Photo by Sarah Good
College is a time of experimentation and Isla Vista has its reputation for wild nights and debauchery. But some of its wildest antics occur behind the doors of the people you would least expect. A common saying, “It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to look out for,” holds true for the kinkiest of the Gauchos. The population has created a community of their own: Kink University Fetish Fellowship, the only club of its kind on campus.
The five-year-old organization stresses the importance of safety and communication when practicing BDSM, an acronym for Bondage & Discipline/Domination & Submission/Sadism & Masochism. Their goals are to educate people and build a community around BDSM and kink. At weekly meetings they introduce different topics, such as the use of electricity, needleplay and bondage during foreplay.
Demonstrations are also held, when possible, by a local physician or knowledgeable practitioner of various BDSM acts, to exhibit techniques and safety precautions to ensure a pleasurable experience.
Popular crime shows, such as “CSI” and “Law & Order,” often depict kinky fetishes negatively, with situations of autoerotic asphyxiation gone wrong or crime scenes with a body left in bondage. KUFF’s aims to inform kinky students on how to prevent such unfortunate situations and to rectify the common misconceptions associated with kink by the media. One of the messages KUFF stresses for those who try BDSM is that it should be “Safe, Sane and Consensual.”
“IV is notorious for drunken and unsafe sex,” said the club’s Vice President. “If there is any alcohol in your system, you cannot legally give consent.”
Communication is key for kink, and safe words help partners understand their limits.
“Sometimes part of the excitement is hearing your partner say ‘No! Stop!’ so in situations like that having identified a safe word that usually wouldn’t be said otherwise, like ‘Floss,’ ends a scene immediately,” she said.
KUFF serves as a safe space to talk about anything with complete confidentiality.
“BDSM can be very dangerous, especially for girls who can get into situations where they don’t know how to say no,” said the treasurer, a third-year art major. “There is a lot of pressure. I was one of those girls and this provides me with a system that allows me to be more in control.”
Former President, and KUFF recruiter– notorious for wearing a collar around her neck–has been with the club since its beginning years and throughout her time in college.
“I had a very conservative Christian upbringing, so as I began discovering my sexual orientation, kink and beyond, it was great to have a group that understands,” she said. “ I learned what I liked, didn’t like and was making sense of myself. Not everyone is into the same things. This is a safe space who accepts people as unique as they are, and there is no pressure to try the more extreme kink and no judgment if you do.”
KUFF works closely with the Safer Sex Peers on campus, as well as Queer groups and Women’s groups who can relate to being considered a “freak” and “not the norm.” They can often be found at Queerpalooza with a table covered with kinky toys or providing demonstrations during Pride Week.
“It’s really just a bunch of cool, normal people and a friendly environment,” said the web mistress. “We are all open-minded and respectful. These ‘freaks’ are of various majors and backgrounds, and are probably sitting next to you in class, blending in–because they are, in fact, regular students.”
If you have an open mind, you can learn more about the club Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the Chumash Room on the lower floor of the UCen.
“Just come to the club. We won’t bite, unless you want us to,” said the President [of Perversion], a fourth-year Linguistics major.