An appointment or roleplay is referred to as a "session", and is often conducted in a dedicated professional play space which has been set up with specialist equipment, known as a "dungeon".

In the contemporary era of technological connectivity, sessions may also be conducted remotely by phone, email or online chat.

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The use of "domme", "dominatrix", "dom", or "dominant" by any woman in a dominant role is chosen mostly by personal preference and the conventions of the local BDSM scene.

The term "mistress" or "dominant mistress" is sometimes also used.

Von Cleef went on to set up her "House of Pain" in The Hague in the 1970s, which became one of the world capitals for dominatrices, reportedly with visiting lawyers, ambassadors, diplomats and politicians.

The term dominatrix is sometimes used to describe a female professional dominant (or "pro-domme") who is paid to engage in BDSM with a submissive.

A dominatrix might be of any sexual orientation, but her orientation does not necessarily limit the genders of her submissive partners.

The role of a dominatrix may not even involve physical pain toward the submissive; her domination can be verbal, involving humiliating tasks, or servitude.

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