A Dominatrix's Torture Methods, Ranked

We tried and ranked a dominatrix's torture methods, so you don't have to.

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Complex Original

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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.


Clothespin zipper

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Mistress Li put leather cuffs on my wrists and ankles and used these to strap me to a St. Andrew’s cross (basically a giant X, Ramsay Bolton style) and, wanting to start off easy, began clipping plastic clothespins to the undersides of my raised arms, from elbow to armpit. “You’re too hydrated” she told me as she struggled to attach them to my skin, causing her to pinch bits of skin with more force to get me fully clipped.

Once both arms were rigged, Mistress Li yanked at the cord linking all the clips together, freeing me in in one swift motion. Meh. It was more a relief to just have them off me than anything. They were uncomfortable, but not painful.

Grade: B-

Sensory deprivation hood

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While choosing a hood from the dungeon's massive collection, Mistress Li cautioned me that she didn’t want to choose a gas mask and tacitly encourage “breath play” (choking, auto-erotic asphyxiation, etc.), because it's the realm of her trade that experiences the most accidental deaths.

We found a black leather hood that fully covered my head, save for a couple of air holes around the nose.

“Let me know if you need out of that one," she said. "A lot of people think they can handle that but end up freaking out.” I could quickly see why people might be prone to panic attacks in these hoods. Despite being able to breathe, I had a bag over my head and felt like I was being suffocated. I had to actively reassure myself that I wasn’t being murdered.

Grade: C-

Riding crop

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This one I actually had experience with. Mistress Li exercised restraint as she thwacked me with it, presumably saving her strength for paying customers.

We both knew this one wasn’t that interesting or painful and moved on quickly.

Grade: B

Nipple clamps

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Still tied across the bench, my tormentor pulled out a toy that was essentially a leather Flying Spaghetti Monster with a handle. She started whipping my back with the many tendrils.

“This almost feels like a massage compared to everything else,” I reported.

She acknowledged it was one of the more chill services she offered and noted that different flog materials could exacerbate the pain. She then demonstrated how, by ratcheting up her swing speed a bit, she could make it sting a little more. 

Grade: A-


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Ball weights

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I’d yet to feel any sense of arousal from the afternoon’s proceedings, so when Mistress Li told me to pull down my boxer briefs so that she could tie rope around my testicles for our next stunt, it felt about as clinical as a doctor cupping them and telling me to cough during a physical.

The rope around my balls didn’t hurt, per se, but seeing them contorted and straining against my scrotum when Mistress Li had finished her knots disturbed me in the same way it does when you see someone hyper-extend their arm in a YouTube fail compilation.

She then clipped a two-pound weight to the rope with a carabiner, and I marveled at just how resilient the human body is. It wasn’t bad at all. Sensing my hubris, she added another two-pound ball and I immediately felt like I was about to become a eunuch, so maybe not that resilient.

Grade: C+

Body bag

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Taking a leap from the middle ages to the present, Mistress Li freed me from my bag and had me lay on the bed as she placed electrodes on my perineum and balls. Attached to these pads was a device called a “tens unit.” Often used to aid in physical therapy, the gadget uses electricity to cause involuntary muscle contractions. Today, it would be used for the less noble purpose of torturing me.

As she slowly turned up the dial on the unit, sending more and more electricity into me, I was surprised at how not awful it felt. It was almost numbing.

Past the halfway point on the dial, it felt like a thousand tattoo needles scraping my skin at once, but everything below that point was relatively enjoyable. Not sexually enjoyable, but pleasant nonetheless.

Grade: A


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Saving the worst for last, Mistress Li surprised me by pulling out a kit of stainless steel rods. I knew exactly what these were for and was not ready to take that sort of plunge. After some convincing from Mistress Li, I decided “in for a penny, in for a pound” and agreed to let her stick one of the rods in my dick hole.

I winced as she put a glob on lube on the end of the smallest rod and proceeded to make it disappear, inch by inch, down my flaccid penis.

“Check it out, You’ve got a rod in your dick,” she laughed. I opened my eyes to a sight I hope to never see again in my life.

There was no true “pain” as this stick poked around my insides, but it was uncomfortable and likely the closest I’ll ever get to experiencing the discomfort of a gynecological exam that women go through on the reg.

“Please get it out of me,” I pleaded, too afraid to breathe, lest it somehow cause irreparable damage. “I think we’re done.” She pulled it out, laughing, and began to clean up as I ran to the restroom to pee fire.

Grade: F-

As we cleaned up our toys after our somewhat-exhausting afternoon, Mistress Li informed me that the romp I'd just experienced would normally set someone back around $1,000. While I'm glad there are folks of all stripes out there keeping business booming, both my wallet and psyche are fortunate that I didn't unearth any new latent kinks in the dungeon that day.

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