Top image: Representing S Plus Association founding members, left-right: Zara DuRose (ZDR Events); CK Nam (Burning Nest/MicroBurn/London Decompression); Ben Manflesh (rear); Lara aka Divine Theratrix (front); Sinead (The Fox Den); Yasmin (Torture Garden)

S PLUS ASSOCIATION: NEW UK TRADE BODY FOR SEX-POSITIVE EVENTS

A new trade body, S Plus Association, launched in London earlier this week with the aim of representing sex-positive event organisers in the UK. Supported initially by a group of event promoters including well-known fetish brands Torture Garden and ZDR Events, S Plus will campaign to raise awareness of the industry, its contribution to the night-time economy, and the need both for more venue spaces and greater co-operation with local councils and police.

The launch event took place on Wednesday June 12 at Electrowerkz, the Angel Islington venue with a long and distinguished history of supporting sex-positive events. Guests assembled from 7pm in the venue’s ground floor Courtyard Bar, filing in to the adjacent seated space by 8pm to listen to seven speakers from the Association’s founding/early-member event businesses who talked enthusiastically about their support for the aims of the new trade body, and answered audience questions in the Q&A that followed.

Speakers were Allen Pelling (co-founder and director, Torture Garden); Lara Murray (Divine Theratrix and Centaur Studios); Emma Hartmand (co-founder, Dominium Vita); CK Nam (consenting lead for Burning Nest, MicroBurn and London Decompression); Logan Star (co-founder, Quench); Sinead Mac Manus (founder, The Fox Den); and Scott Jordan (community manager, Electrowerkz).

Top image: Representing S Plus Association founding members, left-right: Zara DuRose (ZDR Events); CK Nam (Burning Nest/MicroBurn/London Decompression); Ben Manflesh (rear); Lara aka Divine Theratrix (front); Sinead (The Fox Den); Yasmin (Torture Garden)

Lara Murray aka Divine Theratrix, left (photo: @jollytd)), is credited as the original driving force behind the formation of S Plus Association. Allen Pelling, aka Allen TG of Torture Garden, is another key founder of the new trade body. Both spoke at the launch event.

They were assembled there to remind us that sex-positive events encompass everything from burlesque and kink, to fetish nights and BDSM, to play parties and more. This growing, diverse and inclusive industry, which is welcoming of all forms of sexual expression and the LGBTQIA+ community, stages regular events in major UK cities attended by hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds every year. Its overall contribution to the night-time economy is estimated by the new trade body’s founders to be worth £250 million annually.

Yet, the Association maintains, due to a lack of information, differences in the interpretation of licensing laws and longstanding taboos around sex and sexuality, the workforce behind this fun, vibrant and diverse social scene is regularly discriminated against by everyone from event venues to banks and local councils — leading to last-minute venue cancellations, loss of business, and in some cases, unwarranted legal action.

S Plus Association aims to debunk the myths and misconceptions surrounding the industry, safeguarding its workforce and guests by setting standards, creating opportunities for education, delivering information campaigns, and offering up-to-date advice and support to its members.

More S Plus founding members: Sinead Mac Manus of The Fox Den (left), who was both a speaker and MC at the association’s launch on June 12. Right: CK Nam (photo: @the1harris), who spoke at the launch on behalf of Burning Nest, MicroBurn and London DecompressionMore S Plus founding members: Sinead Mac Manus of The Fox Den (left), who was both a speaker and MC at the association’s launch on June 12. Right: CK Nam (photo: @the1harris), who spoke at the launch on behalf of Burning Nest, MicroBurn and London Decompression

The new trade body will enable a wide range of sex-positive event organisers to come together, share best practice, discuss the challenges they face and engage in meaningful conversations about their work with the press and other stakeholders. In this regard, we understand that S Plus Association has already engaged with Metropolitan Police licensing officers with a view to developing a code of conduct that its members, as operators, sign up to.

In future, the Association plans to conduct a survey of its members to gather data about the scale, value and cultural capital of sex-positive events. It will also consult with its members to develop shared procedures for conflict management and measures to deny future admission to individuals who have breached the Associations’ standards.

It has long been evident that sex-positive events give rise to fewer incidents of violence and sexual assault than other night-time events, and the association pledges to help normalise and regulate an industry that’s attracting and entertaining guests across the country, providing safe, healthy spaces for sexual expression and education.

S Plus Association first-wave members Lily and Logan Star of the event Quench, which the couple co-founded. Logan was one of the S Plus launch party’s seven speakers

The list of event organisers (in A-Z order) already signed up to S Plus Association at time of writing is as follows: Divine Darkness, Divine Theratrix, Dominium Vita, Imaginarium, Naughties Entertainment, Quench, Riot, 7 Sins, Sexquisite, The Art of Darkness, The Chardmore Society, The Fox Den, Torture Garden and ZDR Events.

Membership of S Plus Association is open now to sex-positive event organisers in the UK and monitors who work in the industry. Monitor membership costs £5/month and there are three levels of event organiser membership with fees from £10/month to £30/month, depending on turnover. In addition there is a one-time processing fee of £30 for approved members. Use the links below to view the Association’s home page mission statement  (which includes a contact email and newsletter sign-up), or to access the membership form (which includes detailed membership information).

S plus home/info/newsletter sign-up
S Plus membership form + info