Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Being a Dominatrix is my superpower. And like all superheroes I, too, have an origin story. My true powers were awakened when I moved back to the Philippines after having been away for 20 years.
As a classic Fil-Am child of the diaspora, I grew up predominantly in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. My parents accidentally raised a dominatrix by not stifling my wants and ideas simply because they were unpopular. This was tempered by reminding me how lucky I was to grow up in America and instilling that I must use my advantages to help those around me. The resulting mix of self-assuredness, self-awareness, and self-indulgence led me to be a casual practitioner of BDSM. Until 2016, I never used nor needed a “scene name.”
Breaking onto the public BDSM scene in Manila was relatively easy for me. I had three significant advantages: 1) I already knew that BDSM people actually do meet and gather; 2) Familiarity with FetLife, a social networking site for kinksters; 3) Disproportionate privilege. Yes, privilege in all its forms eased my entrée into the local scene.
The privilege of…
Being a Dominatrix: Check.
Breasts: Double D check.
Confidence that I won’t lose my financial and family security should my parents find out I’m a Dominatrix: Check, check, check.
The high hurdles for complete newbies, social shaming of deviant behaviors, and sheer luck created a vacuum that propelled me from vanilla-name-using casual player to comedy BDSM performer Domina Chase in 6 months.
I introduced myself to the Manila BDSM scene by simply showing up to the monthly Pasig-based munch which I had found through FetLife. It was Saturday afternoon at an international large-chain coffee shop that shall remain unnamed. For my vanilla audience, a munch is an informal meeting of kinky and kink-curious folks in a neutral setting where no play occurs. There was the expected smattering of people you would find in a San Francisco munch but with a decidedly Filipino twist. Namely, the female to male ratio skewed decidedly feminine and the predominance of switches. I introduced myself as a Dominant whose one true fetish is making people question their life choices. As the new Domme using her real name, I tried to fly under the radar but that was a catastrophic failure.
"Further, I mocked her for liking to be slapped. It was finally when both Anna and I were laughing with each other (and at the audience, if we’re being honest) that the crowd finally understood."
A handful of munches around the Metro area and one play party later, I had quickly established myself as a player who crafted memorable BDSM scenes that were intense yet hilarious. So a play party is an event in a secure and private environment where BDSM play happens during scenes. In turn, a scene is a discrete period of time within which pre-negotiated BDSM play occurs. These stories had somehow made their way to the event coordinator of Dark Karnival held in October of the same year at the old Pineapple Lab. I was shocked and utterly flattered when I was invited to attend the open audition for the main show with a live audience. Despite my warning them I had never performed, I was scheduled an audition slot on Thursday afternoon. Part of the process was asking me what name I wanted to use as they didn’t suggest using legal names. Up until then I had used the FetLife name DominaOnChaise but it didn’t translate well as a stage name. From thenceforth, I was publicly known as Domina Chase.
Any individual is lucky to have a few moments in their lives of clear peak self-actualization. This performance was one of mine. I have true respect for Dommes who can pull off cold, sexy, and calculated because I feel utterly ridiculous even simulating it. For my performance, I wanted my audience to see the lighter side of hitting people and how it brings joy both to the pain giver (top) and pain receiver (bottom). True to my BDSM experience I prepared for the show just as how I do for my scenes. I showed up with a paddle and zero plans. At the audition, I was paired with my kink friend Anna, a bottom. I knew she was into a lot of pain and laughed with it. We decided that we were going to co-top the audience and try to get them to laugh at themselves.
I used my scene structure of discrete games each with requisite tasks. She was then “rewarded” with spanks. One task she did especially well and proudly earned several slaps across the face. The audience at first was mouth-gaping eyes-shifting shocked to see a woman slap another woman. Then Anna’s laughter broke through. With each slap of the face she giggled more and more. Further, I mocked her for liking to be slapped. It was finally when both Anna and I were laughing with each other (and at the audience, if we’re being honest) that the crowd finally understood. It was a turning point as I talked to the audience. They became complicit in the finale by voting on a task for Anna. When she invariably failed, they counted out along with me the 20 spaced out strokes of the paddle to the rear for her reward. As a group, they laughed at the especially hard strokes and loudly counted each digit. It was a joy to see that everyone watching understood the point of the performance. Unexpectedly, my specialization in humiliation play and mind-fuck created a comedy BDSM scene in Manila.
This was the first performance that I had ever used the moniker Domina Chase. As I was mingling with the mixed kink and vanilla crowd afterwards, I glibly described myself as Manila’s Funniest Boobs. Even the creation of my tag line was a funny accident. Invariably, I was asked when my next performance was and where they could find me online. This one performance quickly turned into a spot in the real show, leading my own munches, and eventually teaching workshops. By having a simple talent requiring minimal equipment, suddenly vanilla audiences could see themselves participating in BDSM.
By coming back to the Philippines, my one time recreation became a tool for validation and empowerment for others. Being a Dominatrix became my super power.