“Sex is the wrong word for what we do. It’s so much more than that.”–Madame Margherite
An article written by, Tener Duende
I’m sitting with Madame Margherite, a Pro-Domme who now works as a Fetish Specialist throwing events for charity. Sitting together in a small house overlooking Downtown, we start our conversation over a glass of champagne talking about Los Angeles, social circles, the next four years, and the future in general. The most enchanting thing about her is her candor. The cadence of her Brooklyn accent is a melody for her wicked intellect. There is a pause, I take a sip, then we formally begin.
Credit: Zane Bono, Dr. Susan Block Show.
“My name is Margherite. I’m a Fetish Specialist, I help people explore different fetishes. I do that through private sessions, but I also do that through events, like the Fetish Elite parties I’m hosting. I started five years ago and it wasn’t anything sexual but it was just like these two strangers meeting each other, and I loved it. And, I wanted to keep doing that, and so I started doing ‘Intimacy Therapy’ as I call it”
The therapeutic aspect of kink is nothing new. Cathartic elements have been well-documented from its earliest conceptualization, through the work of Charles Moser, the social underpinnings as noted by Catherine Scott, or even the intimacies documented by Robin Bauer. I ask her to expand upon her ideas.
“I would meet a lot of people who would be very high-strung, or they’d have a lot of nervous energy, and so I would have these intimate sessions with them where I would just help them work through their emotions by breathing and just by being close, and like simple touching and caressing, and saying things like ‘you’re safe, you can talk, we are here together, it’s just me. What are you afraid of?’ and just helping people sort of let go.”
We look at each other, and as people who live out our sexual freedoms responsibly, take a brief pause. I’d like to think there’s a moment of recognition to the paradigmatic depth of our conversation.
“I saw the value in what people call ‘sexuality’ in terms of tapping into a person’s psychology and tapping into intimacy, and that personal connectivity and it really made me fall in love with the world. And people call that Fetish, and people call that BDSM, and Domination but for me, it’s something so much deeper. It’s this bond between two people and being available for somebody to trust me, and being available for someone to tell me their secrets, and give me their dirt, and give me their energy, and me being able to turn it into something positive that I can give back to them.”
I laugh, she laughs, and the sounds we make reverberate like spellwork. Her face is a portrait of her mind, kind if not stoic. Her eyes seem to follow every word of our conversation as if gauging them for span and depth.
“I like to help people understand why they feel the way they do and understand that it’s not weird and that they should be able to talk to their partners about this sort of thing.” I ask her if she has a procedure when meeting people, she answers, “Depending on what they’re trying to accomplish I’ll ask them a series of questions, and tell them different things about my character to sort of give them something to work with so that they don’t feel so awkward. Nine out of ten times they’ll be giggling in the beginning, but then after about five minutes they’re very serious and they’re very able to express themselves, and you can really see the characters come to life.”
The commentary on life in general sparks in my brain. I take another sip of champagne. Her eyes smile with sentience. I ask, are there common themes in what people are trying to accomplish?
“When it comes to animal play the thing that they’re trying to accomplish is a level of affection and love that doesn’t require a lot of work. He doesn’t have to buy me anything. He doesn’t have to be a certain type of personality. He doesn’t have to be better looking than anybody else. He just has to sit when I say ‘sit,’ and speak when I say ‘speak.’ A lot of times they’re looking for that unconditional affection, and love, and appreciation, and it usually comes from a place of feeling that they don’t add up. Like they can’t do all the things they have to do in life because life is hard.”
Credit: Fetish Elite.
I ask what part she plays.
“I’m always a character and it depends on who I’m with and what their needs are. So I’ll be like an Animal Master, or I’ll be something that the person needs represented in their life. I feel like I have this very strong desire to have a purpose in the world. I have a very strong desire to use my energy, and use my knowledge, and use my strengths to strengthen other people, and liberate other people, and empower other people. In session I’m really satisfying that need. I’m really applying everything that I’ve learned, and applying all the discipline that I’ve had to exercise in my life to be a good person and to be a strong person, and to stand by myself, and back up the things I say and be true to myself, because that kind of thing is difficult to do.”
As a queer writer I am aware of how we can live in metaphors. Madame Margherite and I could talk for hours. How does she distinguish between sexuality and connectivity?
“Sex is the wrong word for what we do. It’s so much more than that. Personal connectivity is more the definition. Sexuality implies that it has to do with sex, and a lot of times our intimate connections don’t have to do with sex.
“You know they call me a ‘sex worker’ but most of what I do has nothing to do with sex. It has to do with other things that surround sex, like intimate relationships, being able to trust, being able to let go, being able to have somebody trust you. That’s FAR more important than having an orgasm with another person.”
We take a brief pause. I feel as if we understand something so rarely talked about- the esoteric ‘why.’ Why I do what I do? Why I feel this way? We remain quiet, even if the room feels very much alive. I ask her to talk a little about the relationships she builds with her pets.
“There’s really a huge trust dynamic. I have to trust that he [her pet monkey] is going to stay a monkey under all circumstances, that no matter what anybody does or what happens that he is going to stay a monkey. I trust that he isn’t going to break character. And just like I trusted him, he really had to trust me. In order for him to stay as a monkey. I have to make sure nobody is going to mess with him. I have to make sure that nobody is going to do anything to him that is going to make him uncomfortable, that his needs were tended to. I had to keep my eye on him, to keep giving him reassuring affection.”
She expresses a powerful vulnerability as a Dominant, her humanity is striking. I tell her that. She smiles and says, “Absolutely.” The conversation could go on but I thank her for her time.
She spoke to me and I find myself borrowing her words. For some of us kink is so often a language of the heart, enriching our experience. When expressed by those fluent in its articulation, kink is like poetry lived