In my own local scene the dungeons are either on the ground level or UP a set of stairs, so descending into them is purely metaphorical, and ‘Ascending into the Dungeon’ just sounds weird.
I get a lot of questions in email from my readers. More than I get comments on my posts – I’m not sure why that is, but in the few years that I’ve been keeping this blog, it seems to be the trend.
One of the questions that I get with some frequency is, “What is it like to go into a dungeon?”
It’s a difficult question to answer because each individual venue is different. I’ve been to several, but I can still count the number of public dungeons which I have attended on my fingers, so I’m hardly an expert in the field. Some of these are labeled as dungeons but are really sex clubs, and at least one that I go to with some regularity is actually just an event at a bar with an area set aside at the back for suspensions and spankings – sex is not permitted there at all.
Generally though – that is one of the things that can be most jarring for people who are coming into this new – you will see and hear people having sex right in front of you. There will be people walking around nude, and for people who aren’t used to seeing it, it might be shocking to see a bunch of erect penises just wandering about.
This is not to say that the majority, or even a significant fraction of people in the dungeon will be naked or having sex at any given time. Most of the people will be largely clothed (though partial nudity is common) and not engaged in coitus at any given time. Most of the scenes will not involve penetration, but most will involve at least some amount of nudity and sexual contact of some variety.
Most dungeon spaces have a regular dungeon floor and also some sort of social area apart from the dungeon floor itself. There are often also crash couches – areas that are intended to be used for immediate after-scene care, but often these are co-opted by people for social reasons instead. This is usually considered to be poor dungeon etiquette, but it is so common that people for the most part just accept it.
Surfaces of couches and beds (if there are any) are usually covered with sheets to minimize exposure to bodily fluids of others, and usually there are clean sheets available for you to change out if you so desire. Often people don’t know that this is an option though, so the same sheets often adorn the furniture all night long. Some dungeon spaces don’t offer either beds or crash couches though, so you can’t really depend on anything that you see at one dungeon space being present at another.
Usually there are stations on the dungeon floor or near to it where you can find safer sex options as well as cleaning supplies. Dungeon etiquette requires that you clean any equipment that you use after you use it, but given that etiquette is not universal, it is usually advisable to clean anything you intend to use prior to using it as well as after you’re done. The dungeon will usually provide spray bottles with cleaning solution and paper towels towards this purpose, as well as the safe sex options of condoms (usually both lubricated (for cocks) and non-lubricated (for toys)), nitrile or latex gloves, and often female condoms or dental dams. Use these things – they are there to protect you and everyone else – but don’t grab a handful of condoms to take home with you. I’ve seen that happen more than once, and I have mixed feelings about it… if you’re going to have sex, you should have safer sex, but stealing condoms from the dungeon for home use is kind of crass. If you can’t afford condoms, most Planned Parenthood facilities will give them to you for free and the ones provided by the dungeon you are going to have costs that the dungeon must pay. There are too few available dungeon venues to drive them out of business by increasing their operating costs.
As for what you can expect to see on the dungeon floor itself… the equipment can be quite varied. Some dungeons have separate theme rooms and each room will have equipment that matches that theme, and some will have one large open space with all of the different types of equipment mixed together.
You can usually expect to see a cage of some kind. Sometimes this will be large enough for a human to stand in, but often they will be too short to stand in and more like you might see for an animal. People who are put into these cages will have to be lying down or on their hands and knees.
Often you can expect to see a medical scene display of some variety. These are often kept separate from the rest of the dungeon equipment where possible because medical scenes often involve blood and other bodily fluids that may not be part of other types of scenes and sometimes people have a pretty strong reaction to the site of blood. This will often be an examination table, usually with stirrups. Sometimes there will be a dental chair or something similar as well.
Often you will also see pagoda-like structures that people can be tied to or suspended from. Sometimes this may take the form of a simple arch instead. But even where such things are not present, there is almost always a cross beam or hard point defined for doing rope suspensions from. Occasionally you will also find pulley systems or rails that can be used for hook suspensions (where people actually hang from metal hooks that pierce their skin) but because hook suspensions almost always involve some amount of blood, these are also usually kept segregated from the rest of the dungeon equipment as well.
Often you will also see sex swings and beds. The purpose of these things is pretty straightforward. Don’t forget that there are probably clean sheets available for you to use on these things! If you can’t see them, try asking a dungeon monitor. I’m not a super clean freak, but I always get a little skeeved out when I see people fuck on a bed and then get up and leave it as it was and then see new people jump down on that same bed, with the same sheets and go to town.
Usually you will see a massage table or three as well. These are pretty self-explanatory. They’re about hip-height for me, usually padded, and often these are also amended from the ‘normal’ massage tables to include hooks or eyes for binding people to, though not always. These are used for massage, but also often used for things like wax play (where it is allowed.. not every dungeon allows use of electrical elements or heat/fire) and other sorts of activities where you would have one person lying fully prone and the other doing things to or for them.
You will also almost always see spanking benches. These look something like a padded saddle horse, often with rails near the bottom to rest your shins on and hooks or eyes to which to tie or attach restraints. The idea here is that you put someone on the bench in a semi-prone position and then their ass is well positioned for you to smack with your hands, paddles, floggers, whips, whatever you desire.
The last remaining piece of furniture that you are likely to encounter (unless I’m forgetting something, which is certainly possible) is a cross or ten. Usually these are St. Andrews crosses, which means that they look like a giant X standing on the floor rather than Roman crosses (which would be the T variety) and they’re almost always designed in such a way as to bind someone to them, either facing towards the cross (for flogging a person’s back, for example) or out away from the cross (for fingering or use of a magic wand, for example). They often have binding hooks/eyes at a couple of different points on the top end of the cross (to accommodate people of different heights) as well as near the bottom of the cross (for binding ankles to).
It can get quite hot in the dungeon, and usually there is some sort of music played over the sounds of slapping, spanking, moaning, shrieking, and cursing.
Most stations are usually set apart from each other by a bit of floor space so that you don’t accidentally whip someone on your back stroke but this also serves to provide some small amount of space within which to work and that you can usually assume that people will stay clear of unless they are merely passing through to get to something else. It’s worth discreetly trying to get the attention of the people you might be trying to pass if you do this, both so that you don’t get hit, and also so that you don’t startle them and interrupt their scene.
Watching other people’s scenes is expected, but you should always remain quiet when doing so. Offering advice or commentary is never a good thing to do while the scene is going on, but if you liked what you saw, letting them know after they are done with the scene is generally considered good form and might even begin a conversation.
I know that was a bit of a whirlwind tour of some of the things you might see and expect in a dungeon, but I also hope that it was helpful.
I am, as always, happy to answer any questions that you may have either in the comments or through email.