Love/Hate Week: What Really Goes On In A BDSM Dungeon

Quite recently, I went to an event for BDSM. If you’re not sure what that is, its Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism. It was a first time experience for me.

It started rather innocently, really. My friend “Judy” sent me a link asking me if I wanted to attend an event with her. After briefly skimming the event on my super out of date phone I thought it sounded like fun- a glam rock themed birthday party in some type of bar. I love meeting new people!

The day arrived. We went to go meet up with “Carol”, Judy’s friend. It was one of those friend of a friend things. I still was kind of in a fog as to what I was walking into. Where are we going again?  Some obscure warehouse type place by the airport. Shrug. While we were in the car Carol, who had been there before said, “It’s really crazy, they have like security cameras and they have to like buzz you in.”

Security cameras?

Sounds safe!

Wait…

Why do they have to buzz you in?

Suddenly we were outside of said obscure-warehouse-place. We walked in and there was a little table with two fairly young people (I’d say late teens to very early twenties) waiting to collect or money and let us into main room. That’s kind of weird. Forward-ho! Through the door we went. Suddenly we were in this main room and to my left was this woman in a full body fishnet suit.

Whoa! What?!  I started looking around and there was a man in leather pants, and an elderly gentleman dressed in a French maid outfit, and provocative pictures of nude women in contorted positions on the wall. What had I just walked into?

Suddenly the pieces clicked. I remembered a piece of information I had tucked away; Carol had a friend who was a dominatrix. Ohhhhhh…. It was that kind of place. I was officially in my first BDSM dungeon, and it was surprisingly well lit!

We began to explore the rooms. It was still fairly empty, apparently we were early. However, there was a lot to look at. There was a room with wigs and dresses, and shoes that were so large, I could only assume that they were intended for the feet of the less fair sex. One room had a large wood throne and a giant steel spider web that could be used for climbing, tying, or simply holding on to. There was a giant shower that made me think of orgies, but I later learned was used for blood play. One room had stocks, like old school, put him in the town square in the stocks while kids throw rotten tomatoes at him, stocks and some other things. There was a room with a giant cage.  There was probably a lot more to take in, that in my overwhelmed and eagerly curious state, I missed. The etiquette was laid down and acting outside of it was out of the question. The rules were clear. You can watch any show. You can get as close as you want without touching or interfering with the activity or placing yourself in harm’s way. No loud talking or cell phones or anything else that will detract from the ambiance. You can only touch if you are invited to “play” by the people conducting the activity, and finally, no means no. You can refuse to participate at will.

One of the first things we saw was a suspension act. Four girls were tied from their groin areas and hung upside down. Some were naked, some just in tights and panty sets. To be frank, I was completely surprised that something that I can only imagine to be painful or at the very least uncomfortable, could look so beautiful, graceful. The four girls floated around like aerial ballerinas. I was awed. They were so comfortable with themselves and they moved with an easy sensuality that lets viewers know that they are completely comfortable in their own skin.

I was also surprised by the people themselves. Everyone was so polite, dare I say normal? Not that I was expecting monsters, but I guess when entering a world that involves chains and whips, I was expecting people to be more… abrasive? However, the people and the place blew my expectations. I can only describe my feel while there as, safe. Comfortable. Strange, right? But out in the “real” world, outside the walls of the dungeon, often times, our actions are hindered by the expectations of society. Not to say that you are going to flog someone in broad daylight, but even dressing or acting provocatively draws askance looks. [tagbox tag="bdsm"]

Back to the show. We also saw a man whipped. Again, the dominatrix’s moved with an enviable grace. I never would have thought that a whip or a flogger could be moved with such effortlessness. It looked almost like a dance. It was beautiful.

At the same time as this was going on, in the main room, there was a woman being tied up and then she was suspended from the ceiling, just left to hang there. I was mesmerized by the whole process. I was captivated. And then I had to force down a girlish giggle when it was revealed to me that she had her southern lady bits pierced.

I can only say that I found the whole experience to be interesting, stimulating. There is so much going on. There are the acts themselves, there is the element of voyeurism and exhibitionism and as an outsider, you can see the ease and trust in the interactions of the people. Afterwards, trying to explain it to a friend who kept saying it sounded “sketch”, I could only say that it was legit, respectful. I think it was a worth-while experience, one that I would definitely repeat. I’m not sure how I feel about bringing BDSM into my private life, but I think it’s something that I would definitely explore, in a safe, trusting environment.

One thing that I can say I found humorous about the whole experience, was the amount of suits walking around the place. There were so many clean cut, preppy, upper-class looking business type men that I felt it was somewhat cliché.

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    • mish

      I always find the audience interesting at places like that. I guess it makes sense to see a bunch of preppy dudes in suits at an S&M dungeon. The first time I went to a drag show, there were ten people watching. 4 were old men, 4 were young Hasidic Jewish men, and then me and my friend. Who knew Hasidim loved drag queens?

    • BeccaTheCyborg

      Haha, yeah, because of the need to protect oneself and others, the kink scene kind of has to have a lot of safety and respect protocols in place. And I kind of dig that there’s more emphasis on consent and safety than there is in vanilla-type scenes. (Think about it: clubs where creeps groping women without their consent would be shunned!)

      Rope bondage and suspension bondage are soooo pretty, but I just lack the patience to do.

      Also, you’d be surprised how many “normal-looking” people have their genitals pierced. (Former piercer, piercing-haver.)

    • Avodah

      I’m in graduate school, and I study Orthodox Jews. I am guessing the men you saw were baal teshuvas, or people who became religious later in life. They are very, very different from Jews who were born and raised in Orthodox families.

    • a

      I hate to be nitpicky, but the way this article was written sort of distracted from what it was about. It feels like it didn’t go through an editor! It was just clunky and awkwardly written, and took the attention away from a pretty interesting topic.

    • Emma

      I hate that I can’t find any places like this. It’s like being on a diet and the only thing you can eat isn’t available.