I'm skirting the subject of SEX! KINKY SEX! SEXY KINKY SEX! so turn back now if that sort of thing bothers you terribly.

Over the weekend I attended a Fetish event, an immersive three-day retreat, which draws people from all corners of the US. This is the biggest fetish event in the area and also the longest running.

I’m big on getting into places for free, and mooching free food, and turns out, if you volunteer at this shin-dig, you get those things, PLUS a T-shirt. So filling crates and loading pallets with merchandise for vendors sounded pretty safe, we’d both done it in past years. This year though, my honey’s back didn’t agree. A new ‘scrip and a day of bedrest later, he was back in action, thankfully.

People seem curious, but perhaps a little embarrassed about asking what goes on at a BDSM convention. I hesitate to compare it to a sci-fi/fantasy convention, only because I think perceptions thereof may be similarly skewed. Truth is, to start with, there is a lot of overlap between the Kinky scene, the Poly scene, the Ren Faire, and the Goth scene. There are plenty of other little scenes, I’m sure, seems like everyone identifies with a scene nowadays. In fact, at another convention I saw an advertisement for a support group for “monogamous and/or non-kinky couples.” The outcome is that people all dress and behave very differently. No one is allowed in under the age of 18, and there are many in this “college-age” group, but I’ve met people in their late 70’s, so it’s really all-(adult)-ages.

This is a walk-in event, people are admitted from the street, which means that indoors, activities are strictly street-legal. No nudity(all genitals and nipples covered and no g-strings), no exhibitionism(no sex or public play), no soliciting and no harassment. Public areas are restricted to socialization, vending, and special entertainment/exhibits such as the (PG-13) fashion show and art exhibit. All sex, play, and nudity is restricted to behind a closed hotel room door, or private parties later on. A token admission price is charged, mainly to weed out trolls and instigators who’ve heard of us and are looking for trouble. We usually have enough bored cops detailing that any trouble is headed off before it gets to the registration booth.

Some leeway is given to instructors of the seminars that take place, they are allowed to use a willing model to gently demonstrate their subject matter. Seminars range from a guest lecturer to group discussions to hands on instruction. I always attend bondage classes, whether I know the subject matter or not, because a new instructor inevitably has advice I haven’t heard before, and even instructors familiar to me never give away all their tips at one time, or how would they sell any books?

There are also designated themed play-spaces available- bondage lounge and whips lounge, for gentle play and experimentation. Seminars are commonly held detailing the differences between BDSM and abuse, which is quite more complicated than it may seem at its face.

Alcohol is allowed for those of legal age, and the hotel is only too willing to provide, although drinking is frowned on, if not outright forbidden during any encounter involving power exchange. There is a lot of shopping, and it’s easy to get carried away.

There’s always a dance, which is a great excuse to get all tarted up and stand around, and of the 4 times I’ve attended this event, I’ve never shelled out the extra $20 for a ticket. The “Masquerade” remains a mystery to me, and I like it that way.

The unifying characteristic that brings us together to fill three hotels is controversial, for good or for bad. We migrate, because although the hotels normally love the revenue and are pleasantly surprised by our politeness, town governments get very twitchy about becoming host to such an abomination, and especially about becoming known for it. This year, our gracious host hotel was divided precisely in half by a town line. Town A was pretty cool with adult entertainment, while Town B was all shakes of nervous and started citing zoning ordinances. So we had two flavors of police detail one on each side of the line - happy cops enjoying themselves and stern cops (presumably) enjoying themselves, but pretending not to. This also meant that not only the fashion show, but the art show needed to be rated something milder than NC-17. So all the nipples and coochies and danglies had to be hidden up with tape.

If you’ve read this far (you naughty little minx), you might be curious about the BDSM scene in general, or just love my exquisite writing. Either way, if you msg me, I can jabber more at you about the “scene” in my area, or how you can find more information on playing it safe, sane and consensual, or whatever else you might be concerned with.

I’ve purposefully left out most details about this convention because I really do wish that it remains a safe space for people, whether they like to copulate in latex suits hanging upside down from barn rafters, or engage in perfectly normal vanilla type sex. I fear that naming it could attract negative attention. I think it’s a good thing to be able to come to a place where everyone is as strange as yourself, but where most everyone has put aside their issues for a few days to just be decent to each other and enjoy the view.