GOT A SPECIAL NEED. Check out Breathless above Venus Envy, run by the community minded and oh-so-very-knowledgeable Miss Jenn.
By day Miss Jenn works as an unassuming receptionist in a rural family dental office. But by night she transforms into a smoldering BDSM queen at Breathless, Ottawa's only sex-on-premises adult club.
Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jenn runs Ottawa's only adult community centre and private club that caters to alternative lifestyles, including BDSM, queer, fetish, nudist, pagan and everyone's retro favourite -- swingers.
Some might assume the club is all about getting off, but Breathless has a vital role in our community. It's a community centre for Ottawa's anything-but-vanilla scene. The community centre offers workshops and discussion groups about alternative lifestyles.
"Education and safety are very important," says Jenn, licking the whipped cream off her Bridgehead hot chocolate. "You hear those horrible stories where two people went home and started to play, tied each other up or cut each other and someone got really badly hurt."
Not so at Breathless. The play is consensual. Condoms and lube abound. The space itself is a place to learn, a playground for those who have outgrown slides, monkey bars and swings -- well, maybe not swings. And it makes Miss Jenn, who is a mother of three, feel warm and fuzzy knowing that her 'pupils' will go home and play safe.
Oh yeah, and it's also about sexual exploration and expression. "People get ideas. They might go home they think, 'Oh, I've got silk scarves' or whatever," says Jenn.
Jenn admits she has been tying guys up since she was 16, but she didn't know there was a name for her, let alone a community in the capital city.
Then she found it. And "I realized I wasn't the only freak." She has since made her own leather swing and so far her kids, who are eight, 11 and 13, haven't asked too many questions.
Growing up in southwestern Ontario between Windsor and London, Miss Jenn says she was vanilla for 14 years until, "I left him and burst out of my shell, and here I am." She now lives in the east end with her partner of five years.
"He lets me play on my own, then I come home to him to cuddle."
When they first met, he was her slave, and she still loves his "construction-worker body."
Jenn is a fem-dom, bisexual and very kinky. She's pretty much into everything. "I'm definitely hard-wired for this," she chuckles. "It's not just kink on the side."
Her parties eventually outgrew her tiny townhouse. "I'd invite 40 people and 55 would show up." That's a lot of people in a small space. She loved playing hostess and asked her guests, "If I rent a place will you pay?" and the idea made everyone wet.
Jenn rented a few different locations, but there were complaints about, ahem, noise. Just over a year ago she lucked out and found the current location, above Venus Envy at Lisgar and Bank streets. Jenn says people who think Ottawa isn't kinky aren't peeking around the right corners. The club has about 300 members ranging in level from fetishes to the very hardcore.
"You'd be surprised how many people I know from the Hill," says Jenn. "You never know; when their suits come off, they might be wearing panties and a girdle."
On one memorable occasion she made her slave wear that exact outfit under his suit to work. So you can't judge a book by its cover. Or an MP by his Armani.
She also remembers one guy who came to the club in his black suit and tie and wearing black high heels. Jenn loves that gender-bending stuff.
Her saying goes, "If it feels good, do it. If it feels really good, do it again. And you should probably do it again just in case."
It works like this: Anyone interested needs to attend some of the community centre events, such as workshops or discussion groups. You get to know the people and the place and once you're pals with a member you can attend a members-only event as a guest.
From there, you see how you fit in and how you like to play. Then, if you don't break any rules you can pay $30 for a one-year anonymous membership to the private club.
Miss Jenn runs a very tight
ship indeed. She knows the ropes -- literally.
In terms of dress code, Jenn says, "If you can't wear it in the grocery store, it's good. Dress to impress."
The club has a veritable cornucopia of monthly and weekly events for those who want to play. There are two BDSM play parties each month (for members only), and two BDSM community centre events. In October there will be a cuddle party, a swing night, polyamoury discussion group and potluck, cards and game night, exotic belly dancing and a clothing swap.
The club hosts Nov 4 workshops by Midori, titled 'Predicament Bondage' and 'Pussy Purring Pleasures: how to please your woman.' Then on Nov 11 Jenn is organizing a Leather/Fetish Fair at Holiday Inn and Suites on Cooper St. Before all that, a Nov 3 Fetish Ball is at the Embassy West Hotel on Carling Ave.