I think it is safe to say that many people travel so they may see and experience something new; at least that is my motivation. The fact is, though, we travelers don’t need to go thousands of miles to do this. Instead we can visit something completely beyond our usual experience and not travel but a few miles.
So a few months ago, I attended a photography night at a local Bondage and Discipline, Sadomasochism (BDSM) dungeon.
After arrival and check in, I met the man running the event. He took me to the room set aside for photography wherein he had set up studio lights with hoods and diffusers and backdrops. I was given a flash controller for my camera and then he suggested camera settings, and I was left on my own to photograph.
Soon three woman arrived who had changed into their favorite festishwear and made themselves available to be photographed. The first young lady I photographed dressed as a Submissive in fishnet. I don’t have much experience working with models so this was quite a challenge for me, especially in this environment. My goal was that to not simply pose her the way many other photographers would but try something new.
The next woman was dressed as a Dominant in a long red skirt and black top and brought along a flogger as a prop. Here again, I was looking for something new to do and she was very accommodating and suggested a few ways to sit and pose. I learned from her that you never pose a Dominant with a submissive’s “furniture“, unless there is a Sub on it.
The last woman was a Submissive, nude except for panties, and she liked being tied with ropes. Another photographer, who apparently had much experience in this scene, spent about 20 minutes tying her up. While she was being restrained, I noticed the expression on her face was that of complete bliss or ecstasy. She enjoyed the feeling of the rope and the attention given her. She, like the others, was very easy to work with. The studio lighting and my camera worked well.
The first visit was mostly for the photography but also to find out what this was about and talk to the people in the lifestyle. I became intrigued by what the models told me and what I saw. Therefore, a few months later, I went on a second trip and this time to take a visit of the part of the dungeon where photography wasn’t allowed and learn more.
The dungeon gave tours, which began with a briefing of the dos and don’ts of this place. This lifestyle doesn’t have much acceptance among the general public and thus there is stigma for anyone known to practice it. Therefore, “Vegas Rules” (what happens in the dungeon, stays in the dungeon) are always in effect. BDSM can be used as a kind of foreplay, however, is no sex allowed, either oral, anal or vaginal. Also, the activities can be violent and there is danger of a submissive being hurt beyond what she/he intended. For this reason there are safe words, which are a way for a submissive to signal to the dominant to either continue the activity (Green), or to say that the feelings are getting a little too intense (Yellow) or that it is time to stop (Red) or that things have gotten way out of hand and the monitors need to come running (Mayday, mayday).
I was then led into a room maybe 40′ x 40′ were there was arranged spanking benches, crosses for restraining and whipping, a steel cage or two, a wall full of ropes and handcuffs, whips and chains, a massage table, towels and bottles of disinfectant spray. There was also a basket to store items soiled with bodily fluids and another for anything with blood on it. They even had a Sybian, which I had read of but had never seen.
Finally, when the tour was over I was asked if there were any questions. I said I understood that sex was not allowed, but is Fisting (a type of kink where a hand is forced deep inside a rectum or vagina thus giving pleasure/pain) allowed? The guide said yes. This seemed paradoxical. You can have your arm buried almost to the elbow in someone’s ass, but a penis is a vagina in not allowed. Interesting.
Like I said in the beginning, traveling to see something new doesn’t necessarily require traveling far away. You can instead travel outside the your normal life and yet be very close to home. Visiting a BDSM dungeon was a journey about as far out of my normal life as I can imagine.