18 Intimate Photos Show What Being A Dominatrix Is Really Like

Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
When asked what drew him to the world of BDSM, photographer Samir Abady told us about the first dominatrix he ever shot. He visited her New York City dungeon to take portraits, and at first, nothing surprised him. The room was dimly lit and full of the dominatrix's leather props, just as he expected.

"But I also noticed the odor of scented cleaning products, and as I shot, I learned about the domme’s vanilla day job," Abady said. That's when he realized the dungeon wasn't just an erotic setting for clients to explore their kinks. It was also a "sanctuary," an "outlet," and a means of escape for both the dominatrix and her clients.

As Abady put it: "There was more to the job than the whips and chains."

So, Abady began shooting the photos for his series, Kink, which follows professional dominatrixes through their everyday lives. All of the women he photographed work independently, meaning that they aren't associated with any one specific dungeon. Instead, they often visit clients in their homes and choose their own hours.

Abady explained that, while clients' sessions may be erotic in nature, there is no sex. Rather, sessions are "a delicate balance between psychological and physical play," he said, describing the dominatrixes as "moderators between submissives and their fantasies."

In his depiction of BDSM, Abady avoids sensationalizing the lives of these women, and instead reveals their complexity. As these pictures show, their relationships with their clients are therapeutic, cathartic, and, above all, trusting.

Click ahead to meet the women of Abady's Kink and read his descriptions of the photos.
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Madame Cureux gets ready for a BDSM session in her home."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Tiffany rubs Madame Cureux's assistant's feet during a BDSM session. Tiffany's sessions with Madame Cureux act as an outlet for her vanilla life."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Tiffany is bent over during her role-play session with Madame Cureux."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Madame Cureux takes her service dog, which she has for emotional support, for a walk. She sees doctors multiple days a week for medical conditions, and the dog keeps her calm and assists in the day-to-day activity related to that. Her work as a domme, at least when I was shooting her, was being done for barter. Her clients would pay her back by driving her to appointments, getting her things for the dog, and buying her gifts."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Various tools and toys hang on the wall of a BDSM dungeon."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Margot preps for a session with a client in a hidden dungeon."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Margot teases a client with a photo of her feet on his favorite doll."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Submissive as much as she is dominant, Mistress Margot receives a birthday beating from friends."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Margot falls into Mistress Bumpy's arms for aftercare after her birthday beating."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Bumpy calls her friends to come over for a party."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Bumpy ties up her vanilla friend as she flirts with the line of BDSM."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Bumpy ties up another vanilla friend."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Bumpy and her friends at a party in her home."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Blunt (left) takes the subway to a BDSM session."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Mistress Blunt mummifies Josh's body in duct tape during their regular scheduled BDSM session."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Josh was born with spina bifida, a condition that forestalled his physical development and bound him to a wheelchair. Mistress Blunt’s sessions have been an ongoing therapeutic outlet for him, a safe place that allows him to go into a world within himself."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"Tools used during Mistress Blunt's session with Josh."
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Photo: Courtesy of Samir Abady.
"During their sessions together, Mistress Blunt lays on Josh and softly caresses him through the duct tape that covers his whole body."