Ceara Lynch: Morality and Internet Pornography Addiction

“ … as the tip of the little finger caught in a mill crank will draw in the hand, and the arm, and the whole body, so the miserable mortal who has been caught firmly by the end of the finest of his nerve is drawn in and in, by the enormous machinery of hell, until he is as I am. Yes Doctor, as I am, for while I talk to you, and implore relief, I feel that my prayer is for the impossible, and my pleading with the inexorable.” 

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, “Green Tea”

Reefer Madness” in the U.S. Senate …

In November 2004, a panel of anti-pornography advocates, addiction treatment professionals, and other experts testified before the U. S. Senate’s Commerce Subcommittee on Science that a product which millions of Americans consume is dangerously addictive. They were talking about pornography.

The panel, convened by then Sen. Sam Brownback, an outspoken Christian conservative and chairman of the Subcommittee, provided testimony on Internet pornography’s addictive effects and its potential health hazard to the American public.

Internet pornography was said to be corrupting children and hooking adults into an addiction that threatens jobs and families. The effects of porn on the brain were called “toxic” and compared to heroin. One psychologist claimed “prolonged exposure to pornography stimulates a preference for depictions of group sex, sadomasochistic practices, and sexual contact with animals.”

The panel concluded it’s testimony by noting that scientific research “directly assessing the impact of pornography addiction on families and communities is rather limited” and called for Congress to both finance scientific studies and launch a public health campaign warning people about the dangers of “porn addiction.”

Since that hearing, much has been learned about behavioral addiction. So much so, that reading the panel’s testimony is akin to watching 1936’s campy film classic, “Reefer Madness.” And while a limited measure of the panel’s testimony has been reinforced by subsequent neurophysiological studies, it’s interesting to see just how far some people will go to convince us that ready access to pornography is one of the worst things in the world.

Pornography is a Loaded Subject …

Opponents argue that pornography can ruin marriages, lead to sexual addiction or other unhealthy behaviors, and encourage sexual aggression. Proponents claim that erotica can enhance sex lives, provide a safe recreational outlet and perhaps even reduce the incidence of sexual assault. (After pornography was legalized in Denmark in 1969, for instance, researchers reported a corresponding decline in sexual aggression.) But in some ways, both arguments are moot: People like porn. Various international studies have put porn consumption rates at 50 percent to 99 percent among men, and 30 percent to 86 percent among women. A 2008 study on university campuses found that a whopping 87 percent of “emerging” adult men (aged 18-26), and 31 percent of emerging adult women report using porn at some level. Twenty percent of young men report using pornography daily or every other day, and almost half use it at least weekly.

Porn is practically ubiquitous, and the Internet has made it easier than ever to get an erotic fix. The accessibility, affordability and anonymity provided by the Web have put adult content right at our fingertips. The fact is there are a lot of people out there using a lot of porn who have no problems with it whatsoever. So when does compulsive viewing of pornography become a problem?

The Internet and Addictive Behavior …

We all have the brain reward circuitry that makes sex rewarding. In fact, this is a survival mechanism. In a healthy brain, these rewards have feedback mechanisms for satiety or ‘enough.’ But hypersexual disorder (a broad category which includes sex addiction, chronic masturbation, etc.) and internet pornography addiction is far more than just an overabundance of libido. With addiction, the circuitry becomes dysfunctional such that the message to the individual becomes ‘more’, which leads to the pathological pursuit of rewards.

Interestingly, the very nature of the internet lends itself to addictive behavior. There is a key element found throughout all internet-related experiences: The ability to maintain or heighten arousal with the click of a mouse or swipe of a finger. Attention to new and different things (scanning for salient cues in the environment) furthers survival, and research shows that it activates the brain’s reward system. Thus, the act of seeking (which would include surfing) triggers the reward system. So do stimuli that violate expectations (positive or negative), which is often found in today’s video games and internet pornography. Some internet activities, because of their power to deliver unending stimulation and activation of the reward system, are thought to constitute supernormal stimuli1, which helps to explain why users whose brains manifest addiction-related changes get caught in their pathological pursuit.

In short, generalized internet chronic overuse is highly stimulating. It recruits our natural reward system, but potentially activates it at higher levels than the levels of activation our ancestors typically encountered as our brains evolved, making it liable to switch into an addictive mode.

Defining An Addiction is not the Same as Diagnosing It …

Pornography addiction has been defined as compulsive sexual activity with concurrent use of pornographic material, despite negative consequences to one’s physical, mental, social, or financial well-being.2

Determining whether pornography is a diagnosticable addiction is no scientific slam dunk. Two questions have to be answered first, and the answer to each has some elements of uncertainty.

First, can pornography become addictive? Addiction, almost by definition, involves significant dysfunction in a person. Their functional level at their job, in their family, in school, or in society in general, is altered. Human beings can do all sorts of dysfunctional things when they have addiction. The response of society has often been to punish those antisocial and dysfunctional behaviors, and to believe that the person with addiction is, at their core, “a bad person.” When you understand what’s really happening with addiction, you realize that good people can do very bad things, and the behaviors of addiction are understandable in the context of the alterations in brain function. Addiction is not, at its core, a social problem or a problem of morals. Addiction is about brains, not just about behaviors.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), founded in 1954 and representing over 4200 physicians, clinicians, and associated professionals, is the most regarded professional organization in the field of addiction medicine. In 2011, as a result of growing neuroscientific evidence, ASAM formally expanded their definition of addiction to include both behaviors and substances:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

This ASAM definition makes clear that addiction is not about the substances or behavior; it is not even the quantity or frequency of use. Addiction is about what happens in a person’s brain when they are exposed to rewarding substances or rewarding behaviors. It’s more about reward circuitry in the brain and related brain structures than it is about the external chemicals or behavior that “turn on” that reward circuitry. Food, sex ,gambling, internet gaming, and even shopping behaviors can be associated with the “pathological pursuit of rewards” described in this definition of addiction.

Second, Can pornography addiction be diagnosed? The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been the standard diagnostic system for mental disorders since the early 1950’s. It serves as a universal authority for psychiatric diagnosis. Treatment recommendations, as well as payment by health care providers, are often determined by DSM classifications.

The DSM lists hundreds of diagnoses of different conditions, and the criteria by which one makes a diagnosis. The method that psychiatry has relied upon has been the patient interview and outwardly observable behaviors; i.e., the DSM focuses on outward manifestations that can be observed and the presence of which can be confirmed via a clinical interview or standardized questionnaires about a person’s history and their symptoms. A diagnosis does not depend on a particular theory of psychology or a theory of etiology (where a disease comes from); rather the DSM just looks at behaviors you can see or symptoms or experiences that a patient reports.

When the fifth edition (DSM-5) was being drafted, experts considered a proposed diagnostic addiction called hypersexual disorder, which included subcategories for pornography, sex addiction, and chronic masturbation. In the end, however, because of lack of research and lack of an agreed upon list of symptomatic behaviors, reviewers determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to include hypersexual disorder and its sub-categories in the 2013 edition.

That said, not being included in the DSM-5 does not mean hypersexual disorder and pornography addiction don’t exist. Already the new DSM accepts gambling (a behavioral addiction) and lists internet videogaming addiction for possible inclusion. And since DSM-5 came out in 2013, more than 80 brain studies of various forms have revealed that addiction to and on the internet (to include internet pornography addiction) entails the same fundamental kinds of neural changes seen in the brains of substance addicts.

About Those Studies3 ….

Most of the studies used neuroimaging measures, EEGs, or physiological measurements, although some studies used neuropsychological measures. The common thread was that they all used neural data to tie Internet-related behavioral addictions (and their subtypes, like pornography addiction) to the well-established neuroscience on “substance abuse.” The net result was a very large number of neuroscience based studies that support the application of the drug addiction model4 to addictive Internet-related behaviors. These studies collectively constitute strong evidence for considering addictive Internet behaviors as behavioral addiction.

Maybe It’s Not a Large Public Health Issue …

For some people, internet pornography is a real problem. They spend excessive time viewing pornography instead of interacting with others. These individuals report depression, social isolation, career loss, decreased productivity, and adverse financial consequences. Internet pornography addicts tend to show symptoms like compulsive novelty seeking and shifting sexual tastes. These symptoms can further exacerbate stress, confusion, fear and despair if users’ porn-based sexual fantasies morph to the point where they clash with their self-identified sexual desires or orientation.

Fortunately, it appears only a small percentage of people are susceptible. Despite the lack of diagnoses guidance in DSM-5, several studies have attempted to determine the extent to which internet pornography addiction may be prevalent. One study of a sample of 9,265 people found that 1% of Internet users are clearly addicted to cybersex (though 17% of users met criteria for problematic sexual compulsively.) In short, even though pornography is addictive, it doesn’t appear to be anywhere in the same class as highly addictive substances like opiates.

Still, without the clinical diagnostic tools provided by DSM-5, it’s hard to substantiate how many of the self-identified pornography “addicts” are truly addicted. Self-perceptions, biases, and responsibility avoidance may play a large role in inflate the self-reported numbers. For example, another 2014 study identified a connection between a subjects religious beliefs and their self perception of pornography addiction. One of the findings of the study is that there appeared to be a predilection in religious people to believe they are addicted to pornography regardless of how much they watch or whether it negatively impacts their lives (roughly 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women self-report being addicted to porn.)

And the Moral Implications for the Porn Industry Are …

Assuming that pornography addiction is a real disease of the brain, and that for a small percentage of people it is a very real problem, what then are the moral implications for the pornography industry?

Over two thirds of young men (18-26 years of age), and nearly half of young women believe that porn consumption is morally acceptable.5 This statistic of acceptance is particularly interesting because it is pulled from a generation which often defines right and wrong in terms of consequences. Consequence-based morality maintains that if something doesn’t hurt yourself or others, it’s not wrong. But even that moral code is not absolute and, as with any other moral code, risk-reward trade offs are implied when making a morality-based decision. And so, for the majority of people, the very real consequences of porn addiction, either intentionally or through ignorance, take a back seat to the entertainment value pornography provides. And it’s within this moral context that today’s pornography industry operates.

Make no mistake. Pornography is a business. A legal business born out of demand. And it’s good business practice to encourage people to use your product. So, as long as the industry follows those limited government regulations put in place to protect the most at-risk persons, it’s hard to see how they bear the preponderance of moral culpability for the suffering of people that have become addicted to their product.

As the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) points out, personal responsibility is important in all aspects of life, including how a person maintains their own health. It is often said in the addiction world that, “You are not responsible for your disease, but you are responsible for your recovery.” People with addiction need to understand their illness and then, when they have entered recovery, to take necessary steps to minimize the chance of relapse to an active disease state. Persons with diabetes and heart disease need to take personal responsibility for how they manage their illness–the same is true for persons with addiction.

Still, the pornography industry might do well to look to online gambling sites that allow options which assist addicts manage their disease. For example, A large number of reputable online casinos offer players the option to select daily or weekly online gambling limits. In fact, the majority of online gambling jurisdictions have made it compulsory for online casinos to offer this type of service. And for problem gambling addiction, players can also request that the casino block their account under the self-exclusion policy. This can be either a permanent or temporary block and during the specified period the player will not be able to access the account and the casino will stop sending that player promotional offers.

Providing similar options could go a long way towards alleviating whatever limited culpability society may end up perceiving that pornographic websites have regarding pornography addiction and it’s consequences.

And the Moral Implications for Ceara Lynch Are …

The discussion above applies equally to the online female domination/financial domination genre of pornography. With one notable distinction. Many online female dommes actually encourage and promote addiction within their clips. Not addiction to pornography, per se; rather they promote a particular form of online pornography addiction – addiction to their own specific name brand of pornographic material and related behavior.

Following last month’s blog on Morality, Politics and Sin, Ceara Lynch wrote to me,  “I don’t think of morality as ‘what is proper’ (as you wrote) rather, to act morally is to act in a way that inflicts the least amount of suffering. I don’t think offense is suffering (a la racial humiliation).” Hers is a consequence-based approach to morality. So what is the consequence of encouraging addiction? By definition, addiction entails harmful actions. It’s hard to rationalize the explicit promotion of pornography addiction with a moral standard of “inflict the least amount of suffering.”

But things are more ambiguous and nuanced than that. Ceara Lynch sells fantasy. Some guys want her to make them mentally “suffer”. At least within the context of the fantasy they envision when they commission or buy a video clip from her.

I’ve written elsewhere in this blog (Dignity and Humiliation, Playing with Men) that I think Ceara’s talent is her ability to play on the edge – to push the envelope of femdom fantasy without compromising the freedom of choice, and real world dignity, enjoyed by her customers. Ceara has no intention of hurting her customers or causing them harm and suffering. And intent, like consequences, matters. In a consequence-based moral framework, good intentions mitigate to a certain extent bad consequences.

Statistically, Ceara Lynch customers probably include a small percentage of genuine pornography addicts. For those few unidentifiable cases, any video clip or marketing effort that explicitly promotes or encourages their addiction could be viewed as morally irresponsible. Whether Ceara sees the same moral dilemma is unclear. As I said, the moral dimensions of online femdom/findom are nuanced and often ambiguous.

With Ceara Lynch’s increasing celebrity, and her forthcoming movie, it’s probably safe to assume that some increased backlash against her particular brand of pornography will ensue. Given the increasingly accepted reality of pornography addiction, it might be good business for Ceara to acknowledge, within any future addiction-promoting video products, the real world harm caused by pornography addiction. The gambling and alcohol industries use a disclaimer (“drink responsibly’) which, though almost absurd in their ineffectiveness, at least provide an appearance of accepting some modicum of responsibility for addressing the problem. And, as the saying goes, for most people, their perception is their reality.


Footnotes

1  Supernormal stimuli are artificial stimuli that overrride an evolutionarily developed genetic response. Junk food is supernormal stimuli in that they provide an exaggerated stimulus to craving for salt, sugar, and fats. Television is often considered a supernormal stimuli as an exaggeration of social cues for laughter, smiling faces and attention-grabbing action. Surgically altered breasts are supernormal stimuli.

2  Regarding the definition “… compulsive sexual activity with concurrent use of pornographic material, …” A leading researcher claims that Internet porn can lead to chronic masturbation, and that the masturbation itself is the primary issue. With each ejaculation, as with orgasm, you are turning on refractoriness. With each successive ejaculation, for chronic masturbators, the inhibition gets stronger — because of the increased serotonin — making it less likely for these men to achieve another erection, much less another ejaculation … it’s not the porn per se but its use in chronic and obsessive masturbation. The addiction is not actually to the porn but to the orgasm and the predictability of reward.

4  For a detailed explanation of the drug addiction model, refer to the Addendum at the end of this blog entry.

6  Always better” expectation may help to explain why 60% of men reporting compulsive sexual behavior (average age: 25 years) had difficulty achieving erections/arousal with real partners, yet could achieve erections with internet.


Addendum: The Neuroscience of Drug Addiction

Addiction is, at its root, a faulty and inadequate form of learning. And like learning to ride a bike, addiction is not quickly unlearned.

There are things you don’t forget, and there are things you can’t. For people who become drug addicts, the drug experience is not only unforgettable but indelibly etched into that person’s physiological brain circuitry.

And much of that memory is false. Because all addictive drugs appear to share a rather mysterious property: They’re “better than the real thing.” Better, that is, than the real things our reward circuitry was designed by evolution to reward: food, sleep, sex, friendship, novelty, etc. And better, even, than they were the last time around. At least, it sure seems that way to the addict.

Addictive drugs mimic natural rewards such as food and sex by kindling a network of brain areas collectively called the reward circuitry, which is responsible for enjoyment — which if you think about it, is an important survival response. It gets us to do more of the kinds of things that keep us alive and lead to our having more offspring: food-seeking and ingestion, hunting and hoarding, selecting a mate and actually mating.

Moreover, addictive drugs fire up the reward circuitry in a way that natural rewards can’t — by, in a sense, pressing a heavy thumb down on the scale of pleasure. Over time, the desire for the drug becomes more important than the pleasure the addict gets from it. By the time the thrill is gone, long-lasting changes may have occurred within key regions of the brain.

The brain is a little bit like the big snarl of tangled wires snaking their way out of that six-outlet surge protector behind your bed. They know where they’re going, even if you don’t. Nerve cells (or neurons, as scientists call them) can be seen as hollow wires transmitting electrical currents down long cables called axons to other neurons.

Addiction was once defined in terms of physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea and cramps in the case of heroin or delirium tremens in the case of alcohol, which reflect physiological changes within cells of an addict’s body. It’s now seen as changes in brain circuits, or combinations of neurons; in other words, the very neurophysiological changes that result from learning and experience. You crave and use a pernicious drug again and again because you have a memory of it being more wonderful than anything else, and because your brain has been rewired so that, when exposed to anything that reminds you of the drug, you will feel rotten if you don’t get some.

These are symptoms of a brain disease, not a mere weakness of will. Over time, these subcellular changes alter the strength of connections in the circuit, essentially hardwiring the yen for drugs into an habitual craving that is easily reignited not only by the drugs but also by the environment – people, places, things and situations associated with past drug use – even when the addict hasn’t been anywhere near the drug or the drug scene for months or years.

But what flips on the reward circuit in regular life, when electrical zaps to the brain are blessedly few and far between? The same chemical that triggered by dope. It’s called dopamine.

Dopamine is one of a growing number of known neurotransmitters, substances neurons produce for the purpose of relaying information from one neuron to the next. Different groups of neurons manufacture different neurotransmitters, which all work pretty much the same way but in different nerve bundles and with a spectrum of different results. These substances are stored inside numerous tiny bulbs budding from points along a neuron’s long, electricity-conducting axon at key contact points the neuron shares with other neurons.

When an electrical signal roaring down the axon’s surface rumbles past one of these little bulbs, myriad molecules of neurotransmitters get squirted into the surrounding space. They diffuse across that space (called a synapse) to specialized receptors on the abutting neuron, where the interaction can either set off (enhance) or shut down (impede) a new electrical current in the downstream neuron.

These dopamine-squirting neurons constitute a tiny fraction of all neurons. But each of them can network with up to 10,000 or more other neurons stretching to the far corners of the brain. A dollop of dopamine in your tank can really boost your reward mileage, so to speak.

Once dopamine’s centrality to the neurons constituting the reward circuit was worked out, people started wondering whether drugs might activate the reward circuits. It turned out they do.

One reason that the advances in our study of the neurophysiology of addiction so far exceed our understanding of other psychiatric disorders is because the animal models for addiction are extremely good. Teach a rat to press a lever for an infusion of a drug of abuse, and you will see the same compulsive behavior in the rat that you would in a person. A rat will work very hard to get drugs. It will press that lever hundreds, even thousands, of times and endure pain and suffering to get drugs.

As these animal studies have shown, virtually all abused drugs — for instance, heroin and other opiates; cocaine, amphetamines and other psychostimulants; nicotine; and alcohol — operate by interfering with the reward circuitry. They cause the release of dopamine in target structures such as the nucleus accumbens, that key structure in the experience of pleasure.

Different drugs do this in different ways. Cocaine and amphetamines prolong the effect of dopamine on its target neurons. Heroin inhibits other neurons that inhibit these dopamine neurons. (In the logic circuitry that is the brain, a double negative roughly equals a positive.)

You might think that the more you eat, or the more sex you have, or the more good vibrations you get, the more dopamine your reward-circuit neurons will squirt at their target structures in the brain. But it’s not so simple.

It turns out that what really gets the reward circuitry jazzed up isn’t so much the good vibes as it is the extent to which the goodness of the vibes exceed expectations.

Consider the following animal study. The test animal learns that if it presses a lever after it receives an environmental cue — to wit, a light goes on — it will get a reward: say, a nice slice of apple or a drop of juice. Of course, the animal soon learns to reach for the lever the instant the light goes on. With repeated exposure, the animal gets the hang of it, and a few interesting things happen inside its brain. The reward itself (the food) no longer produces the dopamine surge associated with reward-circuit activation – it is now the light, not the food, that triggers the activity in the reward circuit. The timing of the reward-circuitry’s dopamine squirts has shifted from the time of reward delivery to the time of the cue (the essence of the so-called “conditioned response.”) It’s not that the juice or apple slice no longer tastes good. It’s that the reward circuitry is responding to the difference between what we expect and what we get. How much dopamine gets secreted depends not on how great the reward is, but on the degree to which it meets expectations. The juice still tastes great, but it’s no longer a surprise; it’s predictable. However, the light’s timing can’t be predicted. It’s always a surprise, and (as the animal now knows) it’s always a prelude to something good.

The reward circuitry is always secreting dribs and drabs of dopamine. If an experimental animal gets a bigger-than-expected reward, the frequency and amount of dopamine secretion increases; if it’s smaller than anticipated (or if the light goes on but the animal’s frantic lever-pressing brings no juice at all), dopamine secretion drops below baseline levels. Moreover, this depression in firing rates of dopamine-secreting neurons occurs precisely when the anticipated reward should have come, but didn’t. Thus, the brain seems to interpret the absence of the expected reward not merely as a lack of enjoyment but as a punishment (“negative reinforcement.”)

Variations in dopamine levels tell all kinds of structures in your brain when something you want is within reach, getting closer, slipping away or not working for you anymore. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Cocaine, heroin and other abused substances usurp this system. And they do it in a really creepy, pernicious way: by short-circuiting it.

With normally rewarding things like food and sex, we usually have a pretty good idea of how good it will be. It’s when the reward exceeds our expectations that the dopamine circuitry really lights up big time. Conversely, if our expectations aren’t met, dopamine activity drops off.

But cocaine, heroin, alcohol and nicotine directly activate the circuit — they goose dopamine secretion — regardless of how high the expectation was. And every time you activate that dopamine activity, you getting a readout that says, ‘Wow, this was even better than I thought it would be.” It’s always better than you expected. Every single time. The experience is remembered as always getting better — even if, paradoxically because of tolerance mechanisms in the brain, it’s actually not so great anymore.6

In susceptible individuals, repeated drug use creates the same kind of lasting changes in the connections among neurons that we get from learning to ride a bike. One important way our brains snap an experience into long-term memory is by strengthening the synaptic contacts between neurons in the network that encodes this experience. This involves a number of biochemical changes in both the bulb protruding from a neuron’s axon and the brush-like extension of a nearby neuron. The long-term strengthening of drug-associated memory circuits, combined with that “even better than expected” illusion addictive drugs foist on users, goes a long way toward explaining what is probably the biggest problem addicts and those who treat them face: a pronounced tendency to slide back into the habit.

 

Ceara Lynch: Morality, Politics and Sin

A short essay in which I trace, from the ancient Greeks to present, the forces that shape some of today’s opinions about Ceara Lynch’s moral character.

Judgment …

It’s everywhere online. It’s rushed and it’s relentless. It comes from all quarters. It’s political and it’s moral. More often than not, it’s both. It’s judgment. And it’s ruthless.

It only takes a cursory glance at Ceara Lynch’s web presence to notice something is missing. If the internet is the venue of choice for expressing an opinion, Ceara’s social media postings are surprisingly devoid of political or social commentary. This is by design, of course; Ceara Lynch is disciplined in marketing her business. Nevertheless, as her celebrity increases, so do the judgmental comments about her, her profession, and her clients.

Examples …

Recently, a short 250-word article about Ceara Lynch appeared on the right-leaning news site, Breitbart.com. The article, which was clearly meant as entertainment rather than social commentary, spawned over 150 comments from readers. Most of the comments reflected the conservative political and moral view of Brietbart.com readership. Several made nebulous links between her activities as a humiliatrix and people with progressive political views:

This sounds like good work for HRC … if she doesn’t go to prison.”

Cuckold emasculated-by-feminism liberal males love this stuff.”

Other comments addressed Ms. Lynch’s morality:

It’s definitely demonic in origin and her fate is in Hell.”

Well, isn’t that special. Who could be her silent partner? Maybe … SATAN?!?!”

And despite the apolitical nature of her Twitter postings, political diatribe from online followers occasionally find their way into her Twitter comment stream:

I enjoyed the line ‘Her fate is in hell!’ I would guess the majority of your subs are Republican businessmen.”

Now you’ll get some clients who really deserve to be humiliated.”

In another recent example, Ceara Lynch’s production of racial humiliation video clips generated several comments, particularly from the left. One follower went so far as to write a short entry in his blog laying out arguments as to why racial humiliation is an inappropriate scenario for a publicly sold humiliatrix video clip. As cogent and articulate as those arguments were, the author couldn’t avoid referring to Ceara Lynch as racist.

It’s hard to swallow when we’re not even asking for political correctness here, but just the smallest modicum of respect, which Ceara (and other racist clip dommes) fail to provide.”

Do these sort of comments bother Ceara? The comments are directed at her online persona, not her, so I don’t think she takes them personally. In a way, I think these sort of comments are just part of the cost of doing business online.

Still, as I followed these discussions, I couldn’t help but wonder where this pervasive morality-based political judgmentalism came from? Did it arise because of specific issues, as it appeared? Or was there something deeper, more ingrained in our social DNA, that linked morality and politics in such a way as to fuel an enduring debate? Were there distinct social consciousnesses that always existed, but become most evident when discussing divisive social and political issues?

What is Morality Anyway?

Morality is about the difference between what is proper and what is not. Intentions, decisions, and actions are distinctions without a difference. Morality applies equally to all three. Morality can derive from a personal belief in some universal standard. Or it can be derived from a code of conduct for a particular philosophy, religion, or culture. Note that culture is generational and not static. Therefore, a new generation may develop its own set of morals.

Politics and Morals …

Politics is the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. At its core, politics is a competition between ideas. Nearly all these ideas have a moral component to them, with the debate won or lost depending on a person’s perception of man’s fundamental nature.

And what are these perceptions that frame the debate? That predisposed a person towards one moral argument and not the other? To understand this fully, it’s necessary to go back to the beginning of western political thought.

The Greeks, Romans, and the Foundation of Moral Governance …

Greek political science studied constitutions and generalized the relation between human nature and political organizations. Perhaps its most powerful instrument was the theory describing a cycle of political evolution called anacyclosis. The theory is mainly attributed to Polybius in Book VI of The Histories. As described by Polybius, the state begins in a form of primitive monarchy under the leadership of an influential and wise king. Political power will pass by hereditary succession to the children of the king, who will abuse their authority for their own gain; this represents the degeneration of monarchy into tyranny. Some of the more influential and powerful men of the state will grow weary of the abuses of tyrants, and will overthrow them; this represents the ascendancy of aristocracy (as well as the end of the “rule by the one” and the beginning of the “rule by the few”). Jut as with the descendants of kings, political influence will pass to the descendants of the aristocrats, and these descendants will begin to abuse their power and influence, as the tyrants before them. This represents the decline of aristocracy and the beginning of oligarchy. As Polybius explains, the people will by this stage in the political evolution of the state decide to take political matters into their own hands. This point of the cycle sees the emergence of democracy, as well as the beginning of “rule by the many”. In the same way that the descendants of kings and aristocrats abused their political status, so to will the descendants of democrats. Accordingly, democracy degenerates into ochlocracy, or more literally, mob-rule. During ochlocracy, according to Polybius, the people of the state,conditioned to accept the pandering of demagogues, will become corrupted by a sense of entitlement. Eventually, the state will be engulfed in chaos, and the competing claims of demagogues will culminate in a single (sometimes virtuous) demagogue claiming absolute power, bringing the state full-circle back to monarchy.

In general terms. the cycle, then, is (1) monarchies degenerate into tyrannies, (2) tyrannies are overthrown by aristocracies, (3) which degenerate into oligarchies exploiting the population, (4) which are overthrown by democracies, (5) which in turn degenerate into the intolerable instability of mob rule and anarchy, (6) whereupon some powerful leader establishes himself as a monarch, and the cycle begins all over again. It’s a cycle of benign, well-meaning governance (monarchies, aristocracies, and democracies) interrupted by malevolent, selfish governance (tyrannies, oligarchies, anarchy.) The ancient Romans, in an attempt to break this cycle, developed a republican model of governance composed of magistrates, senate, and comitia in which the three types of benign well-meaning government (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy) worked simultaneously.

The Schizophrenia of American Consciousness …

As ancient as this theory was, at the time of the American Revolution, it remained the central thesis of political thought. In fact, the revolutionary Founding Fathers of the United States were so greatly influenced by it that their novel experiment of a republican government (with a considerable measure of democracy built in) was modeled on what Polybuis wrote of the Roman republic.

Choosing the Roman republic as a model wasn’t just coincidence. Rather it was an intersection of two opposing views concerning the very nature of man. These views, and their associated political perspectives, were championed respectively by the great ideological revolutionaries in America at that time, John Adam and Thomas Jefferson.

The noted historian, Page Smith, labeled these two opposing perspectives as Classical-Christian and Secular-Democratic consciousnesses. The Classical-Christian view (represented by Adams and later James Madison) emphasized the fallibility and limitations of humanity; the Secular-Democratic perspective (held by the Jefferson) viewed humanity through a gentler lens, focusing on both the equality and the perfectibility of man. The first view is realized in the Constitution, a document designed to guard against the cyclical appearance of malevolent selfish governments. The second view inspired the Declaration of Independence and, coincident with the Age of Enlightenment (1715-1789), became the emerging Secular-Democratic ideology overlying a declining Classical-Christian polity. This ideological schizophrenia between Classical-Christian and Secular-Democratic is embedded in our country’s political DNA so that these two irreconcilable consciousnesses persist today and lie at the core of nearly every debate in US politics.

Redemption …

Not surprisingly, both consciousnesses spring from the same tap root. Though their perspectives diverge as the “How?” and the “Who?” what they have in common is “Why?”

Both Classical-Christian and Secular-Democratic consciousnesses see redemption as the end state for man. The Classical-Christian view focuses on redemption of the individual; the Secular-Democratic on the redemption of humankind within a broader societal context. Classical-Christian seeks heaven, Secular-Democratic seeks utopia.

Whereas Classical-Christian morality is largely defined for the individual, Secular-Democratic morality is defined for society as a whole. The focus is different, so moral standards are viewed differently (usually along cultural, religious, or philosophical lines.) Because both consciousnesses have redemption as their common goal, seldom are moral standards in direct conflict. More often, the difference in viewpoint lies in prioritization and moral weight afforded a particular argument.

Argument, Hyperbole, and Sin …

As the intensity of competition between political viewpoints increases, so does the passion of proponents. Passions beget hyperbole so that the arguments are no longer about worst or best, but about right versus wrong. Or, at the extremes, good versus evil. The moral standards adapted for political argument become black and white. The middle ground evaporates. And, in the morality drenched competition of ideas that is politics, transgression takes on the appearance of sin. For the Classical-Christian, sin is any thought or action that endangers the ideal relationship between an individual and God, that obstructs a person’s path towards redemption in heaven. For the Secular-Democrat, it’s any individual thought or action that is not aligned with society’s path towards a perceived ideal order for human living.

The Sins of Ceara ….

Ceara has often advocated that people accept themselves and enjoy their kinks. That philosophy, akin to hedonism (but not quite), allows her to go about her business unencumbered by the burden of regret and guilt that morality-based proponents seek to impose for transgressional thought and deed. That does not make her amoral. Rather, her moral code is different and does not easily conform to tribal patterns inspired by Classical-Christian or Secular-Democratic consciousnesses.

That said, as Ceara Lynch’s notoriety has increased, so too has the number and type of people judging her and her sins. But what are those sins exactly? What moral standard is being used to judge her?

Within the Classical-Christian consciousness, the seven cardinal sins are the usual standard against which a person is judged. These vices (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony) are so odious as to have a fatal effect on an individual’s spiritual health, deny their redemption, and result in eternal damnation. Nearly all these sins are touched upon in some way within Ceara Lynch’s video catalog. But it’s important to note that for the vast majority of her clips. she is not the “sinner.” Rather, she is the Great Tempter, the Great Deceiver. She is more Satan than sinner. In that context, absence contrition and repentance, she is dammed and salvation is denied to her forever.

Within the Secular-Democratic consciousness, Ceara Lynch’s thoughts and actions are judged against a more imprecise standards. The standards, established by evolving social mores, are often inconsistent when applied across different demographic groups. The principle underlying these standards is social justice, so certain historically ill-treated demographic groups (women, minorities, etc.) are given preference where advocacy for social justice is concerned. Conversely, other demographic groups are seen as privileged, so that treating them poorly or with ill-regard is more often than not considered ‘justice served.”

For example, Ceara Lynch’s stock-in-trade is intentionally not affording respect or dignity to her paying clients. To the secular-democratic consciousness, white wealthy men are viewed as privileged; a humiliation scenario based on that demographic is not only acceptable, but is seen as virtuous. However, as in recent discussion surrounding racial humiliation video clips, the use of a non-privileged racial identity (i.e., black) as the basis for a humiliation scenario is heinous. It crosses the line. So a moral judgment is made. Ceara has sinned and, in order that all would know her for who she was, the scarlet letter “R” (for “racist”) is figuratively placed about her neck. You’re either in, or you’re out. To be outcast … to be shunned … to be perceived as part of the problem … is to be denied access to the envisioned Secular-Democratic Utopian society.

A Different View of Morality …

Both the Secular-Democratic and Classical-Christian consciousnesses provide guidance as to WHAT choice should be made when facing a moral problem. But a different approach, which may lead to less judgment and more acceptance, is to understand HOW moral choices are made. The scientific foundation for this approach was advanced by Lawrence Kohlberg, Professor of Education and Social Psychology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, in the 1970’s.

Kohlberg was able to demonstrate that people progressed in their moral reasoning (i.e., in their bases for ethical behavior) through a series of stages. He believed that there were six identifiable stages which could be more generally classified into three levels. Kohlberg’s classifications are:

LEVEL                          STAGE        SOCIAL ORIENTATION
Pre-conventional 	    1           	Obedience and Punishment
  	                        2           	Individualism, Instrumentalism, Exchange                             
Conventional           	    3	"Good boy/girl"
	                        4	Law and Order
Post-conventional     	    5 	Social Contract
	                        6	Principled Conscience

The “pre-conventional” level of moral thinking is that generally found in children. In the first stage of this level, people behave according to socially acceptable norms because they are told to do so by some authority figure (e.g., parent or teacher). This obedience is compelled by the threat or application of punishment. The second stage of this level is characterized by a view that right behavior means acting in one’s own best interests.
The second level of moral thinking is that generally found in society, hence the name “conventional.” The first stage of this level (stage 3) is characterized by an attitude which seeks to do what will gain the approval of others. The second stage is one oriented to abiding by the law and responding to the obligations of duty.

The third level of moral thinking is one that Kohlberg felt is not reached by the majority of adults. Its first stage (stage 5) is an understanding of social mutuality and a genuine interest in the welfare of others. The last stage (stage 6) is based on respect for universal principle and the demands of individual conscience. While Kohlberg always believed in the existence of Stage 6 and had some nominees for it, he could never get enough subjects to define it, much less observe their longitudinal movement to it.

Discussion and Moral Growth …

Kohlberg believed that individuals could only progress through these stages one stage at a time. That is, they could not “jump” stages. They could not, for example, move from an orientation of selfishness to the law and order stage without passing through the good boy/girl stage. They could only come to a comprehension of a moral rationale one stage above their own. Thus, according to Kohlberg, it was important to present them with moral dilemmas for discussion which would enable them to gain insight into cognitive conflicts at their current stage, help them to see the reasonableness of a “higher stage” morality, and encourage their development in that direction. Although Kohlberg believed that most moral development occurs through social interaction, he saw academic discussion as one of the ways in which moral development can be promoted through formal education.

Ceara Lynch and the Absence of Sin …

At the Conventional moral level (Stages 3 and 4), external judgment is the integral part in ascertaining the morality of a decision. So it’s not surprising that judgmentalism runs rampant in online social-political comments. Unfortunately, judgment usually shuts down discussion. And discussion is how people advance to the next higher stage of moral development. Which brings me back to Ceara Lynch.

I have found Ceara Lynch exceedingly non-judgmental. Rather than close down conversation, she pursues discussion; particularly when she thinks insight can be gained and moral growth is possible. This approach allows her to not just accept, but revel in the socially unacceptable erotic thoughts of others.

As mentioned at the start of this essay, her social media feeds offer little insight into her social-political consciousness. Judgment is kept to a minimum. And without judgment there is no sin; only a psyche unencumbered by guilt or misgiving, a mind uncluttered with the baggage of other people’s judgments and their moral certitude.

When it comes to living life, I think Ceara Lynch likes to keep things simple. So I suspect she lives that universal maxim, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” One interesting facet of this Golden Rule is that it doesn’t require a God, only a healthy respect for the dignity of man … an irony which just increases the charm of the Ceara Lynch persona.

Ceara Lynch: Dignity and Humiliation

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”  Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations General Assembly Resolution , 1948

Dignity is something a person is born with. Something a person has. It’s a birthright. An innate quality that can only be diminished. All persons are entitled to be treated with the dignity they deserve as human beings.

A Paradox …

Ceara Lynch makes her living as a professional Humiliatrix. Usually, in the complex interplay between her and client, dignity and respect are not just ignored, but intentionally rejected.

And yet, she is admired. Respected. Emulated. Loved.

How can that be? How can a person so completely flout a fundamental principle of human rights and get away with it? How can that person not be hated and despised?

Mental Agility and Compartmentalization …

The answer, of course, is mental compartmentalization. Compartmentalization enables incompatible thoughts and actions to peaceably co-exist. Compartmentalization is how people live with paradox and avoid hypocrisy.

We all compartmentalize. Within each of our minds lies a matrix of compartments. Some compartments have stout, strong walls. Others have walls that are more flexible. More adaptable. Our minds are a veritable Rubik’s Cube of compartments – infinitely flexible and dynamic. Constantly adjusting and altering themselves to new patterns, new ideas, new thoughts.

At the core of this matrix are compartments that don’t change. Or change very little. They have high strong walls that are not easily knocked over. Behind these walls, within these compartments, lies a person’s core values. Their character. Their beliefs. The mental and moral qualities distinctive to that person.

Integrity is defined by how well the walls to these core compartments are built. How strong they are.

Trust is defined by how another person perceives the quality of our compartmental walls.

Play and Reality …

Ceara Lynch, and her customers, compartmentalize. There is the world of play and fantasy. And then there is reality.

But, of course, the distinction not so clear. The walls between these two worlds are not very high. Actions overlap. For example, financial tributes to Ceara Lynch as part of play come from real bank accounts; they have a very real impact on the customer’s quality of life.

Ceara Lynch’s talent … her skill … is in managing this overlap. She has years of experience at learning to understand the nature of her customers’ mental compartments. That experience and hard work enable her to synchronize her own thoughts and ideas with those of her customers. If the customer wants to preserve his dignity during role play, then it is. If he doesn’t, then she adapts to conform to his compartmental limits. But most importantly, she establishes and respects the boundary between reality and fantasy … as defined by her and imparted to the customer.

Talent and Skills …

Her management skills are very real. The mental compartments containing her customers’ most vivid fantasies are complex and dynamic. Her talent is in aligning those compartments with a set of scenarios she has collected through years of experience. She exploits and modifies these scenarios so as to not tear through non-verbalized and unseen walls; so as to not access compartments that may be off limits. It’s a skill obtained only through practice. And more practice.

But it is her core values that enable her to garner admiration and respect. For the customer, these core values are first made evident through a shared business ethos. This common ethos lies beyond the compartments that deal with fantasy play. The ethos provides the basis for trust that is requisite if the play is to be fully compartmentalized and not allowed to leak into the world of reality. Over time, as play progresses, the customer discovers the strength of her core values. Trust is reinforced and play often takes on more diverse and exciting aspects. It’s a cycle that creates loyalty. That creates admiration and respect.

Trust …

With Ceara Lynch, humiliation can exists side-by-side with dignity and respect.

Thoughtful compartmentalization.  Skilled management of a dynamic and complex mental regime.  Core values that are unwavering.

These are her skills. These are her strengths. These are why she is trusted.

Unequivocally.

Ceara Lynch: Playing with Men

Taking the Mick …

In the UK (and I suppose in Ireland too), there is Cockney slang called “taking the mick.” It means making fun of you. And it usually is used in the context of playful affection.

In reading over one of Ceara Lynch’s recent blogs (entitled Kevin McGahern’s America) she signs off with “Stay tuned, you patsy white Guinness drinking fucks.” Clearly she’s taking the mick. It’s a playful way of saying I had fun and enjoyed your company.

Playfulness …

One of the most fascinating aspects of Ceara Lynch’s persona is how genuinely she likes men.

Oh sure, men are her source of income. But it’s more than that. She likes her job because it is so lucrative. But she enjoys her job because she gets to play – with men.

So many online Dommes’ persona comes across as misandrist. Despising men. Hating them. Inspiring dread more than playfulness. And I suppose some men find that appealing.

But Ceara Lynch’s appeal is that she is able to keep the play in ‘playing‘. In nearly all her clips, behind the dark veil of Humilatrix, one sees a woman who is genuinely amused. It’s not a scornful amusement. Rather it’s an amusement driven by the playfulness of exploration. The twinkle in her eyes and that well-known laugh give away how much she enjoys playing with her clients. The laugh that says “I’m not a sadist. I’m just playing.”

About That Laugh …

There’s a scene in Robert Heinlein’s “Strange in a Strange Land.’ Of all the insights offered by that book on human nature, this is the one that has resonated the most with me since my first reading over 40 years ago.

But today even the unmitigated misanthropy of the camels could not shake Mike’s moodiness; he looked at them without smiling. Nor did the monkeys and apes cheer him up. They stood for quite a while in front of a cage containing a large family of capuchins, watching them eat, sleep, court, nurse, groom, and swarm aimlessly around the cage, while Jill surreptitiously tossed them peanuts despite ”No Feeding” signs.

She tossed one to a medium-sized monk; before he could eat it a much larger male was on him and not only stole his peanut but gave him a beating, then left. The little fellow made no attempt to pursue his tormentor; he squatted at the scene of the crime, pounded his knuckles against the concrete floor, and chattered his helpless rage. Mike watched it solemnly. Suddenly the mistreated monkey rushed to the side of the cage, picked a monkey still smaller, bowled it over and gave it a drubbing worse than the one he had suffered—after which he seemed quite relaxed. The third monk crawled away, still whimpering, and found shelter in the arm of a female who had a still smaller one, a baby, on her back. The other monkeys paid no attention to any of it.

Mike threw back his head and laughed—and went on laughing, loudly and uncontrollably. He gasped for breath, tears came from his eyes; he started to tremble and sink to the floor, still laughing. Worried that Mike will go catatonic, something he often did soon after arriving on Earth, Jill gets him home.

I’m all right. At last I’m all right.”

I hope so.” She sighed. “You certainly scared me, Mike.”

I’m sorry.. I know. I was scared too, the first time I heard laughing.”

Mike, what happened?”

Jill… I grok [understand completely] people!”

But how, darling? Can you tell me? Does it need Martian? Or mind-speak?”

No, that’s the point. I grok people. I am people… so now I can say it in people-talk. I’ve found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much… because it’s the only thing that’ll make it stop hurting. … That poor little monk.”

Which one, dear? I thought that big one was just mean… and the one I flipped the peanut to turned out to be just as mean. There certainly wasn’t anything funny.”

Jill, Jill my darling! Too much Martian has rubbed off on you. Of course it wasn’t funny; it was tragic. That’s why I had to laugh. I looked at a cageful of monkeys and suddenly I saw all the mean and cruel and utterly unexplainable things I’ve seen and heard and read about in the time I’ve been with my own people—and suddenly I hurt so much I found myself laughing.”

Laughing is as much a defense mechanism as it is a way to deal with the imperfections of a non-Utopian world. It’s uniquely human. And there is always someone or something that is bearing the brunt of the joke. We laugh because it hurts too much to cry.

And so Ceara Lynch laughs. Because the alternative to laughing would be acknowledge the hurtfulness of her words. And she doesn’t want to hurt her customers. She wants to play with them. To find the enjoyment and pleasure in their fetishes. And so she laughs. Just a smile and a little knowing, pain-relieving laugh. A signal that she doesn’t mean what she says.

Ceara Lynch: The Psychological Aspects of Her Business

From My Last Blog …

Finally, Ceara Lynch has worked hard to establish a strategy for success in the psychological domain. She is genuinely fascinated by the way the brain works, particularly with regards to both the physiological and psychological aspects of human sexuality. Educating herself to understand the scientific and emotional bases associated with the fetishes and sexual desires of her client base, her videos appeal on the mental, sexual, and emotional levels. This appeal to all the elements of a person’s decision making process goes beyond marketing and advertising. It goes to establish a brand and build loyalty within her customer base.”

I’d like to examine this statement a bit further by identifying the most common psychological aspects that drive men online to seek dominatrices. And how Ceara Lynch’s well-managed online persona appeals directly to those psychological drivers.

But First …

Before I discuss in general terms what motivates Ceara Lynch’s customers, it’s important I set a frame of reference. Each individual has their own unique story. Their private experiences, curiosity, inquiry, and the selectivity involved in personal interpretation of events shapes reality as seen by a person.  And so, as the discussion below consists almost entirely of my perceptions, the reader is invited to read the ‘About’ page of this blog to gain insight into who I am and how my perception of reality has been shaped by my experiences.

And Now, the Cultural Fallacy …

Loneliness and boredom. A large amount of time and effort is devoted to alleviating these conditions in our lives. To live happy fulfilled life is to live life to its fullest; i.e., loneliness and boredom are replaced by a higher purpose.

But what if loneliness was hard wired into our culture? What if loneliness and it’s first cousin boredom were the social norm, and happiness and fulfillment the exception? Would our culture then be built on some fundamental fallacy in its approach to the human condition? Where would the dysfunction be, if it existed at all?

A Wounded Heart …

A considerable body of thought points to the idea that loneliness is deeply embedded within our culture. It’s a chronic malaise that is part of our societal character.

The historian Page Smith, in his 16 volume The History of America, explores a theme running through more than two centuries of America’s collective story. Specifically, he notes the dis-integrative effects of American life and compares the continental United States to a kind of vacuum chamber, where atomized individuals float freely but often desperately in vast lonely spaces. he also notes that every person can stand only so much individualism. Humans yearn to belong to a coherent human group. There is a deep and enduring human need for community, celebration, openness, for grace and joy. In a world marked by competition, power, and aggressiveness, people yearn for a better, fairer way of living. In Page Smith’s view, these two incompatible realities fuel both the angst and the grandeur of America’s collective character and history.

D.H. Lawrence explored the same historical theme in an introduction to Edward Dahlberg’s Bottom Dogs, published in 1930. He wrote that “the real [American] pioneer … fought like hell and suffered until the soul was ground out of him … something in the soul perished; the softness, the floweriness, the natural tenderness. How could it survive the sheer brutality of the fight with the American wilderness, which is so big, vast, and obdurate? The savage America was conquered and subdued at the expense of the instinctive and intuitive sympathy of the human soul. The fight was too brutal.” As a consequence, Lawrence went on to note that Americans believed “that man should behave in a kind and benevolent manner. But this is a social belief and a social gesture, rather than an individual flow. The flow from the heart, the warmth of fellow-feeling … seems unable to persist. Instead you get the social creed of benevolence and uniformity, a mass will, and an inward individual retraction, an isolation, an amorphous separateness like grains of sand, each grain isolated upon its own will, its own indomitableness, its implacability.” It seemed to Lawrence that, in 1930, this phenomenon – the deep psychic change which he calls “the breaking of a heart, the collapse of the flow of spontaneous warmth between a man and his fellows” was happening all over the world.

And that trend, that terrible isolation of modern man, persists. Published in 2000, Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures and how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, and other factors have contributed to this decline. As we’ve gotten richer, we’ve used wealth to buy space: bigger homes, bigger yards, separate bedrooms, private cars, autonomous lifestyles. Each individual choice makes sense, but the overall atomizing trajectory sometimes seems to backfire. According to the World Health Organization, people in wealthy countries suffer depression by as much as eight times the rate as people in poor countries.

And so, at least in America, loneliness and boredom are the norm. They are integral to the human condition. And they appear to be exacerbated by wealth and affluence.

Enter The Internet …

In Dec 1999, less than 5% of the world population had access to the internet. Ten years later, that number had exploded to over 28%. And as of June 2016, 3.6 billion people (or 49.2% of the world’s population) had internet access. In a matter of very few years, the internet consolidated itself as a very powerful platform that has changed forever the way we do business, and the way we communicate. For a very low investment, almost any business can reach a very large market, directly, fast and economically, no matter the size or location of the business. And, as with the case of social media websites, it didn’t take long before certain entrepreneurial minded ladies discovered that people were turning to the internet to alleviate their loneliness and boredom malaise.

The Nature of Online Domination …

Online domination is shallow but intense, largely anonymous, and readily accessible. All of which make it very appealing to a lonely, bored man with money to spend.

Shallow in that, to a large extent, it’s a simple business transaction devoid of the usual emotional strings. The woman provides a service under a strict set of rules defined by her. The man exchanges money for that service within those constraints. It’s time and product for money. So in the same way that spending time and money at a Gentleman’s Club temporarily relieves the burden of loneliness and boredom, so too does engaging an online Domme.

Intense in that the provided service involves the man freely communicating some of his darkest desires and secrets. This open discussion of secret subject matter/fantasy heightens the intensity of the communication beyond traditional web-based interaction, making the service take on a more ‘real’ and ‘special’ aspect for the customer.

And of course, the man freely opens up and tells an online Domme his darkest secrets and fantasies because the internet provides a veil of anonymity. His dignity and ‘real’ life is protected while he finds a safe, practical way to address his loneliness and boredom issues. And though anonymity isn’t quite as protected for the Dominatrix, some protection is available in that seldom does the woman allow a glimpse beyond the online persona she has so carefully cultivate.

And finally, because of the pervasiveness of social media and mobile internet access, the man is able to alleviate his loneliness and boredom whenever the mood strikes.

Enter Ceara Lynch …

Has Ceara Lynch tapped into this angst?  This need for social connection in a world of isolation?  A world where the fundamental need for warmth and flow between human beings has been ‘driven from our collective soul’ by a savage and brutal culture?

Yes.  She has.

Deliberately.  Intentionally.  And with cold-hearted efficiency.

The Art of War (Again) …

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

As in war, so in business. And to know the psychology of your customers is to assure sales.

As pointed out in the previous blog entry, for all her business skills and talents, Ceara Lynch’s above average success can be linked only in part to her video products. Rather, the preponderance of her success lies in skillful use of the psychological dimensions of her business; in particular, her acute understanding and exploitation of what motivates men to seek out the services of online Dominatrices.

How Ceara Lynch Exploits the Psychological Domain of Her Business …

[Americans] want that which in the nature of things is impossible. They believe there must be a man who is more manly than a good man can be, and there is a beautiful woman who is more beautiful than all the other beautiful women. They are never contented because they are always looking for a happiness which is greater than happiness. They want to find love where they have sown only hate and selfishness. They want to run and never tire, satisfy their thirsts and hungers and not be full.” – John Langston

Ceara Lynch, the person, understands the John Langston’s point quoted above; i.e, we want the impossible. And so Ceara Lynch, the online persona, provides that impossibility.

It all starts with her videos. She speaks directly and personally to her client – the person commissioning the clip – often referring to the customer by name. There is an intimacy in her style and demur. More performing art than reality, the next ten minutes of video are privileged communication from Ceara Lynch to the person viewing the clip. Loneliness is abated, if only in imagination. Boredom is broken, if only in the mind.

In the video clips, Ceara Lynch speaks softly. Her tone is conversational. Seldom demanding. Inviting. More often guiding. Her manner is assured; confident but not aggressive. Warm and cruel simultaneously, her ambiguousness is seductive. The appearance of compatibility between these  inherent incompatibilities hone her attractiveness.

There is no yelling. No meaningless or unenforceable threats. No signs of insecurity or weakness in her self-image. Her words, her mannerism, the very way in which her image fills the screen – all are thoughtfully designed to assure complete and focused attention on her. All combine in a calculated way to deliver a sense of intimacy and personal connection. It’s performance art in the very truest sense. Reality is suspended. And for those brief moments, the mind is transported to an impossible place.

Loneliness and boredom, if just for a few fleeting minutes, are replaced with an impossibility. With a closeness. With mental intimacy. A connectiveness with a beautiful woman, a beautiful woman with whom a person’s sexual secrets and fantasies are shared. With whom a mental and emotional bond is established. An experience that, like it’s physical world counterpart, included a one-of-a-kind aftercare video to sooth and and salve any mental wounds that may have been opened in the submissive. It’s a unique online experience that compels repeat purchases from those that commission and buy her videos. And perhaps compels further exploration of that experience through phone calls, cam-to-cam sessions, emails and texts, and other forms of internet enabled communication.

It is this masterful art, to be able to perform this eloquent deception seemingly effortlessly, that enables Ceara Lynch to command and exploit the psychological domain.

Ceara Lynch: A Head for Business

Note: This is the first in a series of articles examining various aspects of Ceara Lynch’s persona.


 

Adapting A Warrior’s Mentality …

Sun Tsu’s The Art of War. Clausewitz’s On War. Classics on the art of strategic military thinking. Required reading at all United States military war colleges and the National Defense University.

And for most business leaders.

Wall Street.  A film on American power and money.

Bud Fox:  “Sun-Tsu:  If your enemy is superior, evade him.  If angry, irritate him.  If equally matched, fight, and if not split and reevaluate.”

Gordon Gecko:  I don’t throw darts at a board.  I bet on sure things.  Read Sun-Tsu, The Art of War.  Every battle is won even before it is ever fought.”

Following these brief mentions in that iconic film, the Art of War quickly became a staple for business readers.  Sun-Tsu’s philosophies proved, and continue to prove, highly applicable to the dynamic style of American business.

But in war, strategy is not formulated by incoherently adjoining precepts and quotes from these classics. Rather, a more coherent, dynamic approach is used. One which addresses and defines strategies for competing and winning, simultaneously, in three separate but connected dimensions: the physical, the rational, and the psychological.

To win a war, one must defeat the adversary in all three dimensions. Failing to subdue the adversary in any one of the three will result in a war not won. And as in war, so in business. Failing to compete and win in all three dimensions simultaneously results in loss business revenue and market share.

How Ceara Lynch has competed, and won, in each of these dimensions is a case study in entrepreneurship and business acumen.

The Three Dimensions …

The physical dimension is all about those physical things needed to produce a desired effect. In war, it’s the things you go to war with – planes, ships, guns, bullets, etc. In business, it’s the things that are produced.

The rational dimension is the ‘chess game’ played by military and business leadership. It’s about out-thinking your adversary and employing physical assets to their best effect. In war, it’s about maneuver, integrated fires, or combined arms. In business, it’s about the optimized business model, cost-vs-benefit analyses, leveraging assets, and positioning for “the deal.”

In war fighting, the psychological dimension is about morale, training, belief in cause, and will to win. In business, it’s about work ethic, about building a brand and customer loyalty. It’s the ‘edge’ that, all other things being equal, causes a customer to chose your product over that of a competitor.

A Few Words About the Business Model and Metrics …

The business model employed by Ceara Lynch is eloquently simple. Sell high quality, relatively low production-cost, time-limited-private-use custom videos at premium prices. Retain intellectual property rights and sell/distribute those same videos at a later date through a third party vendor. Market through social media and web-enabled media outlets. Use another third party agent to protect intellectual property rights to reduce online theft and piracy.

It’s a business model used by countless number of other women competing in the same or similar market. Yet, when it comes to working that business model, Ceara Lynch is arguably more successful than most.

To a large extent, business metrics are hard to come by for the financial domination niche.

Revenue, profits, costs, sale. Those numbers are known to Ceara Lynch and the other online Dominatrices, of course. They just aren’t shared publicly. Still, relevant metrics can be garnered from social media accounts and video sale web sites.

Specifically, production, pricing, and niche market data was collected (during the period 02-05 Aug 2016) from a well known third party video sales site for 18 other established online Dominatrices. These online Dominatrices all use the same, or similar, business model as Ceara Lynch.

On average, these Dominatrices have been selling custom videos at that site for over 6 years, produce 18 videos per month, compete in 159 description/fetish categories, and sell their videos at a median price/minute of $1.27.

Ceara Lynch’s production, marketing, and pricing metrics are slightly below than those of the average online Dominatrix. She produces on average 13 clips per month, lists her videos in 157 fetish/description categories, and enjoys a small pricing advantage by selling her videos at a median price/minute of $1.11.

Nothing in these numbers suggests Ceara Lynch is exploiting the business model differently than the other online Dominatrices.

Measuring Success …

Given the above, then, how can I assert her success is much greater than expected/average?

To find the answer to that question, we need to measure success. And without access to each Dominatrix’s financial data, a publicly available proxy metric for success had to be found.

Fortunately, contingent upon a few assumptions, the “Number of Twitter Followers” can be a reasonable proxy.

For businesses, social media success is more about engagement and less about popularity. Successful engagement means new leads, new clients, and repeat customer purchases and interaction. According to Twitter Media research (www.media.twitter.com,) when someone follows you on Twitter, you gain a chance to engage with that person over time. A 2013 survey of small and medium size businesses showed that followers don’t just see your Tweets — they also take actions that benefit your business. For example, customers share positive experiences about the businesses they follow on Twitter with their own network of followers (64%), spread the word about your business through Retweets (70%), and are also much more likely to buy from you in the future (72%). Additional Twitter Media research shows that an active account posting video, links, and photos engages more successfully with a larger audience.

So assuming successful engagement generates new customers as well as repeat customer purchases, and that each of the 18 Dominatrices used in this comparison are employing successful engagement techniques, then “Number of Twitter Followers” may be used as a proxy to measure relative business success. To that end, the average number of Twitter followers per Dominatrix is 27,400. Ceara Lynch’s Twitter account has 42,200 followers.

To state it another way, Ceara Lynch is 62% more effective at exploiting a business model commonly used by comparable online Dominatrices.

Pulling It All Together …

Early on, I mentioned the dimensions of business – the physical, the rational, and the psychological.

For Ceara Lynch, her video clips dominate the physical dimension of her business domain. Sale of her clips directly account for a large portion of her revenue. Other revenue sources (tributes, gifts, phone sex calls, etc.) are by in large derivative revenue sources. That is to say, they would be of significantly less consequence if there were no video clips driving customers to those alternative revenue generators.

In the rational dimension, Ceara Lynch is focused to a large extent on marketing. She uses a wide variety of social media and other online venues to promote her business. Her full-spectrum marketing and advertising efforts are synergistic; that is, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Like the combined arms and integrated fires of war fighting, seemingly independent efforts are linked together in a way to produce a much larger effect than as if each were applied separately. A coherence is achieved that maximizes effect for combined effort.

Finally, Ceara Lynch has worked hard to establish a strategy for success in the psychological domain. She is genuinely fascinated by the way the brain works, particularly with regards to both the physiological and psychological aspects of human sexuality. Educating herself to understand the scientific and emotional bases associated with the fetishes and sexual desires of her client base, her videos appeal on the mental, sexual, and emotional levels. This appeal to all the elements of a person’s decision making process goes beyond marketing and advertising. It goes to establish a brand and build loyalty within her customer base.

In Summary …

For all her business skills and acumen, Ceara Lynch’s above average success can be linked only in part to her low-cost high-quality video products. Rather, the preponderance of her success lies in skillful use of the rational and psychological dimensions of business. Synergistic marketing, brand recognition and brand image, full spectrum personal appeal, and knowledge-based customer interaction mesh together into a singular, but effective, “Twitter Follower” marketing multiplier; which, by extension, when engaged correctly, equates to more revenue and sales.