What is a fetish club?
What rules should you follow at a fetish event?
It’s rarely that I get to indulge my flirtation with the London fetish scene, I pretty much only make it to Halloween Torture Garden these days. With London train fares siding on the exorbitant (thanks, First Great Western), the price of the club ticket, food, drinks and the additional taxis to and from the venue, the average cost for a night out at TG sets me back a good £200 and that’s before I’ve factored in my outfit. Yikes! I guarantee you that it’s worth every penny, but it’s safe to say that my flirtation with kinky clubs has to be an occasional vice and not a habit these days, lest I go bankrupt.
Hella before Halloween Torture Garden 2012
I know there are plenty of you reading this who think that I’m either mad, loaded or both. Why spend so much money on a night out when you could have a good old knees up at home for a quarter of the price? What happens there that makes it so tempting to throw all of the money at it?
First things first, fetish clubs and sex / swingers clubs are not the same thing. If you’re thinking you’re guaranteed an easy lay, a hardcore spanking or group sex for the price of your club ticket, snap out of it. There are plenty of places who offer these services but none of them are the fetish clubs you’ve heard so much about – they’re generally BDSM-themed nights run by swinger’s clubs. Don’t get the two confused or you’re likely to wind up disappointed or in trouble.
Halloween Antichrist 2013 – Copyright Marcus T
Now we’ve got the big question of ‘Is it all about sex?’ out of the way, it’s time to give you the 411 on what actually happens at clubs like Torture Garden. It’s fare to say that there’s a very sexual energy at these clubs and yes, sex does happen, but it’s not the first and foremost reason most folks go.
If you’ve ever been to a festival then you’ll have a great starting point for reference. Wild outfits, partying all night, exotic performances and some serious dancing are all on the agenda. Mix the likes of a Glastonbury crowd with the presence of a superclub like Ministry of Sound and then throw in some Bacchus-style morality and you’re pretty much there. Hedonism is the game, mutual consent is the rule book.
What is a Fetish Club Really Like?
Fetish clubs are usually split into multiple rooms to give attendees a varied experience. A couple of main dance floors, several performance areas and a main stage are the big lures for entertainment. You can expect everything from erotic bondage demos to flesh hook suspensions, fire performance to fashion shows. Every night has something new and different to offer, switching things up to keep the events fresh and exciting. The music is varied, crossing over genres from rock and cyber to dance, electro, house and dance floor fillers.
As well as these main pulls, you’re also likely to find dedicated play spaces. These range from fully equipped dungeons and medical play rooms to singular installations of dancing poles, cages and even a couple’s room. If you’re interested in the more sexual side of fetish clubbing, these are the places to go. Be warned that it’s generally considered bad form to rock up there without a partner and those who do find themselves drawn to these areas solo must ensure they obtain permission to watch or participate. If you do want to go as a single, your time would be best spent meeting and mingling with the other attendees. It’s always much more fun if you rock up to these parties with friends.
Outside of the dedicated play spaces, the vibe is much like any other club – but more respectful. I’ve only once been grabbed in a fetish club but I take it as a given that it will happen at least once a night in my local dance clubs. Unfortunately it’s frowned upon to swipe assailants with a whip in my local haunts and some bouncers certainly find casual sexual assault A-OK in Bath. Get caught touching someone, no matter how fleetingly, without consent in TG and you’ll be out on your ass.
Fetish Club Rules
Hella in Latex – Copyright Skin Two Clothing
What Should I Wear to a Fetish Club?
Dress code is the most important rule to abide by when planning to go to a fetish club. Fet nights have strict dress codes to ensure that those expecting a free-for-all gang bang don’t rock up and expect entry. You’ll need to check the specific event for full details but the general rule is either fetish wear (leather, PVC, latex rubber etc), revealing sexy lingerie, elaborate custom costumes, corsetry, intricate bodypaint, full uniforms or something equally fantastic is expected. If you show up in cheap fancy dress, street clothes or something that looks half-assed then you’re likely to be refused on the door. My best advice is to read the event details carefully and ensure you check out the club galleries for inspiration. If you’re not going to look like the other club attendees then you may find yourself looking for alternative entertainment for the night.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable turning up already dressed up, you’re welcome to get changed at the venues and there are cloakrooms to look after your bag for a fee. The door staff will ask to check your outfit before you enter, so be obliging and show them. Speaking of door staff, they’re likely to check your bag too. Safety is key at these events, just like at any other club.
We’ve already covered the consent rule – no touching, watching or participating without consent. Photography is strictly banned, including selfies on your mobile phone. Getting caught taking pictures will see your equipment being confiscated at best or your equipment being wiped and you chucked out at worst. If you’re keen to have some shots taken, track down one of the approved club photographers. They’ll be wearing passes around their neck so you’ll be able to spot them easily. Photographers only take photos if you ask or if they ask you for permission. Not everyone wants photos of their nights out floating about online and fetish clubs are incredibly mindful of this fact.
As you’d expect from any club, taking in things like food, drink and gum are forbidden. If you’re caught taking drugs, you’re likely to be handed over to the police. These are fundamental rules for any night out and shouldn’t come as any surprise.
You can take in your own fetish gear if you like. Whips, cuffs, harnesses and other fetish paraphernalia are allowed in. Don’t take anything you need to hook up to the mains as that’s generally considered a bit of a piss take. Besides, you’d need your PAT testing certificate to boot.
Ready Go to a Fetish Club?
If all of this sounds right up your ally, check out the below links for inspiration for your first fetish night out. You can also try searching ‘Fetish Club (your city)’ on Google to turn up local results.
Torture Garden – London fetish club with occasional nights elsewhere
Club Antichrist – London alternative fetish club specialising in rock/goth/alt music
Club Subversion – London fetish club with a focus on domination & submission
Club Pedestal – London fetish club with a focus on Femdoms
Skin Two – Part of the magazine franchise – They run a few big UK nights each year
Club Lash – Manchester Fetish Night
SWAMP – Bristol fetish fair and club night
If you’re looking for fetish friends to party with you can try networking on FetLife – it’s kinda like a Facebook for pervy types. Checkout the groups and you’ll find that there are plenty of mixers and smaller events you can attend in everyday clothes, allowing you to meet folks who already go to fet clubs for insider info and perhaps friendship.
If you run a UK fetish night and would like to be added to this resource list, please send an an email with your club website details.
– Hella Rude