Despite my headline, it’s been 7 months since a lockdown was first announced and we’ve been living with one restriction or another.
Even the most optimistic amongst us should also be braced that this is likely to continue for the next 6 months*. With some time for things to return to “normal” even after that.
(*the reality being that we’re going to need to see how we get through the winter – and that if the current vaccine trials prove successful – there’s still time required to roll out, to assess the efficiency and what the take-up is even like)
So. Where are we in general?
Large scale events cannot run.
Some dungeons are attempting different types of ‘socially distanced’ events but as well as having to operate on a much reduced capacity, are struggling to fill that.
Torture Garden are attempting a new night called ‘Pearl Necklace’ which is, in effect, a cabaret event with meal.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s a space you can sit around in your latex – but certainly it’s not the big fetish balls and kinky shenanigans you would expect.
Things like strap-on parties, multi-Mistress parties, gangbangs, so on obviously don’t really work as it’s not possible to socially distance.
I’m aware of some events which attempted to run which were told quietly not to.
The impact of this is quite wide.
If you are a venue that relies on revenue from these events, you are not getting that money in.
If you are someone who makes income from these events, you are not getting that money. Or, if you’re someone where it’s part of your publicity, marketing, etc. then that is also removed.
So. While those of you who are customers might miss being able to dress up, to play, to do fetishes or fantasies – there’s a lot of people sweating.
If it’s someone who owns the venue, this could be someone fearful for it’s future. If it’s an outside promoter, then losing the venue would be a blow because it can often be difficult finding venues willing to host fetish events.
I’m separating munches from events, because there’s very little to lose here.
Munches obviously cannot run. The concept of munches is very much about the social aspect and you cannot really socialise if you’ve got to sit on just one table with a maximum of one other household.
That some have attempted to run has been somewhat questionable and unsurprising they were pulled.
Whilst some have pointed to the “Business Meeting” loophole in the guidance, this is somewhat reckless to even suggest.
That, on one hand, there’s every chance this loophole will be closed at short notice.
On another, your lies put the venue at risk of fines or sanctions.
There are many munches currently operating on an online basis and I expect this to continue.
Once things can resume, as I say, munches have very little to lose. If the worst has happened and their regular venue has closed or change to the point that hosting a munch there is no longer possible then, well, other venues are available.
Most munch venues are just vanilla pubs and while no one wants to see businesses go under, it’s not the same headaches compared to if a club that hosted fetish events is no longer available.
PROFESSIONAL DOMINANTS / SEX WORKERS
In the UK in particular there’s been a lack of proper guidance related to the industry, but also a lack of proper support.
This isn’t the only industry to have insufficient support.
Some have returned to sessions (trying to map alongside ‘close contact’ industries – like tattooists and masseurs) others have not.
Whilst there had been a big-shift to online, this has had mixed results. With some struggling with online. Some doing really well. Some finding they are doing more work for lower levels of revenue.
That there are a massive increase in people turning to some form of online sex work is telling. With many jobs being lost which particularly affects young women, there’s been a rise in sign ups to sites like OnlyFans.
This has created a little bit of concern regarding the prospects of a flooded market. Whilst quality always shines through, it’s something that can often be unnerving.
Some who have returned to in-person sessions are finding they’re having fewer bookings and an increase in cancellations.
This is obviously worrying especially as something that is likely to be ongoing.
Previous speculation I’d made on film days proved to be wrong. I suspected there’d be fewer opportunities, but in essence there are more. With those facing a shortage of sessions using time to create more content.
However, this has also spawned mixed results.
Problems being around the availability of suitable film subs, late cancellations and film subs turning up who simply were not good enough.
This has also created a noticeable trend of some of the same subs ‘doing the rounds’.
Under normal circumstances this would be a glorious case of making the most of opportunities – but this is something that is presently high risk to both the subs and Dominants and something I’d urge all to be sensible on.
Someone coming down with symptoms on a Saturday could have infected 2-3 other people during the week. Or, worse, be asymptomatic and become a super spreader if they don’t realise.
So, some can’t host events they were relying on (or, can, but with a reduced capacity) and bookings from Professionals would obviously be down if they’re having fewer sessions.
Obviously factors which affect the revenues coming in.
Particularly the more independent would be affected.
So those who sell at events cannot sell if there’s no events.
If Professionals are having fewer sessions then there’s less wear-and-tear to toys that need replacing and that buying new might not be a top priority.
If dungeons have fewer bookings then they have less money to buy and need for new toys and equipment.
Couples who only play at dungeons and events might need less toys if they can’t get to events to play.
Perhaps given the bulk of any market is those who can/do play at home, that there’s new items being released like motorised fleshlights.
Some of the above problems can also make sense when you consider the impact to clients.
First off is financial. That they may have seen a decrease in individual or household income due to covid, or have concerns they may be impacted in the future.
This would impact their ability to spend on anything within the industry.
For those who do something without their partners knowledge, this could be extremely difficult if one or both are working from home. Especially if children are sent to isolate from school.
Before lockdown officially began, there was a slight surge in online activity as companies moved many staff to working from home. This potentially fizzled out quite quickly when wives and children were also sent home.
And even for those who are active either with their partner, or with their partners knowledge. It could still feel inappropriate.
Aside from the, shall we say, commercial side of kink – and the public scene – there’s also those who are looking to meet up.
Forums are still filled with classifieds. Mostly the rubbish “I’m looking for a Mistress to do all my fetishes for me”. These don’t work at the best of times – I can’t see anyone feeling “Yes, I’ll meet a stranger to do their fetishes for them, for free, during a pandemic”
But also, of course, those who are ‘known’ or who’ve made friends. I think a lot is complex, but certainly this can be a case of seeing who in your friends can meet. Considering, of course, some people have different needs to others.
Certainly there’s also the questions on where to meet, especially with ever changing guidelines.
Of course. There’s assorted scenarios where, in honesty, who would really know? But, it’s still important to keep things sensible.
And, finally, they might have their own concerns about catching or spreading covid.
THE IMPACT OF CATCHING COVID
One of the big things is trying to work within risks. A lot who are doing different forms of work is because not doing so results in not making money which can affect their business or, well, ability to eat.
That, therefore, have to work.
However, there are a handful who in doing so have caught covid.
The immediate consequences is of course that anything planned ‘in person’ for the next two weeks has to be cancelled. But, for some, the reality has been much worse.
Some things have been spoken about ‘long covid’ and that this can, in particular, lead to fatigue.
This has meant that they’ve been extremely limited in ability to work for months.
THE LIKLIHOOD OF CATCHING COVID
Early on, when sessions started, I saw assorted people put out their own covid rules on which clients they would see.
Some of which have since relaxed this. Either as more info came out, or that they weren’t getting sessions.
I felt whilst all boundaries should be respected, some rules made less sense than others.
Ultimately, if you spend 2-3 hours in close contact with someone, if one of you has covid the other also does.
There still might be big differences on the load you catch between being in the same room together versus spitting straight down someone’s throat, but the concept remains.
The likelihood is probably more down to the person you are with and their general habits and behaviours.
So – as I mentioned above. If your using film subs or crew who are ‘doing the rounds’ then they are higher risk to work with.
Equally, if someone is commuting daily, they’re higher risk than someone who is mostly working from home.
The risk of them picking up covid from somewhere being linked to how often they’re out and about, what they’re doing when out and about and the number of cases in the local area.
With the new tier system it’s possibly best to consider not what *can* I do in the current restrictions, but what *should* I do?
What risk am I putting myself and others in?
In some ways this might be on a personal level and a case by case basis.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
I think, step one, is to accept all of the above. There might be bits you mildly disagree with me on. But to accept there will be disruption for the next few months at least.
We’re not all in the same boat. We’re all in the same storm.
It’s important to appreciate that even if we are OK, others are not.
It’s also important to accept that you, personally, cannot help everyone you want to help. By extension, this also means if you’re someone who needs support (bookings, sales, hires, whatever) that not everyone who wants to support you is able to.
If you want to make a good impression on someone, it’s a very good time.
But, at the same time, it’s important to neither take advantage of nor manipulate the situation.
It’s also important to be sensible with the risks we take. That if we wish to book a session, film, attend a socially distanced fetish event, whatever… that we’re generally sensible in everything else we do to lower the chance of it being us who brings something in.
We might also as well as having to take responsibility ourselves, making sure we engage with others who are also responsible.
Patience might also be a strong virtue and we should be flexible enough to know anything we do have planned is at risk of cancellation.
What we also need to accept is there are people who are making decisions based on survival. In some cases this might technically be outside of ‘guidelines’ (as I said above, there’s no dedicated guidelines for the sex industry) and this is a big difference maker between what we do.
This is something to be respectful of.