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The 19th century is characterised by what historian Anne O.
Nomis characterises as the "Golden Age of the Governess".
Male professional dominants also exist, catering predominantly to the gay male market.
Women who engage in female domination typically promote and title themselves under the terms "dominatrix", "mistress", "lady", "madame", "herrin" or "goddess".
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 dominatrix is mostly 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".
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.1674–1702), and in accounts of forbidden books which record the flogging schools and the activities practised.