Fetish clubs have long been celebrated as special open and embracing places where fetishists can be themselves, free to express their fetishes and their true natures.
But are we now taking it too far? I ask myself this nearly every visit to a London or European-based fetish event, when I'm forced to ignore masturbating men (aka actual wankers) in our midst.
And I've arrived at the conclusion that the popular BDSM mantra ”safe, sane and consensual” is now lacking a key point: consensuality.
Since when has indecent exposure become a fetish? If you ask many fetish-club-goers, you'd walk away with the impression that open masturbation is now a fetish rather than a private act best done at home or with a consenting partner.
Frankly, I'm disturbed that one can hardly voice an objection to club wankers in many discussions without being labeled a fetish killjoy or worse, a vanilla prude.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I'd like to suggest this phenomenon fosters an actively hostile environment, and is liberating only to the borderline sex criminal — the club wanker himself!
I'm also more than a little disturbed that these so-called champions of free speech have little concern or even knowledge of how dangerous the sight of an open wanker can feel to a fetish club newcomer, especially young women.
In allowing such behavior to go unchecked, are we actively scaring away female guests — a demographic often lacking in fetish clubs?
Like many women, I've been the victim of unwanted sexual attention in the past, particularly in childhood, when on more than one occasion I encountered men exposing themselves.
I can still recall the shame, discomfort and embarrassment each encounter brought at the time, not to mention the outright fear for my safety that at least one confrontation with a wanker produced.
A fellow fetishist, a victim of outright sexual abuse, told me she felt the same way. She said she felt almost forced to relive such moments of sexual abuse when she encountered a particularly aggressive club wanker.
How many other women, I wonder, suffer similar flashbacks when out at what's supposed to be an enjoyable night, but are afraid to voice an objection for fear of being labeled a fetish killjoy, or being accused of not understanding the true nature of fetishism?
During these debates about club wankers, I've actually been told that I should feel flattered that a club wanker would be so turned on by our presence — as if masturbation were a seal of approval!
I'm also chided for my naivety, and scolded that such things are to be expected if we dress provocatively. Frankly, if you ask me, this argument veers far too closely to an older argument that used to be used much more frequently to discredit rape victims.
Often an arguer for free speech (so often a dominant old greybeard or a submissive — why is that, anyway?) will equate bare breasts to club wankery.
Apparently I'm inconsistent if I make allowances for tits, but to me this speaks volumes about the lack of sexual understanding of my opponent, if he (almost always he!) equates a breast to a penis.
In writing this, I hope I reach many readers who would prefer not to be subjected to open indecency, and more importantly, fetish event organisers, who may finally address this issue.
If a ban on wanking seems overly restrictive, wouldn't it be most appropriate to confine such acts to a couples only room. Or better still, perhaps, a wanker's room? I look forward to your thoughts.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Write to email@example.com putting “club wankers” in the subject line if you would like to express a view on this topic. Comments are assumed to be for publication unless otherwise stated.
I've been told I should feel flattered that a club wanker would be so turned on by our presence – as if masturbation were a seal of approval!