There was story in the media recently about a Canadian woman who claimed she was being held hostage as a slave in Darlington, England, by a BDSM group calling themselves “Kaotians.” An investigation proved that she was not, in fact, being held against her will, and she has since returned to Canada.

But the man claiming to be the Kaotian leader, Lee Thompson, talked to the press about the structure and views of his group. Now, BDSM people rarely get balanced treatment in the press, so while Mr. Thompson’s remarks about the Kaotian “high council,” and the Kaotian “total lifestyle” made me roll my eyes, I’m willing to give him some benefit of the doubt. Aside from his inappropriate habit of leading his slave around on a leash in vanilla public settings, from what I read about him, he sounds harmless enough.

But I’ve met other people over the years who told me they belonged to—or wanted to create—a similar sort of urban utopian society based on a dominant/submissive principle, and who wanted me to get excited about that idea. Understand, I don’t mean a social club or a political action group—I mean something that looks like a kinky fundamentalist Mormon enclave, with a group of hierarchically arranged people all living together in a fixed dominant/submissive arrangement every day, all the time.

It’s a popular theme in BDSM fiction; Anne Rice and Laura Antoniou have both written about kinky parallel societies, and the Kaotians say they follow the rules and structure laid down in author John Norman’s campy science-fiction novels, the Chronicles of Gor. I can’t muster up much enthusiasm for the idea. True, my professional life revolves around kink, the majority of my social life is spent with other people who also enjoy BDSM, and all my intimate relationships include BDSM. But in spite of all that, the idea of living in a commune with my brothers and sisters in kink really doesn’t appeal to me.

Why? Well, for one thing, healthy BDSM demands some self-examination. In fiction, the characters can sit chained to a wall in a dungeon after a hot, nasty BDSM scene and have a lot of deep thoughts about why they’re so into it. However, in real life, I think a bit of distance, with a head unclouded by endorphins, lends a needed perspective.

The cult-like aspects also bother me. I think any community where roles are rigidly prescribed—often by gender—and cannot be deviated from, is unhealthy. In the Kaotian group, all men are dominant masters and women are slaves. Mr. Thompson thinks male slaves are “unnatural.” Polarized thinking is usually a feature of groups like this—I find it telling that I’ve never heard of a kinky cult of bisexual switches.

For the submissives, independent thought and self-reliance would be discouraged by such an arrangement. For the dominants—well, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and I think any top that wants and needs absolute power all the time has issues he/she hasn’t dealt with. Arrogance and emotional rigidity would flourish.

It’s tough being a sexual minority, but the idea that being a member of such a group would mitigate the difficulty is wrong-headed. A savvy kinky couple can smoothly navigate the waters of a sex-negative world. Trust me, I do it every day. But given how difference-averse our society is, a minisociety with day-to-day norms that are wildly at variance with the rest of the world is going to get noticed, and that’s bound to result in both internal stress for the members and confrontations with the rest of the world. Thompson, for example, has been banned from his favorite butcher shop because of his habit of bringing a woman in on a leash.

It can be sexy to fantasize about a world of kink, and our sexual fantasies are supposed to go beyond our realities—that’s their purpose. But groups like this seem to be a denial of the rest of the world and an admission that the members need an echo chamber to prop up their highly specific belief system. So enjoy the fiction and the fantasy, but don’t try to make those pleasurable escapes your daily reality.




Socialize, flirt, and do BDSM with the girls. All orientations welcome. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, building E, 270-9746,, 9 pm–3 am, $15, members only, female ID required.


Party at the friendly Eastside swing club. Single men must RSVP for the waiting list, couples and single women can just show up. Tonight is “Naughty Schoolgirl Night.” For more information, contact 425-868-8169 or, doors at 7 pm, new people must arrive by 8 pm, $45 for couples/$25 for single women.



Get buzzed and polished by cute men for a good cause. The buzzcutter will be the famous Patrick Bear, with bootblack Gregory LaRouxe and barbecue chef Corey Krantz. Proceeds benefit the Tony DeBlase Scholarship fund. Seattle Eagle, 314 E Pike St, 621-7591, 4–8 pm, 21+.


Relive your kinky, kinky childhood with the hottest R&B group of the 1990s. They’ll make love to you, perhaps on bended knee at the end of the road. Paramount, 911 Pine St, 8:30 pm, $35,



Babeland sex educators Alicia and Hollis share what the G-spot is, where to find it, how to stimulate it, and what could happen—like, she might ejaculate when you do. Toys in Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 7:30 pm, $30.


For enthusiasts of the visual and sensual aesthetics of bondage, whether by leather restraints, mummification, or suspension in hemp rope. Wet Spot, 270-9746 or, 6 pm–midnight, $10, membership required.



Host Dane Ballard takes an offbeat, positive look at sex and sexuality. Hengst Studio, 1506 Franklin Ave E, 328-4758, 8:30 pm, $7/$10, 18+ with ID.