Night Prowl: Behind the doors of Bangkok’s exclusive S&M society

Just a ways up Sukhumvit Soi 33, between a row of massage parlors lined with girls fanning laminated menus, there’s an inconspicuous black door with nary a soul out front.

VIP guests swiftly slip in and out, but newcomers are tasked with ringing the doorbell to be confronted seconds later by a painted-up pair of eyes through a metal slit. She’s a dominatrix, and she’s sizing up your level of kink.

This is Demonia, an S&M bar that caters to influential locals and expats. Opened 11 years ago, Bangkok’s first lair of underground sexual perversion open to the public continues to regulate its clientele using a simple dress code today. Unlike BarBar, the Patpong S&M establishment favored by first-timers and curious tourists, Demonia means serious business.

It’s not unlikely to see a tall, dark and stormy foreigner being reduced to a leash and a gag or pleading for a spanking. Just some days earlier, the mama-san told me, a Caucasian couple entered with a suitcase containing a ballerina tutu and strappy heels – for the husband.

Demonia’s owner is a trade and finance bigwig from France, who doesn’t allow his two worlds to cross. He asked we don’t share his name to protect “as people from the other side of my life would be surprised to know I own this kind of business, and perhaps not pleasantly.”

The business casual, all-black dress code was his idea, and there’s no way you’re entering in a T-shirt and sandals. There are spare black vests and button-ups on hand, though, for the odd exception.

“We look for a clientele that is socially middle to high, not drunk and not too young,” explained the owner. “If they are noisy or drunk, it’s not a place for them. Selecting customers very important in this kind of business, and I like to have few customers, but good ones.”

Demonia’s fly-by-night activity is regulated by the mama-san, a self-professed life-timer who’s seen it all. She doesn’t personally provide S&M services, but gets a kick out of ordering slaves around every now and then for a laugh.

“I get them to go to 7-11 in their boxers and buy me peanuts and Vitamin C,” she said with a devilish grin. Don’t let this petite Thai woman fool you though – she runs a tight ship for both mistresses and clients, and if anyone so much as thinks about “playing wee and poo” anywhere else but the shower, there would be hell to pay.

She says the majority of clients come in to be dominated as slaves. They come from a spread of different backgrounds and countries – Singapore, Japan and the United States just to name a few. According to Demonia’s owner, a surprising number of corporate-types and boardroom moguls are the ones that really like to be bossed around.

“Eighty percent of these guys are general managers of big companies,” he said. “Sometimes we also see very high-ranking people, but of course I can’t give out details about who is coming here. That’s exactly why this is the kind of place you need to be secretive.”

It’s also the kind of place where “anything goes” out in the open and those who are shy better book a room. That costs THB3,500 per session, and buying a drink for a mistress starts at THB900 for the first and THB300 after. Demonia’s owner says the girls are making good baht, up to THB100,000 a month.

I met a Dutch man who calls himself a regular, as he comes to Demonia every time he’s sent to Thailand on business. He heard about the S&M bar through word of mouth a few years ago, and while he’d practiced S&M in a private relationship once, this was something of a different animal, bizarre love at first sight. He still remembers his first night being strung up on a red cross and beaten with Japanese bamboo in front of a Japanese journalist and other onlookers, just like it was just yesterday.

“I had huge purple bruises on my butt,” he said contently. “I couldn’t sit for like a week. It was great.”

Since then, he’s gotten to experience many fantasies in Demonia’s dark corners.

“I’ve been a doctor, a Japanese warrior coming back from battle,” he said. “One time I was a traveler lost on a remote island and I met a mermaid … it’s like there’s no limits to these kinds of scenarios.”

He also has a career in import and export that would frown upon such recreational activities becoming public. That’s why he says Demonia’s hush-hush nature is so important. It’s the kind of place where he can be free to act on his most distorted of desires, while still managing to stay in the shadows.

“I’ve experienced almost everything that Bangkok can possibly offer, nightclubs, and bars, but this was something different for me,” he explained. “I didn’t expect to like it so much. I would recommend it to people who want to discover something different, whether just for curiosity or you want to take a look at yourself.”

Photos: Courtesy Demonia

Barbara Woolsey is a writer and television host who splits her nights and occasional days between Bangkok and Berlin.

More Night Prowl:

Balls and Chains: BarBar Fetish Club gets kinky

The Legendary Lechery of Bernard ‘Nite Owl’ Trink

The man, the myth, the Manow

Go clubbing in a brothel at ‘Black Pagoda’

Five joints shaking out live music in Bangkok

There Goes the Last DJ

The cult of bass grinds on in the Bangkok dark

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