Updated: Saturday, 26th July 2014 @ 7:09am

Kinkchester: Manchester bondage lovers forced to hit out against BDSM being dismissed as 'mental illness'

Kinkchester: Manchester bondage lovers forced to hit out against BDSM being dismissed as 'mental illness'

By Jeremy Culley

Dominants, submissives and bondage obsessives, across Manchester have less than 24 hours to support a storm whipped up over the classification of their kinky bedroom habits as a mental illness.

An e-petition has been lodged against the Department of Health, arguing Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, or Sadism and Masochism (BDSM) is a sexuality, not a deficiency.

The International Classification of Diseases lists fetishism and sadomasochism as psychiatric illnesses, much to the chagrin of the BDSM community.

A late flurry of support from Manchester’s community of kinksters, usually referred to as ‘Kinkchester’, could be decisive – the BDSM scene here is second only to London’s in the UK.

BDSM has risen in prominence recently, with erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey – the fastest-selling paperback ever – heavily featuring submission and domination.

The exposure has made BDSM more acceptable than ever before, something organised ‘munches’ and kinky club nights held regularly across Manchester are testament to.

Munches refer to non-sexual social gatherings of BDSM fans – designed so more withdrawn people with exacting and unusual sexual tastes can meet like-minded individuals easily.

They began in California when some BDSM lovers met at a Santa Clara burger restaurant – leading the group to be called ‘burger munch’.

Manchester Munch – the oldest of its kind in Britain – turns 15 in February and meet on the second Saturday of each month at FAB Cafe in Portland Street.

They welcome interest from ‘general kinksters’ – of any gender, age, kink or sexual orientation – and their organiser, Cleric, is a self-confessed dominant BDSM enthusiast.

“I have set about making it the friendliest, most community-oriented kink event in the North West,” said Cleric.

“We pride ourselves on providing a warm welcome if you are new or a little nervous.”

They even have a ‘munch etiquette’, which demands participants do not treat meetings like play parties – BDSM orgies – and, somewhat cryptically, are ‘excellent to each other’.

Greater Manchester also boasts munches in Oldham, Rusholme and Bolton, with the latter’s next meeting set for January 20 at the Star and Garter pub.

Peter Rossi, who runs alternative group Manchester Spanko Munch, who mostly cater for sadomasochists, said: “Munches are a great way to meet like-minded people in a bar lounge environment.

“No play, just making new friends.”

Such gentle undertones do not reflect the entire BDSM community, however, which in Manchester alone has a sordid, sinister underbelly.

Firstly, and comparatively innocently, the club Alter Ego hosts frequent ‘lash’ nights, the next of which is this Friday.

That night has a Roman theme – and the lash team promise sexy slave girls, photographers to catch revellers in their ‘perverted finery’ and a ‘play’ area for people to create their own entertainment.

Meanwhile, a BDSM blogger, Flique the Switch, crudely asks in a post why Stockport has no organised munch as ‘surely enough pervs live there’.

A Manchester Munch twitter follower, Drew Heller, highlights the nasty side to BDSM with this self-description: “Sadist. Tea drinker. Has a penchant for sex, violence and armadillos. Fucktards and hypocrites fuck off.”

Users of Informed Consent – the UK’s chief BDSM forum – hardly come across as shy and retiring either.

A Manchester girl, Jessica Hexy Sub, reveals the submissive desires suggested in her name by saying she wants to be a ‘daddy’s little girl’.

Most sinisterly, the New Manchester Dungeon auctions off kinky, leather-clad women for online bondage lovers to salivate over, posting mobile numbers for people to ring for private appointments.

One available ‘mistress’, Salome Sin, lists among her favourite activities sissy slut training, puppy play, sploshing, spanking, humiliation and toilet training.

These latest BDSM practices – in particular those involving whips and restraints – stem from the gay leather movement which grew after the Second World War.

In the 1980s, the internet caused an explosion of interest in BDSM, with curious minds exposed to a more readily available, diverse and experimental porn industry.

Now, in this generation set to be synonymous with the Fifty Shades trilogy, BDSM is gaining more support.

Risqué high street retailer Ann Summers reported sales up 60 percent in Manchester last year, with their stocks of lingerie, erotic fancy dress and mainstream sex toys supplemented by whips, restraints, handcuffs and blindfolds.

Ebay also proves a kinkster’s paradise, stocking gags, penis rings and, most intriguingly, a £19.99 Fifty Shades start-up kit, which includes bondage rope, nipple teasers, jiggle balls, silver handcuffs and a red flogger.

The e-petition will close at 8am tomorrow morning. Were it to succeed, left-field carnal desires would acquire even more credibility.

Picture courtesy of Edmund X White, with thanks

 

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