Charlotte Cross has been a Twitter friend, okay crush, for years. We finally found some time to sit down and talk about the similarities of our old-guard, high-protocol BDSM training, religion and cultivating healthy 24/7 D/s relationships.
Mistress Blunt: Hi, my name is Danielle Blunt. I am a professional dominatrix based out of New York City and I’m here today with Charlotte Cross to talk about high protocol D/s relationships and maybe a little bit about mommy, daddy, little play (shoulder jive & grin). Would you like to introduce yourself?
Charlotte Cross: Hi, I’m Charlotte Cross. I’m an adult performer in Los Angeles, California. I’m, also, now a law student and avid kinkster. I teach a lot of classes but I also take a lot of classes. I’m still learning every day when it comes to kink and I’m excited to do this podcast. Ohh uhm, or it’s not a podcast…it feels like a podcast?
Mistress Blunt: Maybe. I’ve just been having a fun time getting to interview people who basically make me feel – Oh, I think you’re interesting. I would like to have a conversation with you. Let’s record it.
I’m fascinated to hear a little bit about how you came up in the kink scene, because it sounds like we have somewhat of a similar 18 years old guard found kink very early story.
Charlotte Cross: Yes. So… listen. I’m a preacher’s daughter. The beginning of my lifestyle journey was – I found the internet and I found it very young. I was doing some googling because I thought one of my friends was in an abusive relationship
Me (Charlotte): What does God say about abuse in the Bible?
Google: CHRISTIAN DOMESTIC DISCIPLINE
Me (Charlotte): Whoa, God wants me to find a husband that is going to spank me because I am naturally bad because Eve ate the apple???
I was very Southern Baptist brainwashed so I was dying to have some kind of similar structure. I internalized a lot of religious concepts and it became very kinky to me. From there, I ended up finding FetLife and then The Upper Floor. In my first relationship, I was a trained Gorean** kajira in a very strict leather and high protocol environment in Virginia. I always say that’s where I grew up. I grew up in a Gorean household.
**Gorean subculture is a fandom based on the philosophy in John Norman’s novel series Chronicles of Counter-Earth. Norman’s philosophy is concerned with the “order of nature” in the context of power and subordination.
Mistress Blunt: Oh, I say that too. I often have to change it from I grew up in…I came up in kink.
Charlotte Cross: Looking back I feel that was the time where I started out as this baby submissive, being able to express my true self. Then, I grew up from there because I think I’ve done the most amount of learning about myself through D/s and BDSM such as learning how to set boundaries, express what I like, what I don’t like, etc.. That was something I couldn’t do before.
Mistress Blunt: How did you find that the household you came up in?
Charlotte Cross: I was working for a doctor and it was the doctor’s son who had just graduated from medical school. He finished his residency and I was working at his office as a medical assistant. It started out as funny spanking jokes like “what..are you going to spank me?” And then it…
Mistress Blunt: Felt like God wanted it.
Charlotte Cross: YES. God wanted this man to spank me! I remember the first thing he ever had me do – I was studying at a bar and he was there with his friends. I had never hung out with him outside of work and I flirted with him aggressively hard.
He told me, “I want you to go to my house. I want you to go inside through the garage…” and gave me like a whole list of things to do from “Grab the gentleman’s jug, put it on my fireplace on top so I can see it when I get home.” I was letting his dog out, bringing his dog back in, and ended with standing behind the door as commanded to wait for him.
Well...I was very excited. I finished all of these tasks very quickly. I was standing there forever! I started to think, “How long is this movie?!” Then I had sex with him and that was one of the first and only times that we actually had sex. After that, things became strict. It was this magnetic force that unknowingly brought us together. I don’t know if he saw something in me, but it felt like he knew.
I still keep in contact with him, we have a very healthy relationship. That was a very important thing for that ending. At it’s close, I was moving to a different college and wanted to go to medical school. He taught me how to do sutures.
Mistress Blunt: That’s so sweet. Doctors and people who grow up around the medical spaces are very kinky. It’s interesting hearing you talk about it, because my dad was a dentist so I grew up in a medical environment. Similarly as well, I found a high protocol training chateau when I was 18, where you had to earn your leathers to come up in a 24/7 D/s training dynamic.
It was intense. I found it when they were giving an educational lecture near me. A friend of mine reached out saying, “I don’t know if this is crossing any boundaries, but I’ve heard some shit about you and it would be rude of me not to send you this link!”
Charlotte Cross: That’s actually how I found you, the chateau.
Mistress Blunt: Really?
Charlotte Cross: So I was in this room.
Mistress Blunt: The very spot.
Charlotte Cross: Two or three years ago my friend was showing me, Mistress Couple and then your profile with hers. And I was like, “She’s so hot and she is… look at this amazing like…!?” He said, “You should just book time!” My intention was I needed to get the shit beat out of me to recenter myself. In came you, online.
Mistress Blunt: I have like a very complicated relationship with the place that I trained. I met a lot of really interesting people. And That’s where I learned about power dynamics, through the misuse and abuse of power. Conversely, it was a very amazing place. I’d never thought to google BDSM because it was always power that interested me, rather than any specific activity. I would find a porn clip where the woman with a little bit more dominant and even if it was vanilla sex and say to myself “OKAY, I’m going watch minute two to six of this clip, over… and over again.”
Charlotte Cross: That’s great. You have to be very… aware of how these relationships unfold. Especially when they cross over into the 24/7 D/s relationships. As a dominant, you can be modifying somebody’s behavior to be very co-dependent on you. It can be the same way for a dominant, they sometimes rely too much on their submissives.
Have you read Christina Abernathy, Erotic Slavehood?
Mistress Blunt: I haven’t.
Charlotte Cross: I really like it, but I haven’t read the whole thing so I can’t speak to all of the material in there. I recommend it to people because it’s a workbook. One of the beginning points that she makes is how you, the submissive, should find something that you love to do.
It talks about how you should come up with five activities that you enjoy doing yourself, so you’re not losing that sense of self. Often I think instead of becoming our best selves in these D/s relationships, we end up becoming co-dependent. You become almost fixated on only being in service to this person.
Mistress Blunt: That’s a good activity. I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the 12 years that I’ve been exploring D/s relationships and have definitely seen those dynamics come up especially with high elements of service in my relationships. I’ve gotten much better about making boundaries around that when I see that kind of enmeshment or co-dependency starting to occur.
When people come to me for service, I always ask them if they have any kink community and/or at least a friend or a therapist that you can talk to about this relationship? In the space where I trained, a lot of the people didn’t have that support system. It makes it more difficult to check what’s happening in a relationship.
I would like to be accountable to a community and for people to have support so that if they feel uncomfortable with something, it’s not just me being, “Ahh no let’s not, don’t worry about it.” I feel it gets unhealthy when it’s just one on one and that’s it, nothing else exists. Community is so important for healthy relationships.
I like to frame a lot of the service tasks that I give submissives as service to community, such as creating resources or serving a party. That way, it’s both focused on me as well as them finding a community.
Charlotte Cross: I’ve never heard of somebody really doing that and think that is a healthy way to establish a relationship. I was in a long term service relationship with a male dominant and the only things that I wanted to do was if it was done for him. Towards the end of it, I would say, “Aren’t you proud of me?” and he’d respond, “Why can’t you be proud of yourself?” Then myself looking in I thought, “Why can’t I be proud of myself?”
I had gotten to the point where I didn’t matter anymore and had to learn about why that was wrong. I work with a lot of people that aren’t lifestylers. I was working with many people in the porn industry that expressed, “That’s so cool that you have a dominant!” but I’m over here saying, “Yeahhhh, it’s cool, but I’m not being healthy!”
It’s a very fine line and I am still learning how to set boundaries.
Mistress Blunt: Right, there are boundaries around that. It can become confusing when you engage in a D/s relationship. What you’re agreeing to engage in, especially with casual play. That’s one of the reasons I don’t do pickup play, it doesn’t interest me. Even professionally, part of my negotiation process is I’d like you to follow up with me via email if you are able even if you didn’t have a good time.
When I don’t hear back from someone, it fucks with my top-drop. We all learn about what’s healthy through doing unhealthy things sometimes. Then being able to say “Oh, maybe I’m not going to do that again,” or “I can change this” is the important part.
Charlotte Cross: Yeah, it’s a reflection. I didn’t understand how to reflect on my behavior and change it until I was very comfortable in my submission and realizing it’s okay to be wrong. That it’s okay to not do things the right way 100% of the time as the perfectionist that I am. I’ve been able to reflect a lot on the bad things that were… or maybe just the things that I did without knowing it was wrong because I thought I was being a very good submissive.
I thought that I was being super healthy but in actuality I was being manipulated and didn’t know. I’d often think, “But I’m being the best submissive I could be and doing so much to be in service to you.” I wasn’t being the best submissive. I didn’t keep good boundaries.
Mistress Blunt: The boundary between self and other can become entangled in 24/7 D/s relationships. I don’t think it’s necessarily in cases of high protocol, D/s service based relationships, but I think people who are interested in those type of dynamics might have other relationship or behavioral patterns that could potentially go amuck or breed co-dependency for sure.
Before people can serve me, they must be in service to themselves and I think it’s an interesting pathway. Some people can get there first and some people really need to serve first to be able to come around and say – “Oh, I am worthy of that on my own outside of that relationship.”
Charlotte Cross: That was the path that I took, service work. I was a pageant girl. Miss Virginia back in the day.
Mistress Blunt: Amazing.
Charlotte Cross: I was really into them, but to be into pageants, there is a lot of service work. I’ve done medical mission trips and it made me happy. Without the kink involved though, I didn’t understand I was doing a lot of those things and burning out.
I was avoiding all of my own issues and it wasn’t until I was in a one on one dynamic with somebody that I questioned WHY do I need to keep doing all of this service work and give and give until I have nothing left to put into me? I would want to skip school to meal prep for my dominant. You can’t do that.
Mistress Blunt: It becomes unhealthy when it becomes a way for you to avoid doing the work of caring for the self. Then becomes a vulnerability where the top is the only one who can care for you if you are overwhelmed or burnt out by the service. Then that’s the only person who you’re having that type of dynamic with and the feedback loop >> continues.
Charlotte Cross: Yeah, that’s why I want to avoid anything that’s too serious. I’ve taken about three years off from playing because it was so much and I couldn’t function afterwards. Now, I’ll let a tinder date choke me! I have a person I’ve been playing with in heavy impact play.
Our differences in needs are interesting.
Me (Charlotte): Alright, I don’t even need aftercare for this
Person I’ve been playing with: Let me cuddle you.
Me (Charlotte): Oh God ugh okay it’s fine
Mistress Blunt: Aww, I have a submissive that I play with who would does not like aftercare but lets me do it as service to me because I need it.
Charlotte Cross: That’s how I am. It’s changed now because I’m a lot more comfortable with people touching me but I still don’t like to be touched excessively. I’m more of a “hit me and make me cry before you touch me, okay?” I have to be a puddle on the floor before you get to pat me.
I had to get used to touching because through a lot of classes and talking about dominance, it is something that people need. I want to make sure I’m giving enough but still keeping these boundaries.
Mistress Blunt: You want to give people a good experience as well as respect your own boundaries. You are on both sides. The more experiences I have, the more I feel like having those conversations ahead of time is both very helpful yet can never encompass everything that could potentially happen.
I’ve had people get triggered during play through little things, like a simple way that I touched them or turned my back. Little things that caused a mis-attunement during a time of vulnerability. There is no way we could have know that and they said, “I never would have thought to tell you that.” In some cases, it was a lot of emotional labor and investment to work with them to get back to a healthy place.
It was very hard, but that’s one of the risks. We have to be aware of what we’re doing in intense play and hope we are playing with people who are able to communicate boundaries and needs as they come up or change!
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