From hanging out with the British swinger crowd in the beautiful Forest of Dean, to getting leathered in San Francisco at the Folsom Street Fair, there are enough sex-friendly Fetish Festivals to keep us kinky people on a year long road trip. If you can’t dedicate an entire year to hedonistic pleasures, why not take a few days instead and pay a visit to one of these eccentric, sexy and self assured events. The chance of a sizzling holiday romance is high, but organisers aren’t just running a mass booty call. These happenings are an eclectic blend of art, music, fashion and culture, designed to promote and celebrate a happy, healthy, sexual lifestyle.
Swingfields has become a source of outrage to the locals who live around its idyllic forest location, so that’s probably a good sign for the rest of us. The organisers bill it as a lifestyle event, but it’s clear that sex is very much on the agenda; woman are charged less to attend and there’s even a behaviour guide for single guys to read. If tent based romance isn’t your thing, inside they provide a chill out area that’s full of comfy seating, soft lights and ambient sounds. When you’re ready for a break, there are plenty of trade stalls, bands and live performances to explore in the summer sun. The next Swingfields runs from Thursday 30 June 2016 at 12:00, to Sunday 3 July 2016 at 14:00.
In a town where selling sex is completely legal, it’s not surprising to find one of the world’s hottest fetish festivals. Sex workers, porn stars, body modifiers and branding experts all rock up to town and Copenhagen becomes packed with open minded party-animals who just want to have a good time. This is the perfect starting point for people who are curious about the fetish lifestyle because it’s such an open community event, you can choose to join in or be an observer, nobody cares. Kinky Copenhagen happens in early July every year, but next year’s dates are not yet confirmed.
If you’re up for finding out more about S&M from an intellectual point of view, there’s a fetish festival for that. Here in Finland they bus in a load of professors from nearby universities to lecture kinky people on sex and sexuality, but it’s not all about note taking. You have access to virtually every sex toy on the market right now at the brilliant market place and naturally, at night the real bad stuff begins. All kinds of artists and performers get their freak out on stage and give the audience the ride of their lives. Kutemajrvi Sex Festival takes place in July, but the dates for 2016 are not yet confirmed.
The Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, Vancouver, Canada
Glitter, gloves, stockings and basques take over Vancouver for a few days every spring as the BDSM burlesque show of a lifetime shimmies its way to the Vogue Theatre. This is less a sex festival and more a raucous, showy celebration of performance and glamour, cementing the city’s historic reputation as a striptease mecca. Along the seafront there’s also music, delicious food and the chance to try out your moves in a beginners strip class, so don’t forget to pack your best nipple tassels. The Vancouver International Burlesque Festival will be announcing their 2016 dates soon, so watch their website for details.
Forget the hippy reputation of its hometown; the Folsom Street Fair is more like Haight Ashbury’s evil, raving twin. Leather, spankings and domination are all on the menu for festival goers, as 400,000 S&M enthusiasts monopolise thirteen city blocks. As well as all the usual festival events, serious disco bunnies rush to get their hands on the coveted Bay of Pigs night tickets, a sadomasochistic dance event that blasts out tunes till the early hours and quickly fills up with hot, sweaty bondage bodies. Various Folsom Street Fair events run between July and September, every year.
Although Japan has a reputation for concealing its kinky habits, in one town at least they’re more than happy to share. Since the 1600’s local sex workers have visited the Kanayama Shrine to pray for protection against STD’s, but more recently everyone else has decided they want in. Men and women dress up in kimonos to line the streets, licking penis-shaped lollipops and wearing penis-shaped hats. The climax of the festival is a rowdy parade, which winds its way through the streets and culminates in a (penis- shaped) radish carving competition. The Festival of the Steel Phallus is held on the first Sunday of every April.
Most Fetish Festivals can tend to favour the female form, so if you’re ready for more penis worship, head over to the increasingly popular Phallus Festival in Tyrnavos, Greece. In a tradition that’s at least 100 years old, on the first Monday of Great Lent everything in this small town becomes fixated on the form, shape and pleasures of the penis. The shops are filled with penis shaped foods, the locals sing bawdy folk songs and ‘fishermen’ dangle their phallic hooks into the excited crowd hoping for a catch. In 2016 the Phallus Festival will be held on March 14th.
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