© By Fred Reynolds, 12-19-2014
Of all the formative influences in my youth, one the most memorable was the discovery of the “Rumpus Room” – that special studio in a house where the art of sex is perfected.
The first one I encountered belonged to a neighborhood couple. (Sorry, Kip, for breaking my promise not to tell, 35 years on.) Kip’s father was a local businessman and liked to be very visible in our secluded country club community. Mom was a fairly accomplished golfer but not pretty or poised enough to niggle with the club ladies.
This particular day Kip was at a nature spot that the kids frequented, looking unsettled in a way I’d never seen before. “You remember that room upstairs that’s always locked? I found the key to it today.”
Kip took a couple minutes to gain his composure before continuing. “I guess I knew it would be something weird; they always have those parties when Missy and I have to go stay at Grandma’s.” Though he didn’t say sex parties I was pretty sure what he meant. There were several swinger couples in the neighborhood; that his parents were now confirmed among them was absolutely no surprise.
“Dad always tells me that only him and Mom are allowed in there. Not even the maid goes in.” Kip was becoming agitated. His voice began to rise along the speed of his speech. “There’s pictures everywhere, dogs and horses and other animals like I’ve never seen before. Lots of other things I don’t even know what it’s for, like whips and stuff.”
Missy arrived and asked what was going on. Kip said nothing; Missy glared at me with a scowl I had come to know well since taking her virginity a few months prior. “He found a key at your house,” I allowed reluctantly. She instinctively knew what it meant. Wide-eyed and trap gaping, she finally asked if he went inside. “Yes.” It was the last word he said for nearly an hour.
I lit a joint, and everyone opted to hold each hit as long as possible to avoid the uncomfortable spotlight that would shine on the next person to speak. “Kipper, it’s their room. Your old man told you to stay out.” Missy snatched the splief from my hand and hit it hard, smoky charge wafting from her nostrils as she croaked, “Well, it’s our house too.” Dropping the roach in the water, she began walking home. I followed. So did Kip.
The house was a large Spanish style with lots of ironwork. Inside matched the outside with a somewhat medieval tone. Upstairs was a large game room with just about every thing a kid could ask for: Pool table, video games, foosball, pachinko, jukebox, pinball, functional full bar for the older kids. At the back of the game room was a heavy wood and wrought iron door.
Missy sensed that what we were about to find would be disturbing, clinging to me as her brother fumbled with the key. The door swung open to reveal a pitch-black room. Kip slipped into the darkness to flip a switch that filled the room with a dull red glow. Missy found another switch on the opposite wall that controlled a regular white light. “It smells funny in here,” she observed.
As Kip had described, it was nearly as big as the adjoining game room where Missy and I had our romps. The red velvetine-papered walls were lined with mostly black-and-white photos of members of the animal kingdom engaged in coitus. One grouping of frames held images of people, and a few of these featured Mom & Dad in full BDSM regalia. Some showed other people, several of which I knew, engaged in various activities. Red shag carpet, a few leather couches, tables, a bondage A-frame, two medieval-looking cabinets, and a large bed in the middle of the floor completed the furnishings. There were mirrors on the ceiling, something I had only recently learned about through a new song by The Eagles.
Interest in the walls soon faded. There was bondage gear all around and lots of leather goods. Missy picked up a pair of handcuffs and a large black butt plug. “What’s this for?” she asked, and Kip finally spoke again. “It’s for your ass. Dad’s got it over there,” motioning toward a photo. “Eww!” The toy fell to the floor and bounced under a couch. Scrambling to retrieve it, she knocked a box off the coffee table. The contents spilled across the floor.
It was mostly vibrators and dildos of varying size and related accessories. At this point Kip exited, leaving me alone with his strangely calm sister. “Do you understand this?” I asked gently. “Yes, I think so. I can imagine what most of this stuff is for.” I noticed through her skimpy string bikini top that her nipples were hardening.
We sat silently, scanning the room and seeing something new with each pass. I rose to inspect the largest fake phallus I’ve seen to this day. At least three feet tall and weighing probably 20 pounds, it could only have been used as a door stop during the parties. I tried to imagine her dad impaled on this monster, wearing a cowboy hat, swinging his arms and yelling, “Yee-haw!”
Missy decided she had enough when I suggested that we have sex in the Rumpus Room. We tried to replace everything just as it had been; Kip locked the door and put the key back where he had found it that morning. We agreed to never speak of what we had seen that day. Missy kissed me and said, “Thanks for being here.”
Today, contractors and real estate agents have clients that specifically request special amenities. I’ve seen a couple of newer houses with BDSM dungeons designed into them. Rumpus Rooms can be found in places you’d never expect, like the homes of retirees. Many are arranged with some central feature, like a sex swing, or a specific purpose or kink in mind, like bondage or anal play. All of them I’ve encountered smell at least a little funny.
Even if not a proper Rumpus Room, everyone should have a space dedicated to perfecting the art of whatever it is that they enjoy the most.