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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Jul 8th, 2021

Checking in on live in-person kink events in our ‘new’ normal, slightly less locked-down world

Having taught at and attended (I do endeavor to do all I can to research effectively for you, my gentle reader), I can speak on the ins-and-outs of suburban ‘munches,’ local make-shift lifestyler meet-ups, and balls-to-the-wall (in more ways than one) long weekend kink conventions…and the wonderful folks I have met who populate them. As of the past year, though, I have been wondering about where/when and how kinksters, at the local, national, and even global level, are going to get back to their naughtiness (if they will at all), so I checked in with some folks I knew who would have a good perspective on the future of kink groups, players, and BDSM culture in general.

Declaring their primary purpose as to “support and educate individuals involved in alternative lifestyles,” the STL3 group out of St. Louis manages two events each year, “Beat Me In St. Louis” and the wonderfully named “Spanksgiving.” I attended two of their “Beat Me’s” two years in a row to teach some classes and found the people who populated the conventions just super cool and the organization runs like clockwork. Jennica St Louis has been the Even Chairperson for STL3 since 2019 and is working hard now to get the organization back into its events as seamlessly as possible.

“I recall in March 2020, a week before our Spring Beat Me in St Louis conference was scheduled to begin,” she started to regale me when I asked her how the shutdown began for her group. “As we watched the increasing numbers of infected and deaths rise each day, we knew that cancellation was the only possible decision. Naturally, we had no idea it would be over a year before we could schedule the next event. ”

Luckily though, Jennica reported that STL3’s 2019 Spanksgiving was so very successful, it net her group “record-breaking profit margins.” This enabled STL3 to financially weather the pandemic even with the canceling of events through 2020. Furthering from this, the STL3 organizers were able to offer a unique perk to their attendees.

“We offered full refunds for the events that had been planned, that people bought tickets for, but that we all then knew were not going to happen,” she added. “Attendees could take another option and keep their ticked credit, and in doing so, we offered them perks for when the events opened up; they’d be kept at the front of the line for event hotel rooms (our rooms sell out very quickly, so having a room at the hotel hosting the event is a real perk!) as well as when registration opened for Beat Me in St Louis 2021, we’d allow them to redeem their credit and gave them a week to register for the event ahead of everyone else as a way to thank them for supporting.”

A large percentage of STL3’s attendees held onto their event credits (yes, St. Louis kinksters are a loyal bunch!), and STL3’s events are returning as strong as ever.

Podcaster/writer and sex therapist Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey offered me a socio-cultural opinion about where things could be heading. The ‘good doctor’ Lori opines:

“With plenty of folks still violently afraid of catching COVID-19, plus plenty of other diseases, there will be a whole host of folks who will remain very skittish about getting out and about. Then again, there might be a whole faction of folks—and we are already seeing this, aren’t we?—who are aching to get out and about, explore their sexual desires and answer their needs with a flesh and blood human.”

What Dr. Lori goes on to further suggest, and something I have heard from more than one quarter, is that a more modern positive outcome to all we have recently been through (or at least an outcome that gives anyone, skittish or otherwise more options) might be a ‘hybrid’ model to get-together’s, with folks participating across Zoom and the like as well as in person. Adding to this thought Dr. Lori explains “…because people have now enjoyed participating in different ways, especially with the naughty stuff, they know they can stay anonymous and still take part and interact which they cannot do in the face to face world.”

Lastly, smut author and kink teacher M. Christian weighed in. Having been to plenty of conventions, both as an attendee, but usually as a teacher (giving forth his expertise in everything from Tit Torture to Safe Bondage) Chris’s view on the future of kink hangs comes down to just the simple equation I have also been wondering . “Post-COVID kink events will either be low-key or OUTRAGEOUS. Or, more than likely, a mix of the two.”

I agree with Chris that when it comes to our sexuality in these post-Covid times, as we have always done when facing new paradigms, we will probably swing our moral pendulums for wide cuts, measuring the many differences between the pretty boring and the absolutely wild.

I guess all we can do is stay tuned…and get those paddles oiled.

Here’s where you can find the people and organizations mentioned above:

STL3: https://stl3.com/

Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey@ drloribethbisbey.com

Author M. Christian@ Amazon.com: M. Christian: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

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Checking in on live in-person kink events in our ‘new’ normal, slightly less locked-down world