In New York, the dominatrix Anne Laurence was known within the underground circle of acquaintances during the 1950s, with Monique Von Cleef arriving in the early 1960s, and hitting national headlines when her home was raided by police detectives on 22 December 1965.Von Cleef went on to set up her "House of Pain" in The Hague in the 1970s, which became one of the world capitals for dominatrices, reportedly with visiting lawyers, ambassadors, diplomats and politicians.A study of German dominatrices by Andrew Wilson has said the trend for dominatrices choosing names aimed at creating and maintaining an atmosphere in which class, femininity and mystery are key elements of their self-constructed identity.Professional dominatrices may or may not offer sexual intercourse and other intimate sexual activities as part of their service to clients.In the contemporary era of technological connectivity, sessions may also be conducted remotely by phone, email or online chat.Most, but not all, clients of female professional dominants are men.As fetish culture is increasingly becoming more prevalent in Western media, depictions of dominatrices in film and television have become more common.
While dominatrices come from many different backgrounds, it has been shown that a considerable number are well-educated, with a recent survey of New York dominatrices revealing that 39% had attended graduate school / university, including well-regarded institutions such as Columbia University.
The role of a dominatrix may not even involve physical pain toward the submissive; her domination can be verbal, involving humiliating tasks, or servitude.
A dominatrix is typically a paid professional ("pro-domme") as the term "dominatrix" is little-used within the non-professional BDSM scene.
The term "mistress" or "dominant mistress" is sometimes also used.
"Female dominance", "female domination" or "femdom" refer to BDSM relationships and BDSM scenes in which the dominant partner is female.