Bay Area Holiday: Day 3 (

10 Aug is a porn website specialising in BDSM, and all these review sites said that their tour is really informative and fun. And if you think about it, it’s pretty San Franciscan right?

Kink bought a building in Castro that used to be where the National Guard did its training. The building is enormous – I think it took up the whole block and I think our tour guide said it was 200,000 square feet.

Joel and James thought the outside was great for bouldering.

The walls keep going up! I think our guide said the building had 5 floors. Luckily the boys stuck to the lower parts.

We waited outside for the tour to start. There were maybe 6 women on the tour and 20 guys. Judging by the questions, a lot of the tour audience were pretty familiar with the website. I think we might have been the only ones who weren’t, but I’d just read that this was a really interesting tour – which it was!

I mean, this stuff isn’t for me (some of it was downright terrifying), but it seemed like they treat the actors ethically and go to great lengths to make sure they’re OK with all the sex acts.

We got taken through a lot of porn sets. The set designers are constantly switching them out and this one was wild west themed:

The floors were actually soft! Our tour guide said that the actors were on their knees a lot (obviously) but they didn’t want it to be uncomfortable. She said there was pain/discomfort that the actors had consented to (like whipping, getting tied up, etc) but they tried to minimise the pain/discomfort that was just environmental and didn’t add anything.

Oh yeah, this was a totally creepy set. It looked like a horror movie! There were hooks in the ceiling and (painted-on) rust stains everywhere.

It was described as a “wet set” because they’d do things that required lots of water and there were drains in the floor so the water could drain out and not flood the rest of the sets. There was also a cage built into the ground.

Oh! We saw this totally scary thing where they would tie someone to the ceiling and there was this metal box built into the floor. And you could close the doors around someone’s neck so they were in pitch black, suspended upside down. In the photo below you can see the semicircles in the lid that close around someone’s neck. Inside the box there was a camera so you could see the actor’s face (both for audience titillation and actor safety).

We saw a couple of medical-like sets with electricity and stuff. Apparently that’s where they film their “Wired Pussy/Electro Sluts” series. James was so disapproving of how crude the names were. Afterwards he told me “they should have classier titles – like Naughty Ladies Who Like Electricity”. =D

This set was where they filmed a slave series. Here is James in one of the slave dungeons.

We saw a couple of other sets – one decorated like a classy loft (dungeon under the staircase of course) with a nice kitchen and a totally mundane shopping list.

“Sharp cheddar cheese (the 3 yr old Vermont kind if they have it)” Ha!

Right next to that set was a scary mental asylum set with a one-way mirror looking into a padded cell.

And a fake alley with fake garbage and even fake grass in the corners.

The prop room was really cool too. They had mundane stuff, like chairs and tables:

Juxtaposed with weird stuff, like a human hamster wheel.

They also had this whiteboard, which Joel our resident PhD chemist said was very inaccurate, though in the ballpark. Joely’s turn to shine!

Attached to the prop room were a couple of other sets. This one was done up as an homage to Battlestar Galactica.

And had what the guide described as a “fucking machine”. Notice its little dildo.

Nothing compared to the big trolley of dildos just outside:

After all that, the university teacher/student set seemed pretty vanilla.

Right next door was where they kept all their whips and chains (the opposite wall was similarly outfitted). You can see the straitjacket that goes with the mental asylum set.

After that floor we descended into the basement, which the National Guard used as their shooting range. There was actually a little creek running through it (I think it was called Mission Creek), and apparently a lot of buildings are just built on top of the creek.

The watermarks here are real. I think our guide said that the basement was flooded when they bought the building and they had to pump it out. They’ve rented this space out for music videos.

I laughed at this because I am juvenile.

There was also a supplies room with loads of lube and condoms and a sign that said “For Models Only! Do Not Take For Your Own Consumption!”

Here are some industrial-size tubs of disinfectant. Which I guess makes sense, but ew.

We were all walking along the halls peeking into the rooms. One of them was a giant bathroom with heaps of working urinals; it served dual purpose as a set and as a restroom. But nothing could beat the costume room for sheer confusion:

Joel asked about the panda heads and the guide told us that they’d filmed a panda gangbang called Pandamonium (PandaMOANium?). And that actually, the actors really got into it – they stayed in character and one guy was chewing bamboo in between takes. She said that the panda porn has been their most commented-on video. They’ve used the costumes a few times since then, so they’ve gotten their money’s worth.

The second last room she showed us was where they film something called Ultimate Surrender. It’s a girl-on-girl wrestling match and the winner gets to *cough* fuck the loser.

I was telling James that I reckon I’d be quite good at it (I got beat all the time in BJJ but I could definitely take a random porn star) but the guide said that you didn’t actually get points for wrestling – you got points for groping and kissing the other person and I was like “oh”.

Oh yeah, and the matches aren’t rigged – they don’t know who is going to win.

The last room she took us to was this absolutely enormous. I think the guide said that it had been used for Star Wars at one point? But I wasn’t 100% listening because as she was explaining a cat wandered into the room and I got all excited (not panda excited).

His name was Rudy and apparently he sometimes likes to join the tours. =)

But anyway our guide said that they sometimes rent out the space for events but their eventual plan is to turn it into a kind of community outreach center – they hope to have farmer’s markets in there and regular events (they’re adding a catering kitchen to the level).

So yeah, that was the tour! The guide was really nice and informative and it was cool to kind of go behind the scenes of a porn studio. Between the porn, Google and Pixar I feel like we got a pretty interesting spectrum of Bay Area companies. And unlike Google and Pixar you can pay to go on the tour so it’s open to everyone! There’s a bit of BDSM-themed artwork in the first room but the rest of it is relatively tame (though they describe the porny acts). Not PG but definitely interesting and worth doing if you’re in San Francisco!

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