The swing scene has been hit pretty hard by Covid-19 – not so much the disease itself, but the restrictions about social distancing, gatherings and avoiding close contact. With all this in mind, is there actually a venue where it is possible to reconnect and rekindle our swinger selves without running unnecessary risk?
Fear not, lovely libertines, for I have found one.
Though the swing scene has blossomed most beautifully in London, with a diversity of event styles and sexual interests, there have always been places a little further afield. I set out on an adventure with a lovely couple I know, who drove us out of London through the woodlands of Kent to sample this little gem of a swingers’ club that they’d found. Pleasures in Kent.
I didn’t need to book in advance or sign up for free membership. I had free entry as a single woman (I just had to give my name and phone number at the door) and we set our drinks that we’d brought with us behind the bar, ready to explore this new venue.
The lady behind the bar was delightful- a tattooed brunette in a little black cocktail dress, she was all jovial warmth and friendliness as she labelled our drinks for us and put them to chill. My companion swapped his car keys for a locker key (apparently we don’t all throw them into a bowl after all) and we put our towels and extras away ready for a dip in the pool later.
The bar was hung (in more ways than one) all about the ceiling with a collection of dildos from around the world- I think someone must have enjoyed embarrassing airport security – and fronted onto a little dancefloor, with some seats in the corners styled like leopard print high heels. Harnessed mannequin torsos decorated the empty spaces, erotic art adorned the walls and as we’d arrived early there were only a handful of people scattered through the venue.
My lovely couple gave me the grand tour – beyond the bar was a large conservatory-style seating area with leather sofas and a screen playing porn. Beyond this was a huge covered smoking area, with bathrooms off to the side, the (unfortunately closed) sauna and 2 hot tubs, and stairs down to the rest of the venue.
Off to the side was a huge covered area filled with a gloriously lit heated swimming pool, which was completely empty of people. Given how hot the day was, the swimming pool had seemed the main attraction, but despite my plans I found myself drawn into the friendly social vibe of the place and ended up not using it. Descending the stairs there was a large outdoor courtyard with tables and seats, and the entrance to the main play area which consisted of the dungeon room, entrance to the play complex and another bathroom.
The play complex was an ingeniously designed rabbit warren of underground shipping containers, converted into individual play rooms. One had a black-light over a wipe-clean double bed. Another was strewn with romantic lacey décor. Another had a round Austin Powers-style bed. One had a ladder and a hatch. There was a room with a sex swing. There was an elaborately fashioned glory hole. There was a room with a Perspex window where one could enjoy frolicking while being observed. All the rooms had locks and sanitizing spray with tissues. Each room was slightly different, yet all had the wonderful ‘we love this’ over-the-top sexy vibe of the Red Light District of Amsterdam. There was clearly a lot of love expended in making the rooms. I expect a lot of love has been expended in them since, though they seemed squeaky clean.
We found some people by lovely couple had met before and chatted for ages. I really enjoyed the unpretentious vibe of the place, the friendliness and the sense of camaraderie that can be so lacking in certain ‘elite’ London sex clubs. Though there were plenty of newbies, the place had a firm vibe that it was for experienced lifestylers. There was no drama, no silliness, no overt drug use. It was a place to get together with the people you know, make new connections, have a laugh, and participate in some fun, hot sex.
There were a number of single men, forming little groups and observing things or wandering round in circles. They didn’t seem to try to talk to me. When I said hello to them, they were pleasant and for most it was their first time there. There was no pushy vibe or sense of entitlement. I think they just weren’t really sure how to get started (Ahhh read my book, baby ducklings! For then you will know!). There were one or two hotties I met there who I felt an instant affinity for. I shall leave the outcome of that to your imagination.
I chatted to a member of staff later in the evening who had been there a while- there was a clear love for the place, and a sense of community, belonging and almost a mission that gave life meaning. The sense that you have found a place where you can be your real self, be loved and accepted for who you are. Though this is often more true of the social aspect of the kink scene, it is much rarer with the swing scene- certainly so when there isn’t a force utilising this loyalty for free labour. After all, shouldn’t being accepted and celebrated for who we are be a basic tenet of human life?
The night drew to a close around 2am, though people were not rushed out of the premises and play in rooms seemed allowed to finish at its natural pace. The music through the evening was strictly early 2000’s radio, which one may either love or hate but it gave me a nostalgic vibe. Most places were a fine volume to talk without having to get close to people, though there was a speaker placed in the corner by some of the sofas which seemed a strange choice for a socialising area.
Through the night, even at its busiest, there was plenty of room to social distance, talk at a reasonable volume and stay as far away from people as one might wish. Rather than this being a sign of unpopularity, it’s because the place is actually pretty huge, well divided and planned. I could happily have lived there and hosted great swinger parties every weekend (which, I’m sure, is actually what the owners do).
If you are looking for a place, in these strange, post-apocalyptic times we live in, where you can feel safe, socialise with knowledgeable lifestylers, meet new people, keep your distance from those you don’t feel you want to be in 2 metres of and have a great value night, then this place is the ticket. I only wish it wasn’t so far away!