During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people had to adjust their daily lives. People who worked in offices started working from home, students who went to campus to learn transitioned to online classes and party animals stopped going out.
Sex workers, those employed in a profession often called the oldest in the world, also had to adjust their practices. This line of work often requires extremely close contact, making it virtually impossible for social distancing or protection against contracting COVID-19. As a result, “sex workers are one of the more overlooked subpopulations to be at an increased of contracting COVID-19,” an article from Healthline writer Sadaf Ahsan argues.
For Mizz Honey Temper, a financial dominatrix or “FinDom,” the pandemic opened a conversation about how she and others in her line of work could meet with clients safely. Financial Domination is a BDSM fetish practice where a submissive gives money or other gifts to a dominant. The practice is often nonsexual–the submissive gets sexual gratification from the exchange, but in many cases, no sex actually occurs.
“During COVID I had been really actively pursuing the fetish and FinDom with a few close-knit people that I’d really come to know in the community. And then when COVID happened, it kind of opened up this conversation with a lot of other women about, like, well, what are we going to do and how do we engage?” said Mizz Temper. “How do we meet people and feel safe about doing so?”
This led to Mizz Temper creating FetDungeon—a free to join web and social community focusing on BDSM, Female Domination, Kink and Fetish. The website was originally a place where Mizz Honey Temper’s clients could interact with her. But since the pandemic, it’s transformed into a community space for those who practice Financial Domination.
“It was originally a fan page for me, and now there’s thousands of users on it and more joining every day,” she explained.
“It’s been a bit overwhelming. Where I hope to see it going is that it’s an open resource platform for people that are new to the lifestyle, both dominant and submissives, to be able to chat openly, find out about local events and to learn about other events that are happening in other cities around Canada and in the US.”
She also hopes it can be a space for women to empower themselves through sex work and content creation. Due to the stigma surrounding financial domination, FinDoms can struggle to connect with the larger kink community.
“A lot of women that are particularly FinDoms or into financial domination are rejected from a lot of other types of kink groups, and they’re looked at as like fake, or they’re more or less kink shamed, and so there’s not a lot of places and groups and platforms that are accepting of this fetish,” said Mizz Temper.
In Mizz Temper’s experience, the stigma surrounding the fetish mainly comes from a lack of understanding.
“I think when COVID first happened, a lot of girls saw that it was one of the top most searched kind of fetishes that was making money, and that there was a lot of people that didn’t understand the aspect of the kink or the fetishes that are behind it and just kind of took people’s money.”
It’s also led to the kink community being wary of the fetish. “It made a lot of people feel really kind of ripped off and not respected. And I think that that’s why there’s been a lot of protections in place from groups to safeguard people from that kind of thing happening,” said Mizz Temper.
But there’s more to the fetish than just taking people’s money. There’s a psychological aspect to domination, especially financial domination, that most people don’t think of.
“It’s really understanding the psychological aspect, I guess, of what turns them on about giving you money and submitting to you that way,” explained Mizz Temper. “A lot of the people that engage with me, we have safe words that are in place. And we went through a lot of vetting and understanding of what is and isn’t OK and what boundaries we want to try to kind of push and what limits we want to discover together.”
“Typically, if you make a lot of money, people don’t tell you if your breath stinks, they don’t tell you if you’re not really polite, or if you have socializing issues, and they just aren’t very forward with you.”
For financial dominants, there’s an obvious economic benefit involved in the kink, but the perks often extend further.
“I feel gratified and beautiful. And really empowered,” said Mizz Temper. Since expanding FetDungeon, she’s had more women reach out looking to learn how they can get involved in this industry safely.
“More women have actually reached out to me than men since my website’s come out and a lot of them are just looking at different aspects of what they can do with digital content creating and aspects of sex work and learning about kink and it’s been really empowering,” she said. When she started sex work over 15 years ago, she was scared to tell people. “I was worried about judgement … just registering your name could be kind of a dangerous thing.”
But since the pandemic, Mizz Temper has been able to find something she didn’t expect: community.
“Something more than I could have ever expected is just kind of having camaraderie and seeing women of color that feel empowered by their own content and their own control, financially over what they’re making and how they’re creating it has been really inspiring.”
Ultimately, Mizz Temper hopes the website can be a safe space for women interested in the fetish lifestyle or those who want to start sex work but don’t know where to start.
“I’m really only here genuinely for the consenting people that want to engage in learning and discovering more about their sexuality and understanding how that fits in with their role in the community.”