What is findom? We asked a dominatrix and a paypig to explain

By Jack Ramage

Published Jul 18, 2021 at 09:00 AM

Reading time: 4 minutes

Let’s be real, it’s 2021 and kink-positivity is at an all-time high. Even if your sex life is vanilla-leaning, if you’re still close-minded, judgemental and easily persuaded by stereotypes surrounding kinkiness, I suggest you get your ass out of the 1950s and into the real world. Despite its obvious existence, the origin of why people have kinks and where they come from is slightly more elusive. Doctor Jessica O’Reilly, a sexuality counsellor since 2001, explained kinks as “generally physical and psychological. As we learn to associate an object or experience with arousal, the two become tied together, so ultimately we develop fetishes through experience.”

Ever since Fifty Shades of Grey arrived on the bookshelves, tantalising a nation of middle-aged women, BDSM has been painted in the public eye involving whips, chains… you get the picture. For many, that’s where the kinkiness ends. Others have slightly more niche tastes. But what if I told you there’s a sexual fetish that revolves around something that, quite literally, makes the money go round? That’s right, I’m talking about financial domination, also known as findom. So let’s leave prejudice at the door, buckle up and explore the kinky world of findom.

What is findom?

Still not entirely sure what I’m even talking about? Don’t worry, you’re not aloneit took my head a while to get around as well, but you don’t have to be into it to understand it. As always, we have trusty Wikipedia to clarify things. The online encyclopedia describes financial domination as “a sexual fetish, in particular a practice of dominance and submission, in which a submissive gives gifts and money to a financial dominant.”

The page continues to note that “the relation may often be accompanied by other practices of BDSM, such as erotic humiliation, but there may be virtually no further intimacy between the individuals. The relationship between the submissive and the dominant may take place solely via online communication, but it is not uncommon for the submissive to accompany the dominant while shopping and paying with the submissive’s money.”

Why do people do it?

So the definition is pretty clear on paper: it’s a fetish where submissives, known as ‘paypigs’, get a kick out of giving their money to dominants, known as ‘findommes’. This dynamic is usually portrayed as a submissive man and dominant woman, however, this isn’t strictly the case.

But why do people do it? Well, what better way to find out than from the mouths of people actually involved in it themselves? I managed to track down a financial dominatrix, Maria*, and self-proclaimed paypig, Alex*, to ask them why they’re drawn to the fetish.

Maria admits she basically “stumbled into” the fetish, as someone she was talking to started begging her for her PayPal details. No, this wasn’t some poor attempt at identity fraud, the man actually wanted to give her money. She said, “I woke up with 50 quid in my account and a dress on the way from Lovehoney.”

She continued, “During the pandemic, I opened up an OnlyFans with the intention of finding other submissivesnot everything was financial, I’ve also dabbled into other stuff. So yeah, I’m involved with other forms of BDSM but due to the pandemic I’ve been mainly online and had very little physical experiences at the moment.”

But why do people take part in the fetish in the first place? Surely, if someone was to chose to participate or buy sex work, your would opt for an ‘in person’ session… you know, to have physical touch, at least? Maria replied, “I think, like many BDSM practices, it’s either a relinquishing or a taking of control perhaps that you don’t have in life.” This, in many ways, is somewhat understandablehaving someone take control of your money, your capital, is arguably one of the most personal and life-altering things that you can give up.

In fact, the element of distance in giving away money to essentially a stranger over the internet is what some paypigs find so appealing. Alex shared that “it’s about humiliation and giving control to someone else. This is amplified when you’re doing it through a screen, rather than in person. I’m not entirely sure why I’m into it, I just am. I did try and deny it at first but now I’ve got to the point where I feel there’s no point in hiding itI may as well embrace my kinks. I don’t think they define me as a person in my vanilla life.”

But... is it actually ethical?

To be honest, you have to respect Alex’s choice for embracing his kinkhowever strange it may sound to people outside of it. However, it does raise the question, is it actually ethical? Some may argue that the very practice of financial domination is exploitive, especially when you’re taking into account an element that is so critical to our daily lives.

When asked whether she ever feels guilty taking money from men, Maria replied: “I have never felt guilty taking money from men. I’ve experienced so much sexual harassment and assault in my lifeso many unsolicited dick pics during my experience in online sex work. I actually see it as reparations for the patriarchy.”

For some dommes, it goes beyond just making cash, it can actually add value to their own lives. As Maria explained, “I actually enjoy the practice and the feeling of being a domme in general. It gave me a voice I didn’t know I hadthe ability to demand my wants and needs. [That confidence] is something I try and carry over into the rest of my life.”

Alex stresses that the action of giving his money away is fully consensual. “Everyone spends money on pleasure, on services, on things which are ephemeral. Some people enjoy spending all their money at the pub, some on fast food, some at the strip club. I don’t see there’s any difference in what I’m doing. I spend my money on things I enjoy and, in this case, it’s giving money to a domme.”

This debate is opening up an ethical pandora’s box of itself. Indeed, it boils down to the million-dollar question: is sex work, in general, ethical? I’m inclined to believe that financial domination is more ethical than other forms of sex workneither party is being overtly exploited, everything is consensual and no physical contact is needed.

So there you have it, a brief insight into the financial domination fetish. Ultimately, we should stress, and celebrate, that people have the freedom to fulfil their own fantasieswhatever that may beas long as it doesn’t harm either party involved. The only harm being done here is to Alex’s bank balance.

*Interviewees have been given pseudonyms to protect their identity.

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