woman on bed
woman on bed© Photo: Photo-Vista.de / Shutterstock

My first encounter with BDSM bars in Japan was right in the heart of Osaka.

When I searched for S&M bars there, I found a few, but there was one in particular that caught my eye because it has a very fulfilling website with a lot of pictures and information about the atmosphere. It also has a chain shop in Tokyo, so I decided it was the one.

This was it... I needed to visit this place!

I planned to go by myself, but I thought it might be a little weird if I went alone the first time, so I asked my friend, who wasn’t interested in "playing" but was willing to play along to check it out with me.

When we walked in, the décor looked similar to that of a jail, and when the show ended, the performer crawled back to a room through what looked like a jail gate.

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The show was stunning and fascinating and, in a sense, it was beautiful.

Later that night, I got involved in the games — including spanking, whipping, and candle wax. Who was the victim?

The customers sat beside my table. That was one of the really fun things about it: that it was so easy to find someone to practice kinky skills with.

The second time I visited that bar, I wasn’t a customer anymore. I was a worker and a researcher. I started to serve drinks to the customers.

The one sad thing about being there to work was that I wasn’t allowed to drink any alcohol myself, only green tea! If not for that, it would have been much more fun.

When it comes down to it, the reason why I love going there is that you see such various worlds within a limited space.

You look to your left and see a couple enjoying themselves. At the table next to them, there are three girls sitting together in their cosplay outfits.

When you look to your right, there’s a man receiving nipple bondage from a worker. And then, in the middle of the stage, another man is getting tied up by a Dominatrix who later drips hot candle wax all over him.

What a world! Welcome to a truly modern liberal society!

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Even though I tend to be a submissive person, I often feel I have to act as a Dominatrix.

Spending time there is how I began to recognize my sadistic side. I find it deeply satisfying to feel the power while at the same time knowing that I'm serving the masochist. It’s all about balance.

Going to that BDSM bar in Japan helped me to find this balance within myself, allowing me the freedom and space in which I could explore both my Dominant and submissive sides.

To be clear, sexual intercourse isn't allowed in this kind of bar. Showing one's genitals isn’t allowed either, but other than those two caveats, everything and anything else is allowed.

Ball bondage. Cross-dressing. Transforming into a non-human. Masturbating with panties on. Erotic vibration play. And a whole lot of humiliation.

It’s all up to you! It’s a free space to release sadistic or masochistic desires and to share these with others if they wish to do so with you.

Many people have asked me, “Don’t you feel strange showing yourself to strangers in that way?"

Oh, come on! My answer is that strangers are the best people to experience these things with, precisely because they are strangers!

When you don’t know any of the people who are there, you can just be yourself! You can let go of all the social restrictions and try to focus on understanding yourself, reading your own desires, and enjoying whatever sensations or feelings come to you as they happen.

In a way, I believe BDSM is a type of alternative meditation experience.

Once everything around you seems to be sexual, nothing actually appears sexual anymore. It’s no longer only about erotism or sex, it becomes more centered around self-recognition and power sharing.

If that seems difficult to understand, I get it, and I suggest you check out an S&M bar, dungeon, or play space in your own neighborhood to do some research... and maybe even to give it a try. Then you'll know what I’m saying.