Penthouse : How does someone become a fetishist?
MF : I don’t think people become fetishists.
Personally, I think that every individual is a fetishist to some extent.
The rejection of nudity is almost universal. Society has always taken
hold of bodies to dress or even deform them. The beauty of the body
depends on an ideal that varies between different ethnic groups and
periods. Corrective treatments are often surprising to today’s
normative eye. The word “fetishism” comes from the French
word “fétiche”, which comes from the Portuguese word
“feitiço”, derived from the Latin “facticius”,
meaning “artificial”. Every imaginable monstrosity in nature
gives rise to extreme fetishism, including dwarves and amputee or obese
prostitutes. Ugliness always has two faces, one fascinating and the
In some African tribes, women are scarified. In others, their skull
is deliberately deformed or their lips are stretched. In Burma, women
wear necklaces to stretch their necks like giraffes. In China, people
used to bind children’s feet to keep them small. Finally, in Europe,
men who like corseted women are attracted to immobile, tied-up women.
They like to see women in very high heels and tight skirts. We know
how much pain a man feels when the woman he desires doesn’t belong
to him. The masochist eroticises that pain and draws pleasure from it.
Bound, corseted women represent the woman possessed as a woman. Their
breasts, which spill out from their corset, also stand for the heavy-breasted
mother. Everyone knows that the mother is the woman that man possesses
completely. So the dominant fetishist makes a deal with the pain he
experiences through desire.
Penthouse : Where does fetishism end and where does sadomasochism
MF :I think the border between them is almost
undetectable. Fetishists and sadomasochists have a very similar approach.
However, fetishists who are not equipped to think can be contemptuous
of sadomasochists, and in my circle I’ve seen a dominator physician
treat rubber fetishists with disgust. In fetishist enclosure, latex,
sweat (water) and rubber, a natural material, represent the womb - peace
in a world where man has the omnipotence of the child. When the masochist
has himself tied up, or when he has a dominatrix squash his face with
her ass, he is seeking the pleasure of the womb. Adepts of scatology
or urolagnia choose to be soiled for the same reasons. Fetishists and
masochists are attracted to a world that is not life – fury, shouting,
war, fear and suffering – but rather a floating place before or
after life: death, the weightless cosmos.
Penthouse : What do you think of the states in which this
practice is prohibited?
MF : I think that fetishists and sadomasochists
have found a way to channel the pain and violence of everyday life.
They learn to live through the images and sensations they pick up during
their childhood and adolescence. Those who do not experience it recreationally
and sexually experience it on a moral basis – that is, they wound
others or have themselves wounded through war and conflict. The countries
that prohibit these practices are often countries ruled by dictatorships,
torture and genocide.
Penthouse : Do you consider fetishists as exhibitionists?
If so, do they agree to show themselves off to everyone?
MF :When the French TV presenter Christophe Dechavanne
asked me to bring together some fetishists for his show, I was struck
by how difficult it was to bring them out of their shell. Fetishists
in Northern Europe are more exhibitionist. That’s where the best
parties are organised. Rubber Ball in the UK, Europerve in the Netherlands
and Ball Bizarre in Germany attract 2,000 – 3,000 people on average,
in the wildest costumes.
Penthouse : There is currently a craze for fetishism.
Is it just a trend or are fetishists all coming out?
MF : Around twenty years ago, fetishists made
simple clothes and latex capes –outfits that completely enclosed
their wearer. In the past few years, London designers such as Krystina
Kitsis (Ectomorph) and more recently House of Harlot, which created
bee-women, Libidex and, above all, the Skin Two team, as well as Steve
English in Amsterdam, the Demask boutique and Hellen Shipper, inspired
by Ancient Egypt, have all brought fashionable style and colours to
fetishism. These designers have attracted new adepts. However, “normal”
fashion, with its accessories, clothes and make-up, is fetishist above
all else. Make-up plays with love and death. Thierry Mugler is my favourite
designer. Both he and Jean Paul Gautier are completely inspired by fetishism
and it is one of the reasons for their success, which goes to show that
fetishism turns people on in the collective unconscious.
Penthouse : How do you recognise a fetishist?
MF : Some people are fetishists without acknowledging
it. If someone feels sexual pleasure at being shut in a cocoon, or at
the touch of materials such as silk, latex, plastic or leather, then
he or she is a fetishist. But fetishists are also people who are afraid
of or cannot have the person they revere. So they substitute a pair
of boots, shoes or slippers, which in turn become the object of the
sexual desire. A French school of sexology makes this stupid statement:
“The case is pathological when the object of the sexual relationship
is an inanimate thing (e.g. shoe, pair of stockings).” You don’t
have to be an expert or a visionary to understand that an individual
that is at ease with and fulfilled by his or her fetishism is not ill.
The word pathology is out of place, except in extreme cases that call
for a psychiatrist rather than a sexologist. These extreme fetishists
sometimes endure great pain, usually caused by guilt. Or they project
their own hate outwards and cause other people suffering as sadistic
fetishists. Like a young man I knew. He only got a hard-on by shaving
his (non-consenting) wife’s head. Or by wanking over photographs
of shaven-headed stars. These sadistic fetishists do not play in our
theatre. They have contempt for it. They dislike consent. They want
to force someone and once they succeed, they lose interest in the object
of their torture. Those unaware fetishists are the kind who laugh when
they think of Sacher-Masoch’s character in Sapho’s Slipper:
“Félicien Wasilewski died a few years ago on his lands
in Poland. He had reached a grand old age and had never married. His
heirs discovered, among many precious objects, an ivory-incrusted ebony
jewel box with an old worn-out slipper inside. Once they got over their
surprise, they were amused. They would laugh whenever it was mentioned.”
Penthouse : How did you become a dominatrix?
MF : It happened naturally and instantly, without
any initiation. An essentially masochistic person does not need to be
initiated, whether for dominant or submissive relations. I tell the
full story in my book.
Penthouse : What are men looking for in a relationship
with a dominatrix?
MF : To live out their feminine side by staging
it. To live in a voluptuous state that allows them to rest and be reborn.
Since Eve, woman has been the eternal guilty party. Men come to live
out their sexuality and blame the sin on the Mistress. Hypocritically,
they murmur, “Yes Mistress, I’ll suck the Black Master’s
beautiful fat dick, but only because you order me to, Mistress, just
to please you, otherwise...» They come to be punished, which authorizes
them to commit the sin. Punishment means permission.
Penthouse : Have you experienced the other side?
Absolutely. I was there before I was a Dominatrix,
but it is quite difficult to live with. A man can hide his dominant
character by acting and it doesn’t really matter if he gives himself
away. The problem for the masochistic woman is that men do not play
the game as fully. For some men, being a dominator is a way of making
up for their inability to properly assert their virility. SM becomes
a pretext for them. Those individuals take themselves very seriously,
lose all sense of today’s reality and fall apart when the masochistic
woman has a dominant character.
Penthouse : What do you do for publicity?
MF : I’m well known enough!
Penthouse : What are your specialities?
MF : As a dominatrix, I like virtually every game
and I have all the techniques. I bar couples from parties if I have
any doubt over the woman’s real consent. Or if I think the woman
only gave her consent because she is afraid of losing the man she loves.
Penthouse : What do the fetishists you’ve met all
have in common?
MF : Love and boundless veneration for the cult
object or material. Pagan mysticism.
Penthouse : How can people be SM in countries where it
MF : Prohibition is just an obligation to hide.
We never know what goes on between a couple’s sheets. And there
are many couples and individuals who practice SM and/or fetishism without
calling their relationship that.
Penthousr : What is your favourite bedtime reading?
MF : I prefer philosophy. You often learn more
in a few lines than in a whole novel and, above all, it can bear out
what you discover in your own meditations. I like Nietzsche, Plato and
the Marquis de Sade. Among contemporary authors, when Gilles Deleuze
died, it was as if I had lost my father for a second time. I had written
to him forty-eight hours before and he had replied with a few very human
words. I like Flaubert and I was more affected by the Temptation of
Saint Anthony than by Madame Bovary. I have read Masoch a lot. His best-known
book is Venus in Furs, but it’s not my favourite. I often reread
The Wanderer, La Pêcheuse d'âme and Mardona Mother of God.
My favourite poet is Aragon - “So many sobs are needed for an
air on a guitar”!
Penthouse : What is a cult film for you?
MF : It’s difficult to talk in terms of
a cult film. It depends on the actors, the director, and the period!
The films that have struck me in include A Streetcar Named Desire and
Elia Kazan’s films in general. Coppola’s Dracula. You see,
it varies. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I like Jack Nicholson.
Ken Russell’s The Devils. Help! I’m looking for the cassette,
as I’d like to see The Devils by Ken Russell with Oliver Reed
Penthouse :What do you think is the main characteristic
a man should have?
MF : Having evolved to a point where he isn’t
afraid for his balls! Having a womb.
Penthouse :The main quality a woman should have?
Learning to live quickly!
Penthouse : What character trait do you hate the most?
MF : I don’t hate anything in men. I avoid
some of them.
Penthouse : What does a man need to seduce you?
MF : To be intelligent and sensual.
Penthouse : What is your proudest achievement?
MF : Writing my book despite being self-taught.
Penthouse : In parallel to your dominatrix activities,
do you have a “normal” sexuality?
MF : Luckily for me, I do have a sexuality. But
what do you mean by “normal”?
Penthouse : If you could be an animal, what kind of animal
would you like to be?
MF : A female serpent!
Penthouse A material...
MF : Metal!