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The Debate Room: Does going to see a dominatrix count as cheating?

There may be no sexual intercourse involved in sessions with a dominatrix, but how would your other half feel about it?

Caitriona O'Neill and William Gallagher

IN THE LAST few weeks TheJournal.ie spent time with Dublin Mistress Lara Austen to find out about the life of a professional dominatrix in Ireland.

Lara provides various services to clients who enjoy bondage, dominance, submission and sadomasochism (BDSM) activities. Though she does not have sexual intercourse with her clients, there is undoubtedly a sexual element to the sessions.

Both of the clients we spoke to were married and had never told their wives of their sexual interests, or that they had been going to see the mistress for years.

Does this count as cheating? We asked two commentators on opposite sides of the debate to give their views:

Kelly, a student who enjoys BDSM

As a woman in a monogamous relationship, I do not think that Lara’s clients who have failed to tell their partners are cheating.

Firstly, infidelity, or “cheating” is a violation of a couple’s assumed or stated contract as regards emotional or sexual exclusivity and commitment to one another. But, is seeking sexual catharsis automatically an infidelity? What about masturbation or the use of pornography?

Consider for a moment how much more difficult this natural drive is for people whose partners, (no matter how loving their relationship) hold fundamentally different views of what that sexual or emotional gratification should involve.

What Lara offers as a professional dominatrix is strictly not sexual in the commonly understood sense. There are no hand jobs, nudity or sexual services. It appeals to a deeper sense of sexuality in terms of fetish. Lara is a dream weaver.

In my opinion what she intends to offer to her clients is the opportunity to fulfil fantasies and “play” out their fetishes with her.

Of course, by failing to tell their partner that they are availing of this service, a different type of dishonesty is happening. This dishonesty is typified by the fact that one partner refuses to open up to the other about a certain personal aspect of themselves.

Ideally they would be on the same page about it. But if maintaining a positive relationship requires occasional, non-sexual release, in the sense that this type of release does not fall in the bracket of conventional sexual gratification, isn’t that release then a force for good?

I believe it is.

Lorraine Courtney, journalist and writer

I’m baffled how somebody could manage to meet, marry and get a mortgage with another person yet fail to share the fact that they enjoy being spanked on the bottom.

Couples should work out their sexual preferences and fidelity deal breakers right from the start, because one person’s penchant for outsourcing their BDSM activities needs to be addressed before a couple progresses to the combining of bookshelves level.

Everyone is different and all couples have different boundaries; what is acceptable for one person is a breach of trust to another. But if somebody wants to explore their options, they always need to check with their partner first.

Even for the sake of marital harmony, not everybody is comfortable with hog-tying their husband and putting him in a cage with a bowl of dog food. However, they might be okay with them looking elsewhere for that particular pleasure.

Cheating is the dark shadow lurking behind any relationship. Adult love, unlike parent-child love, is conditional. Any person can decide one day that the bad stuff outweighs the good, and head out for some extra-curricular fun.

But when you’re sexually intimate with someone outside of your relationship, without your partner’s consent, it is cheating. When you strip away the fact it was a paid dominatrix that did the spanking, the person has still cheated and been disloyal to their partner and to their relationship.

Your boyfriend going back to a dominatrix’s flat, enjoying a lustful session, then going back to you like he popped out to buy some milk is not okay.

And to the men who do it then the biggest hurdle you face isn’t persuading your partner that spanking is fun but convincing her that your sex life to date has not been a total sham.

Sexual betrayal is always going to sting.

So, what do you think about it? Does going to see a dominatrix count as cheating? Take it to the comments…

Read: Making men’s fantasies a reality: The life of a professional dominatrix in Dublin>

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About the author:

Caitriona O'Neill and William Gallagher

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