Mistress Bardot slides into the latex nun habit, her gloved hand smoothing the veil against her cheekbone. She emerges from backstage, charmingly steps into the crowd, and greets friends who traveled thousands of miles to see her.
The Mistress begins her ascension to the stage, gracefully parting the kinky people like a sexual sea. Bardot's intuitive eyes scan the room—her beaming, cherry-painted smile hinting at secret pleasures.
She ushers a lucky redheaded schoolgirl to the fore, and enjoins her to kneel. Bardot's bouncy laugh calls attention to the naughty scene about to transpire. The crowd swells with expectation.
Welcome to the Fetish Ball.
There are dozens of fetish groups and organizations in Minnesota, some dating back as long as 40 years. According to FetLife, the global kink social network, there are nearly 12,000 registered fetish practitioners in our state. You wouldn't know it from looking at us, because the citizenry hardly wear their sexual peccadilloes on their long sleeves.
"People can be fired because they are kinky in their private life," says Susan Wright, author and policy director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. "Or they can lose custody of their children."
Wright works to dispel stereotypes and fight stigmas associated with the fetish lifestyle. Media coverage of sex is often sensationalized or made out to be a joke, Wright says, and because of antiquated laws, consenting adults with alternative lifestyles aren't protected against discrimination.
If you are adventurous enough to think up something kinky, it's probably happening in Minnesota, maybe right next door as you're reading this.
But this isn't a story about sex. It's a story about love. ...
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