WHACK! was recently clued into a professional dominant companion in the San Francisco area, Mistress Tara Sterling. Always curious about sex workers in the world, we looked her up and were very impressed by her website! We thought you all could use some stern education on what a dominant companion is and does, and you all definitely need more discipline in your lives, you wastrels! Read on for more about Mistress Tara’s favorite ways to make you pay!
WHACK! MAGAZINE You are a “Dominant Companion” by trade. What exactly does this entail?
MISTRESS TARA STERLING Getting to know people and exploring our mutual fantasies. I provide an environment that is both physically and emotionally safe for exploring consensual BDSM. Part of creating that environment is about building trust, and having fun. BDSM encompasses a really wide variety of stuff. On the most basic level I think it is about communicating with impeccable honesty about our desires. More specifically it can involve anything from putting people into inescapable bondage and hooking them up to electrical devices, to manipulative teasing over cocktails.
W! How is your work different from regular pro-domming?
MTS I’ve met a lot of Dominatrixes over the years and have found that we all do things differently. I don’t know that there is such a thing as “regular pro-domming.” [Editorial note: Good point.]
W! You base your practice on the philosophy of Female Superiority. Can you tell me about this philosophy and how you use it in your work?
MTS I actually don’t consider Female Superiority a philosophy insomuch as it is an aspect of my personality I like to access within particular relationships. My personal belief is that all people are individuals and things like gender are not indicative of what a person is going to be like or what their value in the world is. Here’s a great TED talk about how we actually go against nature by being so rigid in our day to day thinking about gender.
That said, I think most men are pretty silly. I adore men, I think they are fabulous creatures. But I like them best when they do as I say. And I prefer to keep my relationships with them clearly centered along those lines. Female Superiority is hot to me because it lends authority and formality to my power mongering. Also, a lot of the classic iconography related to Female Superiority simply resonates with me and I find that submissive men who are drawn to it are often compatible with me. It is about being unquestioned, unconditionally worshiped, and always right. It is a good thing I have a ton of lady friends around all the time to keep me rational! This makes me sound like quite the nutjob doesn’t it?
One of my friends, Mistress Kendra Knight (one of my favorite people to travel with), trains all of her slaves to simply respond “I’m sorry Mistress, I take full responsibility” if she is miffed for any reason. It is an extremely functional way of doing things. But also it makes me so happy to hear them apologize for the most ridiculous things. For example if the restaurant we’re dining in is out of the dish of her preference, or if the weather is bad.
W! You base your liaisons on “intensity and connection,” according to your website? Do you find strong connections in your work often?
MTS Yes, although they may look different than what some people are used to. We may not talk every day, we may see each other only a few times a year — but when we’re together the chemistry is undeniable and through the roof. With certain people I’ve gotten quite involved in controlling their lives and we know each other very well. It is kind of fabulous, now that I think about it, the number of great people I’ve met. I think when someone knows it is really okay to be themselves and let go, and when I share who I really am with them — we always have a great time. I’m comfortable meeting people where they are at, and I think the fact that I am both a bossy bitch and accepting of who they are and not putting any pressure on them to be x y or z is why they are so able to open up.
Plus I’m picky and screen thoroughly so I’m only meeting people I’m sure I’ll like.
W! Safety and professionalism seem to be of the utmost importance for you. Have you had any bad experiences to lead to such a focus? Or has it been with you from the beginning?
MTS I was lucky enough to be introduced to BDSM with a strong focus on safety from the beginning. Thankfully I’ve never have had anything bad happen. I’ve been met with challenges, certainly, but nothing bad per say.
W! How do you keep things safe?
MTS Negotiating is important. Making sure I know what the person’s limits are both physically and emotionally before we get started with anything. Keeping a close eye out for anything strange while we are together. Always being sober, healthy and in a good mood when I’m meeting with a submissive. Using universal precautions, and medical grade cleansers on all equipment (or using new equipment when necessary). And using common sense of course, not doing things I’m not properly trained to do.
W! Your site states specifically that you do NOT do sex work, but most people are under the impression that domming is sex work. What would you like to say to help educate people about these issues?
MTS I actually do consider myself a sex worker because I understand the term sex worker to mean anyone who is engaged in any kind of work related to sexuality: porn stars, phone sex operators, dominatrixes, escorts, exotic dancers, tantric practitioners, etc and some people even think that if you work in a porno shop you are a sex worker. The term was coined by Scarlot Harlot the fabulous activist local to my beautiful city, San Francisco.
W! When did you know that you were interested in alternative sexualities and BDSM?
MTS My erotic fantasies have always been kinky. I first found words to describe what I wanted when I moved to San Francisco and turned 18 — and started reading all about it. My earliest sexual fantasies revolved around being a queen and owning extensive harem who were enthusiastic about doing whatever I wanted and vying for my attention by putting up with whatever I wanted to put them through…
W! How did you make the transition into being a companion?
MTS Do you mean when did I start practicing professional domination? I met a woman in one of my college classes who was a Dominatrix. I was intrigued, and started trying to hang out with her all the time. I told her I wanted to try it, but she was hesitant. Her girlfriend, however was willing to answer my questions and that was that — I was on my way. I just sort of dove in. They were fantastic about constantly telling me to never do anything I didn’t want to do. I never have, and I’ve had a blast ever since.
If you’re asking when I began to offer companionship along with BDSM, it simply evolved out of what I enjoyed most and felt I was best at. My most loyal clients are people who love to spend time with me and adore me for me. I’ve never been the wham-bam in the door out the door type. I just started calling it what it is!
W! Tell me about the Old Guard lifestyle. I’m not educated, but I’m very interested!
MTS I’m not involved in the “Old Guard lifestyle,” I don’t relate to the meme “lifestyle” at all, I find it aesthetically displeasing for some reason. Old Guard describes a BDSM scene that is typically high-protocol and has a very (intentionally and self aware) hierarchical social structure. I quickly found that it wasn’t for me, but I find the focus on skill, training, and the fantasy of it to be intriguing.
W! You sound like a truly professional, kind person, yet you have an obvious penchant for sadism. How do you think these two things coexist in you?
MTS Well, it is all very woo-woo and Buddhist. Pain and suffering are inherent to being human. Experiencing them doesn’t have to be harmful. I like evoking intense reactions, I like causing pain. But I would never want to do it outside the context of consenting adults. How do those two things coexist? Why wouldn’t they? I don’t really see it as a conflict. Maybe I’ve been doing this too long, I just don’t think I’m weird anymore.
W! Do you date in your private life?
MTS Yes I certainly have (very fulfilling) relationships with people who didn’t meet me through my website, but if you’re asking if I do the normal straight people dating thing — nope.
W! What are some of your favorite ways to play?
MTS Wow this is a really broad question. Let’s see, as we’ve already talked about. When I get to really get in there and illicit some intense feelings, I’m having fun. I want to make someone feel lust, desire, fear, longing, helplessness, embarrassment, desperation, safety, pleasure, belonging, happiness, bliss. One at a time is great but all at once is even better. More specifically?
Inescapable bondage (leather and metal are my favorites), electrical play (erostek makes the best boxes), elaborate role plays are always fun (I’ve been fantasizing about spanking a bridezilla lately), teasing and humiliating boys who are trying to flirt, having my feet kissed and licked, having my stilettos kissed and licked, locking up my sub’s cock in a kali’s teeth bracelet (my fave come from malechastitynow.com), and just generally getting to be in charge. I love being pampered, and pleased.
Erotic humiliation is something I can’t get enough of. I just enjoy doing ridiculous things to people. Putting men in diapers, making them wear bikinis, letting them think they have a shot with me and then crushing their egos. It all excites me. It is so hot to see a guy’s face turn red and eyes widen when he realizes there’s no going back.
I also get really into the Dominant “girlfriend experience” which of course doesn’t involve sex but does involve a lot of controlling, demanding and nagging. There’s an old magazine that is now out of print that illustrates what I mean very well, called Whap! Magazine; it stands for “Women Who Administer Punishment” and it was written in the style of Cosmo or Good Housekeeping for the Dominant Lady. All about breaking in, and training men to be submissive around the house. Imagine coming home and having your boyfriend wait on you hand and foot, and being able to spank or punish him if you felt like it. What woman wouldn’t enjoy that?
I could go on and on, but this gives you an idea of the kind of perv I am.
W! What are you into doing/experimenting with now?
MTS I’m really into using my single tail whip right now and have been using it a lot. One of my friends, Mme. Katorga, is an extremely skilled Whip Mistress. I’d venture to say the most enthusiastic and experienced on the West coast. She has been sharing her talents and observing/critiquing my abilities when the opportunity arises for us to whip a willing guy together. I’m jazzed about it — as I find whips incredibly sexy. The sensation they evoke, the fact that I feel elegant when throwing a whip but am actually being quite brutal.
W! You’re touring the East Coast soon. Where will you be? Can we find you?
MTS Yes, I’m heading out on June 24th. I’m going to Boston, and Manhattan as well as several other spots around New England. You can find me via my website http://www.mistresssterling.com
—Interview administered, with the due amount of praise and humility, by Miss Lagsalot.