I spend a lot of time yelling about how easy it is for s-types to be abused, and while I want to be clear that in general people on that side of the slash are much more vulnerable to abuse, it’s also important to talk about how being a d-type does not magically grant you immunity to abuse.
Take this woman (link goes to a Savage Love article, for those who aren’t fans) for example, a former pro dom who has been blatantly emotionally abused by her partner, a former client. After they had been together for some time (the letter doesn’t specify exactly how long), he pressured her to give up her job as a pro dom because “he didn’t want to be with a woman who was still practicing this kind of physical intimacy with others”, then “his jealousy flared” when she went out for lunch with a male friend she had played with before, and again when he snooped on her computer and found a photo of her physically intimate with an ex. And finally, the issue that prompted the letter writer to ask Dan Savage for advice: “But the latest and most bitter pill is that he no longer wants me to write anything about my experiences-not because it might cause professional fallout if people knew about him dating a former pro domme (notwithstanding the fact that he was a client once), but because he doesn’t want me to think about the experiences I’ve had.”
Due to the stigma sex workers face, the letter writer is particularly vulnerable to being pressured to give up a job she reportedly loved. As she said in her letter “It seemed like I needed to give that up to have a marriage and family” which is not at all an unusual thing to think. I’m sure there are many people who have left sex work for that exact reason. However, her job really doesn’t matter that much. No matter what you do for a living, no matter how “respectable” it is, an abuser will find a way to object to it. If she were still a secretary, like she was before she became a pro dom, he would just complain about her dealing with strange men all day or accuse her of flirting with her coworkers. If she worked as a goddamn kindergarten teacher, he would find some way to make her feel bad about her job and by extension herself.
The truly ridiculous thing is that if her partner didn’t want to “be with a woman who was still practicing this kind of physical intimacy with others,” there’s an extremely simple solution. Don’t date her. She’s not the only kinky woman in the world, so if her job is a deal breaker put on your big kid pants and leave her.
There are many, many things in the scene that make it terrifyingly easy to abuse submissive people – the idea that having fewer limits makes you a better submissive, that 24/7 TPE is something you should aspire to, that saying no to your dom means you’re just playing at submitting just for starters – but doms can be abused too. We’re only human, after all. If your partner makes you feel bad about yourself, if they control your life in ways that you don’t enjoy, or that you didn’t agree to or that don’t enrich your life, you are being abused. Whether you’re a dom or a sub simply does not matter.