Many who are unfamiliar with BDSM tend to believe it stops and ends with its literal meaning: That it's just about getting off through acts of bondage, discipline, doms, subs, sadism and masochism. However, those with an intimate knowledge of this community know there's an intrinsic beauty and artistry to all the practices that fall under the BDSM umbrella, as exemplified by an increasing number of fine artists and high-fashion editorials taking ample inspiration from the subculture, including practitioners themselves.

Enter Sadistic Spice's exquisite photo series "Kinky Detention," which was conceived by photographer Damarys Alvarez and sees the fetish model amidst the ruins of an abandoned Miami detention center. Outfitted in her own rubber hoods, latex opera gloves, platforms and makeup — provided by MUA and fellow fetish model Kobra Killem — Sadistic Spice transforms into an eerily enticing figure who serves as "the delinquent spirit" that haunts the cinematic detention center. And from the way they somehow manage to subsume the facility's horror house nature and make it all hers, it's obvious she has the ability to be alluring yet intimidating through her projection of an otherworldly power.

This makes sense though, as Alvarez initially wanted the shoot to explore ideas of "liberation, empowerment and comfort." And the way this is done is by visually showcasing the model's individual confidence, allowing them to take the reins in an effort to "evoke a certain sensuality" and tickle the viewer's desire to "experience a world that's hidden or secret."

"I feel BDSM allows fantasy to come to reality," she explained, adding, "We all have a dark kink to us, but [everyone's is] unique from another."

Also echoing this sentiment is Sadistic Spice herself, who said that "Kinky Detention" was an especially meaningful experience that stood out from previous photoshoots as it "doesn't just capture the aesthetics of BDSM."

"It shows an example of what it means," as they said, mentioning they were admirers of Alvarez's skill. And in this sense, "Kinky Detention" and its setting mirrors core themes of BDSM, such as punishment, discipline and control. After all, as Sadistic Spice explained, the most obvious conceptual throughline is the power dynamics when training a sub, which is done by "enforcing rules and punishments for behavior modification" — all symbolically represented by the detention center being the "perfect depiction of authority and how some roles challenge that."

However, there have also been times when this dynamic has felt reversed to them, as a challenge of fetish modeling is that "people treat you like a freak show and think they can touch you non-consensually or speak to you any kind of way," despite still being a human "underneath all this latex." Adding to this is the reflection of a larger societal misconception positing fetish modeling as the purview of primarily cis-het white people when "BIPOC have been the inspiration for many things in the community."

Granted, Sadistic Spice explained that they're still able to reclaim their power by doing what they do "to bring more representation" within the space, as they "want to help and inspire other Black kinksters to live deliciously without feeling like it is taboo because of their culture [or] upbringing," which was something they also grappled with at the beginning of their career while living with their Haitian family.

But much like the themes presented within "Kinky Detention," she's also gotten to the point where she's confident in herself and her job, explaining that the feeling of empowerment is almost as cathartic as the feeling of rubber against their skin. And while that's not even taking into account the glee they feel when they receive all those stares in public, here's to hoping that the debut of "Kinky Detention" will just magnify their message tenfold.

Welcome to "Sex with Sandra," a column by Sandra Song about the ever-changing face of sexuality. Whether it be spotlight features on sex work activists, deep dives into hyper-niche fetishes, or overviews on current legislation and policy, "Sex with Sandra" is dedicated to examining some of the biggest sex-related discussions happening on the Internet right now.

Photography and art direction: Damarys Alvarez
Lighting design: Anthony Gonzalez
Model: Sadist Spice

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