Try as we may, and I promise, I have tried my best, the COVID crisis is something that just cannot be avoided. This pandemic has changed life as we know it, and just about every industry has been affected in some fashion or another. To get a better grasp on COVID’s impact in the fetish industry, I caught up with the lovely Lady Elizabeth, who was kind enough to provide some behind the scenes insights.  

Okay, so let’s get right into it: how is the coronavirus specifically affecting you as a mistress?

Here in Connecticut we are a hotbed of cases, so people are staying home and staying safe. I have some pre-existing health conditions which means I’m not comfortable seeing clients in person right now. 

In your professional opinion, with precautions implemented where necessary, is it possible to approach client relations with a “business as usual” mindset? Are some session services safer or more ideal than others at this time?  

Ethical professional dominants practice top-notch safety measures and keep spotless dungeons. I have regular clients in the medical field who say I’m as meticulous as they are. Even in a pandemic, the risk to clients would be negligible, provided the dominant has been social distancing properly. The risk is more that careless clients could bring pathogens into the dungeon, not the other way around. As for whether some activities are safer than others – you’re in a shared airspace for extended periods of time so whether you’re doing bondage versus spanking wouldn’t really matter much. Both involve touch and are impossible from six feet away.

The whole remote work concept is forcing entrepreneurs to be more creative than ever. Have you discovered any tricks that are not only valuable now, but might come in handy for your operation later down the road?

I offer consultations as well as coaching sessions via phone or online. I have a PhD and additional training as a professional coach, specializing in intimacy and relationship issues. I help folks struggling to get their needs met, which is an issue now more than ever.

Do you think the pandemic will set any new de facto standards in the industry moving forward?

I think a lot of dommes already have video businesses on the side, which may be more of a focus for the people who do that. I’m planning to promote my coaching practice more, because it fascinates me and I really enjoy being able to help people. 

As for health and safety in person, I can’t imagine doing more than most of us already do: sanitizing all equipment after every client with medical grade disinfectant, using disposable items where appropriate, sterilizing reusable medical equipment, etc. We’re a pretty “Type A” bunch when it comes to hygiene, thankfully. In the near future, I’ll resume sessions with trusted regular clients first, as soon as Connecticut is past the peak of infections and my doctor tells me it’s safe to do so.

Have you been able to gauge the morale in the community regarding how your peers may be feeling about the shutdown situation?

People in the industry are definitely stressed, because most of us can’t see clients in person, which reduces our income. I’ve seen several people try to start online domination, only to find the market is already saturated. There’s just so much free adult content online, and consumers have fewer dollars to spend nowadays because many of them are out of work. ProDommes as a group are incredibly smart, resourceful, creative, and resilient. We’ve been supportive of each other through a lot of tough times, and this is no exception. 

On to some less depressing topics; how long have you been in the game and what attracted you to this line of work?

I was in kinky in my personal life first. I was doing scenes as a dominant at BDSM lifestyle spaces and folks kept asking me to train them. They offered to compensate me with gifts, so it began organically and somewhat by accident. This was during grad school. I rented a friend’s art studio at first, for a few nights a week after class, and then it just snowballed. When I finished my PhD, I decided to see if I could make it work full time, because I enjoyed it so much (plus the job market in academia was—and still is—abysmal). I finished grad school over a decade ago, and I’m still quite happy with what I do! 

Your Dungeon sounds pretty elaborate. Lots of integral layers. What inspired you to incorporate this particular design?

I’ve had the pleasure of playing in a lot of spaces over the years, so I knew what I liked and what didn’t work for me. When I got my current place, I already had a lot of the structural pieces, so it was a question of figuring out how best to organize them. With the exception of the St. Andrew’s cross, which is permanently attached to the wall, most of the other pieces are mobile: exam tables, spanking benches, hitching post, that sort of thing. When my partner moved in a few years ago, we had an engineer add several additional hard points for overhead suspension into the framework of the house, because she’s a shibari enthusiast. My collection of impact toys is large enough to border on ridiculous, so it has to be neatly arranged on the walls so I can find things. It’s a good quality problem to have.

What truly sets Lady Elizabeth apart from other mistresses?

We’re all unique characters, and everyone brings something interesting to the table. For me, I have an understanding of the human psyche that is pretty top notch.  My dissertation was on BDSM, so it’s been an academic as well as a personal passion my entire adult life. I can understand what people need, both as a dominant and as a coach, and this guides my training of people both in and out of the dungeon. I’ve devoted a lot of years to learning my craft from relevant professionals too: I learned cross-dressing makeover techniques from professional makeup artists, and I learned my medical play techniques from my submissive who is a physician. I never stop learning, reading, taking classes – that opportunity for endless growth is what makes this lifestyle so alluring.

You can check out Lady Elizabeth online by visiting her website: http://ladyelizabeth.net/