Adult Industry,  Media

“Bonding” Season 2 Review from a Sex Worker

Courtesy of Netflix

Bonding is a Netflix comedy series that dives into the world of kink. It follows a young dominatrix and her best friend and business partner as they navigate the complicated world of sex work and entertainment.

When season one came out I was still very green in this world myself, although I recall there being push back in the adult community due to the show seeming to laugh AT us rather than WITH us. Not to mention sketchy portrayals of consent and complaints that the characters were shallow and one dimensional.

I thought the overall storyline and character development was fine. Not good but not bad either. Definitely nothing I feel like writing a whole blog about. What I do want to speak on is how the show represented my community.

BDSM and Sex Work Representation

This second season begins with Tiff and Pete (Dominatrix and proto-bodygaurd/assistant) entering the dungeon of respected domme Mistress Mira. Mira acts as a teacher throughout the season and in this first scene seems to be the mouthpiece of critics of the show’s first season.

She immediately chastises the pair for their lack of judgement and screening protocols which has apparently gotten them banned from every dungeon in the city. These repercussions for Tiff and Pete are welcome ones for me. It sets the tone that how these characters were previously portrayed is frowned upon and not the norm in professional bdsm circles. Starting off the season this way seemed to be creator Rightor Doyle’s way of saying “I hear you and I listened” which is a refreshing difference from how others in media treat sexwork communties.

Tiff and Pete are made to start from the ground up in their dominant education and the “craft” is treated seriously and with respect. In fact, Pete comes off as the villian of the season with his continuous attempts to make the job into a joke.

The topic of consent comes up time and time again and I think the show does a good job in explaining that a dominant person doesn’t just do what they want. They explain that BDSM is at it’s heart a relationship between two people on equal footing who enjoy sexually exploring power structures. This being said the two main characters still struggle with this. Tiff uses Mistress Mira’s finsub’s credit card- which she was specifically told NOT to use- with no repercussions and Pete crosses his own and other’s boundaries many times. The more I think about it the more I think Pete is an example of what NOT to do.

The show also briefly touches on issues that plague the industry as well. SESTA/FOSTA is mentioned in the show and is responsible for the baby dommes website links being removed from the dungeons main site. There is no further explanation of why or how else the bill affects sex workers, but I guess this is all one can really ask for in a show with 8 20 minute episodes.

SESTA/FOSTA is not the only issue that they delve into though. We watch Mistress Mira lose her dungeon due to the prejudice of her landlord and as she decides her next steps she speaks about how the world of kink is changing. Online dommes are becoming increasingly popular and it puts a strain on in person work- forcing them to make changes they otherwise would not.

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