slaves can tell if you are genuine. They don't want to see someone just doing it for the money. So I will keep doing it as long as I enjoy it and slaves want to see me.
"I have a pretty boring life outside of this job.
"I want to have kids one day and be a dominatrix then pick them up after school. Being able to have that is the ultimate gift."
Originally published as 'I enjoy it and slaves want to see me'