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December 5, 2018

Kinky Field Trips — PART 3 of 3

By Kate Allure

In the first and second installments of my Kinky Field Trips exposé we visited adult toy stores and naughty B&Bs, and today we explore sexy parties and kink conferences. And, if you missed Part I or Part II just click on the links.

As I’ve discussed before, several of my erotic romances feature BDSM, including my latest release Her Gentleman Dom and Bed & Breakfast & Bondage. I’ve a London sex club series coming out soon that’s set in a posh Mayfair town house with a dungeon in the basement and peopled by Brits of all societal levels, even some stray Americans. While conferences are not the same as my secret sex club, I can say that you’ll find a similar feeling of festive camaraderie at most kink cons.

Even so, these events might not be the thing for the uninitiated — they’re fun but also intense. If you’re kink curious, I suggest you join FetLife and go to a “munch” where you can meet nice folks in a coffee shop or other safe place and ask all the newbie questions you want. My therapist aunt always says, “You can ask anyone anything, as long as you’re respectful.” Being polite and keeping negativity out will go a long way in helping you obtain the information you’re seeking.

However, if you’re ready for an immersive experience, then check out the many kink conferences that exist throughout the U.S. Again, FetLife is a great place to find them, but I’ll mention a couple of the ones that I can vouch are well run.

Dark Odyssey — This professional organization runs kink conventions across the US from Washington DC to San Francisco. Even their large, glossy, convention programs feature art-quality photographs, such as Flight by artist Chi Lum. You can see more of his work on his website Rue99.

Dark Odyssey is very much as described on their website:

“Imagine a vacation where you can explore the many facets of sexuality in a private, intimate community of like-minded people. A wholly unique immersive experience which brings together sexuality, spirituality, education, and play in a fun, supportive, non-judgmental, diverse environment where fantasy becomes reality.”

“By day, learn sexual tips and techniques to create, maintain, or revive the erotic spark in your relationship. Explore a multitude of partnering possibilities, from swinging and open relationships to threesomes and polyamory. Brush up on the basics, or get hands-on experience at new BDSM skills like bondage, flogging, sensory deprivation and Dominant/submissive dynamics. Delve into a world of spiritual journeys and teachings on Earth-based spirituality, Tantra, and paganism. Find all this and more in a series of dynamic workshops from top-notch sex educators, relationship experts, BDSM masters, and spiritual teachers.”

It’s more fun to go with a partner but not required. Rules for safety and respectful behavior are strictly enforced, so even the single lady could go and learn a lot. I actually spent the first day at Surrender in SF alone attending workshops, before my DH was able to join me. They really do have fabulous experts leading the classes. I learned about my sexual power from renowned sex-educator and author Amy Jo Goddard, tried my hand at impact play with Graydancer, and was box-tied by my DH under the careful tutelage of another fine teacher. At the bar we chatted with lots of interesting folks and alone in our hotel room we tried out some of what we’d learned.

Have you ever been on a vacation and found that you’d filled it with so many activities and restaurants to try that alone time—possibly the reason you went away in the first place—didn’t happen. When you spend a weekend studying sex and not doing anything else (except maybe grabbing a bite at Grubstake at 2 am cause you've worked up an appetite) that will really amp up your intimacy. And it was uber romantic sharing that with my DH.

Fetish Fair Fleamarket® — Run by the New England Leather Alliance (NELA), this yearly three-day event in February is the largest leather/fetish event in New England. There is also a one-day event each summer. This is a welcoming accessible event with large print programs, American Sign Language interpreters, even fragrance-free soap in the bathrooms. Rules for safety and respect are enforced here too and NELA follows Risk Aware, Consensual Kink (RACK) — this is similar to Safe, Sane and Consensual (SSC) and you can look them both up on the web.

The Fetish Fair Fleamarket was founded by my friend and fellow erotic romance author Cecilia Tan. She says, "I started the FFF in 1993 because I wanted there to be something easily accessible to everyone. So it’s always held in a hotel, it’s not a secret where it is, and there’s no registration or secret handshakes. Pay cash at the door and just check it out for a day. There are usually around 100 vendors & crafters and over 100 classes, events, and meetups. So there’s something for just about everyone. And the money raised goes to support the nonprofit community programs of the New England Leather Alliance.”

The FFF has the added fun of shopping! Who doesn’t like that?

From the FFF’s website: “We bring together about a hundred top vendors and craftspeople, from our local area and from as far away as San Francisco, Arizona, Chicago, and Canada, with over 3000 attendees from many states. Over the last decade, tens of thousands of people have attended the FFFs to enjoy the unmatched opportunity to shop, attend workshops, and meet people at the best economical price of any event of this type.”

General kink con things to think about: Some take-over the hotel and if you’re feeling self-conscious about maybe running into someone you know, this arrangement provides more privacy. And if you still run into someone you know—well you’ll both learn something new about each other, lol. Some are specialized—focused on furries or femdomme, for instance—so you’ll want to make sure you know what the con encompasses. You will see people in various states of dress—or more accurately undress—and you’ll see some amazingly gorgeous kink attire too.

Lastly, ALL of the good cons will enforce safety rules and no one should be touched without permission. Honestly, you’ll be safer and less harassed than in most bars on a Friday night. Check out the con’s rules before you sign up—they should be strict, almost unwelcomingly so. Anything less than that and you should steer clear.

Before we go, I’ll mention one last type of Kinky Field Trip—play parties, both free and by ticket. These events can be intimate or large scale. Some come with multiple playrooms, even a disco, and dressing up can be part of the de rigueur fun. And there can be entertainment too, such as this mermaid.

These events are more likely to allow alcohol, but drunkenness is still verboten, because there is no way to follow SSC—becuaes if you’re drunk there can be no consent. If you want to explore this, I again point you to FetLife, but for private play parties, even ticketed ones, it would be safer to go with friends or your partner, at least until you’ve made new friends and trust the organizer.

If all of this is way too much, then check out my post on DIY Toys or Kink on a Budget or Cecilia’s guest post on Role Playing. Enhancing your sex life can build the emotional connection between you and your partner and is worth a little effort exploring what excites you both.

Have fun!

~ Kate

 

Additional Photo Credits:
In the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Dominatrix Daniella by Danny Hennesy
Legs and Heels by Jean-Christophe Destailleur

 

 

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