Photo by Hbalairos (Wikimedia Commons)
Berlin's most experimental BDSM pleasure palace, Schwelle7, is sadly losing its Wedding location at the end of this year. The good news is they have a chance to BUY a new location to keep it going. Michael Hald draws back the curtain on what Schwelle7 is all about. And you can help by supporting their crowdfunding campaign.
Check out our interview with BDSM curator Felix Ruckert here.
It’s a Wednesday night, and the moon is full. At Schwelle7, the massive warehouse space in Wedding, the mass is slowly congregating for the monthly play party, subtitled “The Aristocracy of Desire”. Inside lingers a strong scent of incense and burning candles. The dress code for tonight is fetish, fantasy and glamour; people are getting changed, shedding their outside identities in favour of elaborately adorned corsets, latex catsuits, strap-ons and other gender-bending get-ups.
With nearly 100 participants ranging from 20 to 70, age is irrelevant here. Orange-red square linen panels divide the studio, creating nooks and crannies for the playing to soon unfold in the dimly lit room. Scattered on the floor, underneath metal hoops made for rope suspension, are soft ivory-coloured mats.
On one of them, a young woman in a white corsage cut beneath the breasts is getting tied up; thin ropes are bound into intricate knots, twisting her body into a fixated, unnatural shape and squishing her breasts. She smiles in bliss, as her bondaged body swings gently above the ground, contorted, helpless and submissive. It’s a sculpturally beautiful display, both raw and tender. People around her are sitting on soft couches, drinking wine and engaging in quiet conversation.
As the night progresses, the talking subsides and makes way for communication of the more physical kind. A twentysomething woman with the body of an athlete or a dancer, dressed in little more than a thong lies flat on her stomach in the middle of the room. She’s titillated by her partner’s action, shifting between gentle, feather-light caresses, dripping of sizzling hot wax onto her naked skin and a quick cracking of bamboo cane, letting out stifled moans with every whiplash.
In another part of the room, a busty blonde has changed gender roles with her man. Wearing a bowler hat and a blazer, she fucks him silly as he lies on his back in a schoolgirl get-up.
Sitting on a soft seat close by, a young athletic man in a skimpy sailor costume pulls at the leash of his boy toy, silently signalling for him to get on his knees – he complies; it’s all about dominance and submission – and they’re soon joined by a young woman in leopard stockings and a black corset. The obedient dog’s head bobs up and down as he services his sailor master.
All around them people are indulging in all kinds of carnal pleasure, getting tied up and suspended or giving light spankings – it’s a communal boudoir, dedicated to hedonism. Past midnight, the moon begins to wane and the numbers start to dwindle as the players re-assume their everyday identities – lawyers, students, journalists – and make for the exit. It’s no matter: the moon will be full again soon enough.
Door €15, "€10 for the poor" | Schwelle7, Uferstraße 6, Wedding, U-Bhf Pankstr.