The term dominatrix is little used within the BDSM scene, and is usually used to refer to professional dominants ("pro-dommes"). A more common name for a non-professional dominant woman is Domme or perhaps Mistress, depending on the type of dominant they are. Dominatrix is one of the favourite words used by writers outside the Scene - for example, by tabloid newspapers to refer to pro-dommes involved in scandals with famous customers. There is no equivalent term to describe a professional male dominant.
A dominatrix who asserts she pursues BDSM outside of paying sessions or casual scenes is sometimes called a "lifestyle dominatrix".
While the word dominatrix does not necessarily imply domination of a male partner, the word is very rarely used in the lesbian BDSM Scene.
Notable famous dominatrices, who were professional dominants:
- The 19th century British dominatrix Mrs Theresa Berkley, inventor of the Berkley horse.
- The film Preaching to the Perverted, starring Guinevere Turner, depicts a dominatrix.
- The drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has featured a recurring professional dominatrix character Lady Heather, who is depicted in a sympathetic manner.
- The film Eating Raoul features Doris the Dominatrix, who, when off the job, is actually a married mother.
- The fictional film Maîtresse, starring Gérard Depardieu and Bulle Ogier, depicted a professional dominant.
- BDSM Roles
- Female domination
- Mistress Owner
- Professional dominant
- Domination and submission