Sandra LaMorgese was a holistic practitioner for many years before she lost her wellness clinic in the wake of the Great Recession in 2011. The 60-year-old has worked as a dominatrix ever since.
“If you had told me 10 years ago that I would kick a man straight in the balls wearing six-inch heels, blood-red lipstick, black eye shadow, and false eyelashes, I would have kicked you out of my house,” she said to The Huffington Post.
Now LaMorgese has written a book, Switch: Time for a Change, that’s all about her career transformation. It includes loads of on-the-job stories including descriptions of her first days working in one of the most famous BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism) dungeons in New York City.
As she put it, nudity will be optional for the press ― but mandatory for all guests.
Huff/Post50 recently sat down with LaMorgese ― who’s also a Huff/Post50 blogger ― to learn more about the book and her life as a dominatrix.
Huff/Post50: What’s your book about and why should people read it?
Sandra: Switch is a book unlike any other, and it has something for everyone. Parts of it are shocking and risqué, and it will definitely push you out of your comfort zone, but, most importantly, it will take you on a journey of self-discovery, honesty and love.
In my memoir, I take readers on a wild ride through a story that begins with struggle and defeat, but ultimately transforms into a tale of fulfillment, success and happiness ― all because of a year I spent working in one of the most famous BDSM dungeons in New York City at 55 years old after losing everything.
In Switch you will read some juicy, jaw-dropping stories, and you will meet a person who faced challenges just like yours ― dreams that looked unattainable, a love life that felt unfulfilling, and a future that seemed full of uncertainty. You will listen in on every epiphany during the difficult times of my transition, and you will witness the amazing metamorphosis that brought me to a place of true success, love and peace.
I hope that by reading Switch, you, too, will find the courage to live authentically and to finally create the life of your dreams.
Q. Tell us about your “sexuality journey,” as you would call it. What were you like in your 20s and 30s compared to now? How have you evolved?
A. Sex for me in my 20s was strictly physical, and to be honest, not all that satisfying. It wasn’t because my partners were inconsiderate lovers or that I wasn’t curious and enjoyed the physicality of sex. I just lacked the confidence to let go of the shame and guilt from internal and external influences around my sexuality. In my 30s, it wasn’t much better.
I remember sitting around the table with a couple of friends for dinner, and my girlfriend asked me, “So how’s your sex life?” I was mortified that she would ask me such a question in front of a group of friends, so I flippantly answered, “I had sex once in my 20s, got pregnant, and haven’t had sex since.” We all laughed about it, but in essence, this memory makes me realized that even in my late 30s, I still wasn’t comfortable with my sexuality and talking about sex openly.
In my mid-50s, after my divorce, I decided it was time for change and that I was not going to repeat the same old lifelong patterns. I was no longer interested in insecurity, shame and guilt about who I was, who I wanted to become, and my sexual authenticity.
I started trying on new choices by going on dating sites and dating younger men. What I discovered was my sexuality and sexual experiences had very little to do with the physical practice. For me, I learned that the better I felt about myself, the more vulnerable and expressive I could be with a sexual partner. That realization changed everything and made sex so much more fulfilling, encouraging, and enjoyable than ever before.
Q. So you feel sexier now at age 60 than you did as a younger woman?
A. Whenever I’m in a group of young people and they start relentlessly talking about their sex lives, a few will look my way as if to say, “Sorry, we’re not trying to embarrass you. We know you’re old, but we’re young and beautiful and we have sex lives.” My favorite comeback is, “The young may have discovered sex, but the middle-aged and older perfected it.” Silence prevails.
Being sexy isn’t just about physical appearance. If anything, physical appearance has the least to do with being sexy. Sexiness is an attitude ― a confidence and swagger that can only be acquired over a lifetime. There is just something extremely sexy about a confident older person, and at 60-years-old, I’m proud to be one of them.
Q. What’s the biggest misconception about being a dominatrix?
A. At first glance, BDSM may look like an abusive practice that’s only carried out by heartless sadists and victims with low self-worth. Appearances, however, are often misleading, and with BDSM, the misunderstanding is especially profound. In fact, the practice of BDSM involves trust, compassion, love, acceptance, and surrendering control for the good of one’s emotional health.
Whenever the media portrays a dominatrix, she is typically dressed in leather, wearing thigh-high boots and a mean scowl, and covered with tattoos. And while I do wear such garments often in my work, this look and attitude only scratch the surface of the relationship I have with my clients. In addition, a true professional dominatrix never has sex with a client and a true submissive would never expect sexual favors from a mistress. Internet BDSM porn created that misconception.
Costumes, makeup and dungeon settings, aside, what a dominatrix facilitates is an exchange of power and sexual energy. For the most part, it’s not what I’m doing or how I look that’s important ― it’s how I make my client feel, and in the end, those feelings are always positive.
Q. Why did you choose to become a dominatrix later in life?
A. I was a holistic practitioner who lost my award-winning wellness practice in the wake of the Great Recession. I was 55, with no prospects, no financial savings, no family members who would help, and friends who seemed to vanish into thin air. I found myself on my own with no hope in sight. But between the thoughts of despair, worthlessness, and even suicide, a friend jokingly suggested the idea of becoming a professional dominatrix. I laughed at first, but the idea stuck. As a student of empowerment and sexuality, I wanted so badly to “walk the walk” and apply these principles I had studied to my own life, but no matter how hard I tried to talk myself into such a possibility, there was nothing in my reality telling me that it was possible. Who would hire a 55-year-old woman with no experience whatsoever as a dominatrix?
I alternated between excited hope and logical despair. I was also struggling with many negative social influences that told me how wrong I would be to make such a decision. At the same time, I felt that I needed to be true to myself and that the experience could empower me as a woman. I somehow understood that this would set me free from my own judgmental perceptions (formed through social standards) of how a woman should behave and follow the “rules.” I also hoped it might get me back on my feet financially.
After weeks of relentless persuasion, I finally convinced a New York City BDSM dungeon to grant me an in-person interview. I started my dominatrix training three days later, and just like that, the scariest thing I ever did led me into the most empowering experience of my life.
Q. Finally, why did you want to launch your book with a nude party?
A. After spending weeks setting up a book launch and speaking engagement at a Massachusetts Mind Body and Spiritual Health Expo, all of my careful planning was tossed out by the Expo directors, who were afraid of the discomfort it might cause for some attendees.
More specifically, my work was banned in Boston because of my book’s potentially offensive book cover, but I’m out to prove to the world that there is nothing offensive about living your best life through self-expression, personal passion, and sexual authenticity.
So, I decided to take something negative and turn it into something incredibly positive by collaborating with two visionary women ― naked yoga teacher Monika Werner (from Bold and Naked Yoga in New York City) and erotic artist and performer Joey Kim ― for a truly unique, all-nude book launch party.
I encourage everyone to join us as we make history!