An unusual pleasure: Financial domination
Recently Turkish social media followers may have seen some shocking social media messages like, “make me your submissive, I will do anything you want” or "I made my submissive buy me these shoes." Of all the sexual fetishes in the world, financial domination is perhaps one of the hardest to understand. Beautiful women demand money and expensive gifts for next-to-nothing in return. The sexual pleasure is all about submitting to the dominant and surrendering your finances.
The practice is sometimes related to BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Submission, Masochism) but quite often the individuals have no intimate relationship.
It could be argued that Turkey historically and geographically could be conducive to BDSM practices. After all, the Mesopotamian imagery of male slaves serving a female the goddesses (Inanna, Ishtar etc.) could be seen on many historical monuments. Although those images could not be conceptualised as the proof of BDSM, they could be interpreted as such. But the social media messages, internet groups show that modern Turkey hosts a small but active BDSM community.
We must mention that these relations are consensual, consent is the essential key to the relationship. Individuals who define themselves as a dominant, act within the boundaries, and the limits are set by the submissive. The submissive is freed at any time he/she wishes.
To understand the motivations of these individuals better, we interviewed H., a self-proclaimed 28-year-old dominant for Ahval. H. tells us that she has always been aware of her sadistic-masochistic tendencies and has always been "dominant" in the every-day sense. H. tells us that she found the BDSM community in Turkey around a year ago. "I have never been submissive in relationships; either equal or the dominant one. My masochistic side is limited to the pain within my control. I do not enjoy any pain I cannot control," H. says noting that obedience and masochism are not the same things.
H. tells us that she does not do "seances" for money. "I did do a few seances, but I felt that the power balance changed once a financial transaction was involved," she says. Most of her relationships are non-financial. "Sexual hunger is behind financial domination. Men who have nothing other than money initiate this. People who have a family, children and responsibilities could do a seance or two, but mostly they don't become financial submissives," H. says "and of course, some women are in it just for the money."
H. says women who do BDSM activities for money and not for pleasure are the cause for negative publicity causing the already small BDSM community more members. "Most people on the social media posting about their BDSM experiences are not true BDSM's," she says, "a submissive wouldn't dare to post anything at all."
H. believes that the majority of Turkish men are subs (submissive) because society expects them to be dominant all the time. Just like the other side of the coin ... “These pressures such as societal, family, gender roles etc. could be the factor leading men to desire a submissive role in a BDSM relationship. Some submissives I had a seance with said 'I don't want to be dominant, but my girlfriends are demanding it', so it could be a break from that tedium."
BDSM relationships sometimes have a healing effect too, H. says: “A friend of mine had a macho-nationalist submissive. Soon after he reported that in his everyday life he was kinder to women."
H. introduces us to "Queen of Spades" a professional dominant for over two years. The 25-year-old Queen of Spades says that she noticed her sadistic tendencies at a very young age. People of every background pays for her services, she tells us. How does a seance go? "I chat with my submissives before a seance. If he's a regular, we try something different every time. I pay special attention to the submissive's pain threshold and make sure that he enjoys the experience. That's pretty much it," she says.
One should be careful to understand the difference between sadism and cruelty according to the Queen of Spades since one is based on consent and pleasure. She very carefully tries to define the line between BDSM sexual tendencies and cruel acts like harming women, the children or even animals.
Queen of Spades is not very judgmental to women doing BDSM just for money and not sexual pleasure, "people do all kinds of work for money, this is just one of them," she says.
Another dominant Roxana Lisowska, 27, is now married to her submissive. Roxana says she noticed her tendencies early on as well. "After puberty, I started noticing sexual dimensions of my dominant personality. I see the BDSM as a process of discovering what I enjoy."
Roxana says that she does not do BDSM for money, but she understands those doing it for financial reasons: "We are culturally breeding the idea of a man spending money for a woman in this country through our celebrity culture. Especially young girls are exposed to such magazine items, so they grow up to seek financial submissives."
Finally, we meet with A., a submissive. A. is a 24-year-old engineer. A says that he discovered his masochistic tendencies and fetishes during his adolescence, "I was annoying girls in high school to make them hit me." He tells us that he takes great sexual pleasure in being dominated by a woman. “I was 17-18 years old when I had my first BDSM experience, I begged the dominant for a seance since I didn't have any money," A. says.
A. describes himself as a ‘financial submissive on social media. But why financial dominance? "I just enjoy it," he says, "it gives me sexual pleasure."
Psychologist and Sex Therapist Ece Üstekidağ believes that BDSM is not subversion. While sexuality is still a taboo in Turkey and the male penis is still considered as a symbol of power, "women are forced to being subservient." If some men want to escape this enforced dynamic and take pleasure in being submissive, " it is difficult to say that this fetish or other fantasies based on consent are diseases or abnormal," she says.
Psychologist Haki Turan takes his colleague's comments a step further: "The emergence of such tendencies in relationships is directly related to id (a human's basic, instinctual drives). But what we call the id does not listen to the concept of consent. It does what it wants. We might assume that the ego and the super-ego can control it. But even within that definition, we are talking about the internalisation of cultural rules. Because otherwise, our lower self would have no limit. Hence calling BDSM a disease would be incorrect. They should be examined within the cultural and relationship contexts."