What’s In A Name?

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose… (Do you know which famous poem I’m making fun of here? Gold star if you do!)

spidey senseI was recently asked (again) why I chose this Nomme de Plume, my beautiful alias, Mistress Yve Desclos.

I will address this in order.

I like this word for several reasons, which is funny because I think it is out of fashion for Dominatrices at this point. All variations and meanings apply for my purposes, though. A woman running a household, who has servants, who has achieved mastery in some field, who is the third party in an affair (oh please, you know what my job is,) etc etc. Most particularly, however, Mistress/Ms. is the only formal title for a woman that does not hinge on whether or not she is married to a man. And let me assure you, ladies and gentlemen, my name, and my title, are not about to be categorized by my legal proximity to a man. Fuck that.

Additionally, I have an interest in the stigma attached to this word. Several Dommes I’ve spoken to avoid it because they don’t want to be seen as “the other woman,” which in these contexts is the nice word they are using for “slut” and a word they avoid to continue avoiding the reality that sex work can affect marriages. (Note: Not all Dommes avoid “Mistress” because of this. I am talking specifically about those who have had this word-phobic discussion with me.) I think it’s ridiculous to avoid a word because of fear and stigma. Firstly, you are supposed to be selling fearlessness and a word scares you? Ugh. Secondly, you probably ARE the other woman – you’re a sex worker! Jesus! And who gives a shit if someone is associating the word “slut” with you? You are selling sex appeal. Be a proud slut. We are all working together in our smear campaign against a sexually repressed society and you honestly think being called “Domina” is going to mean you get a free pass from people slinging names? Surprise, Domina, you are a slut and you are somebody’s mistress. I choose to confront the stereotype head-on. Call me what you want.

Lastly, I have some fundamental problems with other titles used in Kink and the BDSM community. This is just a personal perspective, so for the love of god(dess) don’t take offense: “Goddess” and all references to sacred whatever, to me, indicate that the owner of that title needs to perhaps examine their core beliefs about Sex Work, spirituality, or both. If it is so unthinkable to you to just be a normal person who engages in this, there is an issue. If you need to see yourself as a deity to comfortably have power, or to be spiritual to excuse your sexuality, something is amiss. I want to give credit to Niles (Oh what’s up? Frasier-bomb!) and his hopelessly romantic admiration of Daphney, but in Kink, the word isn’t used quite the same way. For branding purposes, I get it, I guess? Sort of. Not really.

With all that said, the title a Domme opts for is a pretty personal choice. There are a lot of reasons for what she finally settles on. She is choosing a word to describe her Kinky Being and there are a lot of factors. I don’t want to sound all judgey up there, but Dommes have this way of thinking they are better than other sex workers, or plain ole mistresses, or whomever, because they are Dommes. And that is not the case.

“Yve” This is a man’s name: Yves. I like genderfucking, surprise surprise, so I wanted a man’s name. I dropped the “s” at the end because no one in the U.S. can pronounce anything that has a silent letter. Most of them still can’t pronounce my name anyway, though. It’s like pulling teeth the first time someone says it.

“Desclos”I think it’s actually pretty funny that no one knows what this is. Like, I thought it was a really obvious choice when I made it, but it turns out that no one reads books.

From Wikipedia:”Desclos’ lover and employer Jean Paulhan, a fervent admirer of the Marquis de Sade, had made the remark to her that no woman was capable of writing an erotic novel. To prove him wrong, Desclos wrote a graphic, sadomasochistic novel that was published under the pseudonym Pauline Réage in June 1954. Titled Histoire d’O (Story of O), it was an enormous, though controversial, commercial success.”