Con-munities of Kink: Fetish-friendly Conferences and Conventions

“You’re into what you’re into, I’m into what I’m into. We don’t have to be into the same shit, and if you’re safe, sane, and happy, then go on and get you some.”  ― Matt Fraction, Sex Criminals, Vol. 3: Three the Hard Way

Igor Starkov

Y’all! There is a shocking number of kink, fetish, and BDSM cons going on! When I sat down to research this, I expected to find a handful or two. Ha! One website had 195 fetish convention and conference events listed and most of them were in the US. So, I’m going to highlight a few of

them here (selected at random from some of the lists I found), offer some tips for con success, and include some resources on how to find con events in your area.

Events:

Bondage Expo – Dallas, TX.

Typical time-frame: 3 days in mid-April
Cost for attendance: $185 – $205
What to expect (the description from their site):

  • Skilled & Experienced presenters from around the world.
  • 3 days of workshops ranging from beginner to advanced, covering ground work & suspension, self-tying & suspension, non-rope bondage, and bondage photography.
  • The Free Range Rope Room, a moderated practice and collaboration space.
  • 2 nights of performances & Play parties in a fully equipped play space.
  • A Wide selection of Bondage & Fetish products available for sale in the Vendor area.
  • Meet & Greet Friday evening with dinner provided.
  • A dedicated Photoshoot room.
  • A focus on inclusion, collaboration & hospitality.

Beat Me in Saint Louis – St. Louis, MO.

Typical time-frame: 3 days in late April
Cost for attendance: $50 – $150
What to expect (the description from their site):

  • Three full days immersed in educational seminars and play parties with your kinkiest friends. The event has reserved an entire hotel for a completely private and “vanilla-free” weekend.
  • Get ready for various fun and kinky activities including a silent auction, shopping, tattoos, meeting new friends and connecting with old, delicious food, and play parties.
  • Open to singles, couples & poly groups of all orientations
  • Dedicated ‘Greeter Group’ to assist first-time attendees through check-in
  • Fast computerized registration
  • All skill levels, from the novice to the most experienced are welcome
  • Entire hotel and convention center is exclusive to the event. Closed to the public. No Nilla’s
  • Friday afternoon (4:30P) seminar, “A Guide to a Great Weekend!”
  • Friday evening Dungeon Opening Party & Costume Contest
  • Top presenters and educators from around the country
  • Over 40 classes from which to choose
  • Large comfortable class rooms and demonstration areas
  • Over 10,000 sq feet of luxurious play space
  • Separate ‘soft music’ play space
  • Dedicated Medical play space
  • Expansive Fire play space
  • Racks, benches, crosses, tables, frames, cages and more
  • Lots of hard points & rope suspension stations
  • Special events area for little’s & pet play
  • Saturday afternoon ‘Mentoring Dungeon’
  • Huge Silent Auction raises money for local charities
  • On-site Tattoo Artist
  • On-site full service Restaurant & Tavern
  • Shop till you drop in the Kinky Shopping Mall – Huge vendor mart
  • Vendors include floggers, whips, paddles, canes, fetish clothing, shoes, jewelry, leather and much more
  • Exclusive day & night use of the indoor heated swimming pool (clothing optional)
  • Private professional kink-friendly security staff
  • Personal Pronoun Ribbons
  • QaNDI Quiet Room & non-gendered restroom

Ropecraft  – Chicago, IL. (This event moves around, but will be in Chicago in 2020.)

Typical time-frame: 3 days in May (Memorial Day weekend)
Cost for attendance: $120 – $200
What to expect (the description from their site):

  • Top, bottom, and switch education with Western, kinbaku, & other styles in a sex-positive inclusive & consent-focused space!
  • 4 NIGHTS of parties
  • Dedicated practice space
  • Dedicated photo room
  • Special Interest SpacesWill O
  • The Flow Erotic Cabaret
  • Pre-Con Intensives
  • A Ropenspace
  • Custom-built frames
  • Catered Art Show and Meet and Greet
  • Midnight Master Classes

FetishCon – Tampa/St. Pete, FL.

Typical time-frame: 4 days in early August
Cost for attendance: $60 – $100
What to expect (the description from their site):

  • FETISH CON™ aka FETCON™ – THE ORIGINAL FETISH TRADE SHOW NINETEEN YEARS RUNNING! Hundreds of top bondage, fetish and adult models, vendors and exhibitors: clothing, latex, corsets, shoes, rope, toys and more, lectures, workshops and demonstrations, erotic art show, private dungeon space, exclusive Pervy Pool Party and wild after parties every night! Join Us for Four Days of Kinky Fun in Sunny Florida at Fetish Con!

North American Pony Trainer Contest – Lennox, CA.

Typical time-frame: 2 days in early August
Cost for attendance: $60 – $100
What to expect (the description from their site):

  • The North American Pony/Trainer Contest is a celebration of a Pony and Trainer or a single Pony, or a single Trainer and their enthusiasm and knowledge in the vast world of pony play. The winner(s) of this contest will go forth to share their knowledge and love of pony play through teaching and mentoring those within the leather, kink and fetish communities.
Sonny Ravesteijn

Florida Puppy Contest – St. Pete, FL

Typical time-frame: 3 days in mid-September

Cost for attendance: $15
What to expect (the description from their site):

Florida Puppy Contest was started to give human puppies a safe, friendly competition and environment. All human pups are welcome to attend, learn, develop, grow, growl, chase squirrels…. meet and play. Florida Puppy does not discriminate against race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or age (given that you are of legal age). We except all walks of life as they are and who they are. If you are interested in competing the only requirements is that you must be a resident of Florida and be 21 years old or older. Florida Puppy Contest will take place at Florida Leather N Fetish Pride.

Master/slave Conference – Washington D. C.

Typical time-frame: 5 days in early September (Labor Day weekend)
Cost for attendance: $150 – $220
What to expect (the description from their site):

  • The Master/slave Conference (MsC), is the largest, longest and most comprehensive educational event solely dedicated to Master/slave relationships. Owned and produced by MTTA, Inc. – an educational non-profit organization – MsC takes place every year over Labor Day Weekend becoming a five day-four night event with more educational and network opportunities than other events of this nature.
Joe deSousa

Jax Fet Fest – Jacksonville, FL

Typical time-frame: 5 days in late October
This one is brand new! Keep checking in with them for details. 

Folsom Street Events – San Francisco, CA

A series of events, year round, for the kink and fetish communities from the folks who bring you Folsom Street Fair.

Tips for your Trip: 

Before you head out to your con, here are a few quick things to keep in mind that will help make your trip a success:

  • Check the event website for pertinent information like
    • Con rules and guidelines
      • Dress codes and community considerations
      • Policies on drinking, pool use, sex in the common areas, photos, and other debauchery
    • A full event schedule so you can plan your time out wisely
    • Registration prices
      • They’re often cheaper the earlier you register
    • Hotel accommodations
      • Most events give you a discount if you stay in the host hotel or in the block of rooms they’ve reserved for the event. You’ll want to stay at the host hotel if possible, so that you’re not worrying about navigating to and from the event in an unfamiliar place
    • Decide if you’re going to drink ahead of time
      • Not everyone agrees with me, but I’m of the mind that drinking and fetish play/sexy time don’t mix well, especially when you’re at a new event or with new people. Some of these events have a very robust drinking culture, but that doesn’t mean you have to partake. Decide before you go and it will make it that much easier to draw your line when you get there.
    • Social Media
      • Most of the events have private/closed social media groups on sites like Facebook and Fetlife. Ask about that when you register and then join. You’ll get to hear tips from people who have been before and make some new friends before you go.
    • Shopping
      • Save a little room in your bag to bring home goodies. These events will often have vendors selling some really interesting and high quality stuff that you may not have easy access to in your home community. The best part is that many of them will be doing live demos of their products, so you can ask lots of questions and try (or see them in action) before you buy.

Also check out this Kinkly Article: Everything you Need to Know about Attending your First Kink Conference and this Submissive Guide Video: What to Expect at your First BDSM Convention or Conference 

Finding Events Near You:

Here are some of my favorite resources for finding events like this:

Alexander Popov

*This article first appeared in the Kink Crate handbook. For more info on Kink Crate click HERE.

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