This guide is meant to not only demystify the world of fetish and provide some basic rules so you don’t commit any fetish faux pas.
Montreal Fetish Weekend gets a lot of hype and attracts international visitors from as far away as Brazil and the Czech Republic. Fetish activities in the city include dinner soirees and The Latex Ball, but a highlight of Montreal’s Fetish Weekend is certainly the photo safari, which this year started at 2pm sharp at Hotel des Gouverneurs.
This year’s Fetish Fest showcased models in fabulous costumes, rarely seen in the light of day let alone all together, decorated with complementary and alternating urban backdrops that attracted three times as many people as last year. The photo safari had photographers dashing up and down escalators to get the best angle and shot, flashing left and right, drawing even moooore attention from non-Fetish-Festers.
Costumes at the photo safari had a huge range including the more obvious leather-clad, laced-up, dominatrix-style and occasional diaper wear. While some suits were elaborate including a Little Bo Pantless Peep, Elvis’, anime women and women of extreme proportions, others were superheroes of various sorts, jesters, horses (including horse hoof shoes that sound identical to a horse walking!), men with vampire teeth and many more. It’s strange because at an event where sexy and extreme costume is the norm, the couple whose fetish was wearing professional baseball uniforms seemed to stand out.
[box type=”info”]Fantasy Fun Fact #2: Fetish wear is everything in this culture. There is a fashion element to it and you may receive compliments but more importantly it is used to help you to enter into the fantasy.[/box]
When surrounded by a sea of latex fantasy and beyond, the underground element of sexiness emerges through a lens of non-prejudice that is essential. One may initially believe Fetish Fest is merely a celebration of sexual temptations and shiny materials, but as a group of transvestites from New York explained to me “This is about much more than sex, this is an expression of who we are and certainly a way that people empower themselves.” Indeed the expression is grand and the element of freedom is felt through that.
As WATS stopped to speak to a human vibrator named Shawn aka Vibrato (No kidding check it out: vibratosfetishworld.com), post full-body vibration hug, he warmly explained that playing safe is one of the most important aspects of fetish: “It’s important to have safe words and even slow-down words. We have a motto in the fetish world which is safe, sane and consensual.” Fetish culture seemed very safe and familiar to those within it. It was both sexy and alive.
Following the 2013 Fetish photo safari, our friend Phil who has worked for Montreal Fetish Weekend for the last seven years, got WATS into the VIP Exclusive event Night of Masks to get a better understanding of what the culture is all about. Everyone has an idea of what happens at Fetish parties, but WATS wanted to uncover a better understanding of the do’s, don’ts and hey why nots? Especially because for obvious reasons no camera’s, cellphones or visual recording devices of any kind are permitted (thats important!).
Some do-nots upfront: Before walking through an area observe the space before entering it. The conference floor of Fetish weekend’s host hotel (Hotel des Gouverneurs) was dedicated to the Night of Masks event and included three large rooms attached to one another that had been completely transformed. There were many fetishes taking place in one area or another around the not well-lit conference space. Being aware means everything from not stepping on a person in a vacuum bag to just simply not breaking up an eye-contact connection that two people may be making. Fetish for some is entirely about having a moment pretending to be completely in a fantasy and any distraction could interrupt whatever scene is being played.
Fantasy role play, both submissive and dominant, certainly takes place, but as Phil explained, some people are there simply for the pleasure of different sensations. Spanking and slapping, we learned, are good examples of this. In the fetish world spanking takes place with a variety of props including flogs, whips and wooden planks (finally just got the band Flogging Molly’s name, duh!). Some of the flogs make a louder noise than others while not creating any more pain, its just the noise that is meant to intimidate. Before use it is important that the area of skin being slapped has been properly warmed up. This includes soft fast slaps around the area broadly at first to get the blood vessels active. Afterwards the body is ready for a slow and sexy beating that we were told actually releases endorphins; hence, its a thing!
Following a spanking observation we moved onto something sensational in its raison d’etre: The Vacuum Bed. This bed is a vacuum body bag, designed for restriction sensation and looks like a long black rubber rectangle laying on the floor. It was difficult for some to get out of their fetish costumes and into the bag, having to take off everything including jewelry because of how tight the vacuum seal on the bag can be. Once laying down inside, the participant has a tube to breathe from and complete supervision and constant intervals to check for safety and sanity. Around the third interval they are zipped in at the top and most of the air is sucked from the rubber-like textured body bag. As this happens an intimate imprint of the person’s latex-suctioned body becomes completely visible from the outside as their skin is squeezed tightly to their body. According to Phil “it’s the idea that you’re restricted and then free again, its the joy of being released from a cocoon like a butterfly… inside the vacuum bed someone is touching you and it excites you, but you can’t do anything about it..which is the joy in it. Sensation play can go really far.” Of course the participant makes their own rules before going in as to what they would like to experience from the outside and they can even decide to keep their head out of the bag. This station, if you will, seemed for the sexually submissive who are not claustrophobic and know their limits and can say them clearly.
When engaging with people at a fetish party communication is key. Vibrato explained that he may even ask someone if they are allergic to latex or have a pacemaker before engaging with them. In the event of the bodybag one has to be aware of their own limits, even drinking is a factor when experimenting. In the event of spanking the submissive one has to be clear if they are no longer enjoying what they’re experiencing and the dominant one must also be aware of the other person’s energy. Of course there is a dialogue that suggests pain and suffering is part of the pleasure in this particular fetish expression, but Phil explains its much more intuitive and of course communication is what is most important, but these are also good scenarios to have the safety word or signal.
While there were a number of sub/dom related fetish expressions in action around the three rooms it was much more colourful than black latex. It could take shape as a kitten and her master, a man who likes to be babied or simply a mid-century lace-dressed couple where one has blindfolded the other.
If you want to take a dive into your first fetish experience while not actually playing that is perfectly acceptable with strict no-prejudice respect and mandatory dress-up conditions. There is no pressure to participate and observation is as much a part of the culture as the rest of it. At the Night of Masks event there was a bar area with music where people were just dancing and talking and there was a feature bondage show (Ms Mari and Karen) that was just for spectators. Like Phil said “You try to always observe and accept, like ok people like that.” But if you do want to be more than a fly on the wall don’t be intimidated by costume, connect with someone using your eyes or approach the apparatus that turns you on and have fun with it. The most important thing that was repeated over and over was that its about what feels good to YOU.
For more information about Montreal Fetish Weekend go to: http://fetishweekend.com
For more information about Fetish events nearby and around the world go to: https://fetlife.com or http://www.fetbook.it