Cléo Dubois is the grande dame of BDSM in San Francisco. She is very experienced in the wide range of proclivities and skills of erotic power exchange. This has consistently been her passion, and her craft. She knows what she’s doing and she is ethical. ~ Claudia Six, M.A., Ph.D.

The Academy of SM Arts offers both weekend-long Erotic Dominance Intensives and evening classes.  Created 18 years ago by two lifestyle players, Ms. Dubois and Sybil Holiday, co-author of the book, Consensual Sadomasochism, the Academy’s immersive 2-3 day weekend Intensives were the first comprehensive courses in BDSM and Kink offered anywhere!

Who are the Intensives for?

Whether you’re new to the scene, looking to shake off the rust after a long “vanilla vacation,” or are an experienced player, our Intensives will honor your true erotic self. We offer the following courses:

What can I expect to learn at an Intensive?

Every Top shares the desire to put it all together – to look good, feel confident, connect with their submissives and to share that sizzling hot energy in scene, complete with the kind of honest after-care that leaves no ill side effects. These courses will:

  • Increase your confidence in your dominance
  • Help you develop new skills (beginning to advanced)
  • Perfect the skills you already have
  • Provide exciting ideas for structuring your scenes and heating up your play
  • Explore and strengthen your Dominant Personae
  • Provide escape from the mundane world, allowing you to immerse yourself in your kink
  • Deepen your pleasure and your erotic and emotional connections to partners

What makes Academy Intensives different?

With the advent of Fifty Shades of Grey, BDSM has become all the rage.  Books abound and plenty of sex educators are offering their ” kink expertise” online.  So why spend your money on an Academy Intensive?  A book can tell you why, and a video can show others doing it, but only our weekend Intensive is DIY!  You get:

  • Hands-on training from seasoned, established and trusted lifestyle teachers
  • A 3-to-1 student/faculty ratio
  • 2 full days playing in real time using real toys with a partner or experienced volunteer bottom
  • Specialized courses for women, men, dommes, all welcome!
  • Personalization – each course is tailored to meet attendees’ needs, interests and skill levels

You’ll get lots of one-on-one attention and coaching.  The Intensive’s intimate structure also provides opportunities to exchange ideas and experiences with fellow students and to receive helpful feedback from our trusted volunteer bottoms.

Details, details, details…

Currently, the Academy is accepting applications for Dominatrix Training: The Advanced Course!

Use the drop down menu for detailed descriptions of other Intensives.

Women Tops & Switches                                                                                                       Men Tops & Switches                                                                                                          Dominatrix Training 3-Day Pro Intensive                                                                            Erotic Switching Intensive for Private Players

Sign up for Cleo’s Newsletter to get advanced notice of  next year’s Intensive schedule.

Visit our gallery to get a better sense of what an Intensive looks like.

Click here to read what our students have to say.

Not sure you’re ready for a whole weekend?

Our instructors teach shorter evening classes at various venues in the Bay Area and beyond. Click here to learn more.

Prefer private instruction?

If learning and playing in public isn’t your thing, Academy Founder and Director, Cléo Dubois, offers private mentoring and couples’ coaching.  Visit her website at