Occasionally people email me to ask for swinger or fetish club recommendations. This is a problem because, well… my experience is wildly out of date. I used to go fairly regularly with my ex, then when we split up I struggled to find other people to go with, and nowadays I prefer to avoid the complicated dress codes and just stay home in my jeans. So when Zak Jane Keir (erotic author and contributor to the amazing Eroticon anthology) offered a guest blog with some tips on making the most of your night in a fetish club, I nearly bit her hand off. So if you’re planning a trip to a fetish club any time soon, here are her tips on how to have the best night…
How to have the best night in a fetish club
A few days after going to a play club with my favourite playmate, I happened to mention that it had been one of my best clubbing nights ever. Playmate was pleased but a little startled, I thought. I’m not exactly bashful about my huge amounts of experience in the world of fetish clubbing so perhaps he thought I was just paying him a complement (and if you are reading this, dear: Yes, you are awesome and most nights out with you are fab, but that was an exceptionally good one for all sorts of reasons.)
So I started thinking again about some of the spectacularly good nights I have spent over the years, as well as a few of the less delightful ones, to see if there were any tips I could pass on to people who have either never been to a fetish club/swingers’ club/play party, or those who have tried it once or twice and not enjoyed it as much as they had hoped to. While there are no absolute guarantees, there are various things you can do to improve your chances of having a night out that’s memorable for the right reasons.
1. Do a little research
There are various websites which list clubs and events (Fetlife, Swinging Heaven etc) and also allow site users to post reviews. Not all reviews are helpful and there have certainly been incidents on the past of people indulging in petty score-settling and sock puppetry, so it’s not necessary to take all reviews as gospel. Check, for example, the date a review was posted and look at the club’s own website: see if the two tell roughly the same story or not. Discount any reviews over a year old: clubs change and adapt all the time. The information you really do need is the club’s rules, expectations and facilities. You don’t want to end up like this silly sod: “Swinger refused entry to sex festival’s three-day romp because he didn’t have references.”
2. Manage your expectations
If you rev yourself up like a toddler on Christmas Eve, thinking you will immediately be swept up in wild and wicked activities with any number of superlatively attractive people, you are likely to be disappointed. Very few clubs or parties actually look like the sort of thing you see in mainstream movies. Some venues can be a bit shabby (though that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t enjoy yourself) and some evenings can take a while to get warmed up.
Moaning about the state of the place or the other people in there will not endear you to anyone and the promoters might decide the place would be better without you if you are particularly outspoken. Also, the other clubbers will steer clear of you as no one likes a whinyarse. If you are going with a partner, make sure that both of you have similar feelings about what might happen, what you want to happen, and what will be a definite dealbreaker.
3. Look as good as you can
You don’t have to conform to the very narrow mainstream definitions of ‘attractiveness’ (young, thin, light-skinned, able-bodied, expensively dressed) to be desirable, of course – and the sort of clubs that make a lot of noise about excluding people who are not ‘young and attractive’ are generally best avoided.
However, rejecting normative beauty standards doesn’t mean turning up unwashed and sweaty, in a food-stained tracksuit, with halitosis that could fell a tree, and expecting people to welcome you anyway. Wear something that flatters you and that is also reasonably comfortable – worrying about whether a button will shoot off your shirt, or standing around in heels that are slowly removing your will to live are avoidable troubles that can wreck the greatest of nights. If there is a theme to the event, fit in with it. You can always ask for suggestions online if you aren’t a natural style icon, or have never bought fetishwear before.
4. Be nice
Smile at people, be polite and approachable and friendly. You don’t have to engage in any sexual activity or even any prolonged conversation unless you want to, but if you get a polite, friendly request or invitation that you don’t want to take up, make your refusal polite and friendly as well. And if you are the one asking, make absolutely sure that you accept a refusal with good grace, too.
5. Be prepared
It’s a good idea to have condoms, lube, wet wipes and tissues with you. And a plastic bag or nappy sack or something for disposal. Many play-heavy clubs do provide them, but not every place does and they sometimes run out. Admittedly you can have an awesome amount of fun without these things (PIV is not obligatory) but having spares can sometimes be another way of making friends.
X. The X factor
No, not the creativity-killing scam machine run by that scrotum-faced idiot on Saturday night TV, but the unpredictable, inexplicable, uncontrollable other thing that turns a night from good into great. It’s partly about the other people you find yourself sharing the space with, whether you have a date/partner with you, or whether you have arrived alone and hopeful, and yes, part of a great night in a sex/fetish/play club probably would include an orgasm or two. But it can also be a discovery you make about yourself or someone you care about; the chance to try something new and find that you love it more than you’d ever expected, or simply a feast for the senses that you’ve never previously imagined.
The core lesson I learned in all my club-reviewing years was that you can have a great night in a crap club, and a horrible night in a place where everyone else is having the time of his/her/their life. It also depends on what you bring to the party yourself.