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05-15-06, 03:43 PM #1
A supreme court decision in Canada clears the way for wild, sex clubs
TORONTO (CP) - A 2005 Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for swingers clubs appears to be bringing out Canada's more, well, adventurous side.
Those who prefer life closer to the edge of the conjugal bed say the high court's re-interpretation last December of the definition of indecency has fuelled a growing interest in private clubs that feature group sex, partner swapping, voyeurism and exhibitionism.
The high court effectively legalized such clubs when it rules that consenting adults who engage in sexual activity behind closed doors while like-minded people look on are not committing indecent acts.
Five months later, their operators say more aggressive advertising and marketing efforts in the wake of the ruling have attracted significantly more people to their events.
"I think there's a great opportunity to provide a safe environment where couples can really enhance their sex life," said Linda Fox, who operates Club Eden in Vancouver with partner Jason Walters.
Club Eden, which opened just last weekend, is a so-called "on-premises" club, which means private and shared rooms are available for members. Other clubs typically meet in hotel rooms or private homes.
The Supreme Court decision allowed Club Eden and others like it to stop being so discreet about what's been going on behind their closed doors - and to try to open people's minds at the same time, Fox said.
"There's a lot of perceptions about (the swinging community). One of the things we're trying hard to do is to eliminate the negative perspective that does surround it and really bring forward the positive."
At the Taboo trade show in Vancouver this past January, Fox said she and her husband heard just one negative comment from the more than 30,000 people who made their way on to the convention floor.
Members of Club Eden are educated and respectful of others, she said. Guests are required to follow strict rules about conduct and privacy. No drugs are allowed; even smoking is restricted to the back deck.
Most clubs typically charge an annual fee of their members, but no money ever changes hands for sex. The bulk of the X-rated action takes place in "play rooms" which can host small or large groups of people.
At the largest swingers club of its kind in the city of Toronto, the play rooms apparently aren't big enough: Wicked Club's membership list has grown so long it will be moving to a significantly larger location by the end of the summer.
Wicked, Ontario's only on-premises swingers club, has 13,000 members from all walks of life and a rapidly growing public profile that included a feature appearance last week on MTV Canada by its owners and founders, Aurora Ben Zion and her husband, Shlomo.
Since the ruling, the couple has fielded a "huge number" of calls from people interested in opening branches of Wicked across the country, Ben Zion said.
Those opposed to the Supreme Court decision and to the lifestyle in general say they're not surprised by the surge in the popularity of such clubs, and pledge to fight back against what they see as an assault on family values and the country's sexual health.
"We believe it's an important issue because Canadians are concerned about swingers clubs," said Janet Epp Buckingham, director of law and public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
"They're concerned about the fidelity of relationships, but they're also concerned about the spread of disease."
Ben Zion said she believes the ruling's biggest impact wasn't so much in changing Canadian attitudes as it was about making like-minded, sexually liberal people aware that gathering places such as Eden and Wicked even existed in the first place.
"When they hear about us, they're interested in discovering this kind of lifestyle," she said.
"They think, 'I'm not a freak, it's okay to do this, and I'm going to try it out.' It not only legalized it, I think it legitimized it in the eyes of public opinion."
Reive Doig, an organizer with a Vancouver company that promotes events dedicated to the swing lifestyle, said attitudes about sex and sexuality are changing partly because of a proliferation of sex-friendly information and positive media coverage.
"People are starting to realize that these are parts of normal human sexuality," said Doig, whose company, BIO Event Productions, hosted the annual Conference of Kink this month. "The media is no longer always portraying us as serial killers and freaks."
The conference boasted a "Tickled Pink" play room for its 200 attendees - something Doig likely would have steered clear of promoting too aggressively in the days before the decision for fear of charges of operating a common bawdy house.
"We were able to openly advertise the fact that we had this room, whereas in the past that's something that may have worried us."
Previously, the organizers could have been charged under the common bawdy house law. The decision made in December expressly made that an impossibility, he said.
05-16-06, 03:52 AM #2Master OfficerVerified LEO
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The boyfriend and I will keep out wild, hot sex private thank you very much.
05-16-06, 12:44 PM #3
I saw the word "SEX" and just clicked on it saying "WHERE? AND HOW MUCH?"........but Toronto is too far to drive and my wife would probably figure out I was missing!
05-16-06, 06:01 PM #4GM7203 Guest
I only have to drive 100 miles to cross the bridge. Hmmm....
05-16-06, 06:42 PM #5
05-16-06, 11:26 PM #6
Eh... I'll just hit Atlanta.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
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