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Reading Between The Lines
Excerpts from an interview
William Henkin Ph. D
Published in the spectator 1999

You do psychotherapy?
That's really interesting.Picture of Kitty, The English Mistress

Certainly you see psychotherapists here!

Maybe more than I know. At first, who knows what people really do ? They  bring another persona.

What do you know about your clients?

I have clients that I've been seeing for years. After a while they confide in me . They become friends, so I know a lot about those clients: Who they are , where they live, what they do for a living, what their interests are, whether they have wives ,children, girlfriends whatever.

That's relatively a lot of intimacy.

Yes. I never ask clients too much about themselves. I find that they tell me when they are ready. The first time they see me I usually only ask about their interests as far as sessions  are concerned

What seems to make people ready to tell you about themselves?

I think they feel safe. They know me , they trust me , so they are willing to trust me with other parts of themselves, not just B and D part. I see people I'm interested in, who want to do what I want to do, and when people I enjoy in sessions start to tell me more about them selves we often turn out to have other interests in common. For instance I like gardening and  have a really big garden.  A lot of my clients are gardeners, and they like to check out the garden when they visit.

Both in professional sessions and otherwise, what do you like to do as a mistress?

I have quite a few favorites, but I like bondage best of all - from leather and light restraints to my specialty, which is very tight restrictive, you-can't-get out-of -it, rope bondage.

What do you like about bondage.?

Everything I get into is an extension of childhood games. That's where I started.       Kitty prepares the Enema Bag

Tying up the kids down the block?

Tying up my cousins (laughs). In the summer I used to stay with an aunt who was a nurse in a boys boarding school- a big old rambling building. Most of the boys went home for the summer but a few stayed , there were also my two cousins and the cooks little girl .
From the time we were about 12 or 13 my aunt would direct  the girls  to be in charge of the boys who were just a little younger.. We used to go to see this serial movie called “Perils Of Pauline” on Saturday mornings. Pauline was always getting kidnapped , which the boys thought was fun , You never knew if she would get tortured , if she'd escape, or get rescued until the next weeks episode. There were also westerns :    movies where someone was always getting captured and tied to the post.

Now;  two of the boys would act really badly at the movies. They'd clap and cheer when the girl got tied up, and think it was fun if she got tortured. So one afternoon the other little girl and IChained on the rack chased them down, got clothes lines, took them in the laundry room, and tied them to the laundry tables. We blindfolded them with scarves, gagged them with handkerchiefs and just went off and left them, Like” we'll be back next Saturday to rescue you (laughing) Of course they still had their clothes on.           

Did you find this erotic?

It's hard to say what it was at that age. It became erotic, because after we left the boys tied up for little while we back to check on them and started tweaking their nipples, sticking our hands in their pants, smacking their faces a little bit you know, “wake up, wake up,” and pretending we were going to torture them. Then we took them down into the cellars under the laundry room where it was really dark, and tied them to the wine racks. This time we did strip their clothes off  , and told them we were really going to torture them..

When you were 12??
 nipple play                                                     
    Mm-hmmm.We found clothes pins to be a really good torture
  You took off their clothes did you intend that to be erotic?
  I really don't know if it was erotic at that age or not: we were just

  You're a natural;
  What do you remember about your response?

 For me it was about playing ,  about having power over the boys and.
having fun. Even today my torture is more playful than serious: I do like to inflict pain , but  I don't like extreme pain. I prefer  to pinch and squeeze, and that's what we did to the boys . Of course  hot wax and weights can be fun too.

How did they respond? Was it fun for them?

Well they could run faster than we could. If they didn't want to let us do those things they could have gotten away, so obviously they were our willing victims

What happened after you took for their clothes and found the clothes pins?

There was a lot of teasing , and a lot of bargaining to be set free . That was when we would decide that in order to be set free they would have to pay a forfeit. They might have to kiss our feet  and beg for freedom, or they might have to agree to be our slaves and do our dishes and chores for us.. I think my favorite was to make them clean all our shoes.
       foot rest

And did they?                                                                                          
                                                                Shoes & boots             

How often did you do this?

Well we played some kind of games with the boys most days in the summer. My aunt had given me authority over the boys and I was there to help keep them in line and out of trouble (laughs). I had the power to punish them if they were bad , to spank them if they didn't do as they were told.

And did you spank them?        

Oh yeah!


Oh yes(laughs)
kitty Spanking
Did you enjoy it?

Of course I enjoyed seeing their bottoms turn red, and afterwards they would be very good for a while.

Do you still enjoy spanking?

Yes , yes. Spanking is another of my favorite things, paddling caning and corporal punishment in general British boys schools are big on punishment.(“it toughens up and disciplines the boys“).
 My aunt was very strict: she spanked lot and hard so you really had to toe the line For my aunt spanking was very ritualistic , usually accompanied by an embarrassing lecture on your transgressions, to make it clear that you knew why you were being spanked. My aunt taught  me to spank the boys the way that she would, if I didn't do it properly she would demonstrate on my bottom, across her lap with my dress up.Kitty with the riding crop
I still enjoy spankings that are not so much about the pain but about the ritual , the punishment, the humiliation, the embarrassment the game of it .
I have a nice gym horse for boys who need a caning.

What other games did you play?

One good game was shoe shop . We gathered all the shoes we could find, and the boys were the salesmen and the girls the customers . We'd be really mean to them  the way we saw our aunts act in stores ( well not quite). My aunts were kind of haughty and demanding of salespeople. We would do things like give the boys a little slap on the face “those are not the shoes I asked for” and make them put shoes on our feet. We would make them kneel at our feet and sometimes rub and kiss them .

Do you have a shoe fetish?

Not really but I do like to play with boot and shoe fetishists.

Because you like them to do what the boys did?                                    

Yes and sometimes that takes the form of playing shoe shop trying on and modeling shoes. Sometimes even making them wear girls shoes to see how they feel.
Do you like to have the boys at your feet?                     foot rest 2


What do you like about it?                                 

It's the game : having them in a position of having to please me , threatening to sit on them like a rug or using them as a footrest, I think I just like to play with boys (laughs).

Did playing shoe shop lead you to have lots of wardrobe?

Quite a lot both for myself and my friends, I have a very large wardrobe for cross dressing .
 When I stayed with my aunt one of my cousins had to wear my clothes and be a girl be a girl on occasion
 This was because my aunt really wanted little girl and she had two boys.
 One day we decided that David should be the little girl, because I was always afraid that my aunt wanted me to be her little girl and not send me home at the end of summer. It was my devious little plan that if I could turn David into a girl, she would be happy and I could go home. So one of the penalties I devised for David to get untied was that he would now be Margaret. We dressed him all up in my clothes , curled his hair , and brought him to my aunt. We told her he was a little girl we had found wandering in the grounds without a mother or father and could we keep her. My aunt agreed; she played right along with our game , so David had to be Margaret whenever we wanted. Sometimes my aunt would say” I wonder where Margaret is “ then we would all scramble as quick as we could to help David into his girl clothes and present “Margaret to my aunt; she even  bought clothes just for “Margaret'.
David when he grew up married the girl we used to play with and still has to be “Margaret “for her whenever she wants.

Are you willing to tell me more about your family, your childhood ,and how you got here?

To me it seemed pretty ordinary . I was an only child. My mother had six sisters and although the Victorian age had long since passed they had a strict Victorian upbringing . They all wore very tightly laced corsets their whole lives , to “support their backs “ they were very strict . One of my chores was to help pull their corset laces nice and tight. They did not make me wear a corset at all times but if I was caught not standing with a straight back that might earn a crack across the legs with a cane and a little time in a corset to teach me good posture. The only other children in the family were my two boy cousins  I've mentioned , John and David . The boys went to a boys school and I went to a girls school and we were sort of passed around the aunts on weekends all of the aunts indulged our games and they all had a big box of dress up clothes containing their discarded evening , wedding and bridesmaid dresses, David alias Margaret particularly liked dressing up as a “bride”.

You mostly do sessions in the daytime , What do you do with your evenings?

I like dancing ,movies, I go to the gym I read books.

What kind of dancing? Do you ballroom dance?

Actually I can ballroom dance (laughs)I don't anymore but I can. I was a stripper on Broadway San Francisco in my exhibitionist youth  before the days of lap dancing when stripping was tightly controlled and no customer contact was allowed., I don't think that was quite what my aunts had in mind when they sent me to dance class.

Do you run into clients in social situations?


What do you do then ?

It depends on the person, if he feels comfortable enough to acknowledge me then I acknowledge him. It really depends on the situation some one may stop and speak to me in a store if he is alone but not acknowledge me at all if with their wife ,girlfriend or work colleague. .Frequently some who does not know me well will not recognize me out of context and in regular street wear.
I would say that about 75% of my clients are married or have an intimate relationship with a woman.

In terms of playing shoe shop, as well as in terms of spanking and having someone at your feet you've talked about the “game” what is the game for you?

The game is that we are going to play and have fun and this person is willing to do anything I want within their boundaries which have already been discussed. In the context of professional sessions at first the submissive may decide the game: I want to be your slave, your foot slave. Want to be your bondage toy. I want to be your whipping boy . I want to be your girl, your slut your maid whatever . When someone has been your submissive for a length of time then you get to decide the game today, even if it's something the person has never done before, he'll be willing because trust has been established. At that point he knows you will not going to do anything outside of his boundaries, so you can take him to that little edge of his limits. This is especially true of sessions involving pain or bondage but also applies to cross dressing maid slut training, a lot people who play are adventurous and like to try new things. Some who play like to repeat the same fantasy in exactly the same way each time and that's OK too.

What is the pleasure in sessions for you?

Every thing . A compatible Dominant and Submissive take pleasure in each other. I like being able to touch a person anyway I want. With bondage especially tight ropes, I can tease and touch any way I want and the captive can only do what I allow.

What do you want in that situation?

I want a reaction, I want the person to squirm. I want him to be turned on I want to pinch him and make it hurt so he's not turned on any more(laughs. I want to play roller coaster, taking him up and down on a ride, , and making him feel an intensity that he may not normally feel. A lot of people don't allow themselves to feel - especially men, who think they have to be in charge and in control all the time. They are frequently not in touch with their own feelings, and what they can experience, what their bodies will do. So whether they are on the floor at my feet or I've tied them completely, I like to find what they really react to , whether it's pain tickling ,being touched lightly, stroked ,petted hugged, spanked, whipped, caned whatever. I like a lot of feedback, even if it's silent feedback body language says a lot. I rarely use safe words. I don't like safe words at all.

Even with novices?

Even with novices. It's not playing the game, not being truly submissive. If I see that a person really needs a safe word to be comfortable I'll give him one,  but  I've never actually had anyone use a safe word with me. Part of the pleasure for me in domination is knowing when the submissive is right at the edge of his limits and being able to stop there. Limits are fleeting things , after all , and vary with a persons mood and circumstances. Sometimes it's part of the fun for me and the submissive to feel for those limits and push them a little, because to be truly submissive you do get to set the limits, but once we've agreed to play within those limits then you have to trust me.

What if the novice doesn't know you enough to trust you?

By the time we actually start to play I've talked with the person about limits , likes and dislikes, the possibilities of the games what we can and cannot do. I want him to feel  confident and comfortable enough with me emotionally to know I will not do anything outside his limits. Frequently sessions are about emotional release, and I think it's important that the dominant not push emotional limits in a negative way. I can usually tell by a persons body language whether he's liking something or not. It's easy to tell whether a submissive is enjoying what you're doing.

Well it's pretty easy to tell about physical sensation . But it's not so easy to tell when an emotional limit is coming up?

Yes , through body language and facial expression. People tend to pull away from things that don't feel good. I don't think it's too difficult to tell the difference between a squirm that says “I don't like that” and a squirm that says  `do that again”(laughs). The thing is I have played the game both ways . I think if you play both ways and you have been submissive then you know what it feels like, so you have a better idea of what feels good and what doesn't feel good. For example, you know that if you tie someone in an uncomfortable position there's a limit to the length of time he can tolerate it, and you can't lead him past that limit because now he's too uncomfortable and  the bondage stops feeling good. I also think if a submissive tolerates an uncomfortable position for some length of time he should be rewarded with a more comfortable position(laughs)

It sounds as if trust is important to you?

Trust is the most important thing. If you are going to rule you have to be a wise ruler.

Do you bottom often?

No, not as much anymore, but I did start out with bondage photography which I did at a place in Hayward .  There people tied us up and took pictures , or we tied them up and took pictures.  Not everyone who came in wanted bondage , a lot of them were avid voyeurs with a lot of  photography and video equipment and wanted different fantasy scenes.  Then there were others who we realized did not have film in the cameras and for them it was about the fantasy scene  with the camera as a prop to hide behind.

Is that how you started Mistressing ? Other than tying up the boys in school?

Not Exactly  before that I had worked briefly in a massage parlor. I was a licensed masseuse in what I thought was a very legitimate place with a sauna  and steam bath.  I had just moved to California from the wilds of the upper peninsular of Michigan where I had worked on a very isolated Military Base.

One day the owner of the Massage Parlor asked if I knew anything about B and D? I said “no what is it"{facetiously}. He said “this guy wants to get tied up while he's massaged”  then he produced a long rope : I laughed and said  “ I can do that”. I proceeded to tie him to the massage table and while massaging I pinched and squeezed  and teased like I used to do to the boys. At that time we wore black body suits and boots  which gave this visual image of a Mistress , pretty soon I became known as English Kitty  “The Bondage Mistress”
Soon after that, the massage parlor owner started a place in Berkeley based on Jean Genets Play "The Balcony" .
The rooms were like stage sets , very theatrical and theme oriented . We had a chapel , A medical exam room and a witches lair. It was quite hilarious, dressed in a nuns outfit in a chapel complete with stained glass windows  it's amazing what people would confess to.

Did you make them confess?

Oh yes, and sometimes we confessed.

What did you confess to Mistress nun?

I sometimes confessed to not wearing panties , which was a little disconcerting  for the supplicant kneeling at my feet if I pulled my dress up.
Unfortunately “The Balcony “ did not last long, an office building was not exactly the right location for that sort of thing.

How did you come to open up your own house?

I did not exactly open up my house as in a commercial style bondage house, such as the Gates or Fantasy Makers.   Rather, I created a playspace in my home, as I said The Balcony was very theatrical and I wanted more of that , I wanted each session to be like a little drama, and I wanted a dungeon that looked and felt like a dungeon, but was still private and discreet.  I had a room in my house that I thought would make a good dungeon so I turned it into one.  Later I added a bondage boudoir, and over the years have shared my playspaces with various other mistresses, usually only with one or two at any given time.  

Was that this  house(interview location)?


Do you use all the rooms here?

Yes, I don't always like being confined to the dungeon or Boudoir, It's not always realistic enough and its quite fun and decadent to tie someone up in the living room in the middle of the afternoon  or give them a spanking over the desk in the office. And ,of course maids and houseboys have duties in other parts of the house.

You're in a residential neighborhood how does being a Mistress fit in here?

I've lived here a long time I know my neighbors well they all think I'm a bookkeeper (I do keep a lot of books) my playrooms are soundproof. I keep bookkeepers hours generally 10am until 6 pm and usually only have one or two other ladies doing sessions here.

What is your usual system? You have an ad in the spectator and on the Internet, so lets say someone calls you , how do you proceed?

I ask the person what his interests are, tell him that I usually make same day appointments if our interests overlap we might make an appointment.
When he arrives  we talk a few minutes I have him expand on his interests so I get a clear idea of what he would and wouldn't like .
First timers frequently don't know exactly what they want so I'll toss some ideas out see what sounds like fun to him, see what he is wanting to try.
Once interests and boundaries and limits have been discussed we go into session. After someone has been here once they can book appointments ahead.
Very organized people plan their play ahead of time, and like to anticipate. Out of towners frequently plan ahead, but most people book the day they want a session because they naturally want to play when they're in the mood.  It doesn't work for everybody to say I'll be in the mood at 2 o'clock next Wednesday.

How often do you see a client ?

That really varies , some want to play once a week , some every two weeks , once a month , or just occasionally. I will also see a client frequently-- two or three times a week --if they are moving, buying a house having a baby ,getting a divorce, changing jobs or going through some stressful situation in their life.

Why do you suppose that is?

Because they need to relax more they're giving up all responsibility for an hour or two , giving themselves over to what another person wants, knowing it's going to be enjoyable for both people .It's like going to another world and having a little vacation .

How do you see to the safety of your clients?

Being safe is sort of second nature to me by now. Sexual safety is easy since I don't have sex with my clients . There is a lot of physical contact involved---You can't tie someone up without touching him --and I'm a clean freak anyway, all of my equipment is sanitized.
Physically, I do not do anything that is unsafe, I don't do blood sports. It's important to know some things about a person before you begin playing, so that you don't put him in a position that hurt him or aggravate an existing injury. I think it is necessary  to find out if the person you are playing with has high blood pressure, for example , in which case you would not want to hang him upside down , or keep him in a head down position for any length of time.  You need to know if a person has any injuries that may preclude certain position or games.  I have a lot of older guys with bad knees who just can't kneel anymore.  I personally do not like to gag anybody  for very long.  If a person enjoys being gagged , I prefer to leave a gag in for only ten to fifteen  minutes  at a time before taking it out and giving a chance to swallow and breathe. A blindfold cannot be left on too long in a standing position or the person will begin to sway and get dizzy. Part of what the dominant is engaged in is watching the submissive to make sure he is O. K. at all times

Are there any downsides to being a Mistress?

Not really,  people who don't keep their appointments can be annoying ,but that doesn't happen very often because if I see that someone disrespects my time I don't give them appointments any more. Talking to beginners on the phone can sometimes be a little difficult, because  are often nervous about answering our questions , thinking that a mistress should automatically know what they want. It isn't really like that , It's a little more personal , a little more intimate. Before we make an appointment with some one we would like to know a little about him, and what his interests are.  We want to establish that this is someone that we would like to see and know that he shares our interests .

If that's the biggest downside it's not so bad?.

No it's not bad

It's not like being a soldier or something

Oh, no (laughing )I don't have to shoot anyone , not for real....I have done snuff scenes though.
Back in the photography place I used to have some one who did detective switch scenario and filmed it.
First he would attack and murder me, and he didn't always murder me in the same way,sometimes he would tie me up,  sometimes I was shot., sometimes I was stabbed, and sometimes I was strangled.  Then he would leave money in the top of my nylons, leave me as the body in the room, and go out and put on a hat and jacket and change his whole outfit and come back as  a detective.  He would be totally involved in this scenario.  
One time he was looking for a place to hide the body and decided to put it under the couch, he couldn't  get me under the couch  so he lifted up the couch  and rolled me underneath it.  He was about to put the couch back down on my body when I had to wake up  and say “ wait a minute, I can't fit under here” (laughs)
 Also both as a dom and a sub I have had lots of experience with people who have had rape and strangulation fantasies, people who wanted to be strangled- which does not men I am willing to choke anyone into unconsciousness or allow anyone to really choke me I am not into breath play. For all murderous fantasies the word play cannot be stressed enough     

Why do you suppose men come to you with these fantasies?  

It comes back to the safe sex thing.  Everybody wants an erotic sexual outlet that is safe, and I think that is why more people are open to it nowadays.  It is like in Victorian times in England:  when syphilis was a killer disease at that time B &D was very popular, and acceptable.  Once again we have a killer disease, and people are looking for a safe erotic outlet, in the last five to seven years B&D and S&M have become much more popular and acceptable , except maybe into the bible belt (laughs).
Another reasons, that a lot of men do not feel comfortable sharing these fantasies with their wives or girl friends or have shared and been rejected. Some like to separate their fantasies from their usual sex life, and find this a way of doing something different with someone different, and find that this adds a little spice to their relationship.

It was very brave of you to let someone tie you up, strangle you, and nominally kill you .  
I think the men who come to see me are very brave!  after all they are meeting a stranger for the first time, and very often telling me their most intimate secrets. Even if I am playing the submissive role I am a  naturally dominant personality.  I have always found that if some one was doing something I did not like I could change it with just my tone of voice.  When I say, “ hey! Stop!” even a dominant tends to jump back and say “what did I do”.  I don't think there are many people out there who really want to hurt someone or do anything against their will.

You are really talking now about communication.

As  a mistress and a dominant it may be easier to control the communication, and ask the submissive questions to get a better  idea of what is good for them and what is not.  It is  often harder for a dominant male making a call to an ad to find out from a submissive lady   what she is willing to do.

I'd imagine if you a re a professional in this business, you have a certain obligation- both to your clients and yourself - to learn how to communicate, in terms of speaking as well as listening.  Whether you are topping or bottoming, if you can not say what you need and if you can not understand what the other person needs you can mess up your scene

.Yes.  You have absolutely got to know how to communicate with people.  Including how to listen, and you also have to be able to read the non-verbal cues, which are probably even more important than what people are saying.  

How do you learn to read non-verbal cues?

Experience.  Paying attention to everything.  Whether the person is squirming in his chair when you are talking about something he might like, or shaking his head no while saying yes to something he may not like.  You have to be able to listen between the lines and read some body language.  I think that comes with experience, a lot of people who play with me, feel that I am reading their minds.  

You talk a lot about playing and having fun, having a good time.  Do you have a philosophy about what you do?

(laughs)  It is a cliché, but it should be fun!  I am pretty much me all the time.   I am not about an image.  Of course I do enjoy wearing leather latex and lingerie garters spike heals and other sexy costumes for play but I am only changing clothes,  not myself or my personality I am always Kitty whether I have a flower or a cane in my hand.  You could say that being a professional mistress is just something I happened to fall into that is me and that is fun.  


  PLEASE NOTE  Kitty does NOT offer SEX  ELECTRICAL PLAY or anything which


We also do NOT use SOUNDS or CATHETERS

We rarely do sessions with couples but once we know you we MAY be open to you bringing a ladyfriend to play.

Mistress Kitty     


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