When one thinks of sex shops, minds automatically drifts to Soho. A place in London famous for its concentration of sex shops and LGBT friendly scene. Although, have you visited in recent years? Soho is no longer the Las Vegas of sex shops with streets lined and illuminated by neon signs boasting slogans such as “live sex”, “girls, girls, girls” or “peeps show”. Such stores have been replaced with food markets and coffee shops. This radical change has come about due to a recent restriction placed on the town by Westminster City Council. The council have been rejecting application after application for new sex shops, dungeons and fetish clothing stores putting a cap on the number of such establishments to just sixteen (Greater London Properties 2018). Sixteen stores in total, no more and probably many less in years to come.
This single gesture from Westminster Council is suffocating the liberation of sex and demising the LGBT scene in Soho. Reasoning for the decision was to maintain a safe place for residents. Being a fellow free minded liberal, I imagine this reasoning made you wince just as much as it did me. Thinking, did they really conclude that people who are open minded when it comes to sex, enjoying sex and exploring their bodies are dangerous! I’ve personally attended many fetish events and have never felt as safe in comparison to a regular nightclub. I’ve never noted a restraint placed upon a town in respect of regular bars and clubs, have you? I’d say, regular townie drinkers are much more of a nuisance and are much more likely to disturb the peace. I mean, when one walks past a sex shop, the traffic you see going in is usually people looking slightly sketchy because they are nervous and dashing in and out swiftly. Now, compare that to a Weatherspoon’s. The contradiction of clientele in terms of “dangerous” is staggering.
Anyhow, the fetish, LGBT and sex scene are renowned for its strength to bounce back when restrained by the narrow minded. We have seen examples of the community’s strength over and over again. Not just in the UK but worldwide. Just think of the restraints placed upon girls, guys and establishments in the USA, such as SESTA / FOSTA. These “officials” fail to realise our community’s resilience and power to grow even when faced with such detrimental decisions.
Whilst the council is trying to squash the sex, fetish and LGBT scene in London, they can’t squash it elsewhere. Take for example Brighton, UK. Now, you might be thinking I’m a little biased because this is my home town. This may be slightly true but being my home town, I’m well acquainted with all of the flourishing establishments keeping our community alive and growing. We, in Brighton, now have many more concentrated sex, fetish and LGBT orientated establishments than Soho currently hosts. Not only this but it’s not just the resident’s that are diverse here, but our sex industry too. For example, Brighton currently homes four main sex shops, Lust and Taboo. The stores are dotted around the town and proudly situated on the busy cobbled quirky lanes. The sex shops have recently made such a stir, with Taboo being voted Britain’s best sex shop that Channel 4 have recently filmed a documentary about the sex stores.
Brighton is also home to two BDSM dungeons, Brighton Dungeon being known worldwide all thanks to it’s late founder, the infamous Mistress Dometria. There are also two establishments for crossdressing services – The Sissy Dressing Parlour, which is my baby. It’s fabulous of course because I’m the owner and hostess there. The Sissy Dressing Parlour is situated within the same premises as the Brighton Dungeon and specialised in all forms of feminisation and sissy BDSM play. There’s also Translife – an establishment that helps transsexuals on their journey and builds confidence within them in order to assist them to flower into the darling girls they desire and deserve to be. There are also many more fetish clothing stores mainly situated within Brighton lanes.
Brighton hosts many LGBT and fetish nightlife events with resident clubs such as Revenge or the pop-up parties hosted by Torture Garden at Stanmer Park and Filth. With all of these establishments, let’s not forget Brighton’s mix of unique dominas too, such as, Kountess Von Kink who hosts her own BDSM nursery; Madam Brodie, the former well-known fetish showgirl turned feisty but fabulous sadistic beauty; or, Domina Vee, a well-established and incredibly talented fetish barberette. Last but not least, we can't forget to give a mention to the town's annual Gay Pride event, which Brighton and Hove City Council not only supports but proudly sponsors too. Covid permitting, we will see this event back on soon.
Brighton now holds more LGBT and sex-orientated establishments than Soho. It’s a sad era for Soho but Brighton proudly held the fort and continues to keep the torch burning for our kink community to enjoy. If you haven’t visited and sampled some or all of our sensual delicacies, you should.
By Queen Morningstar