Sexy Issue: Erotica in Philly

Exploring the other side of Philly's kinky side.

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 17 | Posted Feb. 9, 2010

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Photo by Jeff Fusco

Impressed and somewhat intimidated, we lean back to our crafts. I’m finishing gluing the tassels onto my brand-new set of glittery black star-shaped pasties when the other table erupts into shrieks.

I look over. Everyone’s standing up, half-naked. I regret being stuck at the conservative table. A woman beams proudly, head thrown back, arms in the air, body rattling as vigorously as a martini shaker as her tassels spiral furiously round and round like crazy clock hands. “I’m 54!” she screams.

The fifth grade boy inside your brain is right for once. All boobs are good boobs, I think.

Back at my table, the Shirts still have their shirts on, and I long to join the Skins. Finally I shove a swatch of carpet glue inside the black stars, unzip my hoodie and get to work. I try to get them twirling without raising my arms at first, which seems over the top, but no dice. Finally I give in. Sometimes you just have to risk ridiculous to get to sexy. I raise my arms, bounce a bit and wouldn’t you know it, the tassels pinwheel like clockwork. ■

Power to the People: Getting kinky with Kali Morgan

I’m sitting in the Sexploratorium’s third-story art gallery, surrounded by black and white photographs of hard penises, soft penises, muscular, leather-strapped men and muscular farm-boy types. I’m here for the class “Intimate Exchanges: An Introduction to Power and Fantasy,” a sort of introduction to S/M class that Kali Morgan, proprietrix of Passional and the Sexploratorium, has been teaching since 2001.

The course is designed to be vanilla-friendly, to help the fetish-curious—and those that love them—make the transition to kinky a smooth one (unless of course you prefer bumps and ridges and ticklers).

Morgan designed the class out of her own experience. Sixteen years ago, she met the woman who would become her wife; she says the relationship almost didn’t happen because her new girlfriend was a little freaked out by Morgan’s alternative lifestyle.

“She was like, why is this man cleaning your house in a French maid's dress? I said truth be told, he likes to get beat and I hate to clean, so we have a working arrangement,” laughs Morgan.

A candle is burning, world music is playing low out of a boom box, and I begin to review the worksheet packet Morgan has circulated to the eight students in class. The top page is titled “My Human Needs?” Uh oh.

The guy I dragged here, who deserves a gold star (or after this class, maybe a spanking?) for being a good sport, flashes a miserable look. “Jesus, it’s a quiz,” he complains, having no idea that within the hour he’ll be kneeling on the floor blindfolded in front of our classmates, including a really sweet, gentle guy who says he likes to be a demon vampire lord every once in a while.

Meanwhile, I’m thrilled. Raised on crappy girl magazines, I eagerly scribble answers.

All is well until I find myself kneeling on the floor with my forehead pressed to the ground. Everyone was clothed and there was nothing particularly sexy about it, but as part of the program we were all supposed to feel what it would be like to be in a typically submissive (and then dominant) position. It felt weird. Morgan asks the group to visualize our “dominant” and “submissive” selves.

Then we’re asked to shout out what we’ve come up with. One woman admits she would want to wear the I Dream of Jeannie genie outfit. Good one , I think. That breaks the dam and suggestions start flowing. Collars, schoolgirl skirts. Most of the suggestions are cute costumes, that creepily, are common little-girl Halloween costumes. Then we do the same for dominance. The would-be demon king vampire lord suggests using a leash. Others say they would like to envision themselves as “tall,” or the always alluring “immortal.”

The unexpected result that emerges is that so-called dominant and submissive desires overlap into a common principle all lovers can get behind (or on top of): pleasing your partner in the sack.

Morgan makes a good point when she says a lot of “regular” sexual relationships could benefit from the ground rules of fetish life.

“You should have a safe word in vanilla sex,” she says. “It'd be helpful if every kid in sex ed learned about safe words.”

The point that we get around to—without ever really talking about S/M directly—is an age-old chestnut (in the fetish community, at least). We're surrounded by pictures of penises in a store chock full of dildos, clear plastic speculums and "bound for adventure" trampolines, but if you ask a kinkster what turns them on the most, they'll all tap their temples and say, "The brain."

This is probably true, but not what I bought after class.

Goddess Thain: Nurturing sadist, kinky therapist

Say dominatrix, and most people envision a sexy evil goddess vamp, a tightly corseted gothic Wonder Woman who thinks nothing of tying a man-slave to a St. Andrew’s cross, zippering a leather hood over his face and thwacking his bare backside with whatever’s handy—a cane, a cat o’ nine tails whip, a riding crop—until his skin blooms with bruises like a Monet.

Oh yes, says Goddess Thain, showing me pictures of an apparently deliriously happy man with an ass striped like the American flag. But that’s just part of her job. Though Thain identifies as a lot of roles—artist, mother, dominatrix—most of all, she’s a whipping contradiction: a sadistic dominatrix that really wants to help you loosen up, man.

It’s a paradox to be a freedom fighter who is really into bondage; to want to love the one you whip.

What’s really surprising is that even though she’s a pay-to-play professional dominatrix with a client base of (mostly) men who go out of their way to keep their kinky proclivities—and relationship with her—a secret, she often winds up chatting with clients’ wives.

“There are a lot of clients who are married and feel like they can’t express this, so I tell them, ‘the next time you’re bringing your wife or you’re not seeing me again,’” she says. “About 90 percent of the time, the spouse is more pissed about the lying.”

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Comments 1 - 17 of 17
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1. Anonymous said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 04:27AM

“Who is that woman on the cover? She's hott! Is there an article on her?”

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2. J Davidson said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 05:34AM

“Nice work Heather & Tara !!
I've seen an ATM machine, and no, you mos def do not look like a phreegin' ATM machine.....”

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3. jesselun said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 05:47AM

“I agree with J...great stories. Heather rocks”

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4. Scott said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 07:45AM

“Heather this a great article. Stop by later and we can celebrate. You rock.”

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5. CandyMayhem said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 09:10AM

“Heather, you are amazing!!!”

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6. D'Arcy said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:46PM

“Heather, you are an absolute goddess! Strong, beautiful and always true to yourself.”

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7. Goddess Thain said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 01:19PM

“Thank you, Tara!
This was a great article! :-)”

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8. Deep C said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 01:59PM

“Heather is the bomb diggity!!!”

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9. OJ said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 02:10PM

“Great article. Probably one of my all-time favorite lines, "Show me a woman who doesn’t want to learn how to twirl tassels with her tits and I will show you a creature with no dreams at all."”

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10. Beth the ninja said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 02:28PM

“That Heather is a hot one!”

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11. Bowman T Bowman said... on Feb 10, 2010 at 08:47PM

“How did we not hear about this issue at Naughty Girl Web before it happened so we could be a part of it!? Somebody dropped the ball. I blame D'Arcy.”

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12. kati kill said... on Feb 11, 2010 at 02:13AM

“love the article, couldn't stop laughing... and im the one quoted at the begining of the story with the boots and atm comment, hehe. The things us girls hear when we dance. Also I was happy that the Dolphin Tavern was mention more people should really go to this place. It's a hidden gem.”

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13. Rick said... on Feb 12, 2010 at 10:36AM


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14. Heather Henderson said... on Feb 12, 2010 at 10:58AM

“The star of the Stripper Rant Podcast”

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15. JohnnyZito said... on Feb 13, 2010 at 09:55AM

“Hells Yes. Need to upgrade this series to Vod Cast :)”

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16. The Pantyhose Prince said... on Feb 13, 2010 at 10:45AM

“Since Heather has no more use for stilleto heels, I was wondering if she would sell them to m.”

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17. PhillyDaddy said... on Feb 22, 2010 at 04:29PM

“I've been attacked by the walking ATM machines more than I can count. I tip them because I'm glad they put their clothes back on. Most can't dance, aren't appealing when naked or dressed. C'mon, saggy tits on a stripper, with Bubba tattoed on her ass. Other than rubbing their tits on my back to get my attention for a tip, they have no personality whatsoever. After paying the outrageous cover, double the rate for a drink and tip everytime a girl comes off stage, the least that I should expect is a decent body to look at on a girl that at least has rythm. I often attend with my GF and they are downright rude to her. Pushing her out of the way with their flat asses to get at my dollar. Change? You should be paying me to come and watch, like you pay the DJ and club owner to be there!”


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