Want to up your sexy skills?
Plan a visit to Kinky Kollege! Bruce, the event director, explains the broad selection of classes, culture of consent, and sexual community spirit at this inclusive twice-yearly event.
Wild & Sublime Podcast Transcript
#S2E24 | Wanna Go to Kinky Kollege?
[Wild & Sublime theme music]
Bruce: And it's this accepting environment where you can learn in whatever modality that works for you.
Karen Yates: Welcome to Wild & Sublime, a sexy spin on infotainment®, no matter your preferences, orientation, or relationship style, based on the popular live Chicago show. Each week, I'll chat about sex and relationships with citizens from the world of sex positivity. You'll hear meaningful conversation, dialogues that go deeper, and information that can help you become more free in your sexual expression. I'm sex educator Karen Yates. Today, I interviewed Bruce, the event director of Kinky Kollege, a highly popular weekend gathering that teaches people how to up their BDSM game. Plus, our live audience shares their skill-building desires. Keep listening.
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Hi, folks. If you are in the BDSM scene in the US, you may have heard of Kinky Kollege, a major destination event in the Chicagoland area that usually happens twice a year as a three-day weekend. At Kinky Kollege — and that's spelled with two Ks — people from beginners to advanced players can learn more about kink: techniques, philosophy, communication, and more. Due to COVID, the past three Kinky Kolleges have been cancelled, but it looks like the next one, from October 8 to October 10, is on. I thought I would air the interview I did with Bruce, the event director, at our live show March 13, 2020, just as the pandemic was about to shut down Chicago, and listen to him tell us more about it. But before I introduce Bruce, I would like to share with you what the audience wrote that night — and that show was all about skill building — when we gave them the prompt, "What sexy or kinky skill would I like to learn or improve? Enjoy.
[in front of live audience] Folks have written in on the kinky or sexy skill I'd like to learn or improve... [reading notes] "All of the rope tying." Yes! "How to dominate without giggling." Yes... "The Eartha Kitt purr..." Can anyone do it? [audience member purrs] Anyone else? Eartha Kitt purr? Okay. "Needles and medical play." Wow. Yeah. Okay... "Waterboarding." Ooh, bringing the big guns out here! "Piss play."Mmmm. Okay, what else have we got going here? We've got... folks wanting to — "Flogging, but not being afraid of hurting my partner." There you go. "The sexy or kinky skill I'd like to learn or improve is how to make things move and grow in scenes with multiple partners. Three, four, or more." Okay. "How can I get more comfortable with vulnerability?" "Being a good bottom, increasing pain tolerance, and brat taming" ... One second... [reading] "Tips and tricks on riding dick better, even though I recognize every guy's different." "The sexy or kinky skill I want to improve is nothing, because I'm already fucking amazing." "The skill is how to stay present, particularly not getting stuck in routine." "How can I help my female partner squirt?" Okay. "How do you engage in slapping, while making everyone feel safe, but not scripting and contrived?" "I want to learn a velvet wand." "How to be a better Domme, in regards to balancing discipline and reward." "I want to learn how to express my wants and needs." "The sexy or kinky skill I want to learn is how to talk sexy, be flirtatious without laughing out loud, and thinking I sound ridiculous." Yes.
To see some of the handwritten audience notes from this show, go to our Instagram and Facebook page @wildandsublime. [music] Wild & Sublime is also sponsored in part by our Sublime Supporter, Chicago-based Full Color Life Therapy, therapy for all of you, at fullcolorlifetherapy.com. If you would like to be a Sublime Supporter, showcasing you and your business and supporting us at the same time, contact us at .
Bruce: [accepting microphone] I trust you've sanitized this.
Bruce: Oh my gosh, she's good.
Karen Yates: Okay! So Kinky Kollege is two weekends a year, right?
Karen Yates: Okay. Now, what types of classes does Kinky Kollege offer, and who runs them?
Bruce: Wow. The easy answer is everything, and lots of us. The classes run the dynamic from relationship-based classes, poly classes, how to get more out of a monogamous relationship, how does your relationship change as you age? Those kind of fall into relationship kinds of things. There are lots of other classes that are more skill-building. How to flog. Did anybody mention rope tonight? How to do different genres of rope, of which there are many. Virtually every kind of kink, whether it's latex, fetishwear, anal fisting, vaginal fisting, cock and ball torture. There's 50 to 60 classes at every event over the three days. They are taught by people we bring in from all over the country, Canada, South America, to teach the classes.
Karen Yates: And people fly in from all over to come?
Bruce: All over, I'd say — I haven't looked at the demographics for the last couple of events, but four events ago, we had 39 states and seven countries represented at KK. So people come from all over for it.
Karen Yates: Okay,
Bruce: It is one of those things where, unlike other things, more isn't necessarily better. So we limit the size of KK to 750 people. There are lots of "wah-wah," it's "please, please can I get in? You're not selling tickets anymore?" And the reason for that is to keep it an intimate space where people can learn. It's really hard to learn a dynamic kind of skill in a class of 150 people.
Karen Yates: So how many people are typically in a class? Is there a cap per class?
Bruce: No, there isn't. We do our best. And it's not always perfect, to anticipate which classes are the most popular, or likely to be most highly attended. And those are in the bigger rooms. If you have a class on pony play, or another genre of kink that isn't particularly popular, there may only be 10 or 15 people in that class. And we don't rate the classes based on how many are in the audience. You know, if we have a blowjob class, it's always popular. There's always a lot of people in there, but you don't really know if people had life-changing experiences. You have a class on some really deep, intellectual or emotional issue. Some of our classes on gender transitioning have been really meaningful classes to those individuals. And that perhaps is more important than a class on a particular skill that's highly attended.
Bruce: It might have a greater impact on a few people than marginal impact on lots of people.
Karen Yates: So obviously, this is for advanced folk in kink. But—
Bruce: Oh, no.
Karen Yates: No? Would newbie people find something there for themselves?
Bruce: For sure. The classes run the gamut. There might be six or eight rope classes over a weekend with lots of rope. And some of those are introduction to rope classes, and some of those are suspension-based classes. Some of them are predicament, or creating connection through rope. I think that's a key driver for most of the kink things, is it's a vehicle to connect people. Whether it's the paddle, whether it's the flogger, those are just the things that help people find a way to be connected. And those things happen to be a turn-on for the people involved.
Karen Yates: Okay. We talked about this about coming to KK with a partner, and sort of starting to explore the partnership within the entire weekend. And that happens, right?
Bruce: It happens a lot. I love the conversation that Jo had earlier, about having a conversation with your partner — and sometimes it's awkward, sometimes how do you do it, et cetera. Putting yourself in an environment where it's a safe place to do that jumpstarts those conversations. It makes it easier, because you're in an environment that is based on accepting everybody. Except, you know — I'll pick on rope guys, because I'm a rope guy. I'm a nylon rope person. I love nylon, I love the colors, I love the feel. Other people are natural fiber rope people. They're just really different uses of things, and it's what works for us. And ideally, we all accept that my rope is just as valid as somebody else's rope. My big flogger is just as valid as somebody is the little flogger. And whatever it is that we all do, whether we're new at it — and we all were new at all these things at one point or another — we've all been there. And it's this accepting environment, where you can learn in whatever modality that works for you.
Karen Yates: What kind of other programming besides pure classes does KK have?
Bruce: Well... We have the typical Meet and Greet. We have, you know, typical party with a little food. We have entertainment on Friday night. But certainly what's most notable is the dungeon parties. Those of you who have been to dungeons before, you've been to dungeons that are a couple thousand square feet, and have seven or 20 pieces of equipment — because there's so many people, and because KK has the kind of funding to be able to pull this off, we have about 25,000 square feet of dungeon space. And we have about 90 pieces of equipment at once. People often talk about suspension, or using a frame to have points to attach to. I think we have 16 suspension frames. People want a St. Andrew's cross — we've got 12 of those. Somebody mentioned as one of the things they'd like to try, medical play. We have a whole room dedicated to that, with 16 different kinds of medical benches in it. And people can live out their fantasy, or do their activities that they like to do in that environment.
Karen Yates: And it's all very, in terms of like, bodily fluids. It's incredibly clean, you have a protocol around that. And what is your protocol?
Bruce: Oh, my gosh, part of this goes to learning. Our main protocol always revolves around consent. That is king. So we have introductory classes at every event on consent. How do you get it? How do you know you have it? How to let it go, when it's time to let it go. Consent is always revocable. People don't always get that. But if you agree to do something with me, you can change your mind for any reason, and I have to be willing to accept that. From there, it gets onto consent about things like where to touch, what fluids to exchange. That kind of fluid exchange thing — you and I might agree to do something, and we're agreeing what fluids we will or won't exchange. But the apparatus we're on, somebody else is going to be on, and they haven't entered into that agreement. So we have the basic rule that if you use the equipment, you clean it. And we provide cleaning stuff. It isn't a subjective choice of, did I get a dirty or did I not? It is: if you use it, you clean it. Because we don't want to have this subjective thing of, I'll eat the food off the floor, but you won't. And you know, we all fall different on that scale about the bread dropping on the floor, right? I'm kind of loose on that one. If I beat the dog to it, that sucker's still mine. So cleanliness, safety — these are just baseline. Nothing goes on, so to speak, without having those as a baseline. In addition to things like, you know — I don't know, it's like, everything we need, we have. From earplugs to sharps containers. We provide plastic tarps — if somebody wants to do something messy, they can put it over the equipment, or over the floor they're on to make their cleanup easier.
Karen Yates: And so basically, this is the reward of doing this many, many years.
Karen Yates: I mean, how many years has this been going on?
Bruce: Sixteen? A couple times a year.
Karen Yates: And you've been the event director for...?
Bruce: About eight years. And we've got a fabulous committee and team of about 20 of us. It's 100% volunteer-run. Nobody makes a penny off Kinky Kollege. None of us take any pay or money for it. Instead, we've decided that the best use for revenues of a big event is to donate them to charity. So mostly kink-aware, kink-supporting charities, whether it's you know, here in Chicago, Howard Brown, or up in Wisconsin, we have some — NCSF. And this scale of our donation — since nobody's getting paid, and it's nobody's business, it's a nonprofit entity, we don't have much in the way of expenses, just airfares for the presenters, and a few hotel rooms for them. And we donate about $40,000 to charity, every event.
Karen Yates: Wow. That's cool. Awesome. [audience clapping]
Bruce: And the committee members all do this because of whatever motivates them. But at the bottom line, we know we're making a difference to those charities. For NCSF, for instance, we are probably their largest contributor every year. And you know, we all get to be proud. Everybody attending knows that, like, 30% of the money they're spending, 40%, to come to the event is going to the charity, going to the donations.
Karen Yates: Okay. Thanks so much, Bruce. We'll be seeing more of Bruce in upcoming Wild & Sublimes.
Bruce: I would like to make a plug. Kinkykollege.com. Kinky and Kollege are both spelled with Ks — of course they are, because it's a school. [audience laughter]
Karen Yates: Okay.
Bruce: Thank you!
Karen Yates: Thank you, Bruce. Woo! All right. [audience applause]
Bruce has written a great article that is on our website, called "How to Expand Your Sexual Horizons." It's excellent, and I encourage you to check it out at wildandsublime.com, or go to the direct link in our show notes. For more information on Kinky Kollege, go to kinkykollege.com — and that's with two Ks — or the show notes. [music]
The work I do in biofield tuning, an energy modality that uses sound waves to help repattern your bioelectric field, can support you in getting out of stuck behaviors and become more aware of different choices. If you're interested in working with me, or learning more about my weekly group biofield tuning sessions on Zoom on a variety of topics, including increasing intuition, expanding consciousness, balancing your energy centers and more, go to karen-yates.com. That link is in the show notes.
Well, that's it folks. Have a delightfully sensational week. [Wild & Sublime theme music] Thank you for listening. If you know someone who might be interested in this episode, send it to them. Do you like what you heard? Then give us a nice review on your podcast app. You can follow us on social media @wildandsublime and sign up for newsletters at wildandsublime.com. I'd like to thank associate producer Julia Williams and design guru Jean-Francois Gervais. Theme Music by David Ben-Porat. This episode was edited by The Creative Imposter studios. Our media sponsor is Rebellious Magazine, feminist media, at rebelliousmagazine.com.
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