Power exchange bdsm club

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Live in San Francisco long enough, and addresses of certain long-gone places will make you a little wistful.

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After 22 years, the ghosts that haunt me include the former Dark Room at Mission St. Dubbed the Main Station, the Harrison location was pansexual, while the Substation on Otis was for gay and bi men. Never quite enough places in this town for themare there? Both locations ran afoul of the city for assorted permit violations, and in the Power exchange bdsm club location was closed for good, though by then the Otis location bore the distinction of being not only the city's largest sex club, but the only d one, too — thanks to legislation introduced by then-Supervisor Tom Ammiano in to establish standards for their operations.

Power Exchange owner Michael Powers supported the legislation, noting that without it his club wouldn't be acknowledged as a legitimate business, while Mayor Willie Brown opposed it. I was a regular at the Power Exchange for a few years in the mid-aughts. Most nights, I just hung out in the fenced-off area of the basement Dungeon known as the Cage, where I made many new friends, and felt a sense of community stronger and more welcoming than anywhere else in San Francisco's sex culture.

Early on one of my first nights there inI went into the upstairs women's restroom.

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Studying myself in the mirror, I took Power exchange bdsm club my eyeshadow and made a dark band across my eyes from temple to temple. With my bleached-blonde bangs edging close to my eyebrows, the makeup job resembled Daryl Hannah's replicant Pris in Blade Runner. That was the intention, anyway. Upon arriving downstairs, I was promptly invited into the Cage by a transvestite named Robin, and she soon became one of my best friends there, someone I always looked forward to hanging out with.

It's something that can't be overstated: so many people were just so nice at the Power Exchange. Robin was about 6 feet tall with a long brown wig, and tended to wear demure blouses and skirts; she wasn't shy about lifting up those skirts, or anything else. Look at those legs, and that face.

Mission accomplished! And I'd found a new home. When you arrived at the Power Exchange inan imposing yet polite man at the door checked your ID, made sure you had a rudimentary understanding of what the club was about — i. Single men were referred to as Tourists, and those wearing towels were Towelboys.

All Towelboys were Tourists, but not all Tourists were Towelboys. The pricing is a crucial detail: other than Fetish Ball nights, Power exchange bdsm club of all stripes got in free, and were always welcome and protected inside, with zero tolerance of transphobia. But to me, it was important that both places existed, particularly in a queer community that worships and rewards masculinity so much. This was also why I wasn't bothered by the Tourists or the Towelboys, many of whom had their penises in their hand at any given time, just as the Power Exchange's sub-gutter reputation suggested.

I find cis male penises icky, but they did me no harm; boundaries were closely guarded, and nobody ever got closer to me than I wanted them to. Yes, they would often staaaaaaareeven when I was just sitting in the Cage writing in my notebook and I got a lot of writing done therebut those men paying to get in subsidized me being there for free, and I owed them nothing in exchange. It bordered on a scam, and I loved it.

Many people in the outside world told me how horrible the Power Exchange was, usually adding that they'd never once stepped foot inside, because they didn't have to experience it for themselves to know it was the worst. It was the Jem and the Holograms of sex clubs, to put it in modern terms. I've never had the patience for online debates, but Robin was active on the then-relevant tribe. Every culture is a ladder, and every ladder needs a bottom rung.

The most entertaining hate came from the San Francisco Chronicle 's sex columnist. You can guess what the worst was:. That's right — the Bay Area's most famous adult sexual play-space's new digs locally dubbed the Power Failure is at the top of the worst list, and for good reasons.

Well, it's enough that locals who wander into the old digs want to autoclave their entire body when they leave, and women alone are notoriously not physically safe outside the club during hours of operation.

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But the new space at Harrison for gay and bi men seemed like such a great idea — until Bobby Trendy emerged from hibernation in his tulle-lined cave and advised the staff to include upholstered furniture and — cringe — carpeting. In fact, the Otis location's all-male fourth floor closed in late because of lack of business, since it was as necessary as another Starbucks.

One of my rituals upon arriving at the Power Exchange was chatting with Aaron, the very sweet bouncer in the lobby. If the Harrison location had recently re opened inAaron surely would have mentioned it, particularly since he enjoyed talking shop with me.

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I also saw the rather extensive cleaning procedures, and the strictness with which the safe-sex rules were enforced. Aaron told me the health inspector dropped in every few weeks and had never found more than a dozen errant condoms out of the hundreds that were used among the three floors that saw active business.

I'd seen those floors getting mopped and surfaces sprayed down on a nightly basis, which went against the conventional wisdom of the Power Exchange as a petri dish. Of course, I knew the club's loyal opposition could accompany the health inspector and see all the past bills of health, yet still insist the Power Exchange was a squalid pit where sexually-transmitted diseases not only became airborne, but grew teeth. I'm not suggesting the Power Exchange was ever sterile enough to build microprocessors, or even that it was fluid-free from moment to moment. If Power exchange bdsm club been wearing braces, we would have been too adorable for words.

At any given time, at least two men watched us over the low wall, while a third sat on the chair next to the bed. Jezebel told each one that she was spent, that she simply couldn't suck any more dicks tonight. Her tally kept increasing: She told the first guy that she'd already sucked 11 dicks, the next guy that she'd sucked 12, then 13, 14, capping out around I decided that it should be a primeand furthermore, that the prime should be This led to a discussion between me and Jezebel about whether or not 47 was a prime.

We were pretty sure it was, but it was three in the morning and our math-brains weren't up for the task, so we asked every man who approached us if 47 was a prime. Curiously enough, they all ignored the question. Though condoms were abundant, there was a dearth of lube, and what lube was available wasn't the prepackaged kind found in every gay bar in town — and a lot of the straight ones — but rather in those little plastic containers that taquerias use for salsa.

Some nights I would walk around checking every pile or basket of condoms, obsessed with the lube-to-rubber ratio. But I never once Power exchange bdsm club the need to autoclave any part of my body, and I suspect I'm exposed to more pathogens working as a librarian nowadays than I ever was at the Power Exchange. Most ificantly, there was no — cringe — carpeting. The Citadel was as respected as the Power Exchange was disreputable — although for as often as people told me that the Power Exchange was the worst and the Citadel was the best, they weren't entirely equivalent.

The Power Exchange was something of a playground, open set hours four nights a week for anyone down for whatever though only with full consent on both sidesand one was likely to make new friends and lovers there. The Citadel would often have events and classes all through the week, though the majority of those required reservations, and if you didn't have everything arranged beforehand with a partner, there wasn't much point.

Which was fine, there's room for both kinds of venues — and there were some nights at the Citadel, such as the Dog and Pony Show inthat will always stay with me — but the dichotomy was firm: Citadel goodPower Exchange badfull stop. Also, and this was a big deal, the Citadel was not a sex club. Though the Citadel was not a sex club, sex was had there, and there was carpeting downstairs where I observed the majority of the sex-having taking place.

I could only assume that the real-life upholstered furniture and carpeting at the Citadel were acceptable in a way that the Power Exchange's make-believe carpeting was not. Maybe the Citadel's were Scotchgarded or something.

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Everything is a little surreal at four in the morning, but seeing the white lights come on at the Power Exchange was especially so. Next Stop: The Tenderloin. The Power Exchange moved into 34 Mason in early Septemberand within days neighborhood activists told the media that they were going to express their displeasure, primarily by asking city agencies to make sure the club's permits were up to date.

They're poor, they're scared, and a lot of them don't speak English. They have no voice. The Power Exchange remains the scourge of thousands of scared children to this day, and has a curious neighbor: the SF Citadel, now a couple blocks away at Eddy.

The Citadel's lease on its Mission space ended in lateand after zoning issues made a proposed new space at Sixth Street untenable, by the following July they'd ed their troublesome cousin in the Tenderloin.

If there were any protests about a BDSM club — not a sex club! That helps, as does the fact that the Jones location is now open seven days a week as opposed to just Thursday through Sunday.

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I've never confirmed this, but I've always suspected that most of the Power Exchange's lighting was bought at Spencer's Gifts. There have been technological updates, too.

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The televisions playing porn are now flat screens — although some tend to be stuck on the DVD menu, just like back in the day — and there is a greater use of LED lights. But while I hope it continues to exist in one form or another, it's just not my scene anymore. I feel unsafe in that area the way I never did around Otis, though I find the Power Exchange's block of Jones to be less seedy than the Citadel's block of Eddy.

I haven't seen any of my old friends on the few occasions I've gone, and I'm in a different place in my life. But right now, there's somebody for whom the Power Exchange is just what they need, and in they'll talk about how much they miss the old Jones location. Everybody's got somewhere they call home.

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Power exchange bdsm club

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