I’ve been a fetish model for more than a quarter of my life. Considering I'm only in my mid-20s, this makes me around three-hundred-and-eleventy-twelve in "model years" (which are counted similarly to "dog years" ... only a little more harshly). Being such a veteran of the profession means I’m liable to spout life experience at every opportunity so when Kinkly got in contact actually asking me to do just that, I was thrilled!

Premium Sex Toys Both the fetish scene and modeling industry can seem daunting and full of strange rules and abbreviations. (You’re a non-TF model and pro-domme specializing in CBT while in a lifestyle d/s relationship*? Pardon??) But admitting you’re new and trying not to be a douche bag is a great start. Other than that, here are a few other things I picked up about feeling - and looking - sexy.

Imagination Is Sexy

I once had a technical malfunction during a photo shoot for a well-known "damsel-in-distress" website. I was supposed to be on a metallic contraption that would raise me above the ground as I struggled helplessly. Demonstrations worked wonderfully, but when the day of the photo shoot arrived, the machine sat in the cupboard like a sulking Transformer, while the team and I tried to salvage the shoot. Our minimalist take on a '50s housewife role, which involved being bound to an ironing board and gagged with a tea-towel, was one of the most popular sets that year.

The lesson? You can spend thousands on a shiny get-up, sex harnesses and dongs with so many bells and whistles you’d think they fell off the TARDIS, but unless you're really going to get mileage out of them, improvising can save money and earn you brownie points for your sexy imagination. (And you won’t have to pretend your spanking machine is modern art when your mum visits).

Here are a few of my best DIY tips:

  • Hooks in the ceiling are discreet and handy for tying people to if you'd rather not buy a St Andrews Cross. (Just make sure they’re installed properly so no-one gets brained at the crucial moment.)
  • You can buy fancy utensils to scratch your partner with, but wide-toothed combs and keys work pretty well too.
  • Never use stockings to tie anyone up. The fantasy may be sexy as hell but the reality is more like a hostage situation - they are almost impossible to untie. If you simply must use them, keep emergency scissors nearby (a good rule for any bondage actually). And don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Get some more DIY tips in Bringing Sexy Back to DIY: How to Build Your Own Sex Furniture.

Fantasies Are Weird and Wonderful ... but They Aren't Real

It's my job to portray a convincing slave, a virgin sacrifice or a rubber-clad mistress convincingly. Most of the time, photographers understand that this is called acting, but I have occasionally been forced to remind a few that pretending to bark orders at me as I change poses is not OK.
It is perfectly normal for your power dynamic in the bedroom (or dungeon!) to differ from real life. In fact, psychological studies suggest that people with a large amount of responsibility and control prefer to relinquish that power in their private lives - and vice versa. Professional dominants have reported a disproportionate number of lawyers and "Type A" personality clients. They're ambitious, work-driven and organized during the day, and want to be entirely submissive in their spare time!

However, wearing domme boots in private should not make your friends run screaming, and identifying as submissive does not give others the right to treat you as their personal bitch. Fantasies are weird and wonderful things, but they aren't real, and no one should be judged on them.

There Is a Time and Place for Fetish Talk

When I was a pre-teen, I discovered fantasy art. My bedroom turned into prime Hobbit real-estate, no paper was safe from dragonish doodles and, had the Internet been accessible then, I’m sure my forum presence would have single-handedly kept entire companies afloat. Because I had no virtual outlet for my passion, I talked about it constantly. To everyone.

Anyone newly enlightened (about anything) can be overzealous, but because fetish contains a sexual element, excessive chatter about it is likely to do more damage to your reputation than simply being labeled "terminally boring." I can assure you that most of your colleagues do not want to hear about your weekend flogging. The community on Fetlife.com might. Understand the difference.
Massage Candles, Vibrators & Moreƒ

Beauty Is Bigger Than You Think

If you have a pulse, chances are that you've felt inadequate at some point. When it comes to physical appearance, we’re all confronted with a cookie-cutter ideal look every single day on TV, in the movies and in magazines. This imaginary red arrow pointing at all our "flaws" cannot be healthy. Did you know the word "cellulite" did not even begin appearing in mainstream magazines until the '60s? Now, we have even more degrading terms, like "underbutt," "armpit vagina" and "carb face," among other, equally ridiculous, insults.

Don't get me wrong: The fetish modeling industry still has an "ideal." In general, fetish models are curvy and either very petite or very tall, and we usually have long hair. Still, there are more exceptions to the norm compared with other industries and in my opinion, the fetish scene itself has a healthier approach to beauty.

Last year, I was eating dinner at an awards ceremony and one of my fellow guests was a dominatrix. She was a mature woman and I’m sure that some people would have used a liberal amount of Photoshop before deeming her conventionally attractive, yet men quite literally worshiped at her feet. She calls herself "Goddess." (What does a domme do? Learn more in A Day In the Life of a Professional Dominatrix.)

I also follow the blog of a submissive lady who documents her many and varied encounters. Her huge fan base adores her - this woman they have never met. She has cellulite (she’s blogged about it!), she is not stick-thin, yet she's told she is beautiful almost every day.

I despised my big, muscular thighs, my scar from an abseiling accident, my pointy nose, my large areolas - the list would go on, but it was modeling that taught me nothing was wrong with any of those features.

My point is that many of the revered women in fetish do not fit the standards of conventional beauty. Can this be illustrated any more clearly than in the stroke of genius that cast Lara Pulver in the role of "The Woman" (dominatrix Irene Adler) in the BBC series "Sherlock"? She’s thin, with small breasts and a narrow, blood-red smile. When dressed, she resembles a first lady more than an FHM glamazon, and yet she commands the attention of every person sharing the screen - and watching it too.

I was afraid that the character would be unrealistic, a snarling, whip toting, melodramatic howler of a caricature. Instead, this strange beauty is wonderfully representative of one of the best things I have learned as a fetish model: there is more beauty out there than I thought.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, here are a few fetish translations.

TF*: Time for _____ (means the model is not paid, but gives her time in exchange for pictures or clothes etc.)
Pro-domme: Professional dominatrix
CBT: Cock and ball torture (assuming this means cognitive behavioral therapy may double your therapy bill!)
Lifestyle d/s: A dominant/submissive relationship that is 24/7