Kink.com: Nothing says summer vacation like a family trip to a porn-film palace
When my sister asked if I wanted to join her and my brother on a tour of the Kink.com studios in San Francisco, I initially declined. I hate porn -- mostly because I don't understand it -- and I didn't want to be that kind of uncomfortable in public. But then I found out that the company was housed inside the hundred-year-old, 200,000-square-foot San Francisco Armory, and I was swayed by the thought of looking at an old building for an hour.
When visiting Kink.com, ensure discomfort for the whole family by posing together in a cage.
Much to my surprise, I discovered that the troubling part of visiting a company that makes BDSM-oriented films isn't doing so with your family; it's all about who else is on the tour with you. And when you have a weird older gentleman asking a more than considerate tour guide way too detailed questions about specific pornographic films he has clearly viewed repeatedly, it can make a trip to Kink.com uncomfortable for everyone involved.
My sister stands next to a 55-gallon drum of lube, to show appropriate scale.
Our guide was an incredibly patient sex educator who clearly had experience in dealing with corralling creeps on these daily tours, and she did her best to keep the group on track as we wandered the academic-feeling halls of Kink.com. She began by giving a brief history of the building's usage by the United States National Guard from the early 1900s through the '70s, before its acquisition by Kink.com founder Peter Acworth in 2006.
We stepped in spaces with chains hanging from the ceiling, cages for "slaves," and even a fully replicated kitchen and bathroom, for more domestic-looking bondage scenarios. Everything in the space was meticulously crafted by set designers; a padded room with a two-way mirror and an interrogation room on the other side came complete with fluid stains on the walls.
All of this was fascinating to someone like me, who has never watched a full pornographic video in her life and clearly has no imagination -- because I had no idea why anyone would be interested in sex play involving a slaughterhouse or an industrial-strength garden hose.
The San Francisco Armory.
Our guide gave descriptions of what might take place on some of these particular sets without being graphic at all, in the process convincing me that Kink.com would probably be a wonderful place to work. It has company-wide safe words, clear conduct guidelines (shared with the public on its website, too), and what sounds like a lot of fun -- for smart, mature, consenting adults.