Tucked away in the hills of Albany, New York is the world's oldest BDSM chateau, La Domaine Esemar. It's open to anyone over 18 who might be interested in exploring their desires with a teacher in a professional, immersive setting. We got a chance to sit down with the bed & dungeon's head mistress, Mistress Couple, to talk about her work, food playing a role in BDSM training, Donald Trump, and more.

 

Mistress Couple on the types of people who spend time at La Domaine:

The most exciting thing about La Domaine is that you never know who's gonna walk through those doors next. Our youngest member is 20, and our oldest member is in their 90s. It's a lot of older couples with children who are looking to get away.

BDSM training creates intimacy between partners. Most of the time, people are worried: “Why does my partner want to get hit or hurt or tied up?” And it's not necessarily because they want abuse, it's because they are trying to create a vulnerability there, so that they can share the vulnerability, and grow and bond together as a couple. So that's our job–to get people feeling comfortable enough to let us in and help them explore those kinds of things together.

We say it’s not a good week at La Domaine unless one person is having an epiphany!

Her favorite part about working at a Bed & Dungeon:

Well, the knowledge that you accumulate in this space really applies to how you move throughout the world.

I knew zero about BDSM when I walked through these doors. I trained as a submissive, and back then, addressing misconceptions about BDSM dynamics was an incredibly empowering process in my life. It’s very rewarding for me to pass on that knowledge to others and help people empower themselves and their partners. That's actually been a theme for me throughout all of my careers. Before this, I was a ballroom instructor and the purpose of that job was helping couples connect and communicate on a nonverbal level. And I think that really applies to the work that I'm doing here as well.

A common misconception about BDSM:

A common misconception–one that I came in here with–is that you have to be mean or a bully to be a dominant. This probably stems from the way dominatrixes are portrayed in the media. 

I hear people refer to Donald Trump as dominant all the time, but he’s not dominant, he’s domineering–there's a difference there. What I learned here is that you can be a caring dominant, you can be a nurturing dominant–you can do these things from a place of love. Even if you are hurting somebody, it's because they want that to happen. Dominance doesn’t have to be equated with abusing power, putting somebody down, or humiliating somebody.

That's one of the biggest stumbling blocks for married couples, especially if they have kids. They’re like, "Wait you want me to be mean to you and then tomorrow we have to go back to taking care of our kids together? How do you work that out?"

On food, BDSM, and the senses:

Our training is founded on the use of the senses because we believe that society really trains us to shut down our senses, especially in sexual situations. Just look at college hook-up culture–it involves getting blackout drunk and going home with somebody. There's not always something wrong with that, there's a place for that. I feel like BDSM is the advanced math of relationships. These are complex dynamics and if you’re just using your intellect without taking in any sensory information, it has nothing to stand on.

Here, we start training by teaching people how to access their senses and that bestial nature. You can smell arousal; you can smell fear. Those are things I never paid attention to before coming here. 

That is a lot of heavy stuff to think about, so the easiest way to introduce somebody to the pleasures of using their senses is by giving them wonderful food. Giving them the opportunity to know what natural organic food fresh out of the ground tastes like, and what textures are in their food. Like with food, there are different flavors in BDSM (of pain and pleasure). We do a lot of wine tasting and smelling so you can learn to identify the different notes in a glass of wine, and then later use that same skill to identify whether your partner is aroused or scared or turned off.

For Mistress Couple's Tether bondage tape tutorials, click here.

Pre-order Mistress Couple's instructional guidebook The Ultimate Guide to Bondage: Creating Intimacy Through The Art Of Restraint now!

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