Kink.com has spent 11 years producing quality BDSM entertainment, with a view to celebrating and demystifying alternative sexualities. The Armory is a 200,000 sq foot ex-military castle in the heart of San Francisco. After kink.com obtained the armory, a wider mission was formed of 'exploring and demystifying alternative lifestyles'.
The most elusive and challenging concept worthy of exploration was the creation of a 24x7 BDSM lifestyle space as fantasized about in BDSM literature such as 'Story of O', Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty Series, and Laura Antoniou's MarketPlace Series. Such literature often describes a castle like place in which the norms of society are replaced by the rules of dominance and submission. "The Upper Floor" is an exploration into the feasibility of such a place and lifestyle.
- Mission: To create a 24x7 alternative lifestyle community.
- Vision: To repurpose the top floor of the Armory as an Edwardian styled Great House, in which masters, mistresses and slaves will all have a role.
As a unique expression of the dominance and submission lifestyle, The Upper Floor is the realization of a complex, negotiated social order that has, until now, existed only in fantasy. In the world of The Upper Floor, Masters, Mistresses, and their slaves interact in a strict fetish hierarchy.
The Upper Floor was envisioned and founded by Kink.com CEO Peter Acworth in the model of such erotic novels as Pauline Réage's The Story of O, Laura Antoniou's Marketplace series, and Anne Rice's Exit to Eden and Sleeping Beauty trilogy.
The Upper Floor is here to build a community for full-time sexual exploration and fantasy fulfillment. But it is more than just a lifestyle community. The Upper Floor is the very first 24/7 immersive experience of erotic service within a strict hierarchy of authority. Events at TheUpperFloor.com are streamed live for the members of the site not only for the pleasure of its participants and viewers, but as proof that the kind of "Secret Society" described in BDSM and D/s erotic literature can and does exist in reality -- but no longer needs to be secret.
The lifestyles lived at The Upper Floor are consensual erotic "play" in that they are consented to by all parties and are engaged in for mutual erotic enjoyment, as with all Kink.com's erotic sites. At The Upper Floor, however, the complex, negotiated social structure is real, rather than the ad-hoc entertainments offered by more casual SM or D/s play.
It is hoped that through broadcasting the full-time environs of The Upper Floor, Kink.com may encourage other players to create their own 24/7 households practicing negotiated hierarchy and explicit Domination-submission lifestyles.
The Upper Floor project went public on camera for its first event, The First Supper, in June of 2009 in a live streamed show, and the full site launched in December of 2009. But The Upper Floor project took more than a decade to develop.
The Upper Floor Community
The Upper Floor draws its strength both from the vibrant local community in San Francisco, where alternative lifestyles are celebrated, and from the worldwide network of BDSM, D/s and alternative sexuality practitioners, participants, educators, craftspeople, voyeurs, and fans.
But first and foremost, The Community of The Upper Floor are its site members, participants in the Kink.com forum, and players in its interactive live shows.
Throughout the development of the project, Kink.com's members and fans have been engaged in developing the concepts that have now become The Upper Floor. Suggestions for program development, slave training principles, social structure, programming and interactive features are all solicited from the community and integrated into the project. In many cases, viewers decide determine which slaves may advance within the project.
In addition, The Upper Floor live shows are interactive, allowing viewers at home to make suggestions and specific requests for punishments, pleasures and challenges. slaves at The Upper Floor perform in special interactive webcam shows in which they submit to the domination of the viewers. A slave's professional development depends explicitly on how well she pleases the viewers.
This is erotic alternative lifestyle "wiki culture" at its finest; in every way, it is a collaborative enterprise created by a worldwide network of participating members.
The worldwide "Secret Society" of D/s described in The Marketplace, Exit to Eden and other works has become an international reality. For many participants, it no longer needs to be secret; alternative lifestyles are finding increasing acceptance at all levels of society.
The participants of The Upper Floor hope that by helping demystify the 24/7 lifestyle and alternative lifestyles in general, we will accelerate this acceptance and help viewers find a new level of pleasure.
Kink.com was founded in 1997 by Peter Acworth with a view to celebrating and demystifying alternative lifestyles, particularly BDSM and D/s. The network has grown from one website at its inception to more than twenty websites today, encompassing not just BDSM and D/s but a wide variety of fetishes and interests.
Throughout the development of Kink.com, one of Peter's dreams was the creation of a kinky lifestyle site based on the fictional slave training community depicted in Pauline Réage's classic novel of Domination and submission, The Story of O. This 1954 French novel was written on a dare by a famous literary translator and critic, and became a fantastic success upon its publication, leading to an obscenity prosecution. The Story of O explores a château, Roissy, where rigidly stratified roles exist for Dominants and submissives. This novel set the standard for concepts of Dominant and submissive communities in the fantasies of countless D/s players throughout the years. One of the working names for The Upper Floor was, in fact, Roissy, in homage to Réage's novel.
It could be said that the development of Kink.com, in addition to fulfilling Peter's goal to demystify alternative lifestyles, was the accrual of the resources that he would use in creating The Upper Floor. In many ways, the entire history of Kink.com finds its culmination in the establishment of this unique community.
Though it would take some years before the reality of The Upper Floor could come to fruition, over the years Peter began this work by developing Kink.com not only as profoundly successful commercial enterprise, but as a lifestyle destination for people in the San Francisco kinky scene and worldwide. Fueled by the creativity of these communities, Kink.com became a place famous for supporting expressions of alternative sexuality and for helping make those expressions come alive both in fantasy and reality.
As more Kink.com sites developed, further resources and talent were added to the organization, bringing Peter's vision ever closer to reality. These resources included event planners and film makers, all of them invested in the idea of a 24/7 lifestyle.
Peter's dream all along was to create this 24/7 world that modeled the principles of consensual power exchange and personal development, and to create the kind of explicitly erotic power structure that was usually viewed strictly as a fantasy.
These dreams became potential reality with the acquisition by Peter, in late 2006, of The Armory, a former National Guard facility in San Francisco's Mission District that spanned four floors and almost 200,000 square feet. The design of the structure, built from 1912-1914 in the model of a Moorish castle, fell within the exact design esthetic depicted in countless fantasies, from fairy tales and Victorian comedies of manners to Gothic horror and, of course, erotic novels.
Through 2008 and 2009, the lower three floors and the cavernous basement of the Armory were extensively refitted and refurbished to serve as Kink.com's offices and production studio. Meanwhile, the Upper Floor was being created and outfitted to serve not only as an additional erotic website, but as an umbrella site incorporating aspects of all Kink.com sites and drawing upon their resources, exploring all kinks in the context of 24/7 lifestyle power exchange.
Peter then looked to the works of contemporary author and BDSM activist Laura Antoniou, whose Marketplace series was influenced heavily by the gay male leather scene of the 1970s and 1980s, with its strict hierarchy and ritualized explorations. In The Marketplace, Antoniou depicts a secret society of slaves and slave trainers that is pansexual in nature and intensely focused on the personal development of the characters, rather than merely the sexual action. Antoniou was invited to consult on development of The Upper Floor, and graciously agreed, giving her blessing to the project.
The Upper Floor is an explicitly negotiated social structure guided by the principles of consensual power exchange and consensual erotic slavery. At The Upper Floor, a basic hierarchy has been created with staff and slaves occupying various levels within the heirarchal structure. Through a series of applications, auditions, admissions, promotions, demotions, and expulsions, slaves, Masters, and Mistresses are held to a high standard of professional and ethical conduct impossible anywhere except in a carefully defined hierarchy.
Central to The Upper Floor is the concept of the Edwardian Great House, with its rigidly defined social structures adapted to reflect consensual power exchange. For this reason, the esthetic of The Upper Floor overall is one that integrates elements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the exact period in which The Armory was built.
The explicit D/s social structure of The Upper Floor is referred to as The House or The Household.
Social Structure and Cast of Characters
The participants in The Upper Floor are divided into Classes that clearly delineate authority, roles, duties and status. These Classes are The Household and The slaves.
The Household is made of up both Dominant members of the House, listed below, and Affiliates, honored guests and groups that are invited to participate in the events and activities of The Upper Floor.
The permanent members of The Household are:
- Peter Acworth, The founder and CEO of Kink.com and of The Upper Floor, he is the Master of the House and his authority is final. All sanction and guidance originates with Mr. Acworth.
- JohnPaul is the Major Domo, he directs the day to day operations of The Upper Floor, auditions new members, and ensures that all standards are enforced across all strata of The House. Mr. Mogul selects female slaves and directs their training with the assistance of the other members of the Household and of the Household's honored guests.
- Stefanos is the Steward of the house. Responsible for general upkeep of the house/oversight of the staff. The Steward also has responsibilities outside the house, working with other members of the wider BDSM community, representing The House and the wider mission of a 24/7 BDSM world.
- Maestro - The Butler works directly with the parlor slave to ensure proper care of the House at all times. The Butler is also the Second to the Major Domo, responsible for meting out punishment in the absence of the Major Domo or Master of the House.
- The Governess is responsible for the kitchen staff and slaves as well as the slave dormitory. She makes sure that the slaves under her care follow all of the basic rules of the House at all times.
Slaves are subservient to The Household and all Guests of the House.
House slaves must petition for admission to The Upper Floor and may in some cases be selected by the viewers. House slaves are divided into three classes: Parlor Slave, Kitchen Slave, Slave Consort and Guest slaves, based on the number of events they have successfully completed and in some cases on other sex-positive "activist" acts they may commit outside of The Household.
Beneath the House slaves are initiates, who may be invited to visit The Upper Floor from time to time for several reasons: to perform service for Dominants at The Upper Floor, to learn valuable skills as part of their training, and to evaluate their potential for future admission to the project.
Slave Application Process
Dominants and other guests of The House are drawn from other Kink.com sites and from the BDSM community.
A basic system allows models to progress from other Kink.com sites to The Upper Floor, given director approval and an excellent track record. Each of these experiences may provide the skills and demonstrate the aptitude that could lead to a successful career as a slave on The Upper Floor.
For example, Fucking Machines is a perennially popular destination for women who have never performed in porn before and may have never engaged in any kind of kinky sex or power exchange. After being fucked hard by the legendary robot cocks of Fucking Machines, a woman might decide she wishes to compete in erotic wrestling at UltimateSurrender, displaying a fierce competitive spirit and surrendering to humiliating sexual consequences if that spirit should prove unsuccessful in securing victory.
She may then decide that such humiliating experiences are very much to her liking...and find herself in the hands of Princess Donna at Wired Pussy, learning to accept sensation at a Dominant's whim. Perhaps after such an experience, the developing submissive will be ready for submissive boy/girl sex, and will be bound, punished, and fucked at SexAndSubmission.com. She might then return to Princess Donna for public punishment and training at Public Disgrace, after which experience she might conceivably be ready to apply to Mr. Mogul for a four-day program at The Training Of O.
Each of these experiences builds a female submissive's skills toward erotic slavery, and only those who excel at all levels of development are considered for training at The Upper Floor.
Male slaves follow a similar pattern, passing through one of entry points. Male slaves may come to The Upper Floor through Divine Bitches, the Femdom site ruled over by Maîtresse Madeline, who is also The Upper Floor's chief female trainer of male slaves. Male slaves may also receive their initial training at director Van Darkholme's BoundGods.com; Darkholme is the chief male trainer of male slaves at The Upper Floor.
The Armory is the home of Kink.com and of TheUpperFloor.com. It serves as production studio and offices for Kink.com, and houses The House and The Upper Floor. A 200,000 square foot former military facility located in San Francisco's Mission District, The Armory is nearly ten times as large as the Playboy Mansion and boasts two-fifths the square footage of San Francisco's legendary City Hall.
Acquired by Peter Acworth in late 2006, The Armory was the principle resource that allowed Peter to realize his dream of a 24/7 lifestyle D/s community. Similarly, Peter's dream of The Upper Floor was a chief motivator in his acquisition of The Armory. The Armory and The Upper Floor are intrinsically linked.