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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.
Most, but not all, clients of female professional dominants are men.The term dominatrix is sometimes used to describe a female professional dominant (or "pro-domme") who is paid to engage in BDSM with a submissive.An appointment or roleplay is referred to as a "session", and is often conducted in a dedicated professional play space which has been set up with specialist equipment, known as a "dungeon".In this scene, the strict dominatrix has stripped the submissive and is caning her buttocks for not playing the violin properly. The history of the dominatrix is argued to date back to rituals of the Goddess Inanna (or Ishtar as she was known in Akkadian), in ancient Mesopotamia.
Ancient cuneiform texts consisting of "Hymns to Inanna" have been cited as examples of the archetype of powerful, sexual female displaying dominating behaviors and forcing Gods and men into submission to her. Nomis notes that Inanna's rituals included cross-dressing of cult personnel, and rituals "imbued with pain and ecstasy, bringing about initiation and journeys of altered consciousness; punishment, moaning, ecstasy, lament and song, participants exhausting themselves with weeping and grief." The profession features in erotic prints of the era, such as the British Museum mezzotint "The Cully Flaug'd" (c.
The term was taken up shortly after by the Myron Kosloff title Dominatrix (with art by Eric Stanton) in 1968, and entered more popular mainstream knowledge following the 1976 film Dominatrix Without Mercy.