At Honeysuckle we’re always interested in stories from the edge and the underground. So when professional dominatrix-turned-writer Yin Q told us about Mercy Mistress, an upcoming webseries based on her adventures in BDSM, we had to learn more about it. As one of the first BDSM series to star a Chinese-American actress (Poppy Liu) as a queer domme, we expect this new take on kink to probe further into sex work and activism than any media you’ve seen before. But don’t take our word for it… Let a pro show you the ropes.
By Yin Q
I was a dominatrix and I still am. So many dominatrix narratives are told by a kink-tourist who takes on the profession and shelves it as a tawdry tale of their delinquent youth. I enjoyed a fulfilling career as a professional dominatrix for close to 20 years and am now married to a kinky life partner and still teach rope bondage classes. And today, my story is being told through the new scripted series Mercy Mistress.
Submission is sexy and strong. Big media makes a mockery of male submission and vulnerability–the male slave is almost always a punchline, suggesting that the female dominant is the joke’s prelude. Kinky, submissive male characters are rarely attractive on screen (ie., Billions has a wonderful narrative about a very realistic kink marriage, but let’s face it–the actor is fantastically talented, but he’s not portrayed as desirable). In our modern world of empowered female sexuality, why are we still so put off by male vulnerability?
There needs to be diversity in KINK. Fifty Shades was all one shade. One shade of mood, of character depth, and of skin tone. With an Asian American lead actress, Poppy Liu, as the protagonist, Mercy Mistress intends to provide that diversity with different shades of skin tone, sexuality, gender identity and more. We need to open the narrative on alternative sexuality to include people from a wider range of ethnicity and skin color.
Mercy Mistress is a dramatic dark comedy based on my life as a professional dominatrix in New York City. Clad in thigh-high leather boots with a discerning whip in hand, Mistress Yin provides an inner sanctum for her clients to explore their secret desires for the erotic taboo: Bondage, Submission, Sado-Masochism, Fetish, and Kink (shortened to BDSM). Each episode focuses on a particular client, their kink, and their slice of life: Where their proclivities developed from and how they balance (or don’t balance) them with their “vanilla” reality. From the nucleus of one woman’s work, the show delves into the foundations of human sexuality, gender roles, and the intersectionality of identities. However, the contiguous story weaves through layers of Yin’s past and present personal life, to uncover the roots of her sexuality: A story of violence, empowerment and spirituality.
Mercy Mistress is comprised of two worlds. Mistress Yin’s BDSM studio, called The Dojo, is a serene space where sexuality, identity, pain, and pleasure are explored. The scenes that take place here show the extreme images of a leather dungeon, but also gentle nuances of sensuality and genuine respect and care. To some this space is a temple, where they go for rituals of transcendence. To others, it is like a therapist’s office, where they can tap into their hidden identities.To others yet, it is an addiction, their dirty secret thrill ride. To Yin, the studio encompasses all of those facets, reflecting the multiple dimensions of her own personality.
The parallel world in Mercy Mistress is the outer world of Yin and the clients’ lives. In the outer world, each character struggles to maintain his or her secrets. The fetishist conceals his virginity amongst male comrades. The cross-dresser must hide his lingerie from his wife and kids. Yin juggles her roles as a dominatrix, graduate student, Chinese daughter of immigrants, and queer, single female searching for love. The outer world is unruly and quirky, often disturbing in juxtaposition to the safety of The Dojo: Power dynamics are often confusing; pain and humiliation are often non-consensual; control is an illusion.
I am a lifestyle BDSM practitioner and educator. My intention is to illuminate a smattering of voices in the vast spectrum of sexual orientation that is kink. Together with an all female production team, Collective Sex, we are launching a campaign to fund the shooting of our pilot. Watch our Mercy Mistress promo video and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We are smashing big media’s narrative on kink.
Yin Q is a BDSM practitioner, educator, and writer. Her writing can be seen in print in Afro-Asia (Duke University Press), BUST, Chance Magazine, Apogee Journal, and A Women’s Thing (both print and online), as well as online at Slutist.com and Smithmag.net.