As a freshman coming to Reed I was fascinated and excited by Fetish Club. I went to their BDSM 101 Paideia class and had a mystical experience: tying and being tied, struggling to escape, being jerked around, and being caressed, too. That was their last Paideia class to date, because the previous signators of Fetish Club graduated, and the kinky events faded away with them. My curiosity didn’t die out so easily, however, and last weekend I decided to venture beyond the Reed community to KinkFest, a festival held in the expo center on the edge of town.
We arrive and enter the building inconspicuously marked: “Special Event.” We are instructed to put tape over the cameras on our phones and then directed through a thick heavy curtain into a large warehouse. Later that night it would be converted into a dungeon play space, but it is still midday so the center is full with vendor booths selling glass-blown dildos, Master and slave collars, horsehair floggers, corsets, and a wide assortment of other kinky items, some of which I wouldn’t have guessed could be pervertables. My friend and I walk up to the first booth, called Tortured Gaiseia. The woman running the shop approaches us excitedly and starts picking out a plethora of scandalous dresses for us to try on. She asks us to call her Gaiseia and inquires if we are planning to attend the dungeon play party that night. We say yes, and she promises to be our guide and to make sure no one creeps on us. One of her friends—a photographer hanging out at the booth—offers us the opportunity to be models in his next bondage photoshoot. Before the dungeon even starts we have a day full of novelty.
We return later that night and find our mentors. The photographer leads us around and tells us the background of the people doing scenes: how long they’ve been in the BDSM scene, what their expertises are, and what special kinks they have. He teaches us terminologies and etiquette (like not to walk through someone’s scene, and not to touch anyone’s collar unless their Master gives the okay). There is a medical suspension area and a primal flat, there are playmats and spider web structures, and there are people walking around with ribbon bows sewn into their skin and lacing up their bare backs. Running around the perimeter of the giant warehouse is a man dressed in a gothic horse costume pulling a carriage with one or two occupants. We stop in front of an arena that is circumscribed by a twelve foot metal structure. A leather rope hangs down from the top where the bars intersect and connect to the wrists of a naked handcuffed woman. A man is in the arena with her, shirtless and in leather chaps. He whips her as she screams and yells and growls. He whips her enough to leave a mark but doesn’t ever break the skin. I watch them for a while as they circle each other, lunging and whipping. Eventually she gets one hand free, and then two, and she starts throwing her body at him as he uses different tools to keep her away. At some point another couple walks up to us in the viewing area and the Master tells the photographer, my friend, and I, and the Gaiseia to do anything we want to his slave. We are provided with brushes and floggers as we kiss and slap the body of this blindfolded woman. The experience is surreal.
Then our own experience begins. Gaiseia takes me and my Reedie friend to a playmat and ties us up in different ways. After we are restrained to the point of immobility, I feel a hand press hard on my back pushing me to the floor. She brushes a strand of rope lightly across my face, making my meissner’s corpuscles go wild, the sensations extending out into each of my limbs. She pulls me up and wraps her arms around my body, biting and blowing in my ears. She says some things I don’t hear because of the tickling warmth in my body. She then unties us and describes another scene we could participate in. We agree. I slip off my lacy dress and lay my heels and collar at the edge of the scene. My friend unclasps her scanty one piece and we both stand naked. We step forward into an embrace. Gaiseia lifts a roll of plastic wrap out of a box of pervertables. She starts at our feet, winding it around our naked bodies that are pressed together. When the wrap reaches our shoulders we are blindfolded. We have fully transformed into sex statues, bodies visible through the transparent window, like specimens on a slide. We become the object of attention, caressed and hit and poked at. I can feel a crowd gathering now, without being able to see them. I am being touched through this plastic sheet formed to my body and I don’t know the owners of the hands. I slide my fingertips along the spine of my experiential partner, nails roaming beneath the plastic wrap. It is erotic.
My first dungeon experience was arousing novel, and exciting, and I was able to find people whom I felt safe with. However, this may not be the case for every kinky individual venturing beyond the Reed bubble. With the end of an era in Reed Fetish Club’s history, I want to make a call for a new era to begin. Every Reedie that has the desire deserves a chance to use rope, hot wax, and plastic wrap, and to hit and poke each other, safely within the bubble. The comfortable, comfortable bubble.
Long live Fetish Club!