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"BDSM Club 'The Facility' Now Open in South City"

on Tuesday, 17 May 2011. Posted in Media Updates

Riverfront Times

If you were to visit one of the newest businesses licensed to operate in St. Louis, you wouldn't see people having sex. Not that.

 

But you might see a person getting florentined: They'd be cuffed standing, facing a wall, with a person behind them wielding a pair of multi-stranded leather implements called floggers hitting them -- hard, yes -- in a pattern of interlocking ellipses. It's possible you'd see a woman bound to a pillar in the middle of the room with Saran wrap, her every curve hugged close by the cling. You might see people taking turns shocking each other with an ultraviolet wand. And you might leave with bruises on your ass that take weeks to heal -- but not if you don't ask for them.

BDSM -- which stands for bondage, discipline, submission and dominance, also known as sadomasochism -- is nothing new to St. Louis. The city has a sizable population of BDSM enthusiasts: folks who practice consensual exchanges of power or pain, or other forms of extreme physical sensation.

The news here is that these kinksters are coming out of the shadows and into your neighborhood. And that's a good thing, proponents say -- for the community, for the economy and for society at large. After all, they're already in your neighborhood. They just want to be aboveboard about it.

There are at least four groups around the city, if not more, who routinely host play parties. The parties follow strict codes of behavior: There is no sex and no nudity. Party guests compare notes on bondage techniques, pleasure and pain, and they demonstrate what they've figured out. Participants show identification at the door, and parties require guests to be of-age -- 18 years old at some parties, 21 at others.

But despite the strict rules, such gatherings have long operated in a legal gray area. One group had operated in a residential home out near the airport, drawing participants via word-of-mouth and FetLife.com, a kink-oriented social networking site. Other groups rent out halls for their parties. Some parties are hosted in back rooms of established venues like bars. All of them operate at the risk of running afoul of city codes, in terms of safety and occupancy permits. ...

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