Hundreds of events take place all over the world, celebrating sexual experimentation and bringing fetish enthusiasts together to explore and share our interests and desires.
For newbies, festivals can help to build confidence by reinforcing the ideas that kinks are not strange, that they are nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about, and that they can and should be enjoyed. Meanwhile, for the more experienced, a fetish festival is a great way to spend time with like-minded people.
So, here are five of the most famous fetish festivals across the globe today, looking at the specific fetishes they focus on, what they have to offer visitors, as well as the type of people they tend to attract.
Folsom Street Fair. Photo: Flickr/Bluepics
San Francisco's annual Folsom Street Fair is a fetish festival which takes place in September during Leather Pride Week. An outdoor event with a strong focus on leather-based fetishes and BDSM, it draws close to half a million visitors each year and is recognised as the largest leather event in the world.
The Folsom Street Fair attracts a fairly diverse range of people, including both the experienced and the curious, and is one of the rare places where attendees are able to take part in kinky activities in public on a central street in San Francisco.
Bondage and spanking displays are common sights and various sex toys and BDSM products are showcased at the fair.
Getting tied up at London Fetish Weekend. Photo: Mistress Absolute via www.londonfetishweekend.com
London Fetish Weekend sees several of the city's biggest fetish night clubs join forces to promote an annual weekend of seriously kinky fun. The weekend is suitable for couples or singles alike, however, due to the strict entry requirements of some of the clubs, it's primarily attended by experienced kinksters, and isn't as open to newbies.
Each night takes place at a different venue and the venues each have different themes and dress codes. Several venues also put on fetish workshops and special performances.
As a result, regardless of whether you're into dressing up, spanking, bondage, or electroplay, London Fetish Weekend will have something to offer you.
Also known as the German Fetish Fair & BDSM Convention, the German Fetish Ball is held annually in either Berlin or Hamburg and began back in 2003. It's the largest fetish weekend in Germany and is attended by both locals and visitors from around the globe.
Kinky beauties at the German Fetish Ball. Photo: Heinrich von Schimmer via German Fetish Ball
The weekend combines a pre-party, a fetish and BDSM exhibition and the German Fetish Ball itself. The ball includes DJs, a fashion show, drinks, dancing and erotic displays.
The dress code is also fairly open, allowing for leather, PVC, latex and various other fetish enthusiasts to get dressed up for the occasion in their own style.
Kinky Copenhagen is an annual Danish fetish festival where people are able to explore the world of BDSM and other less common kinks. Just about everything you can imagine will be featured here in some way, so if chains and whips excite you or if you're looking for something obscure, you this is the festival for you.
Aside from the BDSM and sexual fetish element, Kinky Copenhagen places a strong emphasis on body art, such as piercings, tattoos and body modification. Not only are you able to show off existing body art, but you can get work done too, making it a good place for those looking to dabble in that aspect for the first time.
An annual event hosted by the Tokyo Kink Society, the Japan Fetish Ball is a fetish festival which combines clubbing, dress up, sadomasochism and performance art, all under one especially kinky umbrella.
The ball has a very strict dress code, meaning people in street clothes will be denied entry. In addition to the latex and leather element, there is usually a strong cosplay presence, making it an ideal place to go if your tastes lean in that particular direction.
Main photo: See-Ming Lee/Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license.
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