Many customers of Passionfruit will know that we have a wonderful space upstairs from which we conduct all manner of workshops, seminars, photoshoots and performances.

Recently we have opened up a new space called 'The Education Room'. It has been specifically designed, in conjunction with BDSM educator Anne O Nomis, as a room for tuition in the kinkier arts.

It has been lovingly decorated with purpose built furniture, one piece being The Berkely Horse. Here is a description of how to use the ingenious contraption, written by Anne O Nomis.

The Art of Flagellation & The Berkley Horse

In the Georgian era of England, Dominatrices were known as Governesses (said with a wink), Female Flagellants or School Mistresses, after their strict tone of voice and simulated punishment on naughty boy clients. Some liked to be whipped across a knee, bent over a desk, on the back of a maid or servant (known as 'horsing'), or firmly tied down to something for their punishment. 

In the Spring of 1828, Governess Dominatrix Theresa Berkley designed a whipping apparatus which would make her famous. This apparatus is named 'The Berkley Horse' after her.

"I think Theresa Berkley may have thought, "I can do better than this!". And what she came up with was an ingenious whipping frame. The front side was comfortably padded, and had three cut-outs for the head, nipples and genitals. Metal ring fixtures were conveniently screwed into the front of the frame, providing a fixing point for chains or rope to tie the person securely down. Within Berkley's Memoirs was reportedly a print of a man strapped naked to the Berkley Horse frame, with a woman sitting in a chair under it "with her bosom, belly and bush exposed...manualizing his embelon", while Theresa Berkley birched his posterior. So in essence he'd get pleasure from one side administered by the frictrix - whose job it was to rub, and pain from the other side administered by Berkley birching him." 

"The most common piece of equipment used in the era was a birch rod, which was essentially a bunch of twigs tied together at one end, commonly from the birch tree but other trees could be used also. She also had seasonal offerings, much like a top chef of a restaurant. She apparently had numerous glass and china vases and she'd send women working for her off to fetch birches, fresh prickly plants and green stinging nettles. Basically whatever was the most painful, prickly and in season. Of course they didn't have the same knowledge of hygiene and concern for infection that people would have today. She also had a fine collection of whips, cat'o'nine tails and leather straps."

Theresa Berkley's clients loved the whipping frame she designed with them in mind, and paired with her expert craft knowledge, she became the most famous Dominatrix of her day. The Berkley Horse itself became a 'must have' item for all serious Governesses, and at least four other women of the profession recorded as having one in Georgian England. 

So it seemed only too appropriate that we commissioned our own version of the Berkley Horse for the Education Salon of Passionfruit, where it takes pride of place. A local Australian craftsman made it to specification, with the measurements tailored for modern-day Australians. (They were a lot shorter in height on average in Georgian England than today.)

Anne tried it out on its arrival for the VIP Evening at Passionfruit. Her thoughts? "It's fabulous! And will be absolutely ideal for teaching flagellation with beautiful leather floggers in the modern era.


HISTORY -  Dominatrix history talk - - on Thursday 17th August at 7 pm - 8.30 pm

Anne O Nomis will be giving a Powerpoint presentation on the history of dominant women through the ages. From the ancient Dominatrix Goddesses and priestess initiates, to the Female Flagellants of the 17th-19th Century (including Theresa Berkley), the 20th Century underground and modern day.

LEARNING FLOGGING - Colours of Play - PURPLE - on Thursday 13th July at 7 pm Colours of Play - PURPLE - on Thursday 13th July at 7 pm - 8.30 pm

Purple is the colour of love marks and bruises, the lingering memories of passion and play. In this symposium talk and presentation, Anne O Nomis will discuss how to use a flogger and paddle, how to drive up endorphins into a frenzy and into ecstasy. And how to check in with your partner during and after play - to increase connection and the likelihood your partner will want to play even more in the future.

LEARN THE DOMINATRIX'S SEVEN REALM ARTS - Dominatrix Diploma - begins Saturday 19th August at 2.30 - 4.30 pm

A full 8 lesson programme providing a foundation course in the Dominatrix's 'Seven Realm Arts', taught fortnightly over 16 weeks.

PRIVATE LESSONS - Private Tuition with Anne O Nomis for individuals or couples in The Education Room.


The History & Arts of the Dominatrix book