Dungeon equipment, sex swings, f*cking machines, OH MY.
Once upon a time, I might easily have been mistaken for your typical suburban, mild-mannered American housewife. My husband had a good job, so I retired from being a teacher and my four kids are now adults.
But the problem with this great life? It's very boring ... really, incredibly boring. So I decided to find a fairly creative way to spice up my life — and no, I don't mean taking up Zumba or learning to crochet.
I mean attending The Annual Sex Maniacs Erotic Fetish Ball.
When a friend told me he had an extra ticket, my first question was (as I'm sure yours is, too): WHAT? But I'm always up for an adventure so I said, "Sure, why not?" (Words that have gotten me in trouble my entire life.)
A little backstory: The Sex Maniacs Erotic Fetish Ball (now called The Night of the Senses) is a wonderful event devoted to prompting sexual freedom (especially for the disabled) in an environment free from shame or discrimination. It's been described as "something you have to see to believe."
I was all in. I packed my bags and tried to figure out exactly what the hell one wears to this particular sort of event, my only guidelines being ,"Oh, anything ... or nothing."
Eventually, I settled on a black and silver paisley corseted Goth ball gown, with oodles of fluffy tulle petticoats, a drastically low neckline, and a pair of extremely high rhinestone covered stilettos.
I threw some black silk stockings into my suitcase for good measure.
Once I eventually found the venue, which was hidden deep down a quiet, deserted cobblestone alley, filled with fog, I was quite pleased. I'm quite sure Jack the Ripper would have found it an ideal (and picturesque) place to both murder and disembowel me — and not necessarily in that order.
I entered through a barely-marked, industrial metal garage-type door covered with graffiti and found myself in a huge warehouse converted into your friendly neighborhood, underground rave. It was marvelous.
(In the fetish community, people who are new, unfamiliar, or feel uncomfortable or out of place are encouraged to identify themselves and ask as many questions as they like. Quite often, there are people assigned to reach out to newcomers, explain rules, policies, and protocol, and help guide them through the evening to ensure they have a great time and all their needs are met.)
Once they took my ticket, I had the option of stopping by the changing room for those whose event attire is unsuitable outside of the venue. For example, the balding elderly gentleman who chose to come dressed as the White Swan from Swan Lake. (However, his choice of undergarments beneath the tutu would have been standard issue at the Metropolitan Ballet.)
As I made me way into the venue, a lovely young gentleman wearing only colorful latex body paint in the style of a superhero uniform, was curled up on a mat by the front door.
He politely asked if I would mind walking on him for a few minutes in my gorgeous shoes — and as it's only good manners to make use of the mat when visiting — I obliged. He seemed to enjoy it immensely (and so did I).
I finally entered the main ballroom, feeling rather pleased with myself for being such a good sport and fully intending to enjoy the company of the lovely, extremely well-dressed souls all around me. (Seriously: a lot of effort, money and thought went into these visually-stunning and unconventional ensembles.)
The place was massive and it was packed with at least 500 people of all ages, shapes and sizes. (One of the most wonderful things I've learned about the fetish community is that everyone is welcome; no one is ever body-shamed or judged.) The light show effects were amazing, there was a fantastic DJ blasting house dance trance music, at least 10 rooms with dance floors, and a huge professional stage for an eventual fabulous cabaret performance.
The space was divided into dozens of areas devoted to a variety of fetishes, ranging from NBD to OMG to WTF?
There were tented "Couples Only" rooms to avoid solo, wandering voyeurs and strategically placed holes in most of the curtain dividers, should you want to take a gander at your fetish of choice.
As you can imagine, there were tremendous amounts of heavy and very expensive equipment being put to good use: dungeon equipment, sex swings, assorted things to tie people to or hang them off of, f*cking machines (which is sort of like a mechanical bull, but with a large dildo protruding from the saddle area), harnesses, cages, whips, chains, handcuffs, and masks.
Basically: If you could do anything kinky with it — whether that was its intended purpose or not — it was available.
Judging from all the moaning, screaming, and hysterical laughter, people were having an absolutely marvelous time.
People were dancing, being sexy with anything that moved (and lots of things that didn’t) and standing politely in line waiting for a turn at some perverse pleasure.
Totally normal conversations topics included surprisingly technical tips like the latest flogging techniques that leave the least amount of physical evidence if you have to be at work on Monday and at which local market you can find a good wig and high heels in a men's size 12, for a reasonable price.
People from all over the world were in attendance, speaking languages where the only words I remotely recognized were: "Ass licking?" I also overheard delightful snippets of conversation along the lines of, "Well, in my Dungeon..."
Soon after, headed over to the Medical Play Fetish Area to attend to my newly-acquired (and rather urgent) high heel blister, which I acquired minutes after performing a fabulous strip tease onstage in one of the dance rooms.
The "Naughty Nurses" on duty were extremely amused by my perfectly reasonable but extremely naive request (the nurses were part of the "medical play" fetish, not literal card-carrying practioners and sent me away without a Band-Aid.
But since the Humiliation Room - a place to be disciplined and demeaned by dominatrixes - was miles away on the other side of the venue, and I was limping pretty badly, I asked a gorgeous passing mistress to give me a proper spanking on the spot.
She was happy to oblige and turned me over her knee while calling me names like "Big, sissy girl," and a "Useless, pitiful waste of space and oxygen who didn't deserve to lick her (stunning thigh-high leather) boots" for being such a wuss.
She continued: "You're are a big baby! Who is a baby? I SAID ... WHO IS A BIG BABY?" to which I replied, "Me, Mistress! Me! May I have another smack? Please? Would you like me to suck my thumb? Does that please you, Mistress?"
She told me I was a "Foolish American idiot who is unworthy and undeserving to be punished by someone like myself!" Then, she let me lick one of her boots for being such a good girl and I went on my merry way feeling much better.
Next, I wandered into The Ambient Sound Room, where you can rest while lovely old ladies with bottles of water rehydrate you or talk you down from a bad trip.
While I was there, a very attractive Satyr clip-clopped by and noticed my limp. Luckily, he had a few spare Band-Aids buried in the folds of his furry legs that he was more than happy to share because, "I know the feeling, love. After 12 hours in these hooves, I always remember to carry a few spares."
Because he was such a kind, generous fella (who looked exactly like a British Jim Morrison ... except for the whole bottom-half-is-a-goat thing), I suggested we continue our conversation in the "Couples Only" room, where there was a delightful strolling flute player, dozens of candles, piles of multi-colored silk pillows, hand-made patchwork Indian blankets (and bodies) everywhere.
Several glorious hours later, we finally emerged and I bid him a fond farewell and headed for the bar.
After being ravished by a mythological beast, a girl really needs a drink.
The crowd was starting to thin and the sun was beginning to rise, so I wandered over to the dawn Breakfast Buffet for coffee and French pastries thinking, "This is probably the best 50 pounds I ever spent in one night in my life."
Suddenly, an arm wrapped around my waist and I felt a rather hairy-legged presence behind me. A familiar voice whispered in my ear, "Want to go to an amazing after party?"
Since this was an offer I rarely get in my living room on a typical Saturday night, the only answer was possible correct answer was, "HELL YES!"
I went home a few days later, but I knew I would come back ... and as often as possible.