Picture a New York City sex dungeon. Now picture a typical Park Slope apartment. Now picture a New York City sex dungeon inside of a Park Slope apartment. What does it look like? Hardwood floors or dingy concrete? Whips, chains, baby pics on the fridge? A lonely bottle of hand sanitizer laid atop a thrift-store side table, complimentary squirts for paying customers only?
At Brooklyn Based, read an illuminating profile of Jennifer (not her real name), a 24-year-old dungeon madam who hosts dominatrices and men seeking domination in her three-bedroom Park Slope apartment to help pay rent. Jennifer isn't a dominatrix herself—she describes her own sexual interests as "vanilla"—but allows a cadre of women to use her apartment's front room, taking 40% of their earnings from $150-250 sessions. It doesn't sound like she's exactly rolling in money, but if she's making rent as the sole occupant of a $2,100 three-bedroom apartment, she isn't struggling, either.
Plus, there are surprise benefits:
When Jennifer had to cut one of our conversations short because she was about to start driving, I accidentally learned of one of her job perks.
"You have a car?" I asked.
"No, one of the dommes and I borrowed a sub's car," she said. "He asked her to tie him down to the bed, then take his car and use his money to go out to eat."
But not all clients are quite so generous:
Besides one client who ran out without paying (a dominatrix later chased him down the streets of Park Slope), there have been no major incidents, and Jennifer has some controls in place to ensure her safety. Before a client comes to her home, she inputs their phone number into Spokeo, which combs the web for a history of that number. There are several websites that escorts use to rate clients and report abusers, which Jennifer also examines. While a session is underway, she always remains in the other room. And she does have a harpoon in the closet, she jokingly told me, in case of emergency.
Brooklyn Based has a few photos of the dungeon, which looks more like Eric Forman's living room in That 70's Show than Christian Grey's red room: wood paneled walls, carpet, the aforementioned hand sanitizer. But Jennifer won't be holding court there long. Recently, the landlord terminated her lease—she thinks neighbors may have ratted on her—leaving her looking for new digs. Know anyone who needs a roommate?