THE BLOG
09/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What Is Work? Kinky Sex and a 401K

Parental Advisory: Frank, extremely fun information on sex and careers below.

Last week, as part of this series on the nature of work, we met a couple whose passion led them to start a cupcake bakery/original T-shirt emporium (which Aerosmith's Joe Perry dropped into last week!) and a man whose childhood passion for books inspired his freelance career as publicist who uses 21st century media to promote authors and books.

Today, we meet Mollena Williams, a woman whose passion for kinky sex led to her dream career as the "Executive Pervert" for the alternative lifestyle dating sites bondage.com and alt.com .

How did she get there? As a teenager, Mollena discovered she liked sex that felt good. As an adult, she discovered she was a "DS": a lover of discipline and submission.

D and S are two of the six elements of the alt-lifestyle category known as BDSM, which stands for Bondage, Domination/Discipline, Submission/Sadism and Masochism -- although not exactly in that order/configuration.

Before I met Mollena, I thought of "sex" as a one-size-fits all noun. Some years you had it, I reasoned. Other decades you didn't.

But for a BDSM professional or fan, calling sex "sex" is like calling a Chinese banquet, a Big Mac and a seven-course gourmet dinner, "food," with no further descriptors.

So before we get to Mollena's job, it seems a good idea to define the key term of this post.

"Kinky sex", per Mollena, is sex that's pursued with maximum pleasure in mind (as opposed to say, "procreation.") You can think of B-D-S-and-M as kinky flaves, which one can order up mild to extra-spicy, to taste.

Kinky sex, like dining, tends to be more fun when you have one or more friends with you. This is where Mollena's job comes in -- connecting alt-sex folks to other alt-sex folks -- and their own sexuality. The market for her company's services is large and growing. 300-400 people sign up for bondage.com per day, she told me; 500-700 for alt.com .

Each site houses a number of dedicated communities.

"Just as there are people who spend their weekends hanging out with their friends and scrap-booking," Mollena said, from a new, fetish-flavored coffee shop in San Francisco, "there are people who spend their weekend hanging out with their friends and beating the crap out of them."

She means this in the most welcoming way, as someone who greets BDSMers in the lobby of kinky sex weekends, before teaching a class about the how-to's of erotic tying-ups-and-downs.

Like many professionals with jobs they love, Mollena had a few careers that clashed with her soul before finding her true purpose.

As a child-actor living in the Johnson Projects of Harlem, she appeared in commercials. But when her dad took her to see "Hair" in the early '70s, she thought, "When I grow up, that's what I'm going to do."

Life took her West after high school. There, between starting in movies like America's Deadliest Home Videos as "Vezna" alongside Danny Bonaduce, she discovered her DS-ness during an extended sexcapade with a musician touring through town with Van Morrison. The guy was dominant. And she loved being submissive.

"I'd be an awesome slave," Mollena heard herself saying. As a black woman whose political outspokenness included announcing that Richard Nixon was "a stupid jerk" at age three, this statement struck her as beyond-wrong. But there was something in it that was true for her. What was it?

Fueled by desire and questions, Mollena researched alt-lifestyle options, "like an acting exercise." This process led her to the online bulletin board that would become alt.com. She wasn't alone in her desire to submit, she learned. Just wonderfully kinky. The more she spoke with others in the BDSM community, the more she learned to embrace the wonderful part. And that idea spread from her social life to her professional life.

From 9-to-5, Mollena was ghostwriting award-winning letters for banking executives. She was talented at her job. And utterly indifferent to it.

"If I did give a shit," she wondered, "what could I do?"

This question was answered by a friend who had started working at alt.com and bondage.com . Penthouse (which bought the sites' host, Adult Friend Finder), had recently added everything from Christian- to kinky-dating sites to its roster. The secret to each site's success was a genuine connection with its audience. But at the moment, they were looking for a copy editor, Mollena's friend, said.

Mollena wasn't a copy editor. But she lived the alt.com and bondate.com brands. She convinced her new employers that her ability to "walk to the talk" -- and her passion for the sites -- trumped a trove of well-placed semicolons. And with that, her dream job began.

Once on the job, Mollena began infusing both sites with the narrative voice of someone who's just been paddled -- and loved it.

"I think I have taken the job description and exploded it," she says. "My day job is my avocation as well...It's an amazing symbiosis."

When she's not working, she's playing: teaching classes, consulting, and starring in new stage plays.

And herein lies the connection back the question of finding work we love.

By identifying and pursuing her passions, Mollena, the expert performer, has become a performing expert. She has created a job she loves -- and is getting health-care, retirement bennies and a 401k to (stiletto'd, thigh-high) boot. This makes the Executive Pervert Job Creation Plan a winner for me.

Here are her tips for passionate job seekers:

1. "Look in the places that you love to be." Mollena was a passionate user of alt.com for years, but never thought to check the site's Jobs link.

2. Look at your leisure pursuits as possible professions. "This is something about which I'm passionate," Mollena says. "How do I get there?"

3. Help the folks who share your deepest interests. "There are people who take it even further than you do. Be of service to those people."

4. Out of answers? Keep going! "There's always something you're not thinking of. Always, always, always."

As for Mollena? She's writing two books on BDSM culture -- one of which gently satirizes the rules of kindergarten etiquette to introduce newbies to the rules of safe kinky sex.

"Don't touch other people's toys," she advises. "No really -- don't."

Her next big dream? "Oprah's regular guest expert on kinky sex."

Want to bet she gets it?

Stay tuned.