Subcultures: Killer Sex

It was the perfect tabloid story: a former Penn Ph.D. student caught up in a violent S&M love triangle. But the really shocking part may be how much the Internet is changing our sex lives

We sat at her kitchen table, on which stood a spray of Easter lilies. A few years ago, Bound, uncannily like Maa-turned-Vixen, dropped out of postgraduate engineering school at Drexel University. She’d been attending fetish parties around the city, and one day a woman approached her with a proposition: “Look, I run this house of domination,” she said. Such a house is a collection of “dungeons” in which women dominate — but don’t have outright sex with — clients. Two girls had unexpectedly quit, and the owner needed someone to fill in shifts whipping, constricting and stomping on clients two nights a week. It paid better than suburban project management.

That’s how life tipped for Veronica Bound. And there’s something to be learned from the job description that follows; it isn’t gratuitous.

A dominatrix’s job, like any job, is an accumulation of practicalities — details and efficiencies that distinguish the employed from the merely enthusiastic. Like the moment during our discourse on proper flogging technique in which Bound stood from her kitchen table to casually indicate a spot at the crease where her leg met her rear. “There’s a bundle of nerves there, the S4 dermatome,” she explained. “And this bundle of nerves, whether you’re a man or a woman, goes straight to your genitalia.”

Her clients, most of whom are from around Philadelphia, can be as old as 82, she said. But the trend is toward youth, as people discover their proclivities earlier all the time thanks to the Internet. Bound said she now has clients as young as 21.

Is there anything, I asked, that she refuses to do? A line drawn through her existence that she will not cross?

“I do not like to play with poop,” she said. She scrunched up her nose. Poop is a matter of taste.

What, then, is something she does play with?

“This one guy,” she said, “he has this thing where he likes to have an enema and be forced to hold it.” She smiled brightly. “You insert the nozzle of the enema, and it’s got a balloon at the end of the nozzle that you pump up, so that the balloon is on the inside.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Of your rectum.”

“Right.” (Banana, banana, I thought.)

“Now, after you hold an enema for a while,” she said, “you start to get cramped and miserable and whatnot, but he likes that.”

And in that state, the client wanted her to vomit on him, she said, “which is what we in the business call a Roman Shower, because the Romans used to gorge themselves, then throw up.” So by telephone she instructed him to bring a half-dozen large cupcakes and milk, because — again, professionalism — “it comes up nice and easy and doesn’t burn the esophagus.”

After speaking with the client, she realized a “wet and messy day” lay ahead, so she covered her workspace with plastic sheets. He arrived, and she applied the enema with its special balloon. He lay down in the plastic while she stood over him stuffing her mouth with cupcakes and milk until she felt her stomach start to heave.