Cléo Dubois, Founder and Director

“I share what I have learned through nearly 30 years of shameless, consensual and fulfilling erotic play and rich long-term relationships. I believe in the magic of SM and in keeping a sense of humor about it all!”  ~ Cléo Dubois

Cleo Dubois, Founder and Director, Academy of SM ArtsCléo’s journey into SM play started in the 80’s, when she found the link that connects her sexuality and her spirituality in the underground private clubs gay men frequented.  It was there that she learned that negotiated sadomasochism is a valid path to self-discovery, intimacy and healing. She became a Domina and ritualist, inspired by her friends, authors Mark Thompson and Patrick (Pat) Califia, and by her life partner, Fakir.

Community groups such as Outcasts, Janus, and the Exiles began asking her to share her style with other kinksters, giving her a voice as an ethical and informed kink presenter and educator.  In 1995, Cléo established the Academy of SM Arts. By this time, her work focus had changed. Click here to listen to Cléo talk with Lilycat on FCCFreeRadio

The former Domina began applying her growing understanding of fetishes and kinky sexuality to her new path as a couples’ mentor and kink coach.  In 2000, Cléo filmed her powerful docu-film, “The Pain Game,” in which she “negotiates and executes 2 deeply transcendent and highly transformative SM scenes.” Screened at Frameline 2001 in San Francisco, it then played across the US and overseas.  Click here to purchase.

At that time, there were no comprehensive courses spanning the continuum from negotiation and communication skills to techniques and scene dynamics for safe, sane and consensual BDSM play offered in the community.  She and her long time friend Sybil Holiday, author of “Consensual Sadomasochism,” created The Erotic Dominance Intensive weekend in 2001.

Cleo, 2008 Leather Marshall of the 2008 San Francisco Pride ParadeHonored as Leather Marshall for 2008 LGBT San Francisco Pride, Cléo keeps busy coaching couples, teaching classes locally, and leading the Academy’s intensives. In the fall of 2014, she was inducted into the Society of Janus’ Hall of Fame at their 40th Anniversary Celebration. She also speaks at academic institutions and presents at national conferences such as The Floating WorldThunder In The Mountains, Kinky Kollege, Kinkfest and IMsL (note: the prior links may be NSFW / Not Suitable for Work). Even after the loss of her life partner, Fakir, she will continue to offer “Spirit + Flesh” body-based shamanic community all day workshop/rituals.


Click here to view Cléo’s resume.