BDSM Bis weekend away

BCN 117 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 117, Feb 2013

February saw what we think was the UK’s first bi BDSM conference, held in Birmingham. Hannah Bee reports…

On the morning of Saturday the 9th Feb my friend Ellie and I took the train down to Birmingham together for the BDSM Bisexuals Weekend at Exodus. It was an exciting time because – to the best of my knowledge – there hasn’t been a conference specifically for kinky bisexuals before. (Though of course BiCon welcomes those interested in BDSM and has kink related workshops every year.)

It was organised by Grant Denkinson, and came together brilliantly thanks to the team of volunteers he was able to assemble.

Exodus was the perfect venue to hold it. The venue is actually only used specifically for BDSM events, so Many people were already familiar with the place having attended events there before. It’s in a central city in the UK so is relatively affordable to get to for people from Scotland and south England. The separate dungeons &  BDSM play spaces in Exodus were so well suited for running workshops. For example, the library themed dungeon was great for discussion based workshops and the larger rooms perfect for demonstration & skill sharing based ones. The venue’s  kitchen area was a great chill out space. There was a cheap hotel just a few minutes walk away as well as restaurants and a supermarket. People who didn’t have any other means of accommodation could sleep the night at Exodus too, and I also loved that the toilets are marked as for “standers” and “sitters”.

The staff of Exodus were wonderful and made every effort to make sure the event ran as smoothly as possible. Any problems or requests there was always someone on hand to sort it out in minutes. I would like to thank them for everything they did for us that weekend.

The cost of the weekend was £20 waged, £5 unwaged which was an absolute bargain for a two day conference. That’s another thing I loved about the event – it made an effort to include those on little to no income.

I liked the ground rules for the weekend which in addition to standard conference and play party rules, made it clear that there was no hassling of any kind allowed to take place. This included talking and  hugging when it wasn’t welcome. This meant you were never trapped talking to someone you didn’t want to and could politely excuse yourself from unwanted company without anyone taking offence or getting upset.

On to the content – the workshops were on a wide range of interesting topics and were well organised so there was a mix of discussion based & practical workshops for each time slot. Topics included Christianity & sexuality, polyamory, body painting and a performance of suspension bondage. There is so much I want to say about the workshops I would end up filling this issue of BCN so I will sadly have to leave it there.

In addition to the workshops there was of course a wonderful party on the Saturday evening where it was lovely to see everyone have fun and admire each others’ outfits. I spent most of the night in the kitchen area talking with some really interesting people. It’s been a long time since I’ve met someone new where I’ve felt so fascinated in what they have to say I’ve spent hours talking to them. It was lovely. Sexy. Fun. And I drank so much tea!

On Sunday I ran a workshop on something called wax play where I showes people how to safely drop wax on each other for fun. It went well and pulled in about 15 people which I was happy with for a workshop at 10:30am the morning after a late night party! After lunch I was the demonstration model for a rope bondage workshop for beginners. It was really nice to present with Ellie for the first time as we’ve done BDSM together for over a year now so know each other’s style and rhythm well. I felt like we made a good team. The workshop really re-energised both of us.

Sadly the conference was over all too soon and at 3pm on Sunday everyone gathered together and Grant wrapped up the event. It was a really moving moment as everyone had such a great time and were so grateful to Grant and the team for organising such a wonderful weekend.

It felt wonderful to spend a weekend with other kinky bisexuals (who are also poly friendly). It’s one of the few chances in the year for me to spend time being myself without hiding any part of me. I think a lot of bisexuals feel they don’t fit in the hetero or homosexual world – so to have a have a break from that and to let all your personality out can be quite liberating. For once I am not censoring what I say. I think leaving the event can be quite sad for this reason, as you have to start reining yourself back in to interact with the rest of the world again.I also felt sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I know I will see many of them at BiCon this summer.

Overall though, I left the weekend on a massive high and filled with so much confidence and inspiration. Another reason why these events are so vital for our community! I learned so many things from the conference, Grant and the workshop presenters which I want to put in practice if I ever get round to organising some similar kind of event.
What a wonderful experience, and Grant says he will run one next year too. Hurrah!