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I Was a Teenage Dominatrix

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  260 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The true story of a young woman who funded herself through college in the States by working as a dominatrix -- a sassy, graphic and extraordinary memoir. Shawna Kenney is now a freelance writer and photographer, and lives in Los Angeles.
Paperback, 122 pages
Published December 1st 1999 by Retro Systems (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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Paul Eckert
This memoir is almost everything you want it to be.

Kenney did not get into the dominatrix business because she came from an abusive background or because it was an option of last resort. Instead, she did it to make some extra money to pay for college, and it paid a lot more than anything else.

In “I Was a Teenage Dominatrix”, we get to see some of the goings-on in the dominatrix business, from a woman running her business out of her house to the slick-oiled machine of a well-managed harem of do
Eric K.
A moderately interesting and rather unenlightening memoir of an uneducated (and uninterested in education) girl's experiences whipping her way through early adulthood as a craigslist-class pro-domme. The author isn't really interested in bdsm qua bdsm, and the descriptions of her sessions have an irksome "ZOMG freaks!!!!1" quality to them.

Listen up, girlie: If you become a professional dominatrix because it turns you on to be paid to hurt rich men, that's possibly empowering, and arguably even h
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-friends
Here's my blurb:

"With one lash of Shawna Kenney's stripped-down, bracingly honest prose, you'll be begging for more. Clad in latex, Kenney bravely maps out her own sexual and moral territory and becomes queen of her own destiny. A beacon to teenage girls to claim the bitch goddess within. Reading never hurt so good."
Daemon Grendl
Shawn Kenny writes a nuts-and-bolts autobiography of her early life. It's unusual story because she worked her way through college as a dominatrix. This is suppose to be an honest look back at her experience. It's not really about being a dominatrix but more specifically one woman's experience as a dominatrix.

After leaving home and a falling out with her family she turned to exotic dancing to pay the bills. Pretty quickly, she decided she needed a college education to become successful and she t
Geoffrey Kleinman
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I'm surprised at just how much I enjoyed Shawna Kenney's I Was a Teenage Dominatrix: A Memoir. Keeney is an immensely talented writer who weaves an extremely compelling and engaging tale that is focused and pitch perfectly paced. Using a combination of vivid language and well rounded characters Kenney writing is immerse, it's easy to get swept away with the universe she creates.

There are so many traps and pitfalls with a book that deals with a sexual topic and Kenney is adept at navigating the
Dec 07, 2010 rated it liked it
I read this in one sitting and honestly from the way some people talk about this I thought it was going to be the dreggs. Much to my relief it wasn't.

This isn't a particularly soulful exposition on the nature of women's affairs in sex politics, it wasn't a sexual awakening or even a really in depth look at any thing for that matter. What you see is what you get - a 128 page long book of anecdotes with a bit of back story thrown in. Tiny in size but it lasts just long enough to give us a glimpse
Oct 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find the construction and tone of the generation-x style memoir to be unrelentingly fascinating. There is an aura of rebellion to the style that seems unique to the spawn of that particular time. It's not necessarily endearing, and in fact it can often times appear to be amateurish in quality due to the brusque language and manner of delivering information. These are the post-post-modern writers who strive to present themselves as a sort of Holden Caulfield for a new era without the panache of ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit, ya
An easy, straight to the point memoir. A really quick read too. I read this book in a day! Smart girl needs money and being a dominatrix is the easiest way to get cash. She only did it in college to earn money and quite once she finished up. Even though the topic was a bit racy, it was quit well written from a girl power point of view. Who knows what was left out, but I didn't care. Simple cast of characters, people come in, they stay and then they leave, never to be heard from again. My favorit ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
what i love about this book is that the author has no sense of the guilt or moral disgust WITH people commonly associate with the sexual trade. everything is matter of fact, and every fetish is taken as a matter of course. that doesn't mean that she didn't have her own prejudices against certain sexual turn-ons. she had plenty. but it is because of them that a sense of her person came through. this book wasn't raunchy or pornographic. it was more of a psychological study of humans through their ...more
Kristi Marshae
perhaps she was relying on shock value to some extent, but it simply wasn't that shocking. maybe for someone who knows nothing about the world of sex work and domination it would be new and interesting, but i found it a little boring. i'm sure living it wasn't boring, but i wasn't engaged enough while reading. ...more
Black Heart Magazine
Great memoir from a "teenage" dominatrix, explaining how she got into this unusual line of work, what it was really like, and why she eventually left. No sob stories, no stories of abuse, no excuses, just a realistic depiction of a really interesting part-time job. Highly recommended to anyone curious about the biz! ...more
Kathy Ahn
May 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Fun memoir. The writer doesn't glorify or damn the profession and instead gives the reader a candid look at the 3-4 years she spent learning to be and working as a dom. Not exceptionally well written, but she's a decent writer and the narrative is engaging. ...more
Jeff Raymond
A friend lent this book to me the first week of school in 2001. I finally got around to reading it in 2006. With that said, surprisingly interesting story about a girl's work in the sex trade. Short and to the point, and fairly fascinating. ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad to read the full book. I have read excerpts from this memoir in other places. An interesting read of what a gal chooses to do to make ends meet.

It is a quick read as she is only 18 or 19 when she starts and a college grad when she quits the biz but it is an interesting read.
Aug 16, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun romp, and a quick read.
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Such an honest telling of what it can be like to work your way through college as a dominatrix - a fantastic story.
Caitlin Constantine
I enjoyed this and was able to read it in about four hours flat. It was a fun and funny sex work memoir, although I still think the standard to meet was set by Sarah-Katherine Lewis's "Indecent." ...more
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
amazing 2 hour read. well written and interesting.
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shawna is a brave young woman to share these stories. They were funny and poignant. I thought the writing was a bit simplistic but is a was a fast read and not as shocking as one might think!
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely awesome book. . . I read it in one sitting. Her style is extremely approachable. This is neither a porn book or a how-to guide; it delivers exactly what is promised: a memoir.
Guido Colacci
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very interesting book. Too many women and men don't understand sex on a psychological level at all... they only grasp it on a physical level... ...more
Shawna Kenneys's punk-yet-prudish point of view is unique, and somewhat of a surprise. However, I have to say that her narrative voice is overly collegiate, and her conceptions somewhat naive at times.
She claims to be a 'punk culture kid.' True, she quotes (mainly male!) musical rebels such as Henry Rollins, The Dead Kennedys, The Church, etc. What surprises is that she mentions only the 'establishment' feminist thinkers, rather than the punky 'Riot Grrls' or the more contemporary 'third wave'
Caroline Centa
I first bought this book on recommendation from a friend. I started it, and while it was easy to read found that I put it down about 3/4 in and then didn't pick it back up again, until I decided to read it for my memoir component of my book reading challenge.

I found this book easy to read and the topic quite interesting. However, I also found the language to be very simplistic and the story didn't seem to really go anywhere. Perhaps that's just because it's a memoir?

I felt like I was reading so
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I wanted to like this book very much (don't get me wrong, it was a very quick, ligght, enjoyable sort of read) I couldn't shake the feeling that the author was indeed NOT an amazing writer and the book was propelled only by disjointed accounts of random domination sessions, with no satisfying conclusions. I suppose the last part is a failure of mine to expect something "satisfying" from a book called "I Was a Teenage Dominatrix," but still, I was hoping for a higher caliber of writing to a ...more
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish I'd thought of this when I was in college and had no money, although I suspect there would be less demand for her services where I went to school. My only criticism is that it was a really brief and kind of disjointed narrative. The thing that makes biographies really good is when you feel like you get to know the subject; this one was so short and jumped around so much that you never really get to know her or any of her characters very well. That said, its fun to read about weird fantasi ...more
The Cute Little Brown-haired girl
After reading the reviews, it makes me think that perhaps the shock value of this lifestyle would be far more interesting to read about. She sounds inexperienced and like she was just looking for quick cash--not really to be enbedded in the "work". Pretty much, anyone wanting to "explore" a different culture is a fraud if they go and write a memoir about it. They are greedy money grubbers to be sure. ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a cheap quick read, and I was hoping for a lot more. I don't think I learned anything more about her job, her, or the human condition. I walked away with some assumptions about her, based on what she wrote. I've heard some say that this particular business can really jade the young, as you're looking at a very particular segment of the population who have some interesting desires. It wasn't overly titillating, thankfully. It's not a bad read, just not particularly deep. ...more
May 31, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
good lord that is some bad writing! boring story besides that.
Jun 02, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books06, eros
I interlibrary loaned this book.
Sep 21, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, sex
just as bad as you think it's going to be. With typos, too. ...more
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