Serving Arizona State University Online Since 1995  Current Issue: Thursday, February 16, 2006





Bondage: Whip it Good

Our reporter braves the Fetish Revolution -- whips and chains included.

 by Zachary Richter
 published on Thursday, February 16, 2006


Entering The Sets on Feb. 11, was like entering a different world. A world filled with women wrapped in skin-tight leather and businessmen in perfect business attire -- sans pants. A world where pain and pleasure are one and you can buy a real spear for just $25.

This is the world of Fetish Revolution 6: A Night at the Fetish Spa. Approximately 600 people attended this event featuring performances such as erotic fire dancing, and demonstrations of numerous different fetishes ---- think lots of ropes and whips.

Besides performances, Fetish Revolution 6 featured vendors for every fetish imaginable. Knives and swords, sold as toys not weapons, were for sale as was a large variety of bondage furniture. Many guests also tried out or purchased whips and ridding crops.

The Ball also featured a spa area where thrill-seeking fetishists were bound by ropes, given erotic massages, and beaten by their leather-clad peers.

Fetish Ball organizer Mark Palmer says that these events help people get to know one another.

"Part of this is networking," Palmer says. "We are trying to build a [fetish] community."

As I walked around The Sets, I couldn't help but think that Palmer had already succeeded. All around me people were shouting "hellos" and exchanging hugs. To me it seemed that these people were already part of one big kinky family.

Not everyone in attendance was an old hand at the fetish lifestyle. I walked into the spa area to find novice Bill Mason whipping a spa worker. I talked to him after the experience and he was pleased with what he had done.

"I've never whipped anyone before," says Mason. "This is my first Fetish Ball and I am having a great time."

Practically everywhere I looked people were getting their kink on with whips. Bending over chairs, standing near the vendor stalls and strapped into various types of bondage furniture, men and women both eagerly awaited the caress of the whip.

I was curious how anyone could enjoy being whipped, so I placed myself in spa worker Michelle McLeskey's hands. She lead me by my press pass to an empty chair sat me down and blindfolded me.

"Sensory deprivation increases the other senses," says McLeskey, straddling my lap.

My sense of touch was certainly increased and I felt McLeskey shift her weight as she began to rub the whip handle across my legs.

"Tickling an area increases its sensitivity," McLeskey says as she brings the handle down with a dull thud against my thigh.

Before I have time to think about the pain, the whip handle slowly moved up my body and suddenly I couldn't breathe. Apparently choking is popular with some people as well.

While I didn't enjoy the pain, the overall experience was interesting. I could feel the heat of McLeskey's body, and could smell a mix of sweat and perfume as I waited to see what would happen next.

After more mild beating, the blindfold was removed and I was released with a kiss on the cheek. The room came back into focus, a cacophony of light and sound after the sensory deprivation I had just experienced.

Even if pain isn't your idea of a good time, it is hard to ignore the intense rush that being in a sadomasochistic situation creates.

Having now experienced a taste of the fetish lifestyle firsthand, I wondered how people incorporate it in their everyday lives. Jason Connell, a prominent member of the fetish community, told me that he has whips hanging on the walls in his bedroom.

"But I don't flaunt it," Connell says. "There are times when it is appropriate and times when it's not. I don't walk my wife around in a choker in front of her parents."

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