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Not every woman in the Valley has a price. But what about the ones who fantasize about turning pro from behind their desks, the already successful women who would — just as soon as their options vest and they meet this quarter's bonus target? My first mentor was one of these rare women, a bullwhip hanging on the wall by her desk at the startup she helped run. She's also the only dominatrix I know who links to Valleywag. Without giving it all up for free, here's how she schooled me. The No. 1 lesson: The office and the bedroom are closer than we think.

She had a client she wanted me to meet. It was about a year into our working relationship and I had graduated to taking clients on my own. But this day she needed a guest star, and asked me to bring a suit over to her place with me. She received clients in a two-room commercial space in SoMa, an office and a dungeon.

While we got dressed, she ran down the details of her client's fantasy scenario: We were his bosses, and we were going to "catch him" jacking off to photos on his laptop. Not porn, even: screenshots of female Fox News and MSNBC anchors with their mouths half-open. So while I'm glad my mentor taught me how to use a whip, and how to tie someone up, and how to discreetly take off my heels once a guy was blindfolded, I couldn't have done this scene without borrowing lines from her, straight out of a sexual harassment training she'd attended at her former day job.

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In real life, he told us, he was in San Francisco for a conference. She rented a dungeon walking distance to the Moscone Center for a reason.

(Photo courtesy of Natasha Strange, the Kitten with a Whip)

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