Preview: TRAUMA adds rooms of psycho-sexual terror and sensuality to kink fest

By Lorian Long
From the October 31, 2013 edition
  • Photos by Meghan Ralston

Despite the frequency with which our private lives and fantasies manifest themselves in the corners of the internet, there remains a need to unleash with other bodies, a surrendering to the fact that, yes, we do need other people in the flesh.

Nowhere is this more evident in Columbus than the annual freak-bash, TRAUMA. Featuring more than 300 performers, musicians and artists, the two-day event has become an institution of debauched art that would impress even the Marquis de Sade.

Founder Nick Wolak is expecting a turnout of nearly 5,000 people this year. Performers from Japan, San Francisco, Germany and an abundance of local artists will fill the church-turned-concert venue The Bluestone with everything from multi-media performance art to suspension play to every DJ spinning under the sun. And in an effort to evolve as a progressive experience, TRAUMA will include two new additions.

“This year we will be hosting a space called BLISS: 15 Rooms of Psycho-Sexual Terror,” Wolak said. “It will be by invitation only. We will also debut a space called House of Bacchus that will be featuring more sensual experiences to counterbalance the BDSM heavy line-up. If both of these endeavors go well and we all enjoy hosting them and our guests enjoy experiencing them, then we will continue to improve them for next year.”

Don’t let the kinky emphasis fool you — TRAUMA is much more of a multi-dimensional production than simply an organized sex party.

It’s one of the few local opportunities for a massive gathering of people — regardless of age, sexual identity, ethnicity — to express themselves creatively, sexually and openly, without censorship or corporate sponsorship.

As Wolak puts it, “I feel very fortunate to be involved with this amazing event. Every year I meet wonderful new people, and I’m impressed with how the kink community opens its arms to anyone interested in exploring a new paradigm.”

Throughout the years, Wolak and other organizers have prioritized benefiting charities with proceeds from TRAUMA ticket sales. This year the Columbus Youth Guild, an organization providing sports and activities to children at no cost to their families, will receive donations from the event, as will Circle P Sanctuary, a horse rescue organization in Marengo.

So buy a ticket, contribute to a good cause and revel in some Dionysian-level mayhem.