It was my companion’s first time too. A hot summers night, we dressed to the code, cabaret-style, glamorous, including Venetian masks. And then we took a cab to the centre of town. We arrived what I thought would be a little late (it wasn’t), both of us slightly nervous and dizzy in anticipation about what was about to happen.
A few friends and acquaintances have been through the years, and I heard mixed reviews. One went and just ended up just gawping in amazement, yet another was unimpressed, she felt slightly alienated by the experience. Two others could not get enough and go back often. Intrigued I had wanted to see for myself on occasion but was not with a partner I felt confident in asking to take me. And then I forgot about it until now.
I’ve always been very sexual, but having an expansive sex life, only came to me later in life. Yet when it came, I went all in, including encounters with men. That was primarily due to the space my partner provides for my delicate, complicated masculinity. I am very much in the camp of those who feel that gender is to a great extent, socially constructed, and therefore fluid. So these days, I describe myself as queer. But I digress, that’s a story for another day.
On this day, with my partner’s encouragement, I had gone with a friend. Killing Kittens is a sex club that’s existed since 2005, and its arrival changed the London scene. It billed itself as explicitly as “a platform where women come first”. To be sure, its rule that single men can’t attend unaccompanied was not unusual at sex clubs. In the world of sex, the supply of dicks has never been a problem. The demand however was.
But Killing Kittens had a different approach and aesthetic from the start. Less seedy, smarter, and by all accounts, dirtier. And to put more substance to their goal of putting women in control their events have rules like “Men must not approach women” and “Men must not enter the play areas solo or linger alone”. This mantra is repeated often when you sign up, and also when you get to events.
The central London venue that evening was smart: a large room, with balconies looking down from a second floor, draped curtains, high ceilings, a big staircase, low-lit, a stage in the middle, and tables with some couples all around. We took a seat in a booth that we ended up sharing with an English couple and a Russian-Italian couple, and made stop-start small talk. The English couple, enthusiastic KK second-timers, quickly told us that they are there to only fuck each other. They would “never cheat”. The Italian Russian couple were less forthcoming, they were friends “from work”.
Couples filtered in, and the occasional single woman. Most in between their mid-20s to mid-40s. An attractive cosmopolitan London crowd. People, especially the women, dressed femme and sexy. I did not spot any same-sex couples arriving. Later it struck me, duh, those made up of men, would be verboten anyway. But neither were there women-women couples.
A cabaret show started, it was rather good. But it was very much the sideshow. As our host repeated the rules of the night: “women are in control” I thought I had a clear picture of what to expect.
The playroom was located through a door behind us. A friendly bouncer guarded the door. I noticed a woman at a table close by had freed her breasts from her skimpy negligee, and her partner was proudly appraising them, as if for the first time. And right next to us the woman partner of the English couple had disappeared under the table and was busy between her silent but grinning partner’s legs.
Other than that, from our vantage point, there was little to give away what we were about to experience. Another drink and we were ready to explore. The bouncer made sure I was going into the playroom with my companion, and in we went. It wasn’t that big, and there were already quite a few people in there. This is probably why the room was already so hot. The low-ceilinged space had plush seating right round and a very large square bed-like sofa in the middle. On it many bodies in various stages of undress already bobbed like seaweed in restless surf.
I sat down to take it all in. My companion disappeared to fetch something from our table. “No worries I’m fine,” I said, “I’ll behave”. And I wasn’t lying. I had no intention of breaking the women-centred rules. And besides, watching good looking people naked, while they are stroking, licking, biting, and fucking is my idea of a good place to be, pervert as I am.
I’d been observing for a while, and then it struck me. I wanted more. In fact I’m feeling a bit left out. I started rueing the fact that I did not engage with more people before the event on the KK Kik group. It would have helped if we knew more people here I imagined. But on these groups men were called “Tom Cats” and women “Kittens”, and it all felt a bit old fashioned.
I continued trying to make eye contact, smiling, even helping remove small coffee tables out of the way of the flailing limbs of urgent couples. But nobody were approaching me. In some ways the space, the illicit but intimate set-up reminded me of the drugged-up chill out rooms of my youth. But instead of big pupillid ravers, having intense conversations and ending up declaring how much they loved people they just met, there was very little talking going on. Only gasps and moans. People were connecting differently.
A beautiful young Italian girl’s head rhythmically pressed against my thigh. She was having her pussy licked by a power blonde, that would not look out of place in a Helmut Newton photograph. The Italian smiled at me. Can I reach out and touch her breasts I wondered? After a bit of procrastination, I did, and it soon became clear she rather liked her nipples pinched. And pinched hard. Suddenly they were gone. My companion had re-entered the room.
We alternated that evening between dancing on the main stage, and visiting the playroom, looking for the right people or person to engage. Still I wasn’t approached. But neither did I see a woman approach another man. To my surprise I saw plenty of men break the KK rule and approach women. And often, they were rebuffed and sent on their way. Not that different from a pub or club then. Except almost everybody was naked, and many of the women showed more interest in other women than in your local boozer. So many men just hung about, close to the action, hoping to slip into the breach when another man tired. Another KK rule broken.
I spotted someone. She was dark skinned, short cropped curly dark hair, not dainty in either spirit or flesh. The most attractive thing about her was how she self-assuredly moved around the room, observing the scene like a connoisseur. A warm smile spread across her face as I said hello. Her name was Martha. Quick as a flash what must have been her boyfriend stepped up, grabbed my shoulder and scowled, “not this one!”.
I wanted to protest, it’s up to her. But she saw it all, just kept smiling and did not say a word. So I let it go.
Now I felt disappointed.
Later, when I thought about it, it seemed to me that there are two main points of criticism one could make of Killing Kittens. The one, is that it can seem a bit empty and less meaningful to fuck people you have not talked with, not flirted with, not connected with at all. Perhaps romantics should just stay away, and leave this to those that enjoy matter over mind, a sex-high. Killing Kittens is a contact sport where your own performance counts for more than teamwork and camaraderie.
But women having no strings attached sex is hardly a crime. In fact, in the context of our gendered and male-dominated society, it is eye-opening and revolutionary. The first charge: dismissed. But is there a more fundamental second flaw? Namely, are women really in control at Killing Kittens?
Clearly, some of the women were not “in control” and “coming first”. And many of the men unreconstructed. That was reinforced when my companion was approached by a guy, who she fucked, but then told her, his girlfriend, also present somewhere in the playroom, was jealous of him doing this. But it is also wrong to think that because they were not approaching men, the majority of women in attendance were not in control and not expressing their sexuality.
The Kittens love uncomplicated fucking. But they do so from deep inside a heteronormative culture they are not only part of but embrace. Killing Kittens is “girl power” sex on steroids. It is not a place where gender does not matter. Simultaneously revolutionary and happening within the bounds of normative gender roles, it’s a place where you can have your hair long, paint your lips red, and finger your friend with freshly painted nails.
These women want to be the sexual object, the beautiful one, the desired, so, whatever the official rules say, the men still have to approach them. But like the queen of a beehive, within this nest, it is a show of strength, not weakness.
At one point during the night my companion and I walked back to leer at people in the playroom. She almost immediately commenced getting very friendly with a fabulous looking pair of mixed-race women, who had pointedly ignored my smiles a while before. My companion quickly (and willingly) disappeared into the arms of one of them. Her friend — could it be her partner? — hovered over the scene. Then she turned around, and over her shoulder gestured at her cunt, to me. She raised her ass. I got the message.
The condom rolled on easily, and I assumed the position. I ploughed her from behind as she hovered over my companion and her friend. Did I mention she had a great ass? (It is the only part of the body I really had time to properly scrutinise.) I tried to make a good impression, thrusting hard and rhythmically. It felt good. Too good in fact and I soon strained to contain myself, less I spent myself too soon.
I looked up. Around me the room was heaving. Yet, so unremarkable was what I was doing in that context that nobody really paid particular attention to us. Everybody was fucking. At least my new friend seemed to like what I was doing, as far as I could tell. She only turned round because I did not last. I started to introduce myself, but she was distracted by someone else. Deflated, I left the room.
It turned out men could do that unaccompanied.
Have you ever had the chance to meet the people behind them?