Meet the findom goddesses making bank from "pay pigs" on TikTok

Erotic humiliation has found a new home on your FYP, and humiliatrixes are using the app to make a living in the midst of a global economic crisis.

by Serena Coady
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Nov 19 2020, 12:45pm

In a world of pandemics and economic downturn, the sudden explosion of erotic hustles on apps like TikTok are perhaps unsurprising. Recently, these late capitalist hustles have become even more niche. For some of us, finance-based humiliation means dipping into your overdraft for a hungover Deliveroo, or “your last payment took your Monzo balance below £0” flashing on the phone screen at the bar. In the world of findom, or financial domination, however, there’s slightly more sexual gratification involved. In findom, submissives — or “pay pigs” — seek out dommes online to be humiliated, drained of their money, and ordered to perform degrading tasks like drinking toilet water. Putting lip to loo might not immediately strike you as a desirable task, but findom is about power. Namely, wielding it over the submissive.

In September, findom surged beyond the kink community with how-to TikTok videos like “degrading men without sending nudes” and “y’all still talking to men for free?” attracting millions of views. Since then, more women have shared their experiences of financially dominating men and the #findom tag has clocked more than 60 million views. 

The economic sewer that is 2020 has led to an abundance of similar kinds of hustle content. People are curious about generating wealth, or the means to survive, through unconventional forms of self-employment. There’s terrazzo girl, kidswear mum, and a league of Depop teens, but findom presents the most seemingly accessible option. You just need PayPal and a flair for insults, right?

The position of domme demands a specific personality type. “I carry a naturally aggressive and domineering disposition, which has led to many people in my life telling me findom could potentially be something I’d do well in as these traits are highly sought after,” says Brooklyn-based newbie Clare. Findom work became Clare’s side hustle after she posted a video saying she wanted to take money from “old, rich men” by delivering “verbal beatings” (which she then performed with villainous aplomb). A quarter of a million views later, she received an influx of messages about her services.

While dommes don’t do anything explicitly sexual, or meet with subs in person, subs engage in findom for sexual satisfaction, to get off in ways they aren’t able to in their real lives. “People eroticise many activities and experiences that are not explicitly sexual,” says sex psychologist Dr Lori Beth Bisbey. “For these people, handing over money to a dominant has become eroticised. Almost any stimulus can be eroticised if paired with sexual arousal.”

In-person dominant-submissive encounters typically involve a physical surrendering of the self. Findom calls for a kind of virtual surrender. A sub’s money symbolises their hard work, value, and the power they surrender to their domme. “Gaining money is the simplest form of gaining power,” Dr Bisbey continues. “In traditional marriages, the man often controls the money and holds that power. In findom, a person relinquishes power explicitly by turning over money to the dominant, so this is explicit rather than the unspoken or implicit power exchange in a traditional marriage.”

This subversive aspect is initially what drew Clare to findom. “I see findom as a perversion of a dated ideal that has seemingly stood the test of time: men should provide for women. But instead of women submitting to men (another archaic ideal), expectations are flipped, amplified and kinkified. Findom is unconventional in nature, but it’s still based in an inherently patriarchal and capitalist idea that a man’s value comes from his money. The change in power dynamics, along with the added perk of monetary gain, makes findom an empowering experience for me.”

The process of courtship, of materially chasing a woman to gain her affection, is a tale as old as time. But unlike male bowerbirds creating nests with shiny blue objects, or Offset faking a medical emergency to surprise Cardi B with a £152k Lamborghini, there is no end goal to findom courtship. Subs know they will never have real-life contact with the domme. The acts of subservience paired with the unattainability of the woman is the whole seduction. 

These acts can involve money transfer, gift-giving, and even political persuasion. “I recently got my conservative pay pig to vote for Biden. I’d like to make clear that findom is 100% consensual and I always give pigs a safe word to use if they genuinely don’t feel comfortable doing something. This particular pig wasn’t going to vote and I gave him an ultimatum, either vote for Biden and prove it, or leave me the fuck alone,” says Clare. Other dommes have factored this political aspect into their work. Miss Orion, a New York-based dominatrix, sees herself as a mindful goddess. “I have them inform themselves before elections and participate in their civic duty, donating to causes like Black Lives Matter and making their voices heard,” says Miss Orion.

Just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there’s more than one way to digitally separate a man from his legal tender. Findom is only part of what Spanish TikToker, Melanie, earns through her “non-nude online sex work”. While she primarily makes money through foot fetish content, findom brings in between £260-£355 each month, with regular subs contributing daily, weekly or monthly to cover bills for anything from manicures to wifi.

Unlike Clare, Melanie’s family is aware of what she does for work. She’s careful to establish rules, including how often subs can contact her and ensures that “piglets” (those new to findom) pay before she explains anything. While Twitter brought her to findom — if you’re an online sex worker you’ll come across it on Twitter “sooner or later”, she says — TikTok has helped to grow her audience.

Miss Orion has had a similar experience. Her TikTok has received so much traction and interest from other women, that she’s created The Domme Squad, a Patreon where she guides women to view themselves and other women as “figures of power”. Other dommes offer mentoring, including Goddess Ambrosia — a findom TikToker with 179.8k followers — who hosts a findom development program.  It might sound niche, but the demand is there. Comments on her mentorship clip include “doing god’s work”, “hero”, and “I think I might love you”. It’s a culture of emulation among young women that’s been cropping up for some time. From little sister copying big sister, to K-pop stans stirring up cult-like devotion on Twitter, to Kylie Jenner’s pout luring teens to the lip challenge. Findom, along with other online sex work, is the next wave.

While dommes have earned money through findom for years, without TikTok spotlighting it through first-hand storytelling, it would have remained in the kinkier parts of the internet. Considering the demographics of Tiktok, the saturation of this content raises some issues. While findom is a kink, a form of obtaining satisfaction in ways that can’t be achieved in normal, everyday life, not everyone is able to make this distinction and comprehend its nuances. 

Since the viral TikTok videos in September, Kamila — a 20-year-old “Humiliatrix” — has noticed more underage women starting their own findom accounts. “I am highly against promoting findom on Tiktok. The average age on Tiktok in the USA is 16-24 and it’s extremely dangerous to glamourise findom on that platform. Findom is sex work. You must be 18 years or older to practice it.”

Then there’s the matter of subs. For some, the kink can turn into a compulsion. Findom recovery accounts on Twitter denounce findom as being destructive to financial stability, mental health, and personal growth. @findomrecovery1 says that TikTok has released “the genie from the bottle” and attracted a different demographic of women to findom, which in turn poses a new set of risks. According to Dr Bisbey, there have been situations in which dommes have threatened to out the sub to friends and family if they don’t continue to send money. 

Humiliatrix Kamila believes boundaries go both ways. “Consent is a huge thing, even though I’m a dominant and I have power over a submissive, they still have to consent to everything I do to them. Addressing sexual limits, budgets, and name-calling, are always discussed before starting.” She also acknowledges the lighter side of her job, in that it facilitates wish-fulfilment. Many of her subs can’t live out their kinks in real life due to shame, fear of judgment, or not being able to express themselves to their partner. “A lot of these men are in the late stages of their lives and, as grim as it sounds, die without ever living their fantasies. I know how many people just wish they could explore their fetishes and it must be so unfulfilling. Being that outlet for someone is a good feeling.”

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