Article in Metro New York–

New York’s bondage scene: More than mommy porn fodder

New York’s fetish sex scene is very much alive and well.



Published: August 15, 2012 7:40 p.m.

Last modified: August 15, 2012 8:35 p.m.

After the sensational story of a hot-blooded break-up between a young Manhattan sex slave and her high-powered CEO master — coupled with the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” — a curiosity is emerging for New York City’s underground fetish world.

And it’s prompting those who live it to speak out.

The city plays host to dozens of sex clubs, both public and private, visited by thousands of people looking to quench their sexual desires. Though the mainstream perception of BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, masochism) and S&M (sadomasochism) is a sexual free-for-all, those who practice it say a relationship formed within these communities is just like any other.

“People fail to realize that BDSM is just a microcosm of the population as a whole,” Guy Sanders, spokesperson for The Eulenspiegel Society, a BDSM education and support group, told Metro. “It’s kind of like how being gay was years ago. Because people have formulated their own opinions about you and what you are, it’s not prudent to allow your sexual history to come out.”

And many more Americans have engaged in some type of BDSM sex play than one may realize: According to the 1993 Janus Report on Sexual Behavior, 14 percent of men and 11 percent of women in the U.S. have experienced a sado-masochist sexual experience.

But don’t expect those involved in such relationships to be very forthcoming about it. The stigma that surrounds alternative sexuality makes many of those who practice it keep it under wraps.

“One in three people who are kinky are persecuted. That could be losing a job or losing child custody to having troubles with your family,” Susan Wright from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom said.

And she applauds books like the “Fifty Shades” for making bondage sex more accepted — or at least, easier to experiment with.

“[Fifty Shades] has been wonderful publicity for the BDSM community,” Wright said. “I’m hoping … that it will become tolerated that people have kinky elements to their sexual relationships.”

BDSM and S&M relationships can be monogamous or polyamorous, meaning couples either swing together or both partners share other lovers. And insiders said plenty of solid relationships and marriages exist among community members.

“It’s not all whips and chains and sleeping around,” Sanders said, “There is a love and commitment in these relationships.”

Bondage break-up in the spotlight

In a real-life “Fifty Shades of Grey” scenario, Frankie Santiago, 27, submitted to daily whippings from her 53-year-old lover, Edward Sonderling.

That is, until Santiago discovered that Sonderling had recruited a new apprentice to replace her and, in response, sent him more than 40 text messages over a 12-day period. She was arrested Monday and charged with stalking, according to the Post.

BDSM-based relationships are not immune to jealousy or messy break-ups, but bondage community members say they hope the media attention to this case will combat stigma.

“I don’t see any difference between the vanilla community and this community in terms of what people are looking for, or in terms of whether or not you’re stable,” said Mazie, a Staten Island-based fetish community member.

Inside New York City’s BDSM scene

BDSM community member Mazie compared S&M to a runner’s high, saying it’s “euphoria that results from a chemical release in the brain from dealing with something that hurts.”

The city has dozens of outlets for people looking to get kinky. The Eulenspiegel Society, a BDSM education and support group, hosts events from lingerie parties to workshops on using needles for sexual pleasure.

BDSM activities could include blindfolding, handcuffing, biting, interrogation, spanking, suspension, role playing or “fear play,” where one partner exploits the other partner’s fear or phobia.

“Nobody does anything more than the other person wants done,” Sanders said.

Fetish-seekers also find each other at private parties hosted at homes or clubs like Paddles on West 26th St. The New York Bondage Club hosts weekly events for men that include dungeons, bondage tables and tension hoist ropes. Novices and experts are invited to “play or watch” to experience “pleasure or pain.”


Frankie Santiago & Edward Sonderling: Real life ‘Fifty Shades’ goes horribly wrong

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