Well, where to start? That’s the issue facing Mr More and myself as we survey our surroundings. We’re at renowned dungeon Ess & Emm, and there’s just so much for us to explore: an extensive array of (deep breath) differing paddles, canes, mitts, clamps, harnesses, cuffs, leather and rubber outfits, high-heeled shoes, blinds, blinkers, gags, hoods, spreaders, sleepsacks, bodybags, restraints, ropes and weights – and more.
Even more impressive in its abundance is the bespoke bondage furniture: our bed for the night is a metal four poster with an integrated cage underneath it, where there’s a thin mattress for a slave to sleep (next time we’ll remember to pack one!). There’s a rack, also with a cage underneath, a gynae chair in the bathroom, and a variety of bondage chairs. Fighting for attention is a revolving wheel, a whipping bench, and an electrically powered suspension sling where the head and/ or legs can be moved higher or lower at the touch of a button. The ubiquitous thrusting machine (or Fucking Machine, as they’re known in the business) stands proudly erect at the centre of the studio.
It’s hard to believe that only minutes earlier we were driving through picturesque Warwickshire countryside, through sleepy villages of thatched cottages and grand manor houses. Cliterati can’t quite believe that we are now at one of England’s leading dungeons – it seems so at odds with its conservative neighbours. But nonetheless, nestled in extremely smart surroundings with its own secluded entrance, is this curious two-storey self-catering B&B cottage, our accommodation for the night.
If we have any nerves, they’re quickly dispelled by the warm welcome we receive. As we step through the front door we’re greeted by owner Paula, who walks us through the cottage: a cute country kitchen is stocked with the makings of a full English, in addition to a continental breakfast (which we end up eating as a midnight feast), and there are two good bottles of wine (red and white) and a box of chocolates on the table. It’s all reassuringly normal. Until that is, you notice that many of the walls are decorated with BDSM-themed posters and pictures, as well as S&M sketches by Paula, herself an ex-dominatrix. There are also photos of her in action as Mistress Katya, an occupation she left behind to run a tattoo parlour next door, where she especially enjoys inking fetish customers who might otherwise feel uncomfortable asking a non-scene tattooist for their very personal designs. Paula’s very open about her own introduction to BDSM, telling us that she was a fetish virgin before she met her partner Tony.
This makes Paula a great guide to show new visitors such as ourselves around: we’re able to ask any questions we might have about either the equipment or the accommodation, and we feel comfortable doing so. Tony joins us too, and again, we’re struck by his welcoming manner: we really weren’t expecting a B&B dungeon to have such a homely feel! Tony tells Cliterati that he bought much of the equipment from Fetters, a specialist shop known as “The Savile Row of S&M outfitters”, who had previously also run a dungeon B&B. Ess & Emm itself has been running for around ten years, originally as three separate fully-kitted spaces, before consolidating into the one building we see today.
And what a building it is: hoods, straightjackets, bodybags and needle play may not float our particular boats, but nonetheless Mr More and I are still like kids in a candy store: there’s just so much to explore, and so much naughty fun to be had – a whole floor dedicated to our pleasure! I start by rifling through the cupboard for an outfit and a wig, and I try on at least three sets of shoes before deciding on a Pretty Woman-esque pair of thigh-high black patent boots. They may be a Mens size 10, but I’m not fussed: I want to try (nearly) everything, and I want to try it in style.
By the end of our allotted 6pm-11am stay we have exhausted ourselves but not the studio – there’s so much we just didn’t have time for. Thankfully Tony and Paula mentioned they were relatively relaxed about when we left, so there’s still time for me to squeeze in a spin on the wheel (well, when in Rome…). Mr More dutifully binds me and releases the brake. I’m turned slowly round until my feet are spread-eagled in the air, and my head’s hanging down towards the floor: ‘Hmmm…interesting’ I think. ‘But not for me’.
And that’s one of the great things about Ess & Emm: it gives visitors the opportunity to experiment with new equipment in private, as well as play with familiar kit they simply may not have the space for at home. There really is something for everyone, from the fetish virgin to the expert dungeon enthusiast. Ess & Emm is a great opportunity to escape from the everyday grind, make new friends, rekindle relationships, and to spend a good few hours in the pursuit of pleasure. Because elsewhere, as Tony notes: “Life gets in the way.” And if you don’t believe him, look in the visitors’ book.
This piece originally appeared on Cliterati on 23rd July 2012
One of my all-time favourite bloggers, The Honest Courtesan is intelligent, informed, opinionated and entertaining. Much recommended.
Whorephobia…can manifest in various forms, including…rejection of a fellow…human being…projection of one’s own life experiences onto another…and in severe cases, frothing at the mouth…and feverishly campaigning for extreme punishment and prohibition of Whores and Whore-adjacent peoples, places, and objects. – Aspasia Bonasera
Another good article about sex work with disabled clients, this one a first-person account from reader Laura Lee. Due to the movie The Sessions this has become a very “hot” topic, which is good because it deals a strong blow to the “victimized prostitute” narrative. For more on the subject, here’s Becky Adams:
Customers…now have another option…at [Tokyo]…cuddle club Soineya…For $11 per minute, patrons…can ask for the oshiri makura (butt pillow) service and rest their heads on the behinds of its female staff…Customers must first pay an admission fee — starting at 3,000 yen (around $34) —…
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Over on Cliterati, this weekend (3rd – 5th November) is all about the inimitable porn star Daisy Rock, as the website will be playing host to the exclusive, free showing of ‘Daisy (Good Girls Go To Heaven, Bad Girls Go To Ibiza)’, Director Jamie Patterson’s behind-the-scenes documentary on the outspoken adult actress. You can read my review of the film and watch the trailer here.
In addition you can see this short clip where we chat with Jamie himself, and hear about his experiences filming behind-the-scenes on a porn shoot (beware, the word ‘Boobies’ does put in an appearance). The video also includes a brief introduction to the Cliterati team. Yes, really.
So get yourself saddled up with popcorn and pizza for the weekend, and immerse yourself in ‘Daisy’ and the real-life world of a porn star. We can pretty much guarantee you won’t hear anything along the lines of “anal sex is like taking a shit backwards” anywhere else. We’re right, right?
Daisy Rock on Twitter (well worth a follow – Daisy is a lady who’s got a helluva lot to say, and you really don’t want to miss any of it: trufax, Baby!)
Seaside fun and frolicks don’t get much better than the upcoming ‘fluffy fetish’ Club Spank event in Brighton. Previously a night in Perth, Australia, Club Spank have upped sticks and settled on our own sunny shores to bring us the best in alternative evenings of sexy entertainment.
The club has a definite door policy when it comes to dressing up, but not in the exclusive latex or rubber style that you might expect from a fetish club. Instead, at Club Spank you’re invited to don the clothes of your own particular area of interest, be it BDSM, fantasy, Gothic, uniform, steampunk, medical, futuristic, cyber, body art/decoration, drag, burlesque, showgirl, zombie, or whatever floats your particular boat. As long as you’ve clearly made an effort, dressed up a straight-ish outfit with kinky accessories if necessary, and/ or adhered to this month’s Halloween theme (not essential but welcome), then you’ll be ready for some fun. Thankfully there’ll also be a make-up artist on hand in the club to assist you in this bloody transformation.
Once inside, you’ll see that the promoters are putting on a night which combines the sophistication of a champagne-style extravaganza with the friendliness and smiles of a local club. So with a gorgeous hostess to welcome you at the door, cocktails aplenty and a private dungeon for moderate BDSM play – plus the unique costumes of each and every party-goer – you can be as creative and as kinky as you like in a glamorous yet welcoming atmosphere.
As Club Spank say themselves: “You won’t see anything extreme or gory at Spank… just wall-to-wall eye-candy, a dungeon for moderate BDSM play…and perhaps most importantly, a friendly, flirty crowd of kinksters….an exotic crowd in a vibrant atmosphere.” We say: See you there!
Being a (mostly) happily married woman, it isn’t often that I find myself at the city’s Sexual Health clinic, and even more unlikely that I should be there first thing on a Monday morning. After all, instead of going out on the town, getting trolleyed, and losing my inhibitions maybe a little too much, I’d actually stayed in all weekend, and I hadn’t really done anything I shouldn’t have – well, not really…
No, I was at the Clap Clinic to offer support to my friend Claire* who had been, in the immortal words of Beyoncé Knowles in Lady Gaga’s utterly fabulous video Telephone “a very bad girl! A very, very, bad, bad girl”. Not that I’m jealous of her single-girl activities or anything – honest! But leading a rather more dull life than I’d once envisioned, I couldn’t help but notice a twinge of something at her account of the weekend’s shenanigans chez Claire – regret? Nostalgia? OK, I’ll admit it: maybe there was a leeettle jealousy involved – but only a little bit!
Anyway, as a housewife who’s at home during the day, I often get called on to accompany friends to hospital appointments, wedding dress fittings and the like. I’d been to the clinic before, when my husband and I first got together – after all, it’s always good to have a thorough sexual MOT before you embark on a protection-free relationship – but this Monday morning was a first.
On my previous visit I’d marvelled at the good humour and tolerance shown by the clearly extremely busy health clinicians, neatly efficient, clipboards in hand, calling visitors by their first names into one room, then shortly after, exiting – as if by magic – by another door entirely. Exceedingly welcoming, kind and non-judgemental, as a patient you just know that these guys have seen it all, and that therefore they’re neither bothered nor surprised by what you’ve come to share with them. These health workers are so utterly un-shockable, so forearmed with a wealth of personal and professional experience, that they manage to make an excruciatingly embarrassing situation into an impressively non-humiliating experience. On this Claire and I agreed wholeheartedly.
And needless to say, after a busy Brighton weekend the place was heaving. Waiting with Claire I took the opportunity for some serious people watching. It might not have been a Parisian café-scape, but it was entertainment of sorts to help pass the time, and with all the busy-ness of Piccadilly Circus on a Saturday night there was a fair amount of action going on.
There was the middle-class married mum, my age, with her young daughter in a buggy. There were plenty of teenage boys and many surly young girls, and I exchanged a few bashful smiles with the friends of friends of friends I spotted. But mostly – unlike the midweek afternoon when I’d previously visited the clinic – on this particular Monday morning there were numerous gay men, aged mid-twenties to sixties, running the entire gamut of their sexuality: tearing up stereotypes and showing up sub-tribes.
Of course, Brighton being an unashamedly bohemian environment with a high gay occupancy, this was bound to be the case. It made me think that if this hadn’t been an STI clinic, it would have presented quite a good dating opportunity! It also made me glad my husband wasn’t bisexual (he tried it once but decided it wasn’t for him), as I don’t think I could deal with him potentially fancying the whole of Brighton – between us, with our former joint track record, we could have ended up camping outside the Clap Clinic every Sunday night!
*Not Gemma’s real name, obviously, or she’d kill me! 😉
Whilst writing this post I listened to the following on Spotify:
Zola Jesus – Stridulum II (which was a bit dull, really, but easy to have in the background while I was tapping away)
Niki & The Dove – DJ, Ease My Mind; Under the Bridges, The Fox (equally dull – could have been written by Zola Jesus)
Emeli Sandé – Heaven (trying too hard to sound like Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy); Easier in bed acoustic version (really rather pleasant, shows Emeli’s vocal skills off nicely)
Cocknbullkid – Adulthood (not great, but unapologetic pop, and a relief after the grisly dirges from the above artists)
MJ Cole – Sincere (Ahhh, I remember this album, and his older, classic single of the same name: those were the days…)