With the huge popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, more and more people are starting to explore their own sexuality and interest in BDSM, which stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism. The SF Citadel is the premier BDSM play space in the Bay area. Welcome! We know you must have a lot of questions about BDSM and the Citadel. The following FAQs answer the questions for you that we hear the most.
Frequently Asked Questions and Pointers for Newcomers
Q. I've never been to a dungeon before -- is this like the medieval kind you see in the movies?
A. Don't let the word "dungeon" confuse you. The Citadel is a modern, well-maintained facility that includes a lounge area and lit-up dancefloor (it used to be a dance club). The furnishings in the play areas include some equipment that might resemble the apparatuses found in old dungeons, but our community uses them safely and consensually. We ensure this through policies and staffing that work together to foster a fun environment.
Q. So is the Citadel a communal version of the playroom in "50 Shades of Grey"?
A. Perhaps only in one very broad sense: The Citadel has more play space and equipment than you probably have in your own bedroom or home. The Citadel is a lot more than a playroom, as we host parties, educational classes, and community events here. The Citadel lacks the isolation of the playroom in 50 Shades of Grey, which makes for a much safer play environment.
Q. Is the Citadel safe?
A. Safety is what the Citadel is all about -- it's built into infrastructure, equipment, and amenities; codified in our policies, enforced by staff and volunteers; and enjoyed in practice by our guests. Ultimately, you are always responsible for your own personal safety. Our classes can also help you learn to understand issues of consent, negotiation, and safety regarding various BDSM activities.
Q. What are the rules?
We foster a culture of respect in which all play is safe, sane, and consensual. Specific details on what this entails appears in a list of rules posted prominently above the cashier counter.
Q. How old do you have to be to enter the Citadel?
A. Since we do not serve alcohol on the premises, the minimum age for admission is 18.
Q. Since you don't serve alcohol, can I bring my own?
A. No, you may not, as the San Francisco Citadel is a drug- and alcohol-free space. Furthermore, we reserve the right to ask anyone to leave who appears to be intoxicated to the point that their performance is impaired.
Q. What is a dungeon monitor?
A. During play parties, a dungeon monitor (DM) wears an orange armband or safety vest, and carries an orange satchel of safety supplies, along with a walkie-talkie at busier parties. That individual keeps an eye on all of the play to make sure it complies with the Citadel's safety rules. If you spot anything that appears to violate the rules, let the DM know. Note, however, that DMs strive not to interrupt play unless absolutely necessary for the sake of an individual's safety.
Q. What should I wear at the Citadel?
A. You may wear what you want, and you don't even have to wear it on your way to the Citadel -- many people bring an outfit to change into once they get here and put their street attire in a locker (they are first come, first serve, and you need to bring your own lock, however). Some events at the Citadel have dress codes, but the extent to which they are enforced depends on the whims of the party hosts and organizers. That said, wearing leather, latex, uniforms, lingerie, or other fetishwear tends to be a conversation starter, especially if you put extra thought and effort into your outfit. However, if you don't own any of this, don't let that intimidate you or deter you from coming.
Q. Can I come and just look?
A. Yes, as long as you pay the event admission fee, you may watch from a respectful distance -- as long as it does not interfere with the experience of those who are playing. Watching what goes on here can whet your appetite for getting involved in the activity later.
Q. Can you give me a tour?
A. Come to one of our parties and let us know it's your first time here, so we can give you a tour of the facilities. Note that you have to pay the admission fee first. We do not offer private tours during off hours, but if you attend something listed on the calendar, we should be able to find someone who can show you around.
Q. When are you open?
Our hours of operation vary depending on what we have scheduled on our calendar -- please click here to see details
Q. What do people do at the Citadel?
We offer a combination of play parties, classes, and discussion groups at the Citadel.
Q. I'm new to the scene or the Citadel, so when's the best time for me to come?
We have special events just for newcomers, including a newbie munch on the first Saturday of the month from 6 pm to 8 pm;(It actually starts at Wicked Grounds, a nearby coffee house, and comes to the Citadel afterward.). Also check out the Beginner's Dungeon class hosted by EduKink the first Thursday of every even monthstrong> from 7:30 pm to 10 pm.
Q. How can I learn more about bondage, domination, sadomasochism (BDSM), fetishes, and alternative sexualities?
A. Attend our classes! We host at least two classes per week on a wide variety of topics, suitable for people of all backgrounds and experience levels. Our lectures, demonstrations, workshops, discussion groups, and combinations thereof, cover just about anything of interest to the kinky community. Please see our calendar for more details -- and if you can't find something on a topic you want to learn more about, please let us know so we can add it to our programming.
Q. How much does admission to the Citadel cost?
A. Admission fees vary depending on the nature of the event and whether you purchase tickets in advance, which is cheaper than paying at the door. Most parties average $20 to $30, while classes range from $10 to $20, and discussion groups may cost $5 to $10.
If you cannot afford the price of admission, consider becoming a volunteer,
Q. What do I need to do to become a volunteer at the Citadel?
Some of our volunteer opportunities are open to newcomers, including kitchen, set-up, and clean-up. Other roles require prior experience or training, namely dungeon monitors and cashiers. We encourage everyone interested in volunteering to join the Citadel Volunteers group on Fetlife.com to learn more about how to be of service to us and sign up for actual opportunities.
Q. Where are you located?
A. We are located at 181 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, between Mason and Taylor Streets. Please click here for a map. The Citadel's downtown location makes it easy to get to from anywhere in the Bay Area, whether you travel by car or mass transit. We are just two blocks from BART, Market street, and several Bus alternatives.
Q. Is there parking nearby?
A. There are several parking lots within a short distance of the Citadel. Prices vary depending on the day, time, and duration you park. Please click here for a list of parking lots nearby.
Q. Are there good places to eat nearby?
A. There's no shortage of options nearby, since we are located within walking distance of Union Square, and San Francisco Mall/Westfield Center, which has a food court. For a list of restaurants in the vicinity, please click here.
Q. We're from out of town -- is there a good hotel nearby?
A. Thanks to the Citadel's location downtown, you can choose from several good hotels nearby. They include the Hilton Union Square, Parc 55 Wyndham and Hotel Nikko.
Q. Do you supply toys like whips or rope?
A. While the Citadel itself does not loan or rent out such toys, we host events in which vendors sell gear, and others in which community members swap with one another. There are even classes in which instructors teach you how to make your own. Please refer to our calendar for the dates of the San Francisco Fetish Flea Market, which happens three times a year; along with swap meets for gear and clothing; plus, kinky crafts classes.
Q. Where can I buy toys to use at the Citadel?
A. Within walking distance of the Citadel there are several stores that sell BDSM gear and sex toys: Mr. S, Leather Etc. , and Good Vibrations. Additionally, online shops offering these items abound to such an extent that we can't even begin to list them, let alone give you a current tally of the number of options out there
Q. Can you play in private at the Citadel?
A. The Citadel is available for private rental at a rate of $75 per hour, with a three-hour minimum.
Q. Do I need to bring a date?
A. Citadel parties do not require you to bring a date; it is entirely appropriate, and you are welcome, to come alone to any event. Some events have a theme designed to help introduce people, for example, check out our Tryst party.
Q. What is the difference between an open play party and a themed party?
A. Our themed parties have a specific focus that might include a subset of types of play, while our open play parties are open to all types of players and play.
Q. Do you have any parties that are limited to one gender?
A. Our Crave party is for those who identify as women only. Please refer to our calendar for details.
Q. What is the SF Citadel's mission?
A. Our mission statement is: The SAN FRANCISCO CITADEL CLUB's mission is to provide BDSM and entertainment, education on alternative lifestyles, cultural and leather community events, and other resources to individuals, associations and communities who identify with having different ways of expressing their proclivities; to create a safe place to meet, entertain, explore and share enjoyment, happiness, laughter and pleasure within those communities locally and nationally; and to be open to the non-BDSM community to check our evening classes, weekend retreats and weekend entertainment events.