The Pleasure’s All Mine: Memoir of a Professional Submissive front cover

The Pleasure’s All Mine: Memoir of a Professional Submissive front cover

by Joan Kelly
Published in 2006 by Carroll & Graf

This book opened my eyes to the mere existence of professional submissives.   No doubt I’m naïve, but while I’m familiar the concept of a professional Master/Mistress (I’ve met several), being a professional submissive always seemed too risky a proposition. At least that’s certainly the impression I have gleaned from repeated reading of memoirs of ordinary hookers and true crime books.  I can’t help but wonder where professional submissives would fit in the pecking order of sex workers. My best guess is that, like with mainstream sex workers, independents have a higher status than agency girls in turn who have a higher status than street workers.  But that’s just a guess.  At any rate, they certainly are much less visible than other categories of sex workers. If Kelly’s book accomplishes nothing else, she single-handedly has raised the profile of professional submissives not just in my mind, but the alternative sexuality consciousness.  For that feat alone she deserves kudos.

Readers hoping for shocking descriptions of sexual depravity won’t be entirely disappointed, but for the most part the interests of Kelly’s clients are, to a full-fledged pervert like me, fairly tame.  The most shocking part for me was her admission that the sight of an extremely well endowed man’s cock excited her immensely. You’ll have to read the book to learn the rest, but it did confirm what men always know and women usually lie about: size really does matter.

Why the book is short on the lurid, I don’t know. It does not seem likely that it was because her clients simply lacked any other outlet for their kinky explorations. Nor do I think they were simply too shy to share their more extreme desires. (I have often found myself suprised to hear others openly talk abour kinks I would be loathe to ever admit to. Similarly, I’m often surprised to hear about the kinks that folks would rather die than discuss.) What seems more likely is that in order to engage in edgier play one needs to have a more intimate relationship with their partner than one can have in a professional session (I’m sure those familiar with the requests made of professional Masters/Mistresses might quibble with that point, but the difference is that it requires much less commitment to have something done to you, than it does to do to someone else. The notable exception is your average sociopath, though they are notoriously poor negotiators.)

I suppose it’s also possible that lurid descriptions of scenes aren’t included because Kelly simply didn’t include them perhaps out of the fear it would hurt her credibility.  The credibility of a memoir is always suspect. People’s recollections tend to paint themselves in the best (or occasionally worst) possible light. This is especially true when for memoirs about illicit activities. That said, Kelly’s account seems fairly credible to me with one exception: early in her career as a submissive she describes a humiliating encounter with a client who cancelled a session appointment to play with a more attractive colleague.  Though I’m familiar with the magic of photography and makeup, looking at Kelly’s photo on the cover and in pictures from her book tour reveal her to be very attractive (my crappy scan notwithstanding). I find it hard to believe that she would passed over because of her looks.

The only flaw in this book is its extremely abrupt ending.  While it was refreshing that Kelly didn’t proffer any regrets about her career turning the book into a morality tale or try to eloquently defend the choices she made, when I got to the last page I couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t a final chapter that was omitted.  Perhaps rather than an omission, the final chapter in Kelly’s memoir has to be written. Abrupt ending aside, The Pleasure’s All Mine is a great book that every kinky person should read.