Interview Copyright © 1997 by William A. Henkin, Ph.D.
Originally published in Spectator
WAH: How did you get to be the Morgana you are today?
Mst. Morgana: And the Morgana Iím still becoming.
WAH: Of course: and the Morgana youíre still becoming.
Mst. Morgana: I am singularly blessed in having grown up free from repressive social stereotypes of sexual pathology. In other words, I didnít grow up feeling that there was something necessarily deviant about sex. In my home sex was just something we didnít deal with particularly, which left me a lot of freedom to determine my own feelings and my own orientation. I came into SM at the same time I came into sex. It was very natural for me.
WAH: When did you come into sex?
Mst. Morgana: About the same time as most folks early childhood ramblings, early teenage engagements, high school silliness, college explorations, the whole gamut. My sexual experience is predominantly with women, and I would say my first sexual encounter was with another girl at nine years old.
WAH: Are you willing to talk about that encounter?
Mst. Morgana: I donít know if thereís a story in it particularly. Trish was my third grade chum and the two of us were very interested in figuring out what sex was all about. We did all sorts of nasty stuff in her parentsí bed and behind their car in the driveway. Kissing and finger fucking and doing strange things with kitchen implements, spanking, and putting our hands over each otherís mouths and noses. I was doing consensual tit torture and breath play when I was nine with a girl I thought was really swell. If that isnít a healthy sexual growing up, I donít know what is.
WAH: Where was this?
Mst. Morgana: Fort Collins, Colorado.
WAH: Can I imagine your familyís response?
Mst. Morgana: My mother and brother are my two closest friends. Theyíve both been remarkably supportive of me in every aspect of my life. My mother was actually instrumental in my becoming a professional dominant. I used to call her to talk me out of things: if I thought something was entirely too wild for me to try, Mom was the one whoíd talk sense into me. When I asked her about my present work I expected her to say, "You couldnít possibly do professional dominance, thatís not a real job, you must type and pour coffee." Instead she said, "That makes a great deal of sense: youíve got a real talent for doing this work, and it seems thereís a great deal of reward in it since you can actually touch peopleís lives, so why donít you give it a try?"
WAH: Does she still live in Colorado?
Mst. Morgana: No, sheís in Seattle now, which is where I went to high school. I moved around a great deal.
WAH: What about your brother?
Mst. Morgana: Heís 19 years old and lives with my mother. He and I are very different in a lot of ways. I was a real super high-achiever geek and left home very early, while my brother is a little more staid, remarkably artistically talented, and happy staying in one place. I call him the most liberal straight white guy on earth. Heís got a heart of gold. I came out to him when he was 12 I wanted to hit him with the news before he had potentially brain-poisoning experiences with high school boys. Looking back on it now Iím glad I came out to him early so I didnít have to lie to him, but I donít think it was necessary: he is really kind, very generous, and very connected with me.
WAH: And your father?
Mst. Morgana: [laughs] I always say I won the mom and brother lottery at the cost of losing the father lottery. My father had a great many problems in his childhood, and inflicted them on us an adult. We have a civil relationship now, and we talk occasionally, but weíre by no means close.
WAH: This is a shrinkís question: Do you imagine that your relationship with your father in any way colored either your own sexuality or your choice of profession?
Mst. Morgana: [laughs] Oh, itís so funny you would ask that, no therapist on earth has ever thought to ask me that question.
WAH: I like to get it over with early.
Mst. Morgana: I think people are foolish to think their experiences as children or their experiences with their parents do not color their experiences as adults. We sexually socialize our children intensely, so I couldnít possibly say, "No, my father does not touch on it." I think the school of sexual pathology that says people enjoy SM as a form of being abused or traumatized because they havenít reconciled themselves with abusive situations as children is bunk. But it doesnít help to go 180 degrees in the other direction in an effort to prove that idea wrong, and say, "Yes, my father was abusive, but that has absolutely no part whatsoever in my SM, and I am completely free from any parental influence." Intelligent people can look at their lives and say, "Yes, I experienced trauma from an abusive parent. Yes, I am a product of sexual socialization. Yes, I am my motherís daughter. Yes, I am my fatherís daughter," and still be able to recognize the unique parts of themselves that derive enjoyment from their sexual lives. In the nature versus nurture debate I think itís a combination of the two: human beings are far too complex to put in one category. So I can certainly say I was born a dyke and I can certainly say I was born a kinky one. But I can also say that, given what I saw at home as a teenager, I certainly did not want to rush off to boys. And I can certainly say that I eroticized violence, dominance and submission, and aspects of control, pain, and power exchange because of my situation growing up, in addition to their being innate parts of my sexual makeup.
WAH: You said youíd moved around a lot: why was that?
Mst. Morgana: We moved around a great deal for my fatherís job, and I went to a different school every year until high school. Managed to get high school all in one place, but in two different houses. Never unpacked, never decorated, never put pictures up.
WAH: Most people would find that a little trying.
Mst. Morgana: It was incredibly trying, but it gave me an ability to meet new people and connect with them quickly. It also gave me the ability to tell pretty easily if I want to spend time with and invest energy in someone, because when you know youíre going to be moving in six months or a year you tend to qualify your friendships.
WAH: What about the kind of depth you get in a friendship of long duration?
Mst. Morgana: I have been privileged to experience that in my adult life. It was not something I had as a child.
WAH: How does your personal life as a lesbian affect your work as a professional dominant where, I assume, the vast majority of your clients are male.
Mst. Morgana: I think the stock sex worker response is, "Because Iím a dyke I donít have emotional attachments to men, I donít take them seriously, and so I can fake it better." I find that insulting to the men who see professional dominants or go to strip shows or participate in any other venue in which a queer woman is engaged in some sort of commodified erotic act, and I also think it denies the fact that we humans are all capable of having intimate exchanges with other people regardless of gender. I think certain sorts of play and intimacy transcend gender. I am actually very comfortable in professional SM scenarios with men, maybe even more than I am with women. That is not to say I wouldnít like to have more female play partners in my work life, but Iíve attained a certain maturity working in SM with a male clientele which has brought me closer to understanding and having wonderful connections with men in my personal life.
WAH: How did you become a professional dominant?
Mst. Morgana: I started out training as a professional submissive. Now Iím happy to know I donít do anything to a submissive that I have not felt myself, at least in some comparable sense. Having submissive experience has allowed me to be much more open and receptive to the energy or the intimacy of a scene.
WAH: Who did you train with?
Mst. Morgana: I trained at the Shadows [a San Francisco Bay Area BDSM house WAH] where I was submissive to my clientele.
WAH: Was there a Mistress in the room with you?
Mst. Morgana: No. I did not have a specific person training me. Iím used to teaching myself, so when I want to know how to do something I seek out the person I think is best at it and say, "Show me how to do this." When I was first learning how to flog, I flogged my futon for a couple hours a day. When I was learning how to bullwhip, I bullwhipped towels in my living room for a couple of hours a day. I caned pillows. I practiced rope bondage on the legs of my table. I attended, and still do attend, things like QSM classes, Society of Janus classes, Lou Duffís bondage classes [The Society of Janus is San Franciscoís pansexual BDSM support group, on the web at http://www.soj.org; QSM is a BDSM school and mail-order bookstore in San Francisco, on the web at http://www.qualitysm.com WAH].
WAH: How long did you bottom at the Shadows?
Mst. Morgana: For probably my first six months, and toward the end of that time I was switching. I still see a very few folks from then as a submissive or switch because I enjoy our play so much. I have never said that my professional submission was merely for training. My submissive side is a natural part of who I am. I also think professional submission is the hardest gig around: Itís very emotionally taxing, and there are clients who are essentially looking for a lap dancer they can touch. Thereís a difference between submitting to a select few people and doing it with a goodly number of people who call for your services. I have great respect for women who do it for prolonged periods of time.
WAH: When you were bottoming professionally, what did you like in particular?
Mst. Morgana: My favorite scenes were those in which people had a clear idea of what they wanted to do and were interested in SM rather than sex. Serious SM players always curled my toes. I was particularly interested in spanking scenes, good bondage scenes, and very intricate role plays. Anything that was smart. Anything that allowed me to be verbose, anything that was really involved and intricate and detailed. I am not interested in punishment scenes, and Iím not interested in humiliation; those are two things I did not do.
WAH: Smart and verbose scenes may reflect something else about your history: you actually have an academic background.
Mst. Morgana: I do.
WAH: Speak about that, please.
Mst. Morgana: I think school is the place I feel most at home. If I could be a professional student, accumulating doctorates in this, that, and the other, Iíd be a very happy girl. I am a refugee from the Ivy League, where I spent two years. After a five-year break I have recently gone back to school with the goal of either going to law school or getting my doctorate.
WAH: Where were you in the Ivy League? What were you studying? What are you studying now?
Mst. Morgana: I was at Brown University as an Afro-American Studies major. At the moment I am creating my own major in Afrocentric Social Science and Critical Social Thought. Afrocentrism is a mode in which people can examine all aspects of what is occurring around them free from the bias of Eurocentrism. In any society knowledge is rooted in and supportive of the dominant paradigm: it has an ideological basis. And particularly in the social sciences, when we are studying history, or looking at schools of psychology and psychiatry, or studying anthropology or sociology, we are traditionally studying from a Eurocentric standpoint whose normative assumptions about what is correct, good, and right are pretty firmly rooted in what is white, land-owning, male, straight, non-kinky. Its perspective is the same as that of the people who brought us Victorian-era psychiatry, and the pathology of all sexuality and anything different, fun, or good; the same people who brought us the colonization of the Third World and are now backing multinational corporations. This is not a school of thought I am particularly fond of. Growing up, I had a great feeling of being cheated and not being taught what I wanted to learn. When I got to college and started taking classes in the African-American Studies Department it was like this door onto another world was opened. Suddenly there was a huge, new body of knowledge that had been completely denied to me as a young person, even as a young person who was a voracious reader very interested in learning, who was a social and political activist, and who really wanted to have the full breadth and width of knowledge of the world to be able to make my own decisions. Certainly the act of being denied knowledge makes it much more appealing to go seek that out.
WAH: You must be one of a relative minority in your program.
Mst. Morgana: Iím generally one of a relative minority whatever program Iím in. But I donít think you need to be a person of color to be fully aware of the power dynamics of race, just as I donít think you need to be of a particular socioeconomic group or gender to educate yourself and make yourself aware of those factorsí social power. Iím interested in pursuing a career in civil rights advocacy or lobbying something that ties my social and political activism in with the queer rights movement and the international human rights movement Iíve been active in since I was fifteen years old.
WAH: How have you been active?
Mst. Morgana: When I was a young íun in school I was very active with groups like Amnesty International. I was a West Coast high school coordinator for them and worked on a national level with them in implementing different programs in high schools. When I was in college and after I was active with ACT UP in the late í80s and early í90s, and with groups like Queer Nation.
WAH: I can understand how a law degree would further this interest. What would your doctorate be in?
Mst. Morgana: Probably anthropology, because a great many of the people I read and admire are anthropologists, and because anthropology is such a heavily biased science and is born out of such great prejudice. This is a science that was born in the early 20th Century out of cranial measurements intended to prove the racial superiority of caucasian people. It does not have a history of being a particularly smart science, but one that has had incredibly smart scientists in it.
WAH: Why did you leave Brown after two years?
Mst. Morgana: First, itís astronomically expensive. Second, I was in an African-American Studies Department on a campus that was only seven per cent African-American. I would take the bus to Harlem on the weekends, do research, come back to the university, process my research, and publish it, and the people I interviewed never saw or heard of anything I was doing. Itís a form of scientific colonialism Iím not particularly interested in participating in. Third, at the time I left I was active in the campaign for need-blind admissions on Brownís campus. Brown was one of many schools in the United States that take financial ability into account when they bring people into the university. I was one of the 30% of Brownís students on financial aid, and it was still killing me and my parents to keep me there. But I was a white girl from the suburbs in a spot that a person who was not white and not from the suburbs could have filled. So the combination of elements and the politically tumultuous last semester I was there made it not an attractive place to return.
WAH: What made your last semester politically tumultuous?
Mst. Morgana: The activism on campus involved all those excellently stereotypical acts like taking over university buildings and being arrested. Itís the kind of activism that makes a terrible amount of sense when youíre 18 years old and impassioned, but when youíre a bit older you look back on it and think, "Well, that was an excellent little field trip, but does anyone else know I actually did it?" [laughs]
WAH: Youíve told me something about what you liked to do as a professional bottom, but as a professional Mistress what do you like to do? What kinds of clients do you like to have?
Mst. Morgana: I particularly enjoy playing with people who are just coming into the scene. I consider myself skilled at what I do, and it makes me feel good to know that I am someoneís early experience: that the original digging around to see what you enjoy and what you love and what turns you on, and what doesnít turn you on and what doesnít work for you and where you canít go, is something I can give people. I also like to play with bottoms who are into sensation play. Iím very tactile: I love the way ropes feel when Iím tying someone up, as well as liking the bondage journey: taking someone out of his life, taking the control he wields out of his hands, and slowly working him down so that at the end of his time with me heís thinking, "My god, I would never have imagined I would be doing this, and here I am doing it."
WAH: When you mention sensory play you might be referring to any number of things sensory deprivation, whipping....
Mst. Morgana: Iím particularly fond of corporal discipline. Some of my favorite scenes are good, sound, over-the-knee spankings and punishment scenes, caning scenes, paddling scenes. I love playing governesses, mothers, schoolmarms, baby sitters, older sisters. Iíve spent a good deal of time in groups like Shadow Lane going to parties where hundreds of people who share this fetish congregate for a weekend. Still, at this point in my play Iím looking more for responsiveness than for a particular scene. Say Iím playing with someone who is bound, whom I might have just finished whipping, who might be blindfolded; Iím running my talons down his back, I loop a leg around his, hold his throat in my hand, and I hear this short intake of breath as I feel the blood come to the surface of his skin and feel his heart pound. Thatís an incredible high for me, and thatís the level of responsiveness Iím most interested in. When I play Iím willing to give quite a lot, and I want people to give me something back.
WAH: How long have you been working as a professional Mistress?
Mst. Morgana: Around two and a half years, including my six months as a bottom and switch. Formalized SM play probably crystallized when I was just leaving high school or first got into college. Iíd give myself seven or eight years owning nipple clamps.
WAH: Would you say that you have a particular style of Mistressing?
Mst. Morgana: I think my style is realistic and sensual. Iím much more interested in the individual Iím playing with than in projecting a constant, rigorous role different from who I really am. I am not a Mistress who barks orders, humiliates, and inflicts pain for her own enjoyment. I am a Mistress who loves to touch, whoís very greedy. Itís important for me to be as connected with the individual as possible. I look at people who submit themselves to me as packages I get to play with by consent. I enjoy pushing limits, but to push limits in a way that oversteps the bounds of my partner is probably more intrusive for me than it is for the person Iím playing with.
WAH: Whatís your favorite scene youíve ever been involved with as a top or bottom, professionally?
Mst. Morgana: Oh, god. Iím not going to be able to tell you the favorite scene there are íway too many! But I can give you one of my favorites. A person I had been playing with for a long time did a scene with me and Mistress Josephine, who is now in her own establishment in the City. He called me up without introducing himself and said, "Josephine is the queen of hell, and you are her minion. Iíll be there at one." I knew immediately who it was, so Josephine and I went and dolled ourselves up in every bit of red lingerie we owned and as much leather as we could find to fit on top of that. For an hour and a half we took this man through hell. I was the succubus come to bring him to Josephine, and then he realized that both of us were pretty much the evil twins of Hades. It was just a blast: bad fake British accents, fire and brimstone, we chained him to the dungeon floor it wasnít a pain exchange scene as much as it was the ambience and what we were doing and talking about. And then we pissed on his chest. Another one of my favorite scenes involved three hours of very intricate bondage until the client was in such a state that we both knew I could do anything to him I wanted. At the end he needed half an hour to sit and recover himself. But as Iíve said, Iím much more concerned with the individual connections I get in scenes than whether A happened and B happened and C happened.
WAH: Do you regard that you have a philosophy concerning what you to, perhaps to go with your personal style?
Mst. Morgana: I think theyíre part and parcel of the same thing. I enjoy the femininity of what I do, and I enjoy the people I play with knowing me as a real person. I have encountered people who top out of weakness, because they feel they do not have control in their personal lives, as often as I have encountered people who bottom because they have too much control and feel they need to give it up, and I think both states can be equally false. I think people need to recognize that in dominance and submission we magnify parts of our own natural characters. The amount of trust a submissive gives a dominant is an incredible and very flattering gift, but I think it has to be earned. When I bottom itís because I love the sensation, I love the touch, I enjoy the place Iím in. And I top because of the rush I get off doing it, because when Iím with a masochist I am a sadist, and when Iím with a naughty little boy I am that mother or schoolteacher. I think itís important that people look at themselves and see why theyíre playing this way.
WAH: Why do you play this way?
Mst. Morgana: It gets me off, itís fun, it teaches me things about myself: it is a highly magnified exploration of who I am sexually, intellectually, philosophically, and metaphysically.
WAH: Do you have a stable of repeat clients, of regulars, people you see often enough to be friendly or familiar with?
Mst. Morgana: Absolutely.
WAH: Is there some common denominator among them, as you see it?
Mst. Morgana: Not in the demographic sense as far as age or class might go, but certainly in that the people I connect with most are the ones I feel are genuinely interested in who I am as a person and who are interested in letting me know about themselves. As a professional dominant I do not have sex with my clients. Iím not interested in sex or any sort of direct sexual contact with my clients. It tarnishes the effect Iím trying to create, and makes it banal and uninteresting to me. All the same, I certainly accept a donation for dungeon rental, for my time, for my fetish wardrobe, and for the equipment I keep in my dungeon, and in exchange the person who sees me gets a very intense, intimate, and erotic scene. When people give me a dungeon donation theyíre not paying for the energy I give them, theyíre not paying for the interest I have in them, and theyíre not paying for the excitement I derive from playing with them: that would commodify my own personality just a bit more than Iím comfortable with. Certainly I receive a fee for my time, my training, and my expertise, just as a chiropractor or a therapist receives a fee for hers. But my own unique interest in someone isnít for sale, and Iím busy enough that if Iím not interested in someone I wonít see them and waste their time or mine. Iím not saying itís wrong to do sex in exchange for money, but itís not what I do. Itís all lovely and highfalutiní and philosophical for Mistresses to say weíre not sex workers, but we are all involved in erotic, intimate industry in some respect. People have an entirely different set of misconceptions for women who do sex for money than they have for women who do SM for money, and thatís a tricky difference to clarify.
WAH: How do you clarify it?
Mst. Morgana: I let folks know that Iím interested in pain and power exchange, bondage and discipline and sadomasochism; that this is its own specific little flavor of kink; and that while it is highly erotic, it has nothing to do with servicing a cock. Generally speaking, folks stereotype the SM clientele as being bumbling corporate executives with a little bit of extra mad money or Susieís college fund they can blow on the weekend, when in fact it is much more a group of highly complex individuals with highly complex kinks and fetishes who certainly impress me an incredible amount when they come to do a scene with me. I wish I could share with people what it must be like to make that first phone call based on a picture and a phone number in the back of a magazine, go through a confirmation process, make a phone call from a pay phone, and show up on my front doorstep having no idea what youíre getting yourself into: how incredibly scary that is, and how much trust people hand over to me in doing that.
WAH: Why do you imagine people do it?
Mst. Morgana: Fantasy and kink fulfillment are natural parts of human sexuality. I have the utmost respect for people who satisfy those needs in themselves, because I know they have enough introspection to recognize what they need to explore or experience, and to do it in a safe, clean, consensual environment with a skilled person rather than in a nonconsensual way that freaks out everyone around them. Certainly there are folks who are not respectful, whom you donít invite back to see you. But overall I think thereís a remarkable amount of responsibility in recognizing that it ainít the Victorian vision of sexuality that feeds everyone, and that the Victorian vision of D&S is not the only D&S around. White-bread heterosexual vanilla sex is lovely, but human sexuality runs much deeper than that. And I think people come to see me because they recognize that there are parts in them that need to be touched, moved, manipulated, dealt with that your average sort of middle-American life doesnít provide for.
WAH: Internal as well as external.
Mst. Morgana: Exactly. And that is where this is womenís work. This is a service industry, and one Iím happy to be part of.
WAH: Youíre out both as a dyke and as an SM pro to your family and friends.
Mst. Morgana: Yes.
WAH: How do you come out to people?
Mst. Morgana: Oddly enough, itís a great litmus test for friendship. I really canít be bothered with the sort of energy it takes to lie about what I do, so generally speaking when people ask I say, "Iím a professional dominant," and thatís that. And then Iíll get what is almost a typical list of questions, because most people are fascinated and have some sort of fantasy of what it is to be a sex worker, or what it is to be involved in SM. But sometimes the questions arenít so foreign because we are socialized in a DS culture. The very nature of heterosexuality or queerness mandates: this is the top, this is the bottom, this is the person in control, this is the person who submits, this is the butch, this is the femme, this is the daddy, this is the boy.
WAH: Someone always runs the fuck. You may exchange control from time to time, or even from moment to moment, but someone always runs the fuck.
Mst. Morgana: Right. Itís a subtlety thatís lost on most people and, I hate to say, particularly on men. I donít say that as a man-hating dyke, but because running the fuck is a top privilege, and when youíre socialized to be on top, as most men are, itís very easy to not notice that you are.
WAH: If youíre socialized to be a fish, itís hard to recognize the water.
Mst. Morgana: Yes, exactly.
WAH: Which is part of the reason role reversal
Mst. Morgana: is so exciting.
WAH: What is the list of typical questions you mentioned that people ask when you say youíre a dominatrix.
Mst. Morgana: So you beat men for money? Do you have sex with them? What are these people like? Where do you work? What is it like? Is it dingy? Is it dirty? How much do you make? What is an example of a typical scene? How did you get into it? How long have you been doing it? Why are you doing it? A lot of the same questions youíre asking me, in fact [laughing].
WAH: Well, and not inappropriately. Iím asking on behalf of Spectatorís readers.
Mst. Morgana: Right, and people suppose I wear 5-inch stiletto heels to the supermarket, and leather everywhere I go [laughs]. Iíll be honest with you, I do wear 5-inch heels and I do wear a lot of leather. I spend a great deal of money on my fetish wardrobe, and damned if Iím not going to wear it to the laundromat. But there is also another part to me I have no interest in hiding, and when people play with me they see that as well. Iím a real, intelligent woman interested in SM, Iím very good at what I do, and I donít want to have some sort of a fake, manufactured connection. I couldnít sit here and put on a glamorous, shiny Mistress show for you and still be interested in the people who would come to see me in my dungeon as a result, because they would expect something other than who I am. I think the idea of a strong, powerful, skilled, beautiful woman who is real who can dominate you, take your control away, inflict pain on you, punish you, take you to a place you didnít think you could go before is much more exciting than the idea of a paper Mistress who is a beautifully constructed façade.
WAH: How do you see your profession from a feminist perspective?
Mst. Morgana: [laughs] Many traditional feminists donít like me because Iím a dyke and I donít call myself "gay," because Iím loud, because I wear lipstick, because Iím a sex worker and had a stint of stripping before I did what Iím doing now. The "feminist movement," and I put that in quotes, was started by a select group of women from a select racial and socioeconomic class, and greatly ignores the real diversity of women in America. I think it is remarkably ironic that many feminists actually find themselves ideologically sitting at the same end of the bar with hyperconservative right-wing Christian Coalition white males.
WAH: Iíve got to say I know a lot of loud, lipstick-wearing, sex-working dyke feminists.
Mst. Morgana: And those are the ones you want to stick around with. Thatís the sex radical school of feminism Pat Califia writes about.
WAH: So, define feminism.
Mst. Morgana: The Mistress Morgana brand? Iíll give you my schoolbook lecture on feminism, biased and slanted as it is. Feminism for me involves understanding the interplaying agents of race, gender, and class in womenís lives; sexual orientation also comes in very strongly. Feminism for me is understanding the position women are born into in Western society, and understanding the tactics that can be used to reverse a power structure designed to keep women in the private, at-home, service sphere supporting capitalism without directly benefiting from it. And sex work is one of the fields in which feminist subversion does happen. I donít idealize it, I donít paint it glossy, I donít think that just by being sex workers we are the most brilliant warriors on the front. But I do think sex work is more a tool with which to battle oppression than a result of the oppression itself. In this regard itís important to differentiate between women I consider to be sex workers and those I consider to be victims of sexual crime. I think street prostitutes who are working for pimps, who are turning tricks for drug money, who are caught up in the myriad problems that affect their lives surrounding substance abuse, homelessness, and other nasties I think they are not sex workers, they are sexually abused women; and while the legalization of prostitution wouldnít eradicate the rest of their problems, it would help to eradicate the level of sexual violence against them and other women on the street. Women who consciously, of their own accord and consent, enter into an industry whereby they commodify their sexuality and take profit for something they have decided to sell are only being honest about a societal situation that has existed since the beginning of time, in which womenís labor particularly erotic labor has been expected but not paid for.
WAH: Is there any question you wish I had asked that I havenít yet asked?
Mst. Morgana: Well, you havenít asked, "Do you enjoy your work?"
WAH: I thought that was self-evident, but all right, do you enjoy your work?
Mst. Morgana: I donít think it is self-evident; I think Iíve been highly critical of different aspects of the work. I enjoy aspects of my work intensely, and I think it is work as complex as I am and as complex as the people I play with are. I enjoy possessing abilities I have trained in very hard. These are precision skills I can share with people, and I enjoy seeing how happy people are to have experienced that. And I enjoy being able to touch people in the way that I do.
WAH: And what do you especially not enjoy about what you do?
Mst. Morgana: The frequency with which I encounter what I call energy vampires: people who are much more interested in taking from me than in giving anything in return, who are not particularly interested in the nature of the craft I practice, whom I find objectifying or rude or disrespectful. While I donít continue seeing people I feel that way about, it takes a session to learn about them, and in that session I sustain a certain energy loss.
WAH: How do you take care of yourself?
Mst. Morgana: I meditate. I sculpt. I work out and eat well. Iím in therapy as I think any decent human being should be and I keep my third eye open about what Iím doing. I keep things in good perspective.
WAH: What other sort of support system do you have?
Mst. Morgana: My family and friends. Many women Iíve encountered donít have a difficult time understanding the problems that can arise from doing this sort of work, because they are merely exacerbations of the problems women face in everyday life.
WAH: Are you presently partnered in your private life?
Mst. Morgana: No, Iím not.
WAH: Do you want to be partnered in your private life?
Mst. Morgana: I think being partnered would be a lovely thing. Professional dominance is very difficult to do when you are not partnered, because people who have numerous exchanges of an intimate level need to be able to go home and have something there that is not public, that is just their own.
WAH: As somebody who is not partnered, how do you get your private needs met?
Mst. Morgana: [laughs] I donít have an answer that I think would maintain the integrity of this interview. I have a beautiful group of supportive, communicative, smart, bright, loving, compassionate friends who hold me up as I hold them up, and I get a great deal of support from that group.
WAH: You mentioned your web site earlier, whose address is at the end of this interview. Would you like to say anything about it?
Mst. Morgana: Sure. New photos come up on it pretty frequently. Itís a wonderful place for me to explain to people where I am coming from and what I like to do, to talk about the kinds of scenes I am interested in, and to discuss my philosophy of dominance. It is an honest, direct representation of how I feel and what I like to do, it is a reflection of who I am, rather than a blanket formula all people get. For people who would like to meet me and play with me, itís a nice place to start. Itíll give people a good idea what theyíre getting involved with.
WAH: Are there any last things you would like to say?
Mst. Morgana: I feel very privileged to be in the Bay Area. The Bay Area is a wonderful place for open exchange, itís a wonderful place to be professional, and itís a wonderful place to be a person who patronizes establishments of bondage and discipline. This is a great place for people involved in play, professional and nonprofessional. The fact that members of the scene come to my dungeon and do scenes with me there, as well as playing with me at parties, really indicates that we donít have any sort of stigma around SM in a professional setting here. Itís recognized for the skilled industry it is. We are all willing to say "I am learning" and "I go to classes" and know that doesnít mean we donít know what weíre doing. There are highly skilled people here who are always learning. And certainly a great benefit of doing this professionally is that I get to explore that growth with a great deal more frequency than I would if I were just doing private play. I imagine thatís a benefit of being a therapist, too, in some respects.
WAH: Itís a constant meditation.
Mst. Morgana: Exactly.
Mistress Morgana can be reached by phone at (415) 864-4774, or on the web at http://www.morgana.pair.com.
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