Portland is a damn kinky city. At one point, it was even voted the kinkiest in the country.

But at no point of the year is Stumptown kinkier than during the three days of KinkFest. The 21-year-old annual fetish expo consists of workshops, classes and presentations on everything from pegging to the sexual use of catheters. Full disclosure, I am one the presenters—I'll be lecturing on BDSM etiquette, among other topics.

For a lot of people, this is the first kink event they've ever attended—and it's certainly diving into the deep end. Held in a huge space at the Portland Expo Center, the event centers on a 36,000-square-foot dungeon that gives attendees the chance to see just about anything they're into—and probably a few things they're not.

In fact, it's a pretty safe bet you'll see at least one thing on your first visit to a dungeon that'll make you say, "Oh hell no." But that's OK! It can be incredibly valuable to be exposed to a  wide range of sexual activities, even ones you have no plans to engage in yourself. Just remember not to judge or shame. If you see something you don't like, just walk away.

So what exactly will you see walking into the KinkFest dungeon? Here's a guided tour.

Littles Play Area

In this case, "littles" are people who engage in age play—a form of role play in which you act younger than your biological years. Some people have a specific age, others simply play as "young." The play area here is filled with puzzles, blocks and other toys—imagine the day care center at IKEA.

Bondage Table

A bondage table is simply a more sturdy version of a massage table, one that doesn't fold down. It's usually built of fairly solid wood with a vinyl top that can be easily cleaned. It also has D-rings securely fastened around the edge of the table to be used as tie-off points. The tables can accommodate a range of play styles.


Yes, the medieval classic—two boards that open and then lock closed, securing wrists or ankles, or sometimes wrists and neck, between the boards.

St. Andrews Cross

An upright X of wooden boards on a stand, with D-rings at the top and bottom so the subject can be held in place by wrists and ankles. This can be used either facing toward or away from the cross and is a popular choice for use with toys like floggers and whips.

Whip Alley

Many whips are too long to be played with in shared dungeon spaces—some throw single tails or bullwhips as much as 6 to 10 feet in length—which is why you'll find a chain-link fence in the back corner of the dungeon. This space has its own St. Andrews cross, as well as a whipping post. Perhaps most importantly, there's a good 20 feet of space for backswing, so voyeurs won't get nailed by a stray whip.

Medical and Blood Play Area

This area is for general medical fetishes as well as play that breaks the skin, such as needles or cutting. There's a row of exam tables, some with stirrups, and the walls and floors are covered with tarps.

Hook Suspension Rig

In this space, hooks are placed through the flesh, most commonly in the upper back, and people are suspended entirely off the ground. There are soft mats on the floor, with sharp hooks attached to a large metal tripod with a hydraulic rig. For many people, this kind of play has a spiritual component.

Spanking Bench

Spanking benches come in different shapes and configurations, but the purpose is the same—a way to support someone while they're being spanked or receiving other impact.

Rope Suspension Frame

With this kind of play, one partner is tied around the sturdier parts of the body and then lifted entirely off the ground. There are several frames set up around the dungeon that look roughly like wooden monkey bars, which allow people to hang their rigging equipment safely.

Sex Swing

A crossover piece of equipment, the swing can be used for any kind of sex you can imagine, but in kink spaces is often a preferred spot for vaginal or anal fisting. A rectangle of fabric, usually leather or vinyl, is held to a sturdy metal frame by chains at all four corners. Sometimes there are ankle straps as well.

SEE IT: KinkFest is at Portland Expo Center, 2060 N Marine Drive, on Friday-Sunday, April 19-21. See kinkfest.org for details and a complete schedule. Sold out. 18+.