The chamber is sparsely, yet tastefully appointed. The lone orchid is in bloom, shrouded from the glassy-eyed gaze of the man in the chair, partly obscured by the shadow cast by the naked bulb incongruously dangling from a plain black wire and partly obscured by the thick rawhide strap fastening his head to the sturdy oaken top rail.
The silence is broken by the sharp, staccato click of steel-shrouded heels on blood-red tile. The woman is carrying a cage that John Hurt or George Orwell fans will immediately recognize. At one end is a military-grade OBA facemask with the window removed. Secured to that is a wire mesh tunnel, perhaps eighteen inches long with deadfall gates at each end. At the other end is a tiny tin shack, roof rusted, housing a hillbilly rat famished from a sparse diet of millet crumbs.
The woman quickly, professionally, and wordlessly attaches the contraption first to the dedicated bracket emerging from the top of the chair, then with a fluid motion that suggests a journeyman's familiarity with shipboard firefighting gear, strapped the repurposed breathing mask to the man's sweat-soaked face. The involuntary whine that escaped his lips did precisely nothing to deter either her resolve or her efficiency of motion.
The comically large gold-plated key in his right hand was leaving an impression in his flesh, even as he strained vainly against his restraints. He didn't notice as she glided out of view behind him and began releasing the first safety catch on the deadfall nearest the snaggletoothed rodent snuffling at the far end of the cage. He did notice as the deadfall fell and the rat cautiously advanced down the tunnel, its claws raking against the wire mesh in the most awful symphony he could imagine.
As her elegantly manicured fingernail stretches toward the next catch, his whine escalates rapidly through a keen, then a wail, finally landing on an eardrum-shattering shriek. His hand flies open and before the prop key can even clatter to the floor, the device is whisked from his trembling head and is being spirited away by a dedicated assistant. The leather bonds on his head, arms, and legs are released, and he slumps to the floor, weeping in the sort of ecstatic bliss that only a brush with the deepest of fears can evoke.
I invite you to draw your attention to the woman. If she were in possession of a psychiatry degree and the room were part of her professional offices, this would be called "aversion therapy" and would be perfectly legal. If, contrarily, her job were unlicensed and she used the professional title of "dominatrix," the session described above would be called "edgeplay" and would be illegal, at least if money changed hands.
Consider the possibility that emotional therapy is a vocation, and that the wisdom embedded in the heuristics employed by seasoned professional doms is as good (if not better in some cases) than the classroom education obtained in graduate school. If paid licensed therapy is euvoluntary, why isn't paid BDSM?
End prohibition now. Therapy is not a crime.