Most people will spend this festive season hanging baubles and eating mince pies. However, for the BDSM community, this time of year entails a little more than sweet treats and carolling.

The London Alternative Market (LAM) is held in the Revolution Bar in Leadenhall Street on the first Sunday of the month, and this month’s Christmas LAM was one of the most anticipated events in the BDSM calendar. This is a market where people can buy floggers and whips, but they can also go to all kinds of workshops.

For December the stalls were decorated in green and red, and presided over here and there by elves. Deals such as 10 meters of rope for £10 and stocking stuffers for £4 made the market a must attend event for any BDSM lovers.

I decided to go to a mummification workshop. I had heard about these before, but had unsurprisingly never been to one. I stumbled in, a little lost, before being invited to sit and watch as a woman was wrapped in swathes of the sort of plastic wrap you usually use on pallets. At least it came in red and green – very festive – and they wound it round her until she could no longer move. Despite the fact that some would see this as torture, her smile just got wider and wider.

I learnt a few important tips from the workshop: don’t wrap anyone up too tight and don’t leave them wrapped up for too long, otherwise they will overheat. And always use safety scissors when cutting your submissive out, or else you’ll cut them up something rotten.

Amongst the leather-clad individuals I would expect to find at a LAM event, I was surprised to also see women in smart clothing – there with their friends – all paying attention to their surroundings, with stiff upper lips.

Perusing the stalls is not nearly as daunting as one might think. OK you do have to keep out of the way of the canes and whips being swung around in the air by potential buyers, but apart from that you are free to roam at will.

I was introduced to something called the Violet Wand. This is an electrical wand-shaped device that allows you fix different attachments to it, and was first touted as a medical cure-all in the 30s and 40s, before being adopted by the kink community. I held out my hand and a lady zapped me for about 20 seconds. The only way I can describe a zap from a Violet Wand is as an intense tickle. She then showed me how you can use metal objects to extend the effect. By zapping me on my hand and then putting the fork on my arm, I got the shocks in both my hand and my arm – leaving me giggling from the sensation.

But my experience was not all fun and games. There was something a bit intimidating about going on my own for the first time. You feel like you are somehow not part of the crowd. It almost felt as if they all knew something that I didn’t.

But my mind was opened by this festive extravaganza of tinsel and rope, and for anyone in the community, or even anyone that is merely interested, it is a fascinating day out. But I would suggest anyone who is going for the first time to take a friend, because even a BDSM Christmas is better spent with loved ones.  


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