As a straight white male, my concerted efforts to internally and externally maintain a sex-positive mentality and demeanor often circle back around on themselves to my detriment, like an Ouroboros of wokeness. Occasionally, in my quest to better myself through the acceptance and understanding of others, I’ll be presented with unique opportunities that also put my body is harm’s way. Such was the case when I befriended a professional dominatrix (as one does in LA) who offered to give me, someone who (as far as I knew) did not enjoy S&M play in the bedroom, a sampler platter of her trade’s various torture methods—in the name of journalism.

Professionally know as Mistress An Li, my friend and soon-to-be-tormentor met me at Ivy Manor, a well-established Los Angeles dungeon on a sunny Thursday afternoon for our session. We cracked some beers and shot the shit as we each prepared for the gauntlet ahead. The tone shifted away from amicable to serious business as Mistress Li came back into the room in a leather outfit and instructed me to “drop trou” for my first trial.

Image via Justin Caffier