NELA Fetish Fair Fleamarket 2017

Heads up! A paragraph in this recap talk about bugs on body parts, so if this squicks you, be sure to avoid that section. I’ll leave a BOLD note before and after in case you’d still like to read the rest of the recap!

I am still unpacking (both mentally and physically) from the New England Leather Alliance’s 2017 Fetish Fair Fleamarket (the Fet Flea). While I’ve been to the Fet Flea over the last several years, this was the first time I really took advantage of the whole shebang. I planned in advance, split a hotel with four other babely folks, requested the time off from work, and bought a ticket to the late play party. I was all in.

When I originally looked at the schedule, I planned to attend workshops almost every hour of every day. In reality, I went to four since I wanted to check out the vendors and enjoy the hotel atmosphere with other folks. The hours of the Fet Flea are not incredibly conducive to doing everything I wanted to do, so I adjusted.

Friday night, I brought my friends with me to the BDSM taster, which is my favorite event every year. Rather than a play party, the BDSM taster is a chance to try out different forms of play involving equipment you may want to invest in. In 2016, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed being bullwhipped and caned. This year, I gleefully tried knife-play and learned about making nipple clamps from skewers and rubber bands. The taster is easily my favorite thing about the Fet Flea because it gives me a safe chance to try out play I am interested in before I invest tons of money on equipment.

Saturday, we slept in before checking out the expansive vendor hall. I was sad not to see New York Toy Collective this year, but I did say hi to Noah from the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health. I also loved the Trans Spectrum Kinksters table and their hanky rosettes (because I’m a little obsessed with the Hanky Code).

The ceramic dildos offered by Mud With Benefits stood out to me this year. Ceramic sex toys are not unheard of and encompass everything from artisanal pieces by Persian Palm to the mass marketed Ceramix pieces by Pipedream.1Which I am intentionally not linking to because Pipedream is a shitty company. I’ll write more about this in the future. Ceramic toys are great for temperature play. To be body safe, they need to be “glazed and kiln-fired. The glaze keeps it non-porous” (Lilly, Toxic Sex Toys). Mud With Benefits’ pieces can be intentionally left unglazed on their interiors, which feels like a mistake in terms of body safety & keeping the toys non-porous. I messaged the seller on Etsy to ask about this. UPDATE:  According to the seller, they are kiln fired, but the lip of the toys (as seen above) must be left unglazed so that it doesn’t stick to the kiln. In my (not professional) opinion, this toy still has porous aspects and so couldn’t be considered a truly body safe toy.

Some of my favorite vendors from the Flea

Inside the vendor hall, I fell in love with some of Hubba Hubba’s glittery collars and my partner was obsessed with a galaxy corset.

We continued our perusal in the room vendors, which are hotel rooms where additional vendors set up their wares, which was mostly clothing but also gorgeous leather boots and a giant customizable bedframe. This year, Doxy was one of these vendors and I really enjoyed talking to Ruby and Em about the differences in vending in the hall versus the rooms. And I totally drooled over the white sparkly Doxy Die Cast and the Doxy Don. Unf.

After spending something like four hours checking out all the vendors, I went to the Rough Body Play workshop taught by Roughinamorato. This topic caught my interest during Episode 154 of CrashPad Series, featuring my faves Tina Horn and Andre Shakti lovingly beating on each other. Roughinamorato was an excellent teacher and the class focused on what body parts are good to punch/be punched. I was really glad my partner joined me at this class and he too loved Roughinamorato’s funny & instructive manner.


After Rough Body Play, I headed to the basement meeting rooms where where Formicophillia Fun was held. Formicophillia refers to using bugs for sensation play. While this is not a kink I have, it’s a kink I had never considered and thus one I really wanted to learn more about. As the instructor, Wintersong Tashlin, told us, this was not a theory-heavy class. Two demo bottoms had earthworms, super worms (basically giant mealworms), and maggots places on their nipples, belly buttons, and surrounding genitals. It was a fascinating and very visceral workshop. We watched videos showing crickets and leeches drawing blood from penises, and someone sounding 2inserting an object into their urethra with an earthworm. Even now, I think Formicophillia Fun was a very intense class, so I skipped the next workshop in order to decompress.


The final class I attended featured Kim Airs with Leo Rising for a transformation from femme to man-drag. Drag Kings and man-drag is something that piques my interest in gender performance. Day to day gender performance is a much more permanent thing, whereas drag can be incredibly ephemeral. With drag, I could wear a short wig but still keep the long hair I love. Leo Rising’s character was not necessarily one I relate to but I’d love to have some of the experiences he’s had.

When you unpack and re-pack a jillion times…

After this workshop, I headed back up to my room to get ready for the late play party. Shocking as it may sound, this was the first play party I had ever been to. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and, in retrospect, I should have maybe gone to Welcome Wagon to know what to expect but alas. Instead, I headed to the party dressed in my new white pleather jacket and sparkly shorts, where I watched a lot of scenes.

The most fascinating were the suspension rigs, where bottoms were expertly and lovingly held up with ropes. Hearing the shouts of pain and pleasure from bottoms getting smacked around was pretty great too. However, there seemed to be far too many people in too small a space, and all of the scenes had been negotiated much farther in advance. I didn’t get to personally experience any of the equipment or get smacked around, which I would have liked, but I understand why the party operates the way it does.

I ended up leaving early and we had our own room party involving kinky & consensual spin the bottle… which mostly resulted in someone wearing a condom over their hand for a round and people’s random body parts being tied together. I think next year I’ll opt for a room party with cute babes over the official party.

Sunday morning, I headed back to New York early, so I missed saying goodbye to some folks and I didn’t get the chance to buy any of the things I really wanted, but there’s always next year. I can’t wait for the next kink-centric event I’m going to, CineKink NYC in March!


1 Which I am intentionally not linking to because Pipedream is a shitty company. I’ll write more about this in the future.
2 inserting an object into their urethra