Opinion

Kink - And Where To Find It In London

By Elf Lyons Last edited 11 months ago
Kink - And Where To Find It In London

Elf Lyons, star of sex comedy The Misandrist, tells us why kink is the most normal thing in the world — and where to find it in London. Many of the links in this article are NSFW. Obvs.

A young woman stands over a young man with his legs in the air - a saucy neon sign in the background
Ely Lyons cherrypicks her favourite kink clubs in London.

London is a beautiful kinky city.

One of my favourite games to play on the tube is to work out what everyone's 'kinks' are. Who is into feet? Who is a pegging machine? Who is a loving little vanilla who loves sex 'god's way'? No doubt the truth is surprising. What may be more surprising is that all these kinks and styles of sexual pleasure are normal.

What does normal sex mean? Normal means 'usual, typical or expected'. In that regard, normal sex should stand for 'consensual, communicative, and pleasurable for all those involved'. Whether that means you like to be whipped, blindfolded, and massaged solidly for an hour, or there's 10 of you in a cage covering one another in yoghurt and dancing to Simply Red. As long as the safe words are clear, the intentions are honest and everyone has checked in — that should be what we consider 'normal' in a sexual relationship.

A mask, whip and handcuff on red velvet
"Whether that means you like to be whipped, blindfolded, and massaged solidly for an hour, or there's 10 of you in a cage covering one another in yoghurt and dancing to Simply Red, that's OK.'" Image: iStock/Moussa81

To many though, 'normal' when applied to sex means heteronormative, missionary, and boring. Anything outside of that is deemed perverse and often comes alongside an image of a gimp suit, a full moon and slaying a goat before conversing with the devil. In The Misandrist, we explore the misconceptions behind having a 'normal sexual relationship'. This is what intrigued me about the play — the misrepresentation of kink and the more 'subversive' ways of achieving pleasure, alongside how rediscovering how we achieve orgasm may challenge our perceptions of gender roles and the 'power dynamic' within a relationship.

Elf and her male co star celebrate on stage in an explosion of golden ticker tape
" I have learned a huge amount and been introduced to spaces that encourage healthy and joyful attitudes towards sexuality."

Through having an eclectic and beautiful collection of friends who are part of the kink scene, I have learned a huge amount and been introduced to spaces that encourage healthy and joyful attitudes towards sexuality. They have educated me. Regardless of your own sexual preferences, these places should be celebrated and protected as part of London's healthy and vibrant nightlife. They are redefining what it means to have healthy 'normal' sexual relationships with our own bodies and other people's. These places are not just clubs that resemble the Master's den from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but vary from gyms, private venues, pubs, to cool east London warehouses.

Where to seek kink in London - Elf's recommendations

Having been guest at some of these places alongside my kinkster friends, here are the places I would recommend as being friendly, fun, and safe for anyone keen to inquire into the world of kink:

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If you are a femme/queer who wants to make friends, places like Quench and Slut Social are the places to go. Quench is a queer rave which hosts socials where you can get to know people, while Slut Social celebrates sex positivity and hosts socials, afternoon panel discussions, weekend workshops and small parties. There's also One Night Parties, which host events exclusively for women and non-binary people to explore their femininity.

If you are looking for something that pays homage to your days studying DofE (or perhaps you were a sailor in your past life with a fisherman's knowledge of knots), then try Anatomie, a 'consent focused venue' for learning and practising shibari. They do educational and practise sessions every week and you can go solo, with a partner or a friend.

Joyride hosts parties on the kinkiest day of the week… Sunday. Centred on the values of 'joy, freedom and deviance', it's a late afternoon affair, so you can have your brunch before you get your latex on. There is no obligation to get sexy with others, you can simply slut drop like I did to the 'sexy whale music' and bond with other free-thinking happy strangers.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other events like these, and within such spaces you can build your own communities. But regardless of what you are into, whether you are married, monog, asexual, ENM or single and newly social, there is a space for you to meet other non-judgemental individuals. Crucially, there is no pressure to step up your sex game. You are not boring. You are not abnormal. The coolest, best sex is the sex you are having with your partner(s) when it is open and honest. If you are doing that, I am happy for you!

Elf Lyons appears as Rachel in The Misandrist, a penetrating new comedy about the quest for true intimacy, sexual equality, and top-notch Tupperware, playing at The Arcola until 10 June 2023.

Last Updated 31 May 2023

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