Archive: BDSM at Ess & Emm Dungeon

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 post first appeared on Cliterati, 23rd July 2012

Ess and Emm

Take an interactive tour of the facilities

Ink Lined To Colour Tattoos

Fetters

This piece originally appeared on Cliterati on 23rd July 2012


Toy Review: Cara Sutra’s Beginners Bondage Kit

Cara-Sutra-Fantasy-bondage-kit-honest-review-300x210I recently read a piece in a national newspaper by a well-known columnist, which was a positive review of a new novel. The praise may have been well-deserved, but it was only when I scrolled down to the Comments section that it became apparent that the columnist and author were great friends – something readers were rightly indignant hadn’t been disclosed during the review.

So, not wanting to detract or add undue doubt to my review of Cara Sutra’s Beginners Bondage Kit, let me immediately confess that I’ve seen Cara talk at an industry event, hung out with her in the pub afterwards, and generally think she’s utterly brilliant both professionally and in person.

However, something you should also know is that having been a sex toy reviewer for many years, lived in bisexual polyamorous relationships and kept a live-in (willing) platonic male ‘slave’ for the last four years, Cara very much walks the talk – and you might be surprised that in the erotic industry there aren’t a huge amount of people who privately practise what they preach so publicly. After all, it’s a business just like any other, and it’s one Cara’s taken by storm, with two impressive ETO industry awards under her belt in as many years.

With such unparalleled experience both in the boardroom and in the bedroom, it’s no wonder Cara’s successfully turned her hand to designing her own products, starting with her Beginners Bondage Kit. Comprising Wrist Cuffs, Ankle Cuffs, Collar and Attachable Leash, Blindfold, Breathable Ball Gag, Bondage Rope and a Flogger, it comes in a sexy bright red or more traditional black faux leather (making it perfect for the adventurous vegans amongst you). For me, the inclusion of some bondage tape would have been a bonus, as it’s both non-threatening and versatile, and a favourite for many couples experimenting with BDSM. But that’s just nit-picking, as Cara offers an impressive eight-item selection in her extensive Kit – which more than compensates for the absence of a simple roll of plastic!

Being used to more heavy-duty, soldered D-rings, the wrist cuffs and chains feel fairly lightweight at first, but during use prove themselves to be more resilient than expected – likewise the ankle cuffs, as the chains of these and of the wrist cuffs will break only if very deliberately forced (thankfully, the links are easy to squeeze back together with a pair of pliers). But since this is a Beginners Kit, any potential release could actually be seen as an advantage, with escapism a possibility if the wearer is strong and determined enough (and if you’re just starting out, let’s face it an ultimate get-out clause is always an attraction).

Some may find the hard plastic ball of the ball gag a little too large, but it’s handily perforated for respiration and well, let’s face it, comfort isn’t really the point of being restrained. That said, the bondage rope is unexpectedly soft and gentle against the skin, offering the tantalising experience of being trussed up with tenderness. Meanwhile, the inner side of the wrist and ankle restraints is covered in faux fur, cushioning the user yet keeping the limbs firmly in place. The inside of dog collar (with detachable lead, which means you can wear it and be whipped with it!) and blindfold are similarly lined, making the blindfold that little bit more effective against the light and the collar that little bit less daunting to the wearer.

But my favourite piece has to be the flogger. I love the juxtaposition of colour (in the red Kit I was sent the flogger has a red handle and black tassels), and the way you can use it for teasing, caressing, or just plain and simple spanking. The ring at the top end of the flogger also has multiple uses: not only is it useful for stylishly storing the item, but it can also be employed for fun: for maximum impact I recommend the sub on the floor on all fours, wearing the dog collar and lead and carrying the flogger in their mouth by the ring, letting it caress their chest in supplicant desire to their Dom(me).

Having reviewed sex toys for over a decade myself, it can be a surprisingly disappointing line of work since there are remarkably few products out there which truly make the grade. Happily, Cara’s Beginners Bondage Kit is one of them – or should I say eight. For Cara’s taken the best aspects of every bondage whoredrobe and made them accessible and attractive to all: no dithering about what separate piece of kit to choose over which other naughty necessity, here you have eight essential pieces perfectly packaged together at an extremely reasonable price. All that’s really missing from Cara’s Beginners Bondage Kit is a best-selling manual or guidebook to go with it (Cara, I want commission on this idea!).

This is a great investment for beginners and experienced players alike – just don’t forget to establish a ‘safe word’ before you play.

Cara Sutra’s Beginners Bondage Kit is currently available from Adult Toys UK for £59 (down from £69)

Cara Sutra’s official website


Event Review: Brighton Club Spank presents The Grand Age Of Corsets

Photo by bn1boi

Photo by bn1boi

Splashing through muddy puddles in my heels I wasn’t convinced that a rugby club was the best place to hold – as Club Spank calls it – a ‘fluffy fetish’ event. Even though it was just on the outskirts of Brighton, initially the (almost) countryside venue seemed an inconvenience, since missing the minibus organised by the club meant one of us reluctantly had to become the designated driver. We knew that there had been random issues with previous venues for Spank (one changed ownership, another closed down altogether) but it’s a sad day when even the ‘b-right-on’ city of Brighton isn’t actively embracing the BDSM banknote. Tsk…

Luckily, the rugby club had already pretty much seen it all courtesy of its own members. Whilst the bar staff looked mildly bemused at the scene unfolding before them, one let slip that the mezzanine above their heads had been known to boast drunken rugby fans and players partying in various states of undress, and that the Spank faithful were wearing considerably more clothes than their usual clientele!

Indeed, the evening’s theme ‘The Age of Corsets’ was interpreted fairly liberally by all and sundry: there were the ubiquitous topless beauties (men included) wearing waspies, some in face-to-floor festish gear, others in fairly straight or festival fashion and lots of gorgeous tattoos on show generating natural conversational ice-breakers.

Because if there’s one consistent comment we hear about the better-known fetish nights in this part of the country – especially those in the capital – it’s that they can have an unwelcome, exclusive air. Maybe it’s the London about them, maybe it’s the competitive couture latex. Thankfully the Spank crew could not be said to be the same: clubbers were warm, chatty, dressed-up but not ‘up-themselves’: altogether a great bunch of party-goers. Where else would strangers introduce themselves to you before presenting you to mutual strangers, all genuinely content to spend mingling? From conversations about fetishes and personal experiences through martial arts and Physics(!) to just general banter, the Spank crowd were an inclusive lot and this really added to the friendly feel of the night.

Downstairs in the dungeon (AKA the rugby club changing rooms) it was a similar scene, only with fetish furniture and public spankings. Being November the dungeons could have done with a heater or two, and the smaller of the rooms could have done with some suitable low-lighting rather than super-sterile brightness. Various comments were also made about the lack of available spanking equipment, as people were invited to bring their own paddles, canes and feathers (no doubt for hygiene reasons) but had clearly forgotten in the excitement of getting ready for the party. In any case, we’ll forgive these omissions in light of the convivial atmosphere amongst the observers conversing on the changing room benches. After all, there’s nothing like a good public punishment to bring people together (although the term ‘fluffy fetish’ is of course happily open to interpretation)…

No doubt the reasonably priced drinks at the out-of-town venue didn’t harm the social lubrication, and with loud music and cheeky couples there is great potential in using somewhere rural come Spring and Summer (the smoking balcony in particular will benefit from the lighter nights and brighter views across the Downs). And yes, there were a few rough edges already being addressed after the inaugural night of this unlikely venue, but generally Spank’s organisers did an impressive job planning a fun event to which Cliterati will return again: after all, one can never have enough friends. Or fun!

Visit Spank! Brighton’s official website

Follow Spank! Brighton on Facebook

Party with Club Spank during Brighton Fetish Weekend, 10th-12th April 2015


Interview with a Sex Toy Reviewer #1

Me pretending that my pink chin-length bob is actually a mohican (it’s not).

There isn’t much that the lovely Nymphomaniac Ness doesn’t know about sex, as her fantastic blog site will testify, so I was extremely chuffed to be asked to be the inaugural interviewee in her Interview With A Sex Toy Reviewer series. And here it is!

Interview with a Sex Toy Reviewer #1

 I’m hoping to interview sex toy reviewers on a regular basis. It should be an opportunity to pick up some tips and tricks, as well as getting to know your favourite reviewers a little bit more. It’s also a great opportunity to find out about new and exciting reviewers, who may be not so well known via social networking and the main sex toy communities. This week we welcome Mia More as the first ever guest to my blog.

Reviewer name: 

Mia More

Location (e.g. UK based or US): 

UK

Where can we find your reviews? 

irregularvoice
Cliterati
www.sextoytesters.co.uk


How long have you been reviewing sex toys for? And how many have you reviewed? 

Around six years. I have no idea how many toys I’ve reviewed in total – especially as I test lingerie, fetish outfits and furniture, BDSM gear and even dungeons too – all I can say is that it’s been a helluva lot of fun!

What made you start reviewing sex toys? 

A high sex drive! And as a woman in a long-term relationship with an equally kinky man, reviewing sex toys has been a great way to keep things fresh in the bedroom. Or in the living room. Or on the kitchen counter…


Describe your reviewing style: 

The actual reviewing style depends on simple things like the format of the review, or on the website itself. In addition I often suggest design or functionality improvements for the manufacturers, and offer tips to users. But the main thing is that wherever and whatever I review, I am always honest: I never say something’s amazeballs if actually it’s just total balls.

What toy was the most enjoyable to review and test? 

Anything by Lelo: I *love* that brand, and their toys never fail to impress me on every level – the confidence they have to include a one year guarantee says it all. Even my husband’s got one! Lelo aside, I have to admit that my favourite items have been a latex spanking skirt and matching latex shirt with a zip down the front, and the more unusual items such as wooden stocks, washable PVC bedsheets for messy play, or latex body paint (great fun to paint on, although peeling it off was a bit of a shocker until we incorporated it into a pain game).

Do you have a particular method of testing toys? 

Rigorously, alone and also with my husband to get a good all-round perspective. We naturally end up discussing the toys afterwards, and it’s always good to get his thoughts.

Toys that I know aren’t going to be my kind of thing, I test on my cheek. If they make my teeth rattle they get a positive review, if not they get a no-no. Either way, those toys are forwarded on to my friends – everyone has different taste in toys, and I can pretty much guess which toys will suit which friend. Strange but true!

What’s your favorite review you’ve written? It can be a negative or positive review, as long as you’re proud of the finished article. 

Probably my first ever review. It was for a naughty novelty underwear set, and although the pieces weren’t exactly amazing, I was really pleased with my review.

What’s your number one tip to any aspiring sex toy reviewer? 

Put yourself out there: write reviews of your own toys and post them online so that you’ve got something to show for your enthusiasm, then approach retailers and local sex shops/ boutiques and suggest you review toys for their websites. Be personable. Persist: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

What toy would you recommend the most and why? 

Without a doubt the Lelo Isla is the best G-Spot toy I’ve tried – for me. It looks beautiful, it’s rechargeable but the inbuilt battery doesn’t need replacing as the months fly by (as many rechargeable batteries do), I love the way it’s designed to be held (with a handle at one end), and it hits the spot every time – literally.

Do you have any interesting hobbies other than sex toy reviewing? 

I collect shoes, love fashion and enjoy putting together unusual fancy dress outfits for the regular themed parties held here in Brighton. I also cage dance in the Shangri-La Field at Glastonbury every year, and am a keen enthusiast of corsets and the more fabulous side of latex and rubber wear (which thankfully makes wiping the Glasto mud off my costumes a whole lot easier).

Thank you to the lovely Mia More for taking the time to fill out this interview. I also perform the cheek test!

See Nymphomaniac Ness’s original interview here and visit her website. Ms Ness really knows her sex…