A fetish party is not your average social event. If you’re going to attend (and survive) one, there’s an elaborate protocol you’re going to have to learn about before going. For example, fetish events, by and large, have dress codes you need to abide by and a sense of etiquette you have to follow in order to ensure you have a safe, fun and rewarding experience. Not to mention the fact that there are different kinds of fetish events, each of which caters to people in the fetish community who consider themselves at a particular stage in their self-discovery as a fetishist.

Fortunately, that’s where an article like this comes in handy. We’re going to explore different types of fetish parties, dispel certain myths about what goes on at these kinds of events, discuss dress codes (as well as the pros and cons of enforcing one) and, perhaps most importantly, etiquette.

In the world of BDSM, a dress code is a strictly enforced policy by which guests must dress in a manner that is erotic and/or fetishistic in order to gain entrance. The majority of fetish clubs and play parties require dress codes and enforce them for two reasons: One is to discourage people who aren’t in the fetish community from entering the event solely to ogle at the guests, and the other is to raise the event’s atmosphere by ensuring guests are dressed excitingly enough to attract attention.

Rubber, latex and leather clothing are safe bets. If you want to be more theatrical (and you can never be too over-the-top at these events), uniforms are definitely the way to go. Prison uniforms are pretty popular. Correctional officer uniforms are usually allowed, especially for men, and submissives can wear inmate uniforms. Military uniforms from any country are also allowed with the only major exception being Nazi Germany. School uniforms are also popular, with English and Japanese styles being especially popular.

Crossdressing is another surefire way to gain entrance to a fetish event and this dress code tends to be a little more flexible in that guests are typically allowed to wear more “casual wear” than they would be had they attended the event in their “natural gender.” Overtly feminine clothes like ballgowns are allowed for men, while rugged masculine clothes, like construction worker uniforms, are allowed for women.

You can also never go wrong by exposing the more erotic parts of your body. There are cases where women may partially or fully expose their breasts, though bare genitals are usually forbidden regardless of sex. Of course, keep in mind that the emphasis should always be on your clothing. There’s a fine line between exhibitionism and fetishism and showing up at a fetish event in the nude or in your underwear would certainly cross that, although most parties allow lingerie. This especially applies to the United States where zoning and liquor laws usually forbid toplessness or nudity in establishments where liquor is served.

Presumably if you’re attending a fetish party, you have some inclination of wanting to play and/or meet potential play partners. Well, just like trying to score with someone attractive you meet in a bar, there’s an elaborate ritual you must go through when meeting someone at a fetish party for the first time. First off, approach a potential playmate as a person and not as a sexual fantasy persona. Just because a person’s sexual identity may be as a Dom or a sub doesn’t negate the rest of the person. Also, you shouldn’t make assumptions about someone based on their dress. While collars are traditionally associated with subs, some Doms wear them as part of a scene outfit. Needless to say, going up to a woman in a collar (whether she’s a Dom or a sub) and saying, “On your knees” won’t make a great first impression.

Let’s address a major myth about fetish parties right now. When you approach someone, introduce yourself – not your role. When guests at a fetish event are socializing with each other, most of them are not “in scene” and, even if they are, you have no obligation to react to them as if you are in the opposite role. If you’re submissive, you are not required nor expected to be submissive to every dominant person in the room. And if you’re dominant, do not expect everyone to cower before you either. There’s a reason why it’s called “playing.” If you’re a Dom or a sub who cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy, you have no business attending a fetish party.

The concept of “no means no” also applies to fetish events. If your desire to be dominated is turned down, take no for an answer. Doing so graciously may turn that “no” into a “maybe” or even a “yes” the next time around. Even if you’re into erotic humiliation, if a dominant spurns you, go away! You certainly won’t win any friends by following them around all night. If anything, you may get thrown out by the DM (dungeon monitor). If, however, you are fortunate to find a play partner for the evening, there are some general guidelines you should follow.

One, be aware of the rules. As previously mentioned, the organizer or DM will often dictate what is and isn’t allowed. Nudity, penetration and needle and fire play usually cannot be done at public fetish parties for legal reasons. If sexual intercourse is allowed, it is preferable to conduct it in private rooms rather than in the main dungeon.

Two, be responsible. Don’t deliberately violate any laws that can affect others at a fetish party. For example, illegal drugs can lead to the owner of a fetish club having their establishment shut down or a homeowner being arrested. Don’t bring them! If alcohol is prohibited, play without it.

Three, respect the differences between the socializing and play areas. Conversations are meant to be held in the socializing room, not in the middle of an intense session of S&M. If you’re topping a sub, please be aware that laughter can sometimes be devastating to a nervous bottom. They may feel humiliated because you are laughing at them even if you’re just reacting to a joke someone told. Even worse, if they’re far gone into a scene and are in a state of euphoria, your obnoxious laughter may pull them right out of it and into dangerous territory.

Four, be respectful of your fellow fetishists. If you’re playing in a designated play area, don’t hog the place. Playing at a public or even private fetish party shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes, especially when there’s a long lineup of eager and horny fetishists waiting to get their kink on. BDSM is a physical activity that can often get very messy, what with bodily fluids and all. So when you’re done, please remember to leave the space as you initially found it and wipe off the equipment. Usually there will be alcohol or some other cleaning product and paper towels available for this purpose. Make sure to pick up your toys and get them out-of-the-way, too.

Of course, if you don’t manage to get any action whatsoever, fear not, as being a voyeur can be just as fun and rewarding. In fact, if this is your first visit to a fetish party, you may want to consider sitting it out when it comes to playing and just watch. It’s a great way to learn and, in many respects, part of the excitement for many people who do play in public. However, be aware of giving players the space they need to do their scene.

A Dom should not have to worry about bumping into someone as they prepare to whip their sub. And whatever you do, do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, get involved in a scene without prior consent from the participants involved. A person’s body and belongings deserve respect and should only be touched with consent. When a scene is over and the parties involved have had sufficient time to unwind together and regain composure, and you feel that you’re ready to approach a dominant, you may then make your move.

And there you have it! While I’ve merely scraped the surface here as far as how to survive a fetish party goes, what you’ve just read is an excellent beginner’s guide to getting out alive and having a great time doing so. When you think about it, outside of the dress code and kinky sex, a fetish party has many things in common with a vanilla one. In order to have fun, one must act accordingly with a sense of decency and respect. And if you don’t, you’re in for one hell of a spanking… and not the good kind!

  1. Dave says:

    To a point, I would say this is a relatively accurate article. However, I would say there are some inaccuracies that may give a reader a skewed view of Fetish Parties.

    Firstly, there are fetish parties where people can dress in their own particular fetish gear in a safe and non-judgmental environment. At these fetish parties there may be a “play area”, which is very much secluded from the socializing area. In that play area there may be public displays of whipping, bondage, however nothing penetrative or that which exposes the genitals. The only fluids I’ve seen are human sweat – which is dutifully cleaned off the equipment and any benches or crosses. Never have I seen other fluids such as ejaculate or urine or other body fluids nor genitals displayed at a fetish party..

    There are dedicated Play Parties which are not typically open to the public nor made known to the public except by invitation from the party’s host. At dedicated play parties the activity is of a more erotic and possibly sexual nature.

    Thus, there are essentially two types of parties, fetish parties and play parties. While at a Fetish party there may be in a secluded area displayed acts of BDSM, it is not the key element nor focus of a fetish party. Much the same is a play party. There, the main focus is of BDSM and more of a sexual nature with a socializing aspect in a different area. At a fetish party there is the event organizer who has planned and constructed the event, and there will also be 2 or more DM’s in the play area. But the DM’s answer to the event organizer. At a play party, the DM is also usually the event organizer.

    The mention “Rubber, latex and leather clothing are safe bets”. Rubber, latex – different words for the same thing. A number of attendees at these parties do dress in PVC gear. I have also seen Nazi uniforms (and quite well done) from a Wehrmacht Officer as well as an SS Officer. Fetishwear seen at parties have also included Adult Baby and even a Circus Ringmaster outfit and Furries.

    With regard to “Presumably if you’re attending a fetish party, you have some inclination of wanting to play and/or meet potential play partners.” I would very much dispute that statement. Fetish parties are a safe and respectful event creating an environment for people to socialize, dance, drink and be as anonymous as your wish all the while dressing in and displaying your own particular fetish. Never have I seen a fetish party that people go to with the inclination of wanting to play or find play partners. Albeit, yes, there are people who have gone to these parties and have o find someone they connect with. But to phrase the description of Fetish parties as a pickup place I would consider this as inaccurate.

    Having mentioned anonymity, perhaps I best explain it in slightly more detail. Fetish parties as I mentioned earlier are a safe and sane environment for people to openly display their fetish. If after the party, say a week later you see someone from the fetish party on the street and the openly recognize you, spiel and say hello. If they choose not to recognize you, respect your anonymity. No one will ask you your real name (you can give any name your choose when talking to others), no one will ask you about your family, your spouse or your work. These simple protocols create respect and trust and whatever level of anonymity that you wish.

    As for “The concept of “no means no” also applies to fetish events. If your desire to be dominated is turned down, take no for an answer.” This definitely applies if you have been invited to a Play Party. If you are at a Fetish party, it is typically not a place to seek partners for eventual play. If you do see a Dom that would wish to serve, introduce yourself politely and get to know each other based on the Dom;’s response.

    With regard to “Of course, if you don’t manage to get any action whatsoever, fear not, as being a voyeur can be just as fun and rewarding. In fact, if this is your first visit to a fetish party, you may want to consider sitting it out when it comes to playing and just watch.” Again, this creates a confusing image. Fetish parties are for openly displaying your particular fetish. Play parties are for “action”

    I hope this clears up any possible confusion. Fetish parties are for openly displaying your particular fetish. Play parties are for well, play!

  2. Cris says:

    First, I would like to say that my first impression of this article was that it was well written and helped me as a complete outsider gain a better understanding of the fetish scene, or at least so I had thought…

    However, to Dave, I’m sorry to say your comment only served to confuse me about this whole concept. First you say that fetish parties that aren’t specifically “play parties” still often have a “play room” for non-penetrative acts of BDSM (which, as I understand it, is still a form of “play”, hence the name “play room”).

    But then you say “Never have I seen a fetish party that people go to with the inclination of wanting to play or find play partners.”

    what exactly, then, is the purpose of a fetish party? and why would there be designated “play room” if nobody has the inclination to play? (incidentally I think it’s a little redundant to say “the inclination of wanting to”). But still what is the point of displaying your fetish among other fetishists? I would assume the point of a fetish party is to meet others who share fetishistic tastes similar to ones own and would want to engage in “play” relevant to those tastes – the same way that the point of a normal party is to meet others who share similar social and cultural tastes and would want to engage in social/cultural activities relevant to those tastes.

  3. DizzyDi says:

    Is everyone young at fetish parties? I have only just woken up to my instincts and im in my 40’s am i too late?

  4. LordInfidel says:

    No DizzyDi, your not too old. Down here in S.FL, we have the longest running strict dress code monthly fetish party via The Fetish Factory (www.thefetishparty.com).

    I met my wife at the very 1st one 19years ago, and we have been going to every one ever since. We are in are early 40’s and always have fun.

    Just to clear up the debate about play areas; it’s really up to the party. Some have designated areas, others have equipment around the club. There really is not a single ‘de facto’ rule for the location of play areas.

    Next up, why attend? Again, this is really up to the individual. For example, our parties are not billed as swinger parties, even though half the crowd goes that way (like my wife and I). It is what you make of it.

    If your single and want to hook up, fine. If your a couple and want to dress up and play with each other, fine. Want to play with other people, that is fine too. I met a couple (when they were newbies) about 4 years ago, and their fetish is to just dress up and people watch. They don’t play at all, get all worked up, go home and f*ck like bunnies.

    So again, the parties are what you make of it.

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