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Sunday, October 21, 2007

BDSM as business: An interview with the owners of a dungeon

"If you get in here," says Bill, "and say, ‘Listen. I want to suspend this girl, and I want to spank her until she's black and blue, and I have a girl that wants to do that, I probably--when I met her and interviewed her, I probably would have told her, don't do it. I don't want you getting black and blue for a number of reasons. Primarily, if you get too black and blue, you're gonna burn out. You're not going to want to do this, and you're not going to feel good about yourself."Image: David Shankbone.
"If you get in here," says Bill, "and say, ‘Listen. I want to suspend this girl, and I want to spank her until she's black and blue, and I have a girl that wants to do that, I probably--when I met her and interviewed her, I probably would have told her, don't do it. I don't want you getting black and blue for a number of reasons. Primarily, if you get too black and blue, you're gonna burn out. You're not going to want to do this, and you're not going to feel good about yourself."
Image: David Shankbone.

When Wikinews reporter David Shankbone rings the bell of "HC & Co." he has no idea what to expect. A BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism) dungeon is a legal enterprise in New York City, and there are more than a few businesses that cater to a clientèle that wants an enema, a spanking, to be dressed like a baby or to wear women's clothing. Shankbone went to find out what these businesses are like, who runs them, who works at them, and who frequents them. He spent three hours one night in what is considered one of the more upscale establishments in Manhattan, Rebecca's Hidden Chamber, where according to The Village Voice, "you can take your girlfriend or wife, and have them treated with respect—unless they hope to be treated with something other than respect!"

When Shankbone arrived on the fourth floor of a midtown office building, the elevator opened up to a hallway where a smiling Rebecca greeted him. She is a beautiful forty-ish Long Island mother of three who is dressed in smart black pants and a black turtleneck that reaches up to her blonde-streaked hair pulled back in a bushy ponytail. "Are you David Shankbone? We're so excited to meet you!" she says, and leads him down the hall to a living room area with a sofa, a television playing an action-thriller, an open supply cabinet stocked with enema kits, and her husband Bill sitting at the computer trying to find where the re-release of Blade Runner is playing at the local theater. "I don't like that movie," says Rebecca.

This is the first of a two part series examining the BDSM business. This interview focuses on the owners of a dungeon, what they charge, what the clients are like and how they handle their needs.

Perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end of the night when Shankbone was waiting to be escorted out (to avoid running into a client). Rebecca came into the room and sat on the sofa. "You know, a lot of people out there would like to see me burn for what I do," she says. Rebecca is a woman who has faced challenges in her life, and dealt with them the best she could given her circumstances. She sees herself as providing a service to people who have needs, no matter how debauched the outside world deems them. We sat talking politics (she's supporting Hillary) and the irony that and about mutual challenges we have both faced. It was in this conversation that Shankbone saw that humanity can be found anywhere, including in places that appear on the surface to cater to the inhumanity some people in our society feel towards themselves, or others.

"The best way to describe it," says Bill, "is if you had a kink, and you had a wife and you had two kids, and every time you had sex with your wife it just didn't hit the nail on the head. What would you do about it? How would you handle it? You might go through life feeling unfulfilled. Or you might say, 'No, my kink is I really need to dress in women's clothing.' We're that outlet. We're not the evil devil out here, plucking people off the street, keeping them chained up for days on end."

Below is David Shankbone's interview with Bill & Rebecca, owners of Rebecca's Hidden Chamber, a BDSM dungeon.

GO HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW.

12 comments:

E Wolfsbane said...

This article is misleading and dishonest.

Rebecca's Hidden Chamber is not a dungeon. It's a session house NOT a BDSM dungeon. A session house is a pay to play operation where one hires prodommes to session with them. It's not a dungeon.

I've been involved in the NYC scene since 1990 and currently there's only one dungeon in New York City. That would be Paddles.

www.paddlesnyc.com


The author clearly doesn't know what he's talking about.

Lorrett said...

That's kind of like saying "____ (fill in the blank) isn't a restaurant, it's a bistro". A fetish and fantasy sessions house offers a broader variety of play than a (strictly-speaking) dungeon, but dungeon activities are available. Some dungeons offer shows, wrestling, infantilism, transgender roleplay, etc., as sidelines to specific power-trading play.

I've been involved in the San Francisco scene since 1966, played as a professional model and submissive since 1972, and since 1990 have had the honor of housemothering a facility very similar to Rebecca's (www.fantasymakers.com. I congratulate her both for the work she does and for putting up with silly messages like these.

If you're curious about/interested in BDSM, fetish and related subjects, try a browse around sm-201.org, created by one of the people who made it safe, way back in the sixties, to admit to kink interests.

Be well.

Mistress said...

Paddles is a "Fetish " themed night club , not a dungeon. It is connected to "Pandora's Box" a dungeon.
* This clarification is from the staff at The Dungeon of Mistress Jasmine.

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Anonymous said...

Woah that article is a lie. Rebecca started out as a stripper and her husband likes her to do kinky things. I won't say anymore but they got one thing right, they are more interested in money than anything else.

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