Letter: British bondage

Sir: Your article about the bed and bondage guest house in San Francisco made entertaining reading and did not seek to judge sadomasochists ("B&B that offers an alternative to breakfast", 15 December).

Yes we do have rules. Yes we do insist on consent. Consent is all, anything else is partner abuse. However, the tone is "this can only happen in America" or "more tales from abroad". The UK has a very active SM and fetish scene which is usually ignored by Fleet Street.

SM Pride recently counted more that 45 SM nightclubs operating in this country. We have counted more than 70 reputable UK businesses or suppliers. Together with the nightclubs we estimate these generate about pounds 30m of legitimate (and taxable) annual business.

Your article contained one error. It claims the San Francisco premises are the world's first SM guesthouse. That honour almost certainly belongs to a West Country establishment called Westward Bound which started first, offering top quality BB&B (Bed, Breakfast & Bondage).

There are currently three SM guesthouses in the UK, Westward Bound plus others in London and the Wessex area.

BARRY SLEMMINGS

SM Pride chairman 1999/2000

Romford, Essex

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