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Show us your . . . BDSM dungeon

This week the Leather Rose Association shows us its BDSM dungeon, filled with bondage furniture.

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Every once in a while we ask you to show us some something. This week it's the Leather Rose Association's BDSM dungeon. Got something to show us? showus@chicagoreader.com

Join a health club and you'll have access to some treadmills, a few elliptical machines, weights, a sauna if you're lucky. The members of LRA Chicago—short for Leather Rose Association—work it out on a whole different kind of equipment, like a spanking bench, a Saint Andrew's cross, and sundry pieces of bondage furniture.

"I'd have to say the standing steel cage [is our most unique piece]," says Min, president of the leather/BDSM club and dungeon—or, according to its website, a "welcoming social club for the many different expressions of power in love and play"—which has been in existence in the Chicago area (Aurora, originally) since the late 80s. "It's a single-person cage, stands about eight feet tall. It was donated by one of our members about two years ago."

Counting quietly to himself, Min estimates LRA has between 20 and 24 pieces of equipment in its dungeon, many donated by members who are either moving or dismantling home dungeons because they're "leaving the lifestyle," as Min puts it. And he says it definitely is a lifestyle. He also explains that there's a distinction between the "leather" lifestyle and the "BDSM" lifestyle: "BDSM is a little more individual. The emphasis is a little more on play and, sometimes, a little more on sex." He laughs and adds, "Not to say leather isn't focused on sex—because it is."

The rest of LRA's equipment comes from the Internet and from International Mr. Leather, which hosts one of the biggest fetish-oriented marts in the country.

Dungeon, spanking benches, and steel cage aside, Min says the LRA is really about community. "We are family," he says, "a family where things can get weird because you see each other naked.

"As much as there's this sex and play and stuff, there's a strong feeling of tribe or family. A strong social aspect."

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