OUT: Mercy Mistress Explores the Crossroads of BDSM & Asian Femininity

The acronym BDSM is powerful in its ability to convey vivid thoughts and imagery. The practice, being as intimate and sensory-driven as it is, can bring to mind visions of handcuffs, whips, leather, and even the cheesy dialogue of a Fifty Shades book for those who are conservatively exposed to the culture.

In Mercy Mistress, a new semi-autobiographical web series based on the real-life experiences of Yin Q, the world of BDSM is explored with an educational approach in an attempt to demystify the intricacies of the practice, and expunge the social stigma around it. The series follows Mistress Yin (Poppy Liu) and her life as a professional dominatrix in New York City, with each episode centering on a different client and their particular kink. At play is the larger story about Yin’s own sexuality and her emancipation from cyclical abuse and a path toward self-destruction.

Out reached out to Q ahead of the series’ New York premiere to talk about the aspects of BDSM present in Mercy Mistress and, most importantly, to become educated.


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New web series 'Mercy Mistress' explores the crosswords of BDSM & Asian Femininity by Dennis Hinzmann

OUT - May 16, 2018

THE NEW YORKER: The Rage of the Incels

 Lately I have been thinking about one of the first things that I ever wrote for the Internet: a series of interviews with adult virgins, published by the Hairpin. I knew my first subject personally, and, after I interviewed her, I put out an open call. To my surprise, messages came rolling in. Some of the people I talked to were virgins by choice. Some were not, sometimes for complicated, overlapping reasons: disability, trauma, issues related to appearance, temperament, chance. “Embarrassed doesn’t even cover it,” a thirty-two-year-old woman who chose the pseudonym Bette told me. “Not having erotic capital, not being part of the sexual marketplace . . . that’s a serious thing in our world! I mean, practically everyone has sex, so what’s wrong with me?” A twenty-six-year-old man who was on the autism spectrum and had been molested as a child wondered, “If I get naked with someone, am I going to take to it like a duck to water, or am I going to start crying and lock myself in the bathroom?” He hoped to meet someone who saw life clearly, who was gentle and independent. “Sometimes I think, why would a woman like that ever want me?” he said. But he had worked hard, he told me, to start thinking of himself as a person who was capable of a relationship—a person who was worthy of, and could accept, love.


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Rage of the Incels: Incels aren't really looking for sex. They're looking for absolute male supremacy by Jia Tolentino

The New Yorker - May 15, 2018


TITS AND SASS: A guide to hustling on Craiglist without the Personals

To the readers of this post, let me say first: I’m sorry, and I sympathize. I’m displaced and down in the trenches with you. I’m a ‘lower-end’ full-service and fetish worker. My way of life got taken down with the personals section of Craigslist. It’s the only platform I have ever used, and I’m taking my platform back. In order to help my fellow workers in the trenches and fight this censorship, please allow me to impart my tips and tricks on the loopholes of Craigslist.

One of the great things about this community of workers is our resilience and intelligence. The loopholes are always there, especially if you’ve got a sharp wit and way with words. I’ve been on the scene for seven years, and I’ve never met another fellow worker who was not also part entrepreneur and part lawyer. We are strong. We are powerful. We are a community. And Craigslist is no match for us.

The first major thing to remember about Craigslist is that the market is still there. Clients will always be there.


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A Guide to hustling on Craigslist without the Personals by Scarlett Johnson

Tits and Sass - May 4th, 2018

VOCATIV: After Backpage: Cash-Strapped Sex Workers Take Care of Their Own

Last month, Jane Woolf, a 35-year-old sex worker based in Western Massachusetts, was down to 41 cents in her bank account, relying on an upcoming appointment to make ends meet. Then her client, who she calls an “absent-minded old man,” canceled because he’d lost his wallet.

Normally, one cancellation wouldn’t have been a huge setback. Woolf would have simply met another client through one of her classified ads on Backpage.com. But the site had just shut down its adult services section under government pressure, eliminating the nation’s most bustling online marketplace for sex work — and cutting Woolf off from her most reliable source of clients.

Frustrated, Woolf took to a private Facebook group for sex workers and ranted about her current predicament. Soon, she learned that many of her peers were in a similarly dire situation. But that didn’t stop them from becoming her lifeline. Woolf was messaged by Molly, who co-organizes the Sex Workers’ Mutual Care Collective, which fundraises for sex workers in need. Molly asked for Woolf’s account details on a payment processing app — which Molly asked Vocativ not to identify — and, before she knew it, $100 was deposited into her account. “Often, unfortunately, the poor among us are trying to help the even poorer among us,” Woolf said.


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After Backpage: Cash-Strapped Sex Workers Take Care of Their Own by Tracy Clark-Flory

Vocativ - April 2018

INTO: Queer Pro Dom Yin Q On Consent, BDSM, and Telling Their Story in 'Mercy Mistress'

Yin Q takes their work home with them.

The professional dominatrix (or "pro dom") says they live the BDSM lifestyle because it runs in their blood.

"I rarely date people who don’t mix kink into their sex lives as well as rituals and power dynamic rituals," the New York-based Q tells INTO. "So any kind of kink–whether it’s power dynamic rituals or sadomasochism or bondage–I love all of it. But it’s also deeply part of my spiritual life, in terms of really finding grounding within those rituals—whether it’s bondage, going into like a meditative bondage or guiding people—because I also get that energy exchange from being a top."

As a queer Asian American sex worker, Q's story is vastly different from the typical narrative of any of the media based on the many community's they're a part of. While BDSM is surely enjoyed by LGBTQs, but when it comes to paying clients, they still tend to be wealthy white cis men.

"I feel like BDSM, to me, is very much is a queer, magical space—there’s a lot of fluidity," Q says. "But being a pro dom in the heteronormative world of clients, I would say there is a very hetero or seemingly hetero world where there’s this—within the sex industry especially—[dynamic between] male clients and very femme doms." Largely, they acknowledge, because of the former's economic advantage.


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Yin Q on Consent, BDSM, and Telling their Story in 'Mercy Mistress' by Trish Bendix

Into - April 19, 2018

BUSINESS INSIDER: How to be powerful and successful, according to a former dominatrix

Being a dominatrix is a job that involves a surprising power paradox: you're the employee, yet you're also the one who's calling the shots over a submissive client. It's you holding up the whips and the chains, even though they're the one who's paying the bill.

It turns out that being a dominatrix is like having a robust human laboratory at your fingertips for understanding the nuances of how people relate to each other in different situations.

"It has to do with attention and power dynamics," former dominatrix Kasia Urbaniak told Business Insider.

Urbaniak has turned her "dom" skills of perception towards the goal of training a corps of powerful women in new ways of communicating with others, by starting up her own school in New York, a place called The Academy. For the past five years, The Academy's offered a curriculum — designed for anyone who identifies as a woman — to learn new paradigms for speaking, asking questions, and commanding as well as focusing attention in more powerful ways.

Urbaniak said time and time again she's seen her dominatrix-born tools help people get more of what they need at work (things like raises or childcare) while positively transforming their intimate relationships.

Her advice has been resonating with a broader audience than ever before since the Me Too sexual assault movement took off. She even created a class called "Cornering Harvey," after the news of sexual assault allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein broke last year. It's based on the ideas she was already teaching her students about how to break out of potentially dangerous patterns of learned silence.

Here are her top tips for surviving and thriving in all kinds of relationships.

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How to be Powerful and Successful According to a Dominatrix by Hilary Brueck

March 28, 2018

ROLLING STONE: How a New Senate Bill Will Screw Over Sex Workers

If SESTA becomes law, victims of human trafficking will be able to sue the websites their abusers may have used to communicate with one another. The implications reach beyond justice for survivors, however, as consensual sex workers may be charged with facilitating prostitution if they use an online forum to exchange safety information such as bad date lists. The threat of prosecution has already led such forums to simply shut down rather than face potential legal liability. When sex workers don't have access to digital resources – such as Craigslist, Backpage, Rentboy or MyRedBook – they often engage in high-risker street work.

"I fear this legislation will not stop human trafficking," says Nat Paul, a new appointee to the U.S. Advisory Council on Trafficking. Paul is a former sex worker and trafficking survivor, which she emphasizes are two different things. Like any other kind of abuse, trafficking thrives when victims can be isolated. Without free Internet forums, sex workers of all kinds will lose access to resources that can help them to both survive and thrive.


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How a New Senate Bill will Screw over Sex Workers by Tina Horn
Rolling Stone - March 23, 2018
Photo credit Andreas Arnold/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images


In the immediate aftermath of SESTA/FOSTA passing, before it’s even been signed into law, we’re already seeing discussion of sex work on the internet hit.

Some companies, like Patreon, seem to have preemptively changed their policies last year while the legislation was being written. Others have started publicly changing their policies today and it should be expected they won’t be the last. Cityvibe, an advertising site that mostly concentrated on LA, is down in the last 24 hours. (Eds. note: since the writing of this article, TER has restructured, and Craigslist has removed its personals section.Twitter’s Chief Information Security Officer just left the company, as well, which means we’re going to see a new direction in that department.

Self-censoring is an unfortunate thing to have to resort to, but I believe right now it’s most important to maintain our networks and followers. Deleting your account is doing the dirty work for the tech companies – you may be able to avoid losing your account so you can continue participating in the community and being involved in a broader political discussion.

If you decide to delete tweets, there are a few ways to do it. This guide will be based on using a desktop or laptop and not a cell phone, since some of these features are not available on phone.


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Post-SESTA/FOSTA Self Censoring for Twitter, Reddit, and other Social Media by Liara Roux
Tits and Sass - March 23, 2018

SLUTIST: Mother Whore - I claim both

My partner kneels by my bedside, his head to the floor with his hands stretched out in a yogic “Child’s Pose.” I enter the room and stand at the crown of his head. “Show me your gratitude.” He moves his lips to my leather boots and presses a kiss three times to each.

I pull a soft leather hood over his face and Robert disappears into a being that is my object. His body is the one I lie next to every night, but his face is gone, no longer the man who chides me over the grocery budget nor the jolly father who throws his daughters over his shoulders. His face is a dark spot against the white bedroom walls, a Rorschach ink spill in which I perceive my erotic fantasy.

I instruct the slave to stand at the far end of the sturdy, steel canopy bed. Unraveling a loop of hemp rope, I quickly weave a web that winds around wrists, ankles, torso, and thighs, securing the body to the metal frame. My fingers pause by his chest, squeezing his nipples–– those sensitive triggers that activate his groin, which I also lasso tightly with a thin rope and tie directly to the bed frame. Any struggle will be surely and sorely felt. Satisfied, I step back to admire the collage of rope and muscles, steel and skin.


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Mother Whore - I claim both by Yin Q
Slutist – July 15, 2016

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Policy on State Obligations to Respect, Protect and Fulfil the Human Rights of Sex Workers

This policy has been developed in recognition of the high rates of human rights abuses experienced globally by individuals who engage in sex work; a term that Amnesty International uses only in regard to consensual exchanges between adults. It identifies the most prominent barriers to the realization of sex workers’ human rights and underlines states’ obligations to address them.


May 26, 2016