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Written By Letharia. Photo by Alex Kacha

I’ve been doing sex work off and on since 2012, but I took the full plunge in 2016 when I decided to pursue this as my career. I’m a queer, gender fluid, non-binary femme. When I’m working, I play the role of a cis woman and use she/her pronouns. While this might sound confusing, the compartmentalization has proven vital for my mental and emotional well-being.

Letharia is a combination of my authentic self and a carefully crafted persona. She is an abstraction of all my feminine qualities, magnified. I’m actually an introverted, fairly shy person – but slipping into my character as Letharia is a transformative process. The ritual of dressing up hyper-femme and playing the role of a poised vixen is an escape from my reality. This transformation also provides a safe barrier to keep work from bleeding into my personal life or relationships.

I rejected the term “Mistress” a year ago, because it felt a little too dysphoric for me. Yet, the first time someone called me “Master”… my heart sped up a little. It was exciting to embrace what is typically considered a “masculine” title. I’ve run with that ever since. I like breaking rules and proving the point that gender is fluid, and it’s meant to be fucked with.

I offer sliding scale sessions to LGBTQ folks, and primarily play with other NB & femmes when I’m not working. It’s restorative. The energy is different. The character of Letharia slips and the lines start to blur in a beautiful way. I don’t have it all figured out. I consider it a continual process of self-discovery.

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Part of my responsibility as a sex worker is holding space for vulnerability and practicing empathy with my clients, the vast majority being cis men. I get very up close and personal with the wounds of toxic masculinity, and view my practice as healing work. Men come to me who want to explore different gender and sexual expressions they have repressed. Most want to feel comfortable exploring a “taboo” power dynamic. In our patriarchal world, where men hold the most power, playing the role of a cis woman and challenging that imbalance of power is subversive. It’s not ground-breaking, but it is baby steps toward the world I want to see.

Letharia is a professional Dominatrix based in Austin, TX. While they/she is a non-binary femme, the role of Letharia is partially an abstracted character to help define clear boundaries within and outside of sex work. She aims to create healing space for both her clients and play partners, while offering sliding scale sessions to LGBTQ folks seeking a safe and affirming environment to be their most freaky selves. Read more on her website.