Unchained NYC: Flogging, Spanking, and Dommes, Oh My!

feature image via heart of glassx

“I just need to hit you with this,” said the woman at the door. She held up a rubber stamp and I held out my hand. “Well, not hit you hit you. But it is that kind of party.”

As comfortable as I purport to be with sex and sexuality, I was completely nerve-wrecked walking into my first BDSM party. A bunch of the writers were supposed to do this back in June and then write about it, but life got in the way and we all had scheduling conflicts and we wound up just not going. So when Unchained NYC invited two of us to come to their BDSM party, we knew we wanted to do it.

Just a tiny bit of information here: engaging in BDSM doesn’t necessarily mean engaging in penetrative sex. While some people might label this a sex party, I’m not sure that’s an accurate description. Unchained NYC is truly a BDSM party held in a professional dungeon/studio space. It is run by three professional Dominatrixes and many more are on staff and in attendance. The emphasis here is on BDSM scenes – flogging, spanking, piercing, fire, bondage, Domme/sub play. Some of these things I’ve participated in before, some I simply don’t want to do. Either way, though, I had not previously been in a dungeon with a large group of relative strangers taking part in any of these activities. So pre-party, I was that strange mix of totally into it and totally intimidated.

I think part of my nervous excitement is that I was hoping it would be A Thing. A Big Thing. Something I could write big essays about. How it changed my point of view about sex, or how it opened my mind or changed my life or something like that. Perhaps my sex-brain was liberal enough anyways, because there weren’t really any earth shattering moments of pure sexual clarity for me. That was probably the most remarkable thing: I went to a BDSM party and things happened in front of me that tickled me, delighted me, enlightened me – but no lightning struck. I enjoyed it. It was fun and I recommend going, but the earth didn’t crack in two; further proof that BDSM scenes, however much they rely on “dark” aspects of power and personality, can be light and fun and sexy – and also, really, not all that intimidating. Basically, this party re-proved to us exactly how lovely and wonderful BDSM community members tend to be, even as they’re flogging and piercing each other.

The heat hit me when I walked through the door – the space wasn’t air conditioned and I was immediately worried that my sweat would be perceived as nervousness? Which was silly. The dungeon looked like a gallery space – sleek wood floors, pictures on the white walls, punched tin ceiling. The only difference is that this space had a 10 point suspension system and two Saint Andrew’s crosses.

Ms. Z intercepted us – she’s a professional Dominatrix, was one of the people running the party, and she was in a black corset that I don’t know how she moved around in, because I couldn’t do it. She smiled at us and welcomed us. We weren’t the only bloggers there that night, so she rounded us up and gave us a tour. “We’re going to show you how everything works,” she said, “you’re going to get to see almost all of this equipment in use.” She took us to various rooms, telling us the room names and showing off pieces of equipment. She seemed most proud of a real 1960′s era birthing chair in the medical room – it was white and hard and sterile looking. “It’s totally adjustable,” she said, visibly proud of it and excited to show it off. “You can get the angle just right. For whatever.”

The emphasis seemed to be on education and safety – and we got to see so many professional Dommes play that night. As the party heated up, most of the scenes were started by the professionals – it was nice because I knew I was seeing really solid technique and really adept check-ins. It actually gave me warm fuzzy feelings to see how often everyone checked in and how sexy they made those check-ins look. There was this one couple flogging, for instance, for what felt like a good 45 minutes – their check-ins included teasing whispers and hair pulls and happened every few minutes. The Domme had an array of instruments at her disposal – several different floggers, a crop, a whip – and stood in perfect high-heeled contrapposto, like a classic sculpture, while relishing in the selection of her next implement. She carried a towel to wipe up the blood from her sub’s back when she drew it. This scene was a constant verbal and non-verbal dialogue, a back-and-forth of power that was so clearly consensual. I felt the tension begin to ease a little bit, and this was tension I had made up in my own mind and carried in with me, mind you. The space was just so safe.

I wouldn’t have felt comfortable watching fire play from someone who wasn’t a professional, because that really has the potential to be unsafe if you don’t do it right. But see fire play demonstrated by a professional I did, and it was really pretty – the top in that scene had what seemed to be larger-sized q-tips that she dipped in something, set afire and stroked on her sub’s body. It tickled me, the way the top played with fire in one hand and nonchalantly ate a pear with the other. No big deal. Just playing with fire, here. She’d make her sub blow out the flames before lighting them again. Her sub was suspended on the St. Andrew’s cross and had a very pretty chest harness tied out of rope. Everyone was watching her. What surprised me about this scene was that there wasn’t really a look of pain, per se, on the sub’s face when the fire touched her body. It was more like concentration. Her brow furrowed, but never did she cry out and the fire left no marks at all. Never once did I, as a voyeur, get nervous. And y’all, baking with my oven makes me nervous. Again, space totally safe.

Speaking of, this space is safe for all kinds of people – both of us were super surprised, and pleasantly so, about the crazy diversity we experienced. It was an extremely racially diverse crowd with a plethora of different body types and ability statuses. And! This party is trans* friendly. One of my very favorite moments was seeing two trans * women quickly negotiate a spanking scene, pause in the middle to shake hands and introduce themselves, and then finish the scene. The sub here was dressed like she belonged on Sex and The City – little black dress, flawless eyeliner, cute heels. She kneeled on a chair while the other woman flipped her skirt up to reveal the classiest black thong that I have ever witnessed (why have all my thongs been in Barbie pink?). There were lingering red hand prints on her ass cheeks by the time they were through.

There was also diversity in the kinds of play we saw – I mentioned the fire, the flogging and the bondage. There was power play – my biggest power play warm fuzzies came from this couple I’ll call the Mistress and the house boi. The house boi spent most of their time on a leash, rubbing their Mistress’s feet and being a footstool and carrying Her purse. Both of us were just squeeing about it because they were adorable, and because we were in a space where people can find this sort of relationship cute because consent is the magic word. Toward the end of the party, the house boi found someone for their Mistress to flog – I heard them talk about it, they were just to my left. The house boi admitted to not wanting to get flogged and negotiated the scene, then put themself in time out. Time out in this case was a large cage that was also seating, and we were sitting on it to watch the flogging commence. I think part of the deal for the house boi was to watch the flogging. They were very cute about it.

It’s easy to feel intimidated by so many Pro Dommes in one space, people who are so at ease that you can’t help but feel you don’t belong in their super comfortable space of easiness and sexiness. But the thing is, you do. You do belong in this space. If I had to do it over again, we would have jumped right in and talked to even more people, asked even more questions. Because it’s all okay.

Ms. Alicia, another of the Pro Dommes running the party, actually said the words,

“The Pro-Dommes don’t mind being asked questions, giving safety tips, and will generally play with anyone that’s interested. The professionals were opening the door and inviting others to watch and learn while they were enjoying it. This event is intended for people with any skill level to either observe, learn, join in, find a play partner, meet fellow kinksters and like-minded individuals, be entertained with some eye candy, expand your sexual appetite, or have a wild night.”

So be comfortable doing at this party exactly what you want to do – there’s no pressure to play, or to be the most wild or most knowledgeable or really anything at all. If you go to this party, just do you. Whatever you want to do, as long as it’s safe, sane and consensual. Ask questions. Go only as a voyeur, if you like. Ms. Z and Ms. Alicia were everywhere. They were watching, checking in with those in scenes, answering questions and making sure everything was awesome. We were amazed at how well run this party was. Beginners did start to play, people did start to talk more. All in a no-pressure environment.

We left about an hour before the party ended, super happy, and super ready to recommend Unchained NYC.

Afterwards, we talked about it. We talked over every little detail. We must have talked, emailed and texted about it for a solid 24 hours, drifting to other topics, but always coming back to this experience we had just shared. I’m an idiot – I was always trying to bring it back to how we were going to write the article, what Things We Were Going To Impart to readers. But the other writer? She’s much better at this. She allowed herself to be delighted by some of the things she saw, by some of the things she felt. I think maybe she’s a better human than I am. I guess the point of that is that it’s more fun to go with another person, if you can. It’s not just about the space or the Dommes or the scenes that were played. It’s about the person you went with and the shared experience. The important part of an event like this is getting to talk about the dynamics, the skills, the atmosphere. No matter who you go with, it’s the community aspect that stands out the most – the interpersonal connection of it all.

So go, if you like, and remain open to experiences. If this is something you ever thought you’d want to do, it’s the perfect place to explore. Leave your anxiety at the door and be present. Grab a friend, talk about it, meet new people. I don’t think you’ll regret it.


The next Unchained NYC takes place on September 7, 10pm-4am, hosted by Alicia, Zeriah, & Ariana Chevalier. It’s BYOB, which we really missed out on (would’ve loved a glass of red wine to go with our voyeurism). It is also BYOT (bring your own toys). Sexy snacks, like pears and strawberries, will be served, along with water. $20 cover, RSVP for guaranteed entry. Dress code: all-black and/or BDSM-inspired outfits. You can find Unchained NYC on Fetlife.

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7 Comments

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    There was a similar party near me and it was fantastic! FetLife, at least in my experience, doesn’t have the same inclusion though. I also got hit on by a creepy amount of guys. If FetLife had the OKC “Hide me from straight people” option, I’d sign up again in a heartbeat.

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