BookWatch: Bow down! The No. 1 money secret dominatrixes know — and you should too

Whip your finances into shape.

When money writer Lindsay Goldwert began interviewing dominatrixes for her new book, “Bow Down: Lessons From Dominatrixes on How to Get Everything You Want,” she “thought it would be a fun idea, ‘dominatrixes whip me into shape,’” she tells MarketWatch.

(A professional dominatrix, according to the book, is someone “educated in BDSM technique (bondage, discipline, sadomasochism) who safely, ethically and skillfully manifests her client’s kinky fantasies. A “true dominatrix deeply enjoys the feeling of exerting power and control.”)

But, Goldwert adds, the book “ended up being a much more nuanced examination of what it means to ask for what you want and how to ask for it in the workplace and also from ourselves.” Indeed, these professional dominatrixes taught Goldwert a ton about power — of her words, mind, body, desire — as well as key money and career lessons. Here are four lessons from dominatrixes that could change the way you approach your finances and career.

Make your money “serve you”

When I asked Goldwert the No. 1 money lesson she learned from these dominatrix interviews, she told me this: Your purchases and lifestyle should be “serving you.”

“Outside of our bills, our discretionary income is a tool to get us to our goals. And yet, we spend our money to please other people’s expectations of how we should live our lives. This can mean going out for friends’ fancy birthday dinners, attending destination weddings, or buying or leasing a fancier model car. I started to think about all my purchases and the purpose they serve. And if they don’t serve a purpose that will make my life better, I try my hardest to avoid making them. Who is this purchase for? How will it help me? There needs to be an answer,” Goldwert explains.

“Only we know what we need; we can’t let others dictate it for us,” she adds.

Create a “personal code of conduct” to find out if your job is “serving you”

“I was very inspired by the idea of having a personal code of conduct. Your company does, why shouldn’t you? This can help you figure out if your job is serving you or if you’re serving your job,” she explains, laying out these examples:

  • I deserve to be paid on time
  • I deserve to be spoken to with respect
  • I deserve to know what’s expected of me
  • I need to be able to take my vacation days

“If your workplace or boss continually violates your code of conduct, you may want to think about whether or not you want to work there,” Goldwert adds.

Find your “position of power” when asking for a raise

“Dommes taught me a lot about power dynamics. No one is in a position of power when they’re asking for a raise. However, if you’re doing a good job (and you have the data to back it up), you’re in more of a position of power than you realize. After all, if you leave, your boss will have to find a replacement, train that person, and it will likely be a huge inconvenience for her. So you should go in there not from a position hoping you get a raise but from the stance of raising yourself in her eyes so that it becomes a conversation about keeping you rather than can they keep you happy for a job well done,” Goldwert explains.

Make a “safe space” to talk about money with your partner

“Dominatrixes are communication ninjas. Every aspect of what they do in a session is negotiated beforehand. Every aspect is consensual. Everyone needs to know what will and can happen in a session so no one gets emotionally or physically hurt and everyone will have fun. There’s no room for mixed signals, passive aggression, or not being sure what the other person wants or can handle. How can this be sexy? Well, there’s freedom and joy when you understand how much you can do within boundaries,” says Goldwert.

This is a lesson, she says, that you can apply to how you talk to your partner about money. “Couples cannot be afraid to talk about their finances in detail. Yes, it may feel like torture, there may be shame and fear … A lack of financial communication between couples is just as damaging as a lack of sexual communication. Put your cards on the table early, tell the other that they’re in a safe space to share their financial truths and fears, and then you both can make plans for a future that you can live, love, and grow with,” Goldwert explains.