03/06/15 9:00am
One of two rooms in Jennifer’s dungeon. Photo: Heather Dockray

One of two rooms in Jennifer’s dungeon. Photo: Heather Dockray

When Jennifer P.’s roommate moved out earlier this year, the 24-year-old Florida native saw an opportunity. While many people in her situation might choose to get a new roommate, Jennifer, who now had a full house at her complete disposal, decided to go a different route. In the front room of her apartment, she did something she had always dreamed about doing: She built her own dungeon devoted to bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (better known as BDSM).

While living in Florida, Jennifer (whose name has been changed to protect her privacy) had Google searched “How to make money” and landed on a page about BDSM dungeons. She began reading about the business and started operating one part-time. Without a house to call her own, though, her dungeon struggled to turn a profit. Then she moved to Brooklyn, and temporarily gave up the business. But with her roommate now gone—and 1,750 square feet at her disposal—Jennifer decided to capitalize on the opportunity and re-open shop. At the time, she was paying $1,800 a month in rent for a three-bedroom duplex in Park Slope, and she didn’t have a regular source of income.

BDSM dungeons might seem out of place in the Slope—at the local coffee shop where we mostly spoke about dungeons over granola, multiple people kept turning around to stare—but Jennifer assured me that hers is not an anomaly here in New York City where, as long as participants don’t have sexual intercourse, BDSM dungeons are legal. There are multiple clubs in Manhattan (Pandora’s Box and Paddles are the most notorious), and informal kink parties pop up throughout the city. As Jennifer explained it, dungeons like hers are a great opportunity for people looking to make money in the sex industry “without actually having sex.” (more…)

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