FinDom is a specific kind of fetish in which a sub derives an erotic thrill from relinquishing control of their finances to a financial domme, which is where the practice derives its name. What occurs specifically within a findom relationship varies widely: it can be anything from paying a small tribute to the domme weekly, to purchasing expensive goods for her from an online wishlist, to signing a "blackmail contract," to giving the dom total access to one's debit/credit cards.
Fittingly, the official term for a findomme's client is "pay pig." I'm excited to one day have children specifically to employ this term; for instance, when my future offspring asks me for a pittance to use at the local shopping mall, I will hiss, "What am I, your pay pig?" and Callie Jr. (gender nonspecific) will look at me with a mix of admiration and deep confusion. (Or maybe Callie Jr. will understand the reference all-too-well, via the future television program The Real Pay Pigs of Westchester County, which will be Callie Jr.'s favorite.)
Anyways, the FinDom community has been attracting media attention recently — there was an article about it in Salon a few months ago, and the Daily Dot published another account today. According to the Daily Dot:
What the pay pigs find arousing doesn't mesh with popular conception of sexuality—because findom isn't really about sex. Hell, it's not even really about money. It's about a subversion of the traditional financial power dynamic inherent in the standard Western view of male-female relations. It's about power. But, most of all, it's about control.
In most cases, the financial domme doesn't even meet their pay pigs face-to-face. As one FinDom blog puts it:
It is a kinky fetish of it's own for some people, a particular BDSM fascination with giving money in service to a Mistress. People that are turned on by Financial Domination get excited by giving a powerful woman Money, to use as She pleases... Most people who are into money domination find the act of getting and sending the money to be highly erotic. The act of giving money has become sexualized in and of itself. It's a kind of BDSM fetish that operates more on a mental and emotional level than a psychical one, and yet provides real service in the real world, and is really hot to some people that find themselves aroused by the power of money, and the power exchange that happens when you give your Money to the Mistress you want to please.
According to Bella Buxom, a domme interviewed by the Daily Dot, the standard profile for a FinDom client tends to be "white, male, middle-aged and solidly middle- to upper-class." Another former domme commented on the same article in agreement: "Most of my subs were men who were CEO's and in positions of power during the day who wanted to lose that control to me at night... it's about an exchange of power. A domme can never have more control than what a sub is willing to grant them. It is the sub's needs to be fulfilled, not the findom."
Relinquishing control in such a tangible way is erotic for the financial submissive; some purposely tell their deepest secrets to their domme for the express purpose of allowing her to blackmail them. As the Daily Dot notes, however, most findoms require their pay pigs "to sign a legal contract explicitly stating their desire to be actively blackmailed before said blackmail can actually occur." It's a common practice to establish a firm contract: here's an example, from Tumblr.
An area of constant annoyance for a lot of dommes contentions that they're lazy and profiting off of a fetish, which they adamantly deny. Says Bella Buxom:
But it's work—you need to have empathy, you need to be able to read your clients. If you just stop at 'Put the money in my palm' you're going to fail because there's no reward for the guy. There's a misconception that doms do whatever they want to men. But really you're fulfilling his need, you're doing what he wants... It's kind of like a sales job.
Sales job, indeed. And Buxom's website has pop-ups to prove it: while I was perusing it, this video appeared on my screen beneath a banner that read "PAY TRIBUTE, PIG!!" (Language NSFW.)
Viral marketing at its most effective.
Image by Sam Woolley, photo via Shutterstock