Q: What is Fetsoc YORK?
A: Fetsoc is a progressive, sex-positive society where people who are curious about kink can get together and talk shop! We encourage curiosity, consent and best practice through our workshops and discussion groups, and have the world’s most interesting show and tell nights. Fetsoc is an example of the pioneering attitude that the University of York has towards sexuality and sexual education.
Q: Is Fetsoc just a sex club?
A: Nope. Fetish society is a society for kinky people to meet, but not necessarily a society for people to meet up and be kinky. For example, we have Rope Workshops, where people can learn to tie each other up skilfully, but the focus is on learning new skills to use back home.
Q: Do I need to be kinky to attend?
A: No, you can just be kink curious or just curious about what goes on within the Fetish and BDSM subculture, but you do need to be respectful. People you meet will probably be into all kinds of different things at different levels, and as far as we’re concerned, it’s all grand as long as it’s between consenting adults.
Q: Are people going to ask me about my kinks?
A: Not outright, and certainly not on first meeting. It’s kind of like saying “Hey, could I just have a good nose through your porn browser history?”Quite invasive! Err on the side of caution, and don’t be afraid to tell people “That’s a bit personal!” if their good-natured curiosity is getting a bit too intense.
Some people are happy to tell you if they identify as Dominant, Submissive or Switch (which is part of BDSM often but not everyone’s thing). That’s generally just about whether they like to be the Do-er or the Done-To when it comes to kinky activities.
Q: Is it scary to attend? Do you have any initiation rites?
A: We like to keep things light hearted- we’re only students! Remember, kink activities that happen in bedrooms don’t happen in Fetsoc meetings. We protect where others shame!
As for initiation rites… Last year, when the rugby and football clubs were having people downing all kinds of dirty pints, Fetsoc were having a classy black-tie cocktail and casino night as our icebreaker. Yes really.
Q: I want to come along but I don’t know anyone who wants to go with me!
A: Don’t worry about coming on your own! Give the Fetsoc email address a buzz and we’ll get someone to meet up with you somewhere so you can go in together. Then they can introduce you to the people THEY know! Much less intimidating.
Q: What kind of meetings do you guys have?
A: We’ve got five main kinds of meetings. My favourites are “Curiosity Nights”, which were introduced last year. They centre round a specific kink for the evening, say, pet-play. You get a 10 minute TED talk from a member of the society, then interviews with other members, audience Q&A, guided discussions and sometimes demos or group activities (non-sexual!). Fantastic fun for anyone who’s just that tiny bit curious about “what kinky people actually DO”
We’ve also got Rope workshops, where you can safely learn the art of Shibari (Japanese rope bondage) from our in-society instructors, discussion groups about controversial kink-related topics and of course our famous show-and-tell nights. For those who just want to socialise there are good old fashioned drinking socials and coffee meet-ups.
Q: What kind of people are in Fetish society?
A: Fetsoc’s got people of all genders, nationalities, sexual orientations and kinky interests (and levels of interest!). We really don’t mind if you’re some sort of wax play expert or just once had a fantasy about some spanking- or anything else for that matter!
Q: What counts as kinky?
A: We like to use the words “fetish” and “kink” almost interchangeably within the society, since there are contradictory opinions on what the difference is. If you’ve ever typed something into a porn searchbar, you’ve categorised your sexual interests. A “kink” or “fetish” is just a stronger interest in particular things. And sometimes they’re not even sexual!
Q: How can freshers get involved in Fetsoc?
A: If you feel like you’d like to learn more about kink in a safe space, join the email list by messaging firstname.lastname@example.org, and buy your membership on the YUSU societies page to get into the members-only events like rope workshops and Curiosity Nights.
By Philippa Garth