'Bonding' Is Based On A True Story & Aims To Dispel Stereotypes About Being A Dominatrix

Netflix

Netflix's newest comedy series has a sweet title, a sexy premise, and apparently, a lot of truth behind it: yes, Bonding is based on a true story. According to the New York Post, creator Rightor Doyle was once a young, gay, Bard college graduate helping his friend with her dominatrix side hustle, just like the show's main character, Pete (Brendan Scannell). Doyle said he often helped ensure the safety of his friend, who he's kept anonymous for the sake of her privacy, while she was working with her clients.

That being said, Doyle did take a few creative liberties when writing Bonding. He told the Post that he was more interested in examining big, overarching themes of BDSM and sexuality than he was in reliving his own life. "[The show is] highly fictionalized. I'm not that interested in a show about me, but I'm interested in a show about what happened and what I learned," he said. "It was a great, wild entryway into exploring ideas of my own sexuality and the way that the patriarchy establishes what women and gay men are good for and what power is — and how people with less power can begin to subvert that in the sexual underworld."

Netflix on YouTube

Beyond Doyle's experience, working as a dominatrix to pay for school, or even just to earn some cash in general, is a real part of plenty of women's lives. In March, The Cut published an anonymous account of a freelance writer who supplements her career with a dominatrix business on the side, and makes a guaranteed $600 a month by doing it. "I definitely need the money, but domming is also something that I enjoy, so if I can get paid for it, then why not?" the woman said.

And for other women, it's not just a side hustle — it's a career. Last year, Insider interviewed a professional dominatrix named Mistress Montana who has an 800-person client list and charges $325 per hour.

Netflix

As you can see in the above trailer for Bonding, another very real thing the show deals with is safety when working as a dominatrix. According to Marie Claire, there are many safeguards professional dommes go through to ensure they're doing their work as securely and cautiously as possible. In addition to bringing along another person for safety, like in Bonding, background checks, phone interviews, deposits, and even employment history disclosures are routine for women who want to cover all their bases when deciding if they want to work with a client.

Finally, Doyle told the Post, he also wanted to use Bonding to push back against the misconception that the dom lifestyle is dark and dangerous. "The bright colors [onscreen] subvert your expectations of what you think dominatrix culture is," he said. "We have so many things like 50 Shades of Grey, like 'Ooh, it's sexy and it's dark.' Actually, what if it's joyful and practical? What if we are not judging this thing visually?"

Of course, Bonding isn't all about being a dominatrix — it's a story of friendship and self-acceptance as much as it is about sex work. But hopefully it helps to dispel some of the misconceptions about dominatrixes, and shows how the BDSM community can empower those who take part in it.