Why are educated and affluent young women flocking to join a secret society that hosts anything-goes sex parties?
Please note KK's heavy use of purple, and symbolically used above with the word 'promiscuity' (purple is mixture of red and blue, two polarizing colours which probably has some subconscious polarizing/confusing effect on your mind). Their site is covered in pink/purple, included their suspicious logo below.
[It's no coincidence that they went with a butterfly mask wearing Kitten as the main image for the article. These images are made intentionally blurry by the way (you can obviously make out the butterfly though), so apologiez for that and some lighting in the scans etc.]
Camilla asked me first. “Would you go to Killing Kittens?” she said, curling her long legs into her chest conspiratorially and squaring her large green eyes up to mine. She had heard about the club, an exclusive members-only sex club run by and targeted at women and couples, and held in opulent splendour — a business that sells itself as a playpen for “the world’s sexual elite”. “Absolutely not,” I said, wondering when it became the norm for a night with the girls to end in a three-way with a criminal barrister and a Fulham blonde in an edible playsuit. “I’d never do anything like that.” And, before I could catch myself, I added a resounding “ever”.
But, since that question, I’d been approached by friends giggling into drinks, or confiding in me over supper, four times. All these girls are public-school products: intelligent, beautiful, high-flying. Girls I thought would dismiss out of hand the concept of going to a club to, as far as I could grasp, dress up, titillate and have sex with numerous men and women. Nonetheless, a month later I’m in a silky pink dress and a sparkling eye mask, surrounded by women in a towering Mayfair mansion ticking my name off the guest list on a table strewn with condoms and — bizarrely — Quality Street chocolates. I got in not, sadly, because I am in any way “sexually elite”, but because the club is run by Emma Sayle, an old roommate of mine from school — now a 30-year-old, 6ft blonde business entrepreneur, but back then a super-bright, sporty girls’ girl.
This is the (public) founder of Killer Kittens; Emma Sayle, in the standard topless back pose slaves are always posed in (Miley, Ruslana as two examples here).
A week earlier, I’d caught up with her in a London cafe to try and grasp what she was up to.
If I had got the basics right — that she had chosen to profit from women by creating an environment for them to have sex with men — then this didn’t tally with the girl I knew at all. She explained the club rules, rules shared by Belle Baise, a similar swinging club based in Nottingham. Members — single women and couples from an AB demographic, but no single men — have to be conventionally good-looking; they must arrive masked, a man can’t get in unless he’s taken there by a woman; if a woman doesn’t bat her lashes and lead him away for a spot of “playing” then there’s not much he can do but watch. Even this he has to do in a couple, as parties have minders circulating to ensure there aren’t any lone males perving quietly in a corner. No drugs — you get thrown out if you’re found taking them. No cameras or mobile phones — this is a strictly secret event, so much so that the location of the venue is only released the day before a party — which makes it somewhat odd that she has allowed the Sunday Times Magazine photographer in at all.
No, she says, means no, and although women can wear whatever they like, men have to scrub up — no trainers and no T-shirts. Even male film stars, most recently Sienna Miller’s ex, Rhys Ifans, get turned away if they’re not in the right kit. But Sayle appears uninterested in her celebrity clientele — she explains that Ifans, along with the Premier League footballer seen bouncing two female “elves” on each knee at the “Santa’s Little Helpers” Christmas party last year, are of no use to her. “They are guys, and the party is not about guys,” she says. “It’s also not about walking into a club and seeing a famous person. It’s about women — not alpha females who storm up to men — but feminine and sensual ones who can go and dance around in their underwear and drink with no pressure and no expectations, just free to feel sexy and have fun.” This “girls make the rules and only girls can break the rules” ethos certainly seems to work for many of the ones who go. Much of the feedback is positive. Wildly so. “For me, it’s a bit of a journey,” explains a recent female convert.
“It’s great to be able to see women wandering around, feeling empowered and gorgeous, and wearing what they like and not being judged for it. If you go to a club and you’re wearing a foxy outfit, the chances are you’ll have guys pawing you and going ‘All right, darlin’?’ Whereas these parties are respectful — it’s a completely different vibe.” For some.
I recall at school, as the daughter of a diplomat, Sayle had a reassuringly international, carefree, nonjudgmental air about her. That she went into business was no surprise — she has an eye for spotting a niche and the self-belief to go for it — but it’s harder to associate this churchgoing girl with the dubious machinations of the sex industry. She says her experiences of working in the City as a financial PR shaped her thinking. “In my twenties I had an arsehole, sexist boss who would tell me to wear a short skirt the next day in order to win business,” she says.
“I felt myself getting less and less feminine and wearing looser and looser clothes to avoid derogatory remarks. I basically felt like a piece of meat and no one had any interest in my brain.”
When the HR department turned a blind eye, she left her job and took herself out of the City scene altogether, freelancing first as a fitness PR, then as an entertainment PR. After taking on the Erotica show as a client, she started doing PR for up-market swinging parties, which she describes as “run by sleazy guys and not aimed at women”. She saw a niche in a very feminine crowd.
The Killing Kittens website captures Sayle’s sales pitch: there’s her skimpy, Janet Reger-designed underwear range, Naughty Janet; there’s a “Dungeon Break” in a West Yorkshire mansion costing £3,000 to get manacled up in a fully equipped dungeon for the weekend; a “Kidnap Experience” — very popular, apparently — offering an adrenaline-inducing “real-life kidnap scenario” lasting up to 12 hours, with an optional transgender makeover — for £3,500; and a “Mini Mile-High Experience” for an hour’s satisfaction in a private jet for about the same price.
So, who is this attracting? The liberated female sexual elite or the more ordinarily desperate and seedy? The Killing Kittens website got 10,000 unique visitors last month and club membership, which is 80% female, rose in line with City redundancies. It increased from 5,000 in November to more than 6,000 by the end of last year. Sayle estimates that 70% of these are privately educated. And it’s not just Londoners or foreigners based in London. Around 30% come from the rest of the UK, or hop over from Europe for the weekend — demand that is taking the company up to Edinburgh and overseas, with Paris a distinct possibility and a club opening in New York at the end of the year. Not bad for a company that surfaced 3Å years ago, charges a fair whack (£150 per couple per party with 20 parties a year — or £300 a year and parties at half-price) and narrows its members to the world’s 18- to 45-year-old “sexual elite”. And, thanks to Tash, a tubby blonde in Leeds with a crack eye for deviants, Botox and Z-list Eurotrash, there is a ruthless refusal rate of one in three. As hopefuls have to fill in an extensive application form detailing, among other things, their sexual preferences, there is also a waiting list of hundreds.
Much of the club’s success seems to lie in the eagerness of a few of its filthy-rich members, male and female, to open up their vast London pads to the party nights — some, it seems, without actually realising they have. A pretty blonde recalls a recent “Doctors and Nurses” party at a vast five-floor — swimming pool included — West End venue. A doddery 70-year-old man was wandering around looking totally bemused as his gorgeous young wife — who had offered their home as the venue — wandered around in a nurse’s outfit liberally administering fake injections with a plastic toy syringe and putting stickers on people.
[The purple images are pulled from their site thought I'd include to break up the long text (MK themes of lost identity with their faces in darkness/masked and such)]
The party I sneaked into was a masked ball at a Mayfair address — again, the home of one of the members: an enormous 18th-century mansion with a vast stone staircase, soaring pastel-green walls and a delicate cupola arching overhead. I took along another Killing Kittens virgin, Sophie, a posh, leggy ex-model, and her equally beautiful boyfriend. And, as we waited in the hall, a pretty brunette politely inquired whether her Ferrari would be safe outside. This isn’t your regular Saturday-night crowd. These predominantly high-flying public-school products — many attracted by the shield of secrecy around the event — are an exclusive, self-regulating set who complain vociferously on the members’ website if they think someone doesn’t make the grade. But, as one member explains, women don’t wander around in a “f*** you, you can’t touch me” kind of way. They think: “Yes, I know I’m gorgeous and I might play with you later, and gosh, you’re lovely.” It’s not an arrogant thing, apparently: “You get to feel sexual and be sexual and express yourself, and wear those clothes without the risk and the hassle of blokes coming up to you and annoying you and pawing at you.”
Fair enough, but with the rules the way they are, will there be men there at all? Sayle says that although lots of many slightly bi-curious girls come in groups — not necessarily to get “gang-banged senseless” but to have a fun night out — the ratio stays pretty constant at 60:40 or 70:30, just enough testosterone reduction to make it “much more relaxed”.
It’s hard not to gawp. For those whose worlds don’t stretch to strap-on-dildo-flaunting semi-naked men and steely-bunned girls in silky suspenders sauntering around with a glass of bubbly in one hand and a johnny in the other, this is mesmerising. I’m told that the beginning of the evening is for mingling, a bit of “chitchat”, a glass of champagne, and for picking out people to introduce yourself to. I turned to the woman next to me — a trout-lipped Venezuelan pole-dancer in a black sequined Onesie, ostrich feathers and a luminous pink wig.
“ ’Ello darrrleeeng.”
“Do you, er… come here often?”
“I come all the time.”
“Yees. Of course.”
“You like to faaaack? I love faaaaaaacking. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t bother, and you…” she faltered, eyeing me up and down carefully. “You are… naaaaice, but…” And, nodding apologetically, she teetered off.
I found Sophie batting off female suitors by the bar and getting increasingly frustrated with a porcelain-skinned beauty in her twenties, who was using all her charms to convince her that all she really wanted to do was get in the buff and start swinging — seemingly on behalf of her equally eager boyfriend, who had beelined Sophie from the outset. The boyfriend, a bald, gangly, late-thirty-something man who, it turned out, lives in the house with a handful of other men who all met at these parties, was selectively dishing out small black plastic rings. These — I found out when I didn’t receive one — were the passport to his room. Only the “elite elite” get them. These girls, I discovered when I grabbed Sophie’s ring and made it past the man guarding the door, have the dubious pleasure of being home-videoed, sky-clad, romping in high-Georgian splendour on his gigantic, damask-draped four-poster bed. Surely this was flagrant rule-breaking? I mentioned it to Sayle. She sounded surprised, but not particularly shocked. “I’ll have a word,” she said. There was something else striking about the scene. The decor, the ambience, the bed, it conjured another era — a scene from a 19th-century orgy perhaps, as if the bourgeois had thrown open their doors. The difference here is in the sales pitch. This party isn’t men paying women for sex; this is a woman saying to other women: “Pay me and you can come and have sex with women — and men.”
Rather than being a fast-track for gold-diggers, however, it appears these girls may be out of luck. “No self-respecting man would be seen dead with a member of those parties,” says a male friend. This makes Sayle roll her eyes. “Five of my friends are in serious relationships with girls they met at a Killing Kittens night,” she says.
Though Sayle tries to assure me it has never happened before, on the evening I attend there is a large cohort of porn stars at the party. The venue had hosted a film shoot earlier that day and the actors apparently stayed on. I was treated to the sight of a buck-toothed Indian porn producer standing in front of me, legs astride, declaring his love for porn, his diminutive frame clad only in a carpet waistcoat. This man, I am told, is a top lawyer by day, but by night he insists on starring in his own films, which, for this reason, never get released. Before I could say “Is that a bum bag?” he was buffing his bits against a young, bare-breasted porn star and her girlfriend in the shower. And, as he was joined by couples around me, on beds by a bubbling Jacuzzi and thrashing in the water, the realities of Sayle’s venture finally sank in. This is about sex — sex in the open, narcissistic sex, loving sex, drunken sex, no-strings-attached sex; no blame, no guilt, no-holds-barred sex; basic, fluorescent, animalistic sex [this ties to Dionysus cult worship, the kind of animalistic altered-states that would come from this kind of animalistic, frenzied sex (obviously this is a big part of sex-kitten programming, hence Killing Kittens; wrote quite a bit on Dionysus/sex programming here)]— and it doesn’t take a great brain to work out there’s an element of risk.
Do these people — STD and background checks not being on the entry criteria — have any protection other than condoms? And what poor minion has to wander around with a pair of Marigolds and a bottle of Dettox spray, picking these up in the morning? I put this to Sayle — she talks about it matter-of-factly, as if neutralising the pungent odour of group sex is an everyday routine. The regulations for sex itself seem fairly relaxed. “The bottom line is, everybody’s a consenting adult,” says Sayle. “We put condoms out, but after that there’s nothing we can do. She explains that “People are actually pretty good. They put the condoms in bins we put out in the corners of every room, and we have under-sheets and mattress protectors; everything gets washed and sprayed down.” Other than lesbian action, she says, most of the actual sex that goes on is between couples that are generally together, “and in that case, fire away”.
[Wonder if the kittens are required to wear collars like those in EWS? ;p It's all about female empowerment and sexual liberation of course!!!]
Although I eventually left untouched, a friend of mine went to the following party. She describes how she was there until four o’clock in the morning, engrossed in the wildly decadent vibe: the first-timers — quietly apprehensive — stealthily fumbling in the corners with their partners; the seductive anticipation; the beautiful people in costumes; cat ears; über-expensive lingerie; hushed chatter; Louboutins; black silk bows; long sparkly limbs; silky bodies; furtive glances and a haze of cigarette smoke. And upstairs a mass of nakedness, where 30 partially clothed bodies squirmed on black leather beds pushed into an enormous square in the centre of the room, with about the same number standing watching and chatting at the sides. She tells me how, as the party went on, and the massive bed cleared and exhausted couples sloped off home, members filtered through the house into smaller, hidden rooms. She peeked into a dark, cupboard-sized alcove and made out the figures of three Middle Eastern businessmen hunched in a group, sky-high on coke. “You can only see into the next room if you do a line,” one of them said, chopping at the white powder in front of him and offering her a note. As she moved into the space, he lunged towards her — placing his hands on her breasts.
“We had six minders on that night and we have a strict no-drugs policy,” Sayle says when I ask her about it. “If we find people taking drugs then we throw them out.”
Sayle is the first to admit that her job is extraordinary. “I’m not a swinger,” she explains. “That’s not my lifestyle choice and I couldn’t do it personally, but at the same time it’s business and I have to keep my eye on the ball. I’m quite religious and none of it’s wrong, but it’s an emotional mindset and some people are liberated when it comes to sex. For other people, like me, it’s a very private, personal thing.” Although many members rave about the physical side of it, some — like Sayle — find the concept of having sex with strangers at a club just too much. For them, blatant sex with the mystery stripped away just isn’t a turn-on. “It’s sexy in hindsight,” says a striking blonde, “but it’s too intense, there and then, to want to get involved in.”
Sayle channels 20% of the membership fees into the Babes in Arms Appeal at Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research — a cause for which her all-female dragon-boating crew, the Sisterhood, which briefly included her friend Kate Middleton, raised £150,000 last year. But this doesn’t impress everyone. “I was asked how I can go to church when I organise these things,” says Sayle. “And that really grates on me. No one’s cheating on anyone, they just happen to enjoy doing it. I know a lot of girls who, when they’re feeling very insecure, get drunk and sleep with someone and feel shit in the morning, but here no one’s getting hurt. If you’re a single girl you can do what you want. If you’re experimenting, you experiment. If this is what people want to do, and they want to do it within their marriage, then no one’s being deceived. People are completely honest — why can’t they do that?” She explains how there are some girls who will have sex with eight different guys, but to them that’s empowering. “It’s weird — I couldn’t do it,” she says. “But they feel wanted and attractive: ‘I’m doing this because I can do it.’ ”
For some women, having this outlet to express themselves has changed their lives — they are very protective of it, and of Sayle, almost fearful that I might take it away. Others, who are not part of the sex scene, go to have a night with the girls free of unwanted attention — or relatively free, based on some of the reports — and others go to sate curiosity, but decide it’s not for them: “If you get used to seeing people naked and having sex in front of you, then that’s not normal,” says one. I noted the almost processed perfection of some of the bodies masquerading in the smallest clothes — perfection that raises the questions: how much of this is really about women feeling liberated, and how much is a reflection of what “raunch culture” is making women believe they should be? Is it, ultimately, limiting them in conformity? And are there some women who go to the parties in the pretence that it is for them, but who in reality are driven by the fear of losing their man?
The way members describe the euphoria they feel from being desired by women and men makes me wonder if this club, by opening its doors only to those who are young and good-looking, is merely appealing to gross narcissism. Studies tell us that narcissism plays a role in women’s desire — being wanted makes us feel sexy, and in general women get aroused by more types of sexual scenario than men, often without being conscious of it. “I think most girls find naked women fascinating,” says Sayle. “There’s an element of being turned on by a girl who’s got an amazing body. Girls might bullshit and say, ‘No, of course I’m not!’ But it is nature; girls naturally are.”
In this sense, Sayle is tapping into what women respond to, but how much does she brush over — the gritty reality, the inevitable consequences of opening her doors to couples hellbent on swinging, the desperate men, the girls on the make? Is their desire to seek this out something deeper — perhaps a more pervasive sense of sexual confusion, a loss of identity or, for some, of just being lost? What does it tell us when men and women can prey on each other equally, and pay to do so? Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with grasping the opportunity and exploiting it fully — and it’s possible, as a friend says, that some dislike the idea because really “we’re all just jealous”. Can we grasp some concept of what Sayle is telling us from her e-mail tag? It reads: “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, ‘Holy shit! What a ride!’ ” That’s one hell of an interpretation.