It’s long been joked that Brighton puts the Sex into Sussex, but the Prince Regent’s pleasure-dome is far from the only sexy part of Sussex.
Indeed, even the county’s motto, “We wunt be druv,” intimates a certain freedom, loosely translating to, ‘We won’t be pushed around.’ Perhaps this is why it’s been such a mecca for the sexually diverse, individual and free.
One such individual was Virginia Woolf, who, along with her husband Leonard, had a country retreat at Monk’s House in Rodmell near Lewes from 1919. Fellow Bloomsbury Group member Vanessa Bell found a house named Charleston near Firle and many of the Bloomsbury Group visited the pair, including Lytton Strachey, whose cousin and lover Duncan Grant was co-director of the Omega Workshops with Bell.
Chanctonbury Ring is a hill-fort based ring of trees at the top of Chactonbury Hill on the South Downs, on the border of Washington and Wiston in West Sussex. Ancient tradition dictates that if you run round the trees, the devil will appear for a bowl of soup. However, if Lucifer doesn’t float your boat, perhaps fertility might. Sleeping under the trees for a night is rumoured to increase fertility in women.
Sussex also lays claim to being the birthplace of the fetish ‘sploshing’, and we found it in St Leonard’s, where Bill Shipton runs Splosh! Studios. For the uninitiated, sploshing is a term for people who find sexual pleasure in getting wet and messy. It generally entails engaging in food fights, often with cream pies, custard, cake mix and, for those with savoury inclinations, baked beans and raw eggs.
Bill says, “Sploshing puts humour back into sex – we’ve become terribly serious about it. Although there’s a humiliation aspect to it, there’s no dominance or submission – it’s tit for tat. If you rub a custard pie in my face, I’ll rub it back in yours.”
Should you wish to get sticky, Splosh Studios can be booked for £25 per hour: all the fun without the washing-up to deal with (but take it from me: custard is a nightmare to get out of your hair due to the cornflour).
If you know where to look, there’s a lot of sex of all kinds going on in Sussex. And I’ll be exposing more of its sexy history – and present – over coming months. If you run a sexy venue, hotel, event company or business in Sussex, please do get in touch.