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Meet the new wave of London sex parties and events

Meet the new wave of London sex parties and events

In any city, discovering likeminded people who enjoy expressing their sexuality differently is, to put it mildly, a challenge. It will always be thus, sadly, but some people are working hard right now to encourage others to try something new.

Blame Londoners hanging out in Berlin, bloody ‘Fifty Shades’, or just old-fashioned, lip-biting curiosity, but there’s been a palpable explosion lately in interest in kink, fetish, non-monogamy and parties that are proudly inclusive of all genders and profoundly sex-positive.

Decoding it all without a sexual sherpa is sometimes daunting, so we spoke to the people behind three of London’s newer and cooler parties and meet-ups to learn the ins and outs... 

Alex aka Kiwi, who runs Crossbreed

Tell us about Crossbreed?
‘Crossbreed is a collaborative, a kink-positive record label and a rave.’

What will happen on the night?
‘We have three rooms. One is a dancefloor – I’ll be DJing with Mr Ties all night. One is a wellness sanctuary – an escape from the noise to decompress and have a cup of tea should you need it. And one is a furnished playroom.’

What’s a furnished playroom?
‘On the scene, people would refer to it as a “dungeon” or a “darkroom”, but I’m trying to move past some of these words. The word “dungeon” doesn’t sound that appealing and plays off some old-school fetish stereotypes where everything is a bit medieval. Also, darkrooms haven’t always historically been the safest of spaces. It’s a room separate from the main club, with fetish furniture [items designed specifically for sex acts, such as tying and spanking], that is safe for you to play in and explore. Play can be anything from a cheeky snog to spanking, or having sex. Around 30 friends of Crossbreed, all experienced members of the London scene, will be wearing armbands and are super-approachable. They’re there to make sure everyone is playing safely and consensually.’

Why did you start Crossbreed?
‘It was the lack of a bridge between the London fetish scene (which is actually quite inaccessible to people) and the London clubbing scene. In Berlin, the two just go hand in hand.’

Why do you think the London fetish scene is so inaccessible?
‘British prudishness, maybe? I think we’re quite closeted around the idea of fetish and kink, especially around discussing it publicly. London has one of the biggest fetish scenes in the world, yet you hear hardly anything about it. If you do the digging, IT’S HUGE. I’ve never met so many open, accepting and welcoming people in my life.’

How can people attend? Is it open to all?
‘Yes. Be aware, though, that we vet people at the door, and that continues throughout the venue. Staff will remove anyone not acting appropriately.’

What’s an example of ‘inappropriate’?
‘Something as simple as trying to chat someone up on the dancefloor. No means no. Always. “Maybe later” or  “I’m not sure” also means no. Read the body language and don’t be a dick.’

And what’s in the dress code exactly?
‘We want people to step out of the realms of social conformity, to be brave and feel safe doing so. It becomes a uniform, and everyone is in it together. If you can get on a bus, and not shock the majority of people, you probably
won’t get in.’

Crossbreed is at The Cause in Tottenham on Fri Sep 27. Visit www.crossbreedworld.com for more info.

Sophie, who runs Risqué

What’s the simplest way to explain Risqué?
‘Risqué is a monthly event for people to make new friends and lovers. It’s often on a Friday night from 8pm to 1.30am and usually has 69 guests. It is members only, which means that guests are all members of LVRSNFRNDS, our community, or members’ club, if you prefer.’

The site describes it as a place for ‘non-monogamous people’. For the uninitiated, is that the same as polyamory?
‘No. Polyamory is a subcategory of non-monogamy, which is the umbrella term for relationships that don’t strictly respect the standards of monogamy. Like many binaries, I don’t find the monogamy/non-monogamy binary relevant. This is why I describe Risqué as a place for people questioning everything in love, sex and relationships.’

What inspired you to start it?
‘My husband Samy and I started questioning the traditional relationship narrative very, very early on – only a few days after we started dating! We were living in Paris and experimented a lot. But what was frustrating was that the channels to meet likeminded people weren’t there. They were all just copycats of classic dating apps like Match or Tinder.’

How can people attend?
‘You need to apply to join LVRSNFRNDS. There is a quick questionnaire and then a 15-minute video interview with me. If you’re referred by a member you get to jump the queue to book the video chat.’

Do you ever host any related events?
‘Well, we hosted an anti-Brexit orgy on March 29 [the original date of Brexit}. It was called F**k Brexit. A few members were asking that I host a play party. I gave it some thought and realised how cosmopolitan our community is and one day realised F**k Brexit would be loads of people from the EU in the UK fucking one another! It was a beautiful party. More than 120 members showed up in the “robes and underwear” dress code. It was all about chats, dance moves and love. We fucked Brexit, for real.’

Learn more at www.lvrsnfrnds.com.

Karolina, who runs The Red Munch

What is The Red Munch? 
‘The Red Munch is a monthly social gathering for people interested in getting involved with BDSM [Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism] – to help them become more comfortable, share advice, make friends or even meet future partners.’ 

What happens at a munch? 
‘We simply gather in a private bar in central London, share some drinks and food, and socialise. It’s very similar to a networking event or casual drinks at the pub with your friends, except you’re encouraged to talk to strangers without it being weird, as you already have something in common!’

What inspired you to start it?
‘We all met at Klub Verboten almost a year ago and continued to attend other local fetish events. We were really lucky to meet amazing people at various munches and parties so we wanted to give back

What happens at a munch?
‘We simply gather in a private bar in central London, share some drinks and food, and socialise. It’s very similar to a networking event or casual drinks at the pub with your friends, except you’re encouraged to talk to strangers without it being weird, as you already have something in common!’

What inspired you to start it?
‘We all met at Klub Verboten almost a year ago and continued to attend other local fetish events. We were really lucky to meet amazing people at various munches and parties so we wanted to give back to the community by running our own event. Speaking from my own experience, it can be quite stressful to go to a munch if you’re shy, introverted, experience social anxiety or don’t know anyone on the scene. Our goal was to create a small event with a friendly atmosphere where people could be themselves and feel comfortable.’

How can people attend?
‘At the moment the easiest way to attend is to find us on FetLife [a social network for fetish lovers] and join one of the upcoming events listed on our profile. We then review the list and send invitations via a direct message. It’s an invite-only event so it is not open to all. Our venue has limited capacity so we prefer to keep it low-key.’

People tend to think that the internet has killed off the idea of ‘scenes’. How strong London’s fetish scene, though?
‘I could not disagree more! The internet helps people connect all the time.  I’m from a conservative, Christian country where there is no scene, really. When you attend fetish events outside of London, or talk to people from different places around the world, you realise Londoners are really lucky! There is a munch almost every other day (and every one of them has decent attendance), a handful of club parties to choose from, dungeons to hire, a full-time shibari [a form of bondage involving ropes tied in intricate patterns] studio, a few fetish markets and boutiques, and even a porn film festival. I mean, where else if not in London or Berlin?’

Are there any hard aspects to running a munch?
‘Not really, apart from a few landlords who aren’t keen on us hosting them. But it’s worth it: the people we meet are absolutely amazing. We all understand that we’re a little weird (not to be confused with creepy) and we’re there to stand [up] for each other. Just because something is not socially accepted, [that] doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Everyone could learn a lot about respect, tolerance, consent, sexual health and making your sex life more interesting from the BDSM community.’ 

Find The Red Munch on www.fetlife.com.

Read more about sex in London right here baby.   

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