I read an interesting blog the other day by Nikki Whiplash entitled ‘Are you Lifestyle’ (link) and it pretty much was a humorous rant about the question that gets asked of Pro Domme’s far too often.
Being “lifestyle” and being “Professional” are not mutually exclusive.
Of some of the questions I’d sometimes nervously like to ask Professional Dominatrix’s… “Are you Lifestyle?” isn’t close.

I mean, I might be a bit interested, really, because people’s dynamics interest me.  But, in my decision to play with someone who happens to work professionally… being “true lifestyle” is not one of my concerns or deciding factors.
Some might say, “But she’s not really into it, just trying to exploit the fetish for a quick buck”
I can see a concern, sure.  But, like, if you go to a restaurant is the cook really into cooking? Or are they just in the kitchen making your dinner cos they’re getting paid for it? I mean, surely if they really liked cooking they’d do it for free. No? 😉
If I go for dinner, I’m more concerned that they’re good at it. That I’m going to enjoy my meal and not get poisoned.
Relate that to a Professional Dominatrix.  I want to feel that She knows what She’s doing and that I feel I’m going to have a good time and not leave in an ambulance.  I am going to want Her to have a good time also, I’m sure some may be happy to do ‘kink dispensation’ – but I like to feel She is not working from a checklist but doing things She enjoys for both O/our satisfaction. (Some may argue it should be for Her satisfaction. What if my satisfaction is She is satisfied? That is mutual, is it not?)
What She does outside of the time…well… it’s not important.
I mean, it is a preference for me that anyone enjoys their time with me.  I’ve found that if the other person is really enjoying Herself this will often relate back into the play. It helps Her ideas flow. It puts a spark in the atmosphere.
But this is good regardless of if She then goes home, slips into a dressing gown and cooks Her boyfriend’s dinner, or if She is escorted home on a slave-drawn cart and opens the door to find a servant on his knees holding a tray of fine dinner he’s been slaving over and a glass of fine champagne.
Spoiler alert : very few people in their lifestyle actually do that at all. It is a nice fantasy though.
But, there seems to be this snobbery, or shaming that those who don’t charge are “real” and those that don’t are not.
I read a thread (I’m not hotlinking this – I’m not providing anything other than if you know me it’s “that fucking group on fetlife” which I did eventually manage to leave! When I nosed in this morning to find it just as toxic as previously, with the same bloody shaming and rants coming up regularly) which was asking the difference between “Lifestyle” and “Professional”. There were some good opinions and a lot of ignorance and, yeah, a lot of snobbery.
I don’t think we should all have a hivemind. But I think there’s certain levels of respect.
I am not into Findomme, for example, I will not shame those who are.  (And sure, there are chancers and fakes and frauds, but that’s for those into the fetish to avoid than for me to start shouting FRAUD at everyone who asks if anyone wants to buy Her socks)
But yeah, I think there’s a lot that can be said in how you treat other people.   But anyway, firstly, as I said “Lifestyle” and “Professional” are not mutually exclusive.
I suppose a big question here – what the Hell is “Lifestyle” anyway?
Person A and Person b are in a 24/7 TPE relationship – OK, lifestyle.
Person C and Person d are a married couple for whom they do BDSM play as and when they can, this might be a couple of times per week or sometimes they may go a couple of months without play – lifestyle
Finally, Person E is single, but regularly goes to clubs and plays with friends or people they get on with either at clubs or in private – lifestyle
Even though these are fairly different relationships, we’d all say they are lifestyle.  We’ve got those for whom it’s a permanent fixture, another as and when, and someone without structure and more ad hoc.
Let’s say person E starts charging.  Are they still lifestyle?
Absolutely.  But also Professional.
Person C – or Person A – starts playing with others outside their relationship… they then decide to do this as a living as an income and start asking for tribute. Still lifestyle. Also Professional.
There’s probably very few who are only Professional. Perhaps Escorts who’ve been asked to use a toy, or maybe camgirls who’ve a regular they get on with who asks for tasks and they agree to meet up or something.   They might not really be into it, or the fet scene. But, if everyone is happy with this, there is nothing wrong with it.
You might say, ah… but… what about those who only offer sessions and they don’t go to munches or clubs or events (are you absolutely sure?) and outside of the session they’re not interested in BDSM (again. Are you sure?) ?
OK, what about them? – I think anyone not into it at this level is going to be found out very quickly.
Some things in BDSM are a lot more difficult to learn than others. There takes a certain dedication to learn it.
I don’t have figures and I’m not going to start surveying Mistresses, but I’m guessing many have subs they’ve seen once, ever, for whatever reason – or people who session with them regularly.
Reasons it’s a one off could be anything from curiosity, budget, their regular Mistress wasn’t available, trying something out, or of course it might not go well.
Someone who has a disappointing experience with a Mistress may not be keen to repeat it. They’re not going to recommend them.
I think there’s elements you cannot learn without being into it. You have to go deeper than “this is how you use a flogger” and calling someone names and making them kiss your feet. I think, even if someone started because they thought it would be easy money (I’m sure it pays well, but I know the tax man like his cuts and premises and toys cost money and it is a risk and investment) has to almost become into it in order to be able to succeed.
So anyway.
In conclusion.
What someone does when not playing with you shouldn’t affect the time you enjoy together.
Most Professionals are as Lifestyle as most non-professionals.  It is possible to get an extended play session with most of your favourite activities from a non-professional but if the right opportunities don’t exist then a Professional can offer this a service to how you like it.
This doesn’t make anything “less” real – because she’s always got the power to turn you down.
People interest me, sure, there’s people I’ve met I’d love to know more about.  I’ll find that out by meeting them more and getting to know them. Not by asking questions which are – well – a bit rude and a bit done to death.