Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Fisting lives in San Francisco


Fisting insignia. Photo: FF RightLeft
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San Francisco's fisting community has always had to rely on the kindness of friends as our venues came and went. The Catacombs was the first private space I knew; it was open every Saturday night in the basement of a beautiful Victorian on 21st St., owned by two men who made us their family. When one of the partners died, the survivor's family sold the house, and the party moved twice before finally closing with a blow-out where dildos, slings, floggers, beds, you name it, were available at fire-sale prices.

The first baths for fisters that I remember was the Barracks, and it burned to the ground after my second visit. The Hot House, my favorite, replaced it, as a facility specifically designed for fisting, with one sling in the round bay of the building, and all of the curved windows covered in strips of mirror. Your butt never looked so good, from so many different angles. There was a room where you might find a St. Andrews or stocks with plenty of eye-hooks to tie someone up, and enough space for flogging. That was closed early in the epidemic by the owners, who were concerned for the health of their patrons.

Another popular sex club for fisters was the South of the Slot, built on shifting soil on Folsom St. I feared with all the Crisco in the carpets, it might slip into the earth one night, leaving only the small shed on the roof where we smoked dope and looked out at the night city. Like the Handball Express, it closed when bathhouses were prohibited, and we had no place to find other fisters, and relied on Trust magazine. Then the Sling got started, and later a red hanky night at the Jackhammer bar. These were places we could hang out, and make dates and often close friends. They were popular with fisters from out of town, so we locals had a continuing smorgasbord of men to play with. The Sling continued as a work of love that barely broke even, to make sure men had a safe place to perform, make love and fist each other silly. Unfortunately, places like that attracted men on Tina, and while that may have brightened a few wide eyes, it put an uncomfortable shadow on our pleasure, and men stopped enjoying the space.

We are a tribe of generous brothers who take care of each other in the sling and out, with Thanksgiving dinners, New Year's parties and the occasional party at someone's place in the country. Here, as elsewhere, we have relied on a few individuals, like Carl and Jeff, who did yeoman labors bringing us together for fisting parties and dinners. Other men are putting together Hell Hole parties that may provide the community with a comfortable venue to grease up and slop around in each other's buttholes. I have not attended a Hell Hole party yet, and reports have been mixed, but this is the kind of pulling together by the fisting community that had always been there, providing us with communal space to be the well-behaved perverts we are. We keep showing up and making space for our play, and it's never been about making money; it's always been about having fun.

With the Internet, we also have websites designed for fisters, so making dates these days is like ordering takeout. We're making dates at our desks, not standing around in smoky bars buying beer, as I did for years in Toad Hall and the Ambush. You won't see us in the press because we are not as visible as other fetish communities. We have no contests, no sashes, and no coronations, and our photo ops would be unprintable. But we do have title-holders, and they are the men who go home with a smile on their butt, and those whose hands know they made another man happy.

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