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This new sex fetish is on the rise on Twitter, but why?

The murky new Twitter trend of financial domination, or findomming, sees men pay women to insult them and then drain their bank accounts – and it’s reported to be on the rise. But who are these cash cows and pay pigs, and why is this dangerous practise of findomming becoming more appealing? Here, Stylist investigates.

“I can make up to £2,000 a week by calling clients fucking pigs and telling them to transfer me their money or buy me gifts. I know it sounds obscene but it’s a full-time job telling people that they’re worthless.”

Gemma*, 23, is a full-time financial dominant working in Manchester. She is one of a number of British women making cash from telling men that they’re worthless.

Financial domination (otherwise known as findom, or findomming) is a fetish built on power – a mostly non-physical, zero-intimacy interaction where the power play is all about financial transactions. When it comes to findomming, there are a number of female doms with a male submissive client base, looking to serve.

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Like other submissive/dominant fetishes, the submissive person in the dynamic (otherwise known as a pay pig, or finsub) will give gifts and money to a financial dominant (a cash cow, findom, or goddess). This can be a one-off transaction, or a series of transactions.

From transferring three-figure sums and purchasing Amazon wish lists, to sending their dom life-size cutouts of Danny DeVito (yes, really), financial subs operate solely to please… and to pay. Like many other forms of sex work in the UK, findomming is allowing women to make money from men in return for sexual services. Instead of traditional sexual acts, though, these men mainly ask for humiliation and to have their wallets ‘drained’ in return. It is a distinction which makes little difference: many in the industry still consider findomming to be a form of sex work.

financial domination woman on phone
The new Twitter sex fetish of financial domination if often a non-intimate form of sex work, in which the dom and the sub never meet

Scrolling through the #findom hashtag on Twitter, you’ll find request after request from financial dominatrixes, for ‘tributes’ and ‘reimbursements’ for purchases that they’ve made previously, to links to wish lists that their worshippers can buy for them. 

Examples of such messages include: “I don’t give a fuck about u [sic] if you ain’t sending and worshipping the ground I walk on”, “I love money & you love giving it to me”, “It’s payday losers. All of my #paypigs know the drill”. 

In a video pinned to her Twitter feed, one dom, Miss U Louisa, looks into the camera before blowing a kiss and flicking her middle finger up.

“This is just a verification video for all you non-believers out there who cannot believe that my perfection is actually real,” she says. “You now have no excuse. I now own ALL of your money, ALL of your wages and am ready for you to submit to me entirely.”

The tweet, which was followed by another listing her PayPal account details, racked up 110 likes with 44 retweets (at the time of writing). The replies rolled in from her loyal followers (writing comments such as, “yes, you are right, goddess”), and within an hour of posting it she shared on her feed that she had made £300.

Findomming is a relatively new form of sex work and, due to the nature of it taking place online, it’s hard to find exact figures for how many women are out there working as doms. However, with new calls for subs regularly appearing on #findom, it’s clear that there’s no shortage of ‘goddesses’ looking for tributes.

According to the women I spoke to, the biggest appeal of findomming (aside from the potential to make a lot of money) is the nature of the work involved. Unlike other forms of sex work, there is no physical interaction required.

As Urska, the woman behind Miss U Louisa, explains: “Nudity is a common misconception of findomming. Of course, it’s natural to associate sex work with, well, sex, but this fetish is all about sexual gratification fuelled by power.

“I never send nudes – although findomming is a form of sex work, I keep nudity and sexual acts away from it, reserved for my partner exclusively. My real subs, however, will never expect anything from me in return, as they enjoy the sacrifice that they are offering me, as well as the fact I regularly speak to them to build friendships.”

“It’s all about power”, agrees Gemma, a 23-year-old graduate in Manchester who has been working as a findom for a year – having quit her previous job to pursue financial domination full time.

“Findomming is just another type of psychological sex play – the men who give me money are the men who experience sexual gratification by submitting to me. What bigger loss of control is there than handing over your money to me for effectively nothing?”

financial domination money
The new Twitter sex fetish of financial domination involves men giving women their money in exchange for a feeling of powerlessness

But what are the subs really getting out of this role play, if not anything that appears sexual on the surface?

Dr Lori Bisbey, a sex psychologist from London, explains that financial domination is just another way of giving up power. “All relationships have an element of power dynamic,” she explains. “People who engage in dom/sub sexual play are simply making that power dynamic explicit. Why do they do this? Because power is intoxicating. It is sexy.

“In financial domination, money represents power. Gaining money is the simplest form of gaining power – the more money you have, the more freedom you have and the more power you can wield in many spheres.

“Turning over your finances to another is certainly a relinquishment of power – and in this type of fetish, it is made explicit rather than having this be unspoken.”

It’s clear that a true financial submissive will never ask for anything more than the transaction itself, but why do these men hand over their money so willingly?

‘Sub Zero’ is a 58-year-old business owner from Surrey who has spoken openly on his Twitter account about the respect financial submissives deserve. For him and many other subs, sending money is more than just a sexual act. “You want their lives to be made easier and more enjoyable when you are serving them,” he says.

“A financial aspect seems to be a natural part of that. The arousal for me doesn’t happen in my trousers, it happens in my brain. The act of giving a dom money to buy herself nice things, money that I have had to work for, triggers my basic desire to please and cements the fact that in that moment, everything I do, I do for her.”

It’s not just men with endless cash to spend who are using findoms – Jason* is a 21-year-old retail worker from Glasgow who partakes in financial domination play on a budget.

“I’m lucky because I’ve found a good dom who understands my restrictions – she respects me for paying £10 as much as one of her clients who drops £100,” he explains.

“Imagine that feeling you get when you give someone you love a present, and it makes you feel good to see them so happy. Times that by 1,000 and that’s how I feel giving money to my dom – and people wonder why I love it so much?”

financial domination sex
The new Twitter sex fetish of financial domination is considered a form of sex work, although it rarely involves physical sex

But how can giving money be sexual? Dr Bisbey explains that it’s all about eroticisation.

“People feel sexual gratification from all sorts of experiences that are not explicitly sexual,” she says. “That is often the basis of a true fetish – a person is aroused by an object that doesn’t have any inherent sexual basis and cannot achieve gratification without the object being present.

“For these men, handing over money to a dominant woman has become eroticised. There are many ways that things become eroticised - almost any stimulus can become eroticised if paired with sexual arousal.

“For example, if someone was strongly sexually aroused and was lying on a leather couch, the leather could become eroticised.”

As a form of sex work taking place primarily across social media, it’s easy to see how more and more people have become aware of findomming and how it could easily be perceived as a get-rich-quick scheme.

After all, the concept appears straightforward enough: create your new identity, start a Twitter account, film yourself spurting insults to your new followers, ask for money and start receiving it. For the sake of a few Skype calls to men asking you to call them everything from a “pathetic pig” to a “little bitch”, without having to take any of your clothes off, it sounds a simple way to earn money – at first glance. With the findoms I spoke to claiming that their numbers are rising, why is financial domination becoming so attractive now?

woman phone financial domination
The new Twitter sex fetish of financial domination is not a quick money fix...

Many doms are young women, and Urska attributes the difficulty of earning money while at university to the increase. “Many students try their hand at the findom world, as it is expensive being a student these days, and generally finding employment is difficult,” she says.

She’s not wrong – in Save the Student’s most recent student spending survey this year it was revealed that the average cost of being a student is £807 per month, while maintenance loans are just £540 per month.

As for being a graduate, it doesn’t get any easier. In a 2019 report, the government claimed that just 30% of current full-time undergraduates who take out loans will make enough to repay them in full.

On the surface, findomming seems like a win-win scenario, in which you ask for money and you receive it. You can even buy how-to guides on Amazon on launching your career as a findom. So why wouldn’t you?

“It’s not a quick [money] fix,” warns Laura*, a 20-year-old full-time findom living in Leeds. “Doms have to put up with discrimination, threats and legal issues.”

Due to findomming being a profession that is dependent upon opening yourself up to thousands of anonymous entities, a day at work for a findom isn’t as straightforward as connecting to wifi and watching their bank account fill up.

Violence in sex work is not uncommon by any stretch. Since 1990, the UK is reported to have had 182 sex workers killed by violence. And speaking to the BBC, Niki Adams, from campaign group The English Collective of Prostitutes, said: “Women know that by going into sex work you’re taking a risk because there is a lot of violence“.

“Since starting out I’ve been threatened with rape, murder and kidnap,” adds Laura. “I’ve also almost been emotionally blackmailed, so you’ve got to be careful and you definitely have to make sure you know the law when you get into it.”

financial domination violence
The new Twitter sex fetish of financial domination, as a form of sex work, can put a woman at risk of violence

It’s also worth noting that, despite its image, being a financial dominatrix doesn’t come without hard work. Managing clients’ budgets and needs through clear agreements and conversation prior to any play is crucial – how much money can a sub really afford to spend, and can they be trusted to know personal details about the dom, such as a postal address or bank details?

Alongside all of the actual financial logistics, findomming is also a full-time digital marketing job. In the same way influencers try and grow their personal brands, doms have to grow their own financial submissive following against stiff competition.

In order to bring in new subs and keep their current client bases returning, a dominatrix has to constantly create content, from filming videos of demands to tweeting back to potentially hundreds of people who have shown interest in submitting.

There’s also the element of actually being ‘good’ at your job – the idea of respect and understanding for subs comes up again and again from both dominatrixes and submissives that I speak to – in a relationship where money is willingly handed over in exchange for the ‘high’ achieved by fulfilling a fetish, it’s easy to get addicted and it’s a dom’s responsibility to set limits.

“Subs who go into debt have lost control of their fetish. They have blurred the line between what’s fantasy and reality, which would rarely happen in a genuine dom/sub relationship”, says Sub Zero. “An experienced dom who practises safety and care wouldn’t let debt occur.”

And it works both ways, according to Gemma. “A sub cannot serve properly if they are in serious debt or are putting their home life outside of the fantasy at risk,” she explains. “This is why I don’t necessarily ‘drain’ subs. I prefer subs who know and communicate their financial limits and send what they can when they can.”

In among all of this – the work itself, the marketing, the liaising – there’s also the pressure for some doms to keep their work unknown to their friends and family.

“I’m not ashamed of my job but I don’t want people finding me and seeing the videos I post because this bratty persona I put on is so unnatural for me,” Gemma says. “I’m playing a role like an actress and I just don’t want my friends or family judging me for that.

“I tweet stuff like, ‘good morning you scum losers – send money for my breakfast’, when in reality I wouldn’t dare speak to anyone like that in real life.”

As the Twitter accounts advertising #findom services continue to rise it’s important to remember the real cost of free money – financial domination isn’t a social media run fetish, it’s sex work that comes with its own discrimination and danger.

As Laura says: “No matter what anyone chooses to do with their body, it is their own… Sex work has been around for a long time and if anything, it’s time to speak out and help sex workers as well as the subs who come to us, because everyone deserves a fun and safe environment to work or play in.

“At its most basic level, financial domination is about enjoyment, fantasy and consent.”

*Names have been changed

This feature was originally published 25 September 2019

Images: Getty, Unsplash

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