Among the sidewalk cafes frequented by the baby-toting parents of Park Slope, one 24-year-old artist has started a BDSM dungeon in her three-bedroom apartment. Brooklyn Based reports on Yenifer’s (a pseudonym) unique business, which helps her pay the rent and devote her time to creative endeavors in one of the country’s most unaffordable neighborhoods.

Here’s how it works:

Yenifer technically leases out her front room to clients, which is more complicated territory than a traditional BDSM dungeon business model. The easiest comparison is an Airbnb rental: rented rooms offered by the renter. Substitute “vacationing twenty-somethings” with “high-rolling submissives” and you encounter the same legal gray area. For Yenifer, though, it’s all worth the risk. While she doesn’t perform the dominatrix work—“I’m vanilla myself,” she says—Yenifer likes being her own boss, and has hired good friends. Right now she manages three dommes: Some have worked at professional dungeons in the city; others have been trained by their coworkers. One is an old friend she knew from Florida, who Yenifer employed because she felt “she had the right look.”

Customers pay anywhere from $150–$250 per session. Yenifer collects 40% of that sum. As a local, mom-and-pop dungeon shop, she earns just under $3,000 a month in income, leaving her “a couple hundred” dollars for food and other necessities every month after paying her rent. Some clients, who also like to be dominated financially, make monthly contributions toward the rent, called “tributes.” Tributes remain the same even while work is seasonal, with fewer customers showing up in winter. Men sometimes pose as submissives, promising to show up with cash, but act as dominants, never once appearing (something dominants, Yenifer said, occasionally get off on).

The income from the dungeon doesn’t make her rich, exactly, but it keeps Yenifer financially afloat and in control of her own schedule. And the unlikely environment of Park Slop may be good for business because, even though it’s totally legal, the dungeon ultimately profits off of taboo. “A lot of people look at it likes it’s so absurd and immoral,” she told the blog. “It’s not. Basically everyone that you know has some secret sexual interest . . . So I don’t think there should be any stigma attached to it.”

“Then again,” she jokes, “if there wasn’t stigma . . . the market wouldn’t be as big. Keep shaming them actually.”

(Photo: Javier Pais)