Club Lash: An inclusive space for everyone to explore their sexuality freely in Manchester
Since its inception in the late 90s, hundreds have been welcomed to Club Lash events to both explore their sexualities freely and experience the fetish scene safely. Set up by four women, the aim was to create a safe space for all identities. Every month, Club Lash holds an alternative fetish club night at the Manchester Chambers in Ashton-under-Lyne, while also holding occasional larger events in Manchester City Centre.
These club events usually follow a specific theme, differing every month. Ranging from Sci-Fi, Angels and Demons, Superheroes and Supervillains to Valentine’s and Halloween-themed events. There is something for everyone at Club Lash and these events are essential in providing a space for sexual exploration free from judgement.
At a Club Lash event, attendees are encouraged to socialise, enjoy the themed event and explore the fetish scene together. This can include simply observing others and getting a feel for the place, meeting new people, dancing, drinking, and even taking part in consenting play together by utilizing the facilities of the playrooms. All of this allows guests to explore the fetish scene freely, safe from discrimination and in an environment which is welcoming and respectful. Tickets for these events can be purchased for just £10 through either their website or Twitter (@ClubLash).
Club Lash also operates under a strict dress code for those attending their events, as their website states, “No streetwear, trainers or blue jeans permitted.” However leather, rubber or a sexy doctor’s outfit works just fine.
What is particularly significant about Club Lash’s existence however is its origins and how this has contributed positively to the development of Manchester’s current fetish scene. I had the pleasure of interviewing both Miss Jinny and Head Mistress, Suzie Doyen, and was able to understand further why Club Lash is essential to Manchester’s culture.
As stated by Doyen, Club Lash has always been fronted and organised by women, it was initially set up to provide a safe space for women to go to, because as it is historically known, fetish clubs were predominantly a space taken up by single men, often making it unsafe or predatory for those new to the scene. Club Lash, therefore, was a space which attempted to reverse this imbalance. For example, Club Lash itself had a single-man rule, a rule which has lessened over time in its harshness as kink has become more mainstream, but which was initially created in order to protect those who are more vulnerable and wanted to explore their sexuality safely in a space which was much more femme dominated.
Not only has Club Lash provided a space for sexuality to be explored safely, but it has also existed as a space for education. As Miss Jinny stated in our interview, upon the release of the controversial book Fifty Shades of Grey, Club Lash saw an influx of new attendees wanting to explore the fetish scene as it entered the mainstream. However, due to the misrepresentation of fetish play and consent depicted in this popular novel, Club Lash had a responsibility of clarifying and re-teaching exactly what fetish play is and the importance of consent and safety to its new attendees.
At every Club Lash event, the play spaces are fully staffed by Dungeon Monitors who are there to help out and protect guests. Whether you need help with something, your questions answered or just someone to show you around, Club Lash is fully staffed with welcoming and educated experts in the kink field who make the fetish world accessible, inclusive, and safe.
No matter who you are or what you’re into, Club Lash provides an important space for sexual exploration which is incredibly important in our modern age. As the fetish scene emerges from its oppressed position in society’s underbelly and becomes more mainstream, spaces like Club Lash are profoundly important in educating and protecting those who wish to explore something new. Not only this, but inclusive spaces like Club Lash which allow people of all identities, orientations, and backgrounds to come together in a non-judgmental space to be vulnerable with each other are profoundly important.
For anyone in Manchester who is looking to explore their sexuality free from discrimination, and in a space which is informative, supportive and welcoming, Club Lash is the best place to start.