Social media is saturated with the sexual fetish, so findoms and finsubs tell us how satisfying and servicing the kink has evolved with the online world
“One minute I’m making them jerk off with hot sauce lube and a makeshift sandpaper fleshlight, the next we’re having a heart-to-heart about how empty nesting isn’t the end of the world.”
B* is a 22-year-old woman, who after graduating from high school in the US in 2015, set herself up on social media as a financial dominatrix. She had read about the fetish online a few years earlier. “At first I didn’t believe it was a real thing,” she tells Dazed, “but I made a Twitter account, and that same night the money started coming in. I made $450 (£340) in three hours.”
Financial domination is a sexual fetish where a submissive (or slave, or paypig) will give gifts and money to a financial ‘dominant’ (a domme, or findom), primarily for the thrill of relinquishing control of their finances. Findoms can offer various services, from meeting IRL to simply chatting online. Subs choose how much they can afford to pay, which then typically determines what the domme will provide, with some money slaves even getting a thrill out of bankrupting themselves.
“Many submissive males want to experience not only the loss of control,” findom Goddess Saffron explains, “but the adrenaline surge and exhilaration of handing over cash to an attractive, powerful, and confident woman. I provide them with a means to live out their fantasy while they fund my luxury lifestyle, which in return gives them even more pleasure.”
While Saffron declined to reveal exactly how much she was earning as a findom, B is more forthcoming: “some months I can make $10k, some only $1k. It all depends on how often I log on and respond to messages. I’ve had days where I would make $20k alone.” 36-year-old financial dominatrix Fae revealed she earned €60k as a findom in 2018, alongside her other methods of income.
Despite not always involving sexual activity or nudity, financial domination is still regarded as sex work by those in the industry. “A lot of people want to say that findom is not sex work because we’re not always taking our clothes off,” 29-year-old findom Goddess Asari explains over the phone, “but it is, because the men are turned on by spending that amount of money, so you have to turn them on. It’s not just ‘fucking pay me’, it’s really getting to know someone, and understanding their kinks and fetishes. Financial domination is the ultimate form of submission because what’s more submitting than giving someone financial stability?”
Asari has been a findom for almost 10 years, moving from camming to financial domination after realising she had a knack for being dominant. “I discovered the findom hashtag via Twitter,” she says, “I started looking at the dommes on there and iWantClips (an adult site for amateur, fetish, and pornstar videos), seeing how it was done and what kind of clips they were producing. Then I started utilising the hashtag, and quickly got subs in my DMs. I honestly have no idea how financial domination would have been done before the internet.”
The ubiquity of social media has undoubtedly brought findomming into the spotlight, with platforms including Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram awash with people gagging to splurge their money on abusive messages from beautiful women. But, curating a profile that stands out and proves you’re not a scammer can take a lot of work to get right. Saffron opts for Instagram as her primary platform, choosing to give her followers “a sneak peek” into her real life. “Showing my submissives how I wear their money fuels their submission,” she details, “revealing how rich I am and how little I need their money often makes them crave to pay me more.”
Although she prefers Twitter, Fae agrees that the key to success is being yourself online: “You don’t have to show your face, but you need to show your personality and skills. What are you good at? What makes you different from everyone else?”
“I was scammed more than 30 times in 2018, to the point that I now ask for a verification video before sending any tributes” – Noah, sub
Many dommes use social media for self-promotion, but most choose to interact more formally with clients via specific adult sites, including FetLife and ManyVids – in part to protect themselves (and subs) from scammers, but also because of the strict censorship they face on social media. “It’s getting harder and harder online to be a sex worker of any type,” Asari explains, “you can get your page what we call ‘shadowbanned’, where they silence you and hide your profile if you use too many hashtags, or advertise too much. On Instagram you have to be careful with the links you have in your profile, because if they see you’re an adult performer, they’ll take down your account. It’s almost like we have to be more quiet and finesse it more just to continue making a living.”
Instagram is renowned for its strict censorship rules – women’s nipples are banned, but men’s are fine… go figure – but given Twitter’s relaxed attitude to nudity, in which adult content is only strictly censored in live videos, or as a profile or header image, you would be forgiven for thinking Twitter was a little more forward-thinking (right-wing trolls aside). B explains this isn’t the case: “I have to grind harder now than ever before, the findom hashtag is saturated with wannabes wanting to make a quick buck, and real dommes are getting shadowbanned to oblivion. I lost my old account at 11k followers and had to start all over again – Twitter is no longer sustainable.” Browsing the findom hashtag on both platforms paints two very different pictures; Instagram is saturated with selfies leading to profiles of very normal girls seemingly using the hashtag in a blase, non-committal way. While on Twitter, the findom hashtag is primarily utilised by women with tribute information in their bios, who state they are ‘verified’, and exclusively tweet about financial domination.
So what does this mean for financial submissives? 31-year-old filmmaker Noah, who is a sub, still regards social media sites as the best way for him to find findoms, favouring Instagram for its image-focused nature. “Instagram has made it easier to see dommes’ photos,” Noah says, “before they used to ask for a tribute for pictures. The more photos they have, the more I trust the account owner.” This issue of trust is intrinsically intertwined with financial domination, given how easy it is for fake profiles to scam both dommes and subs. “I was scammed more than 30 times in 2018,” Noah continues, “to the point that I now ask for a verification video before sending any tributes.”
Having seen a boom in recent years, with ‘how-to’ guides popping up that school aspiring findoms in how to get “money for nothing”, the world of findom has seen two new breeds of fakes emerge: catfishing scammers who disappear after up-front payment, and naive wannabes referred to by pros as ‘Insta dommes’. A simple search of hashtags such as #findom and #paypig on Instagram will bring up hundreds of thousands of posts, most of which feature a selfie of a beautiful girl alongside a caption: ‘Who’s going to spoil me today?’ or ‘Serve and obey loser’. A quick scan of these profiles generally offers easy insight into whether the findoms are real, fake, or unknowing beginners. Having been scammed numerous times via social media, 27-year-old finsub Zack can spot the red flags of a sham profile a mile off. “Often when they say they’re selling nudes, you can tell it’s a fake person – they’ll just be sending pictures of random people,” Zack explains, “If they have a lot of followers but don’t follow anyone back, that’s also a red flag.”
The correlation between social media’s ascent and findom scammers isn’t particularly surprising, given how easy it is for literally anyone to hide behind an online identity, which shows like Catfish, and Channel 4’s social media-centred reality series The Circle are testament to. What’s intriguing about fake findoms and Insta dommes is the sudden surge, and their impact on professional financial dominatrixes who may have been in the business for years, way before the advent of social media.
Fae has been a financial dominatrix for almost two decades, and believes that the increased media attention and advance of social media are particularly to blame for the rise of Insta dommes. “If you Google findom, most of the articles are about how easy it is to take money from men,” Fae explains, “No one dares talk about the hours that go into creating content on many different websites, creating authority online, or the hours spent sifting through emails to find paying customers.”
“This industry is hard, this job is hard, so let the Insta dommes come – you’re going to know if they’ve got the backbone or not because they’ll disappear in two months” – Asari, findom
A findom for over 10 years, Saffron explains that her main issue with Insta dommes is when they try to “poach” her slaves, who are all numbered and state so on their social media profiles. “A real financial dominatrix does not have to go out of her way to chase submissives,” Saffron tells me, “especially when they’re ‘owned’ by another domme. It’s standard etiquette that a domme never tries to poach another’s property – only an inexperienced domme would do such a thing.”
B also regards the naivety of wannabe dommes as the main problem. “They disregard their safety and make mistakes that can land them in danger,” she explains, “but if you try and tell them, they’ll just label you a ‘hater’. I’ve caught underage girls before who used their high school emails to collect tributes. It’s a mess.” Despite acknowledging a frustration with Insta dommes, B sees the new influx as healthy competition. “The more wannabes that appear, the better I look and the more money I make,” she tells me, “These girls want to make money for doing nothing and quickly realise that’s not the case.”
Asari sympathises with naive dommes, believing they just don’t understand the work that comes with financial domination. “We were all Insta dommes at one point,” she explains, “This industry is hard, this job is hard, so let the Insta dommes come – you’re going to know if they’ve got the backbone or not because they’ll disappear in two months. If they don’t have the time to put into it, they’re not going to make as much money as they fathomed they would, so they’ll just fizzle out.” Though when it comes to scammers, Asari blames the stupidity of submissives: “I can’t even be mad at the fake person because, dang, you finessed somebody! You’re doing something right.”
Although the idea of earning money for nothing is appealing to literally everyone, financial domination isn’t that kind of avenue. Pro dommes make it look easy, but there’s so much more to findom than texting “fuck you” to a horny guy 300 miles away; curating an engaging, trustworthy social media site is the first step, but it takes a huge amount of upkeep, a detailed knowledge of BDSM, and careful dodging of archaic censorship rules. With discussions about sex work occupying more space in the spotlight, Insta dommes may be a product of a world more open about sexuality, or could more simply be reflective of a society in which employers don’t pay enough to survive. Though when it comes to catfishing fakes, 63-year-old submissive Laurent knows one thing for sure: “There is a market in social media, and of course the scammers found it. Horny guys are easy victims.”
* Name has changed