Gay sex festivals: retreats with real impact on men and the world

In Belgium, men from around the world gathered for a festival dedicated to fetish and fucking. It’s the first major event since the beginning of the COVID pandemic – but are there real-world consequences to these sex retreats?

In Belgium, men from around the world gathered for a festival dedicated to fetish and fucking. It’s the first major event since the beginning of the COVID pandemic – but are there real-world consequences to these sex retreats?


Thousands of horned-up men arrived in Antwerp this month for Darklands Festival, one of the largest sex and fetish festivals in the world.

It marks the Belgian festival’s first return since the COVID pandemic began – and the start of a series of videos we’re going to bring you from sex events around the world.

Now that many countries are lifting their restrictions, gay sex festivals are back on but while many parts of Europe are adjusting to living with COVID, new challenges arise.

The organisers of Darklands Festival have written to all partygoers to warn them that three cases of monkeypox in Belgium have been traced to the festival.

It was a packed event. Demand was so high that some tickets were sold out within weeks of going on sale. There were around 2,000 people in attendance, including visitors from across Europe and further afield such as the US and Canada. 

You can be who you want here, that’s the main draw. Whatever your fetish or interest, you can live it here.

The event itself is a retreat, or a sanctuary, for man-fuckers who enjoy fetish and kinks. It’s a place people travel once a year to explore their most primal, masculilne urges.

Jacques, one of the festival’s organisers, told Treasure Island Media: “You can be who you want here, that’s the main draw. Whatever your fetish or interest, you can live it here. We are all part of a big brotherhood.

“Everybody’s excited, you can feel it… everybody wants to come back. You can feel people have missed doing stuff. This is one of the few fetish festivals out there, and it’s one of the biggest indoor festivals in the world.”

Our reporter and resident slave Tommy Trash will be reporting on sex festivals from around the world

The festival takes place in a vast converted warehouse building in the port city of Antwerp. This means the majority of the sex events, dance events, fetish events, and market takes place in a closed environment, allowing for greater freedoms among participants and organisations alike.

“People are most eager to see everybody and have drinks, hug, party together,” adds Sandro, another of the event’s organising team.

“That’s an important aspect this year, just to have fun with everybody.”

The festival drew in men from all walks of life – younger, older, submissive, dominant, lightly kinky or dark and sadistic. There was dancing, fucking, fisting, competitions and light-hearted performances, sex show and darkroom escapades.

But the fun of the retreat from the real world has come with a sobering consequence. The festival’s organisers have now written to everyone who attended to alert them to three cases of monkeypox which are thought to have originated at the event.

In a statement, the organisers of Darklands Festival said: “The health department of the Belgian government has confirmed three cases of the Monkeypox virus linked to visitors at Darklands.

“There’s reason to assume that the virus has been brought in by visitors from abroad to the festival after recent cases in other countries.

“The Risk Assessment Group of the federal government has asked Darklands to inform it’s guest[s] about these infections.”

Organisers also shared the following information from the Belgian authorities about monkeypox and what to look out for. They added:

  • Monkeypox has an incubation period of five to 21 days. Be vigilant during the three weeks after your last close contact.
  • If you notice unusual blisters or injuries, go to the ER unit of a nearby hospital and mention you suspect Monkeypox.
  • If the suspicion is confirmed, those persons will need to quarantine for three weeks without having sexual contacts.

Belgian authorities say the risk to the general public is low, but is urging men who have sex with men to be vigilant about the symptoms.

You can find out more information from the World Health Organisation, the Centre for Disease Control or the National Health Service of the UK.



This week we launch a new line of TIM gear in support of gay soldiers fighting in Ukraine – with 100% of profits going directly to the front line.

Gay Ukrainian soldiers wear a secret symbol into battle to help identify themselves to other gay soldiers – and they’ve agreed to let us share their secret emblem with you.

They helped design these limited edition shirts and hoodies for you to wear and they bear the soldiers’ special symbol. 100% of the profits from the sales of these items will be donated to the gay military group, and will be used to purchase medical supplies for the troops.

These brave gay men are not just battling for the freedom of their country. They’re also in a fight to the death against a homophobic regime for the right to live freely as men who love men.

On that front, they fight for all of us – and they need your support. So please grab your limited edition TIM Ukraine gear now and support these gay heroes.

TIM News

This story is part of the TIM News series of stories produced by Treasure Island Media.

For over two decades, Treasure Island Media has captured authentic sex between men on film. In many ways, our porn is like journalism – we’re just documenting what comes naturally.

Now we’re launching TIM News, to bring you bullshit-free news and documentaries about the other aspects of gay men’s lives which no other media outlet would dare touch.

1 comment
  1. It’s about time someone who enjoys brutal rough sex has the guts to put a face to it. One of the most rewarding experiences a power top can have is for someone attractive walks up to you and tells you he has limits. Most are always mealy mouthing bottoms that tell all your business. If you are ever fortunate enough to find one of these rarest of the rare men consider yourself fortunate. The downside to these bottoms is their willingness to give out every detail they have about their sexual adventure including information about the Man that simply gave them what they wanted. Their audience is anyone that will listen. That goes just as well for normal M/m hookups. Damn – I don’t want a reputation of being a horse hung man to be avoided because “he’s into extreme pain”. There are times when skull fucking is all I’m interested in or god forbid just evening of foreplay. Every sexual contact doesn’t lead to black eyes (but Jesus it’s incredible when they do). Would I like to have a permanent sub who’s there for the good and the bad? Hell yeah. Men who are Uber submissive who are willing and trust you enough to give up any control they don’t want. It would nice to have someone. around that would be willing to have me set up situations where there’s 3 involved. Two PT’s and one over the top pain/torture/face on the floor asking for what he is prepared to give up that night. I have had to take one or two to the ER. But for minor shit. he might find someone that I’m not interested in so give him a break and let him go for it. Jesus people it’s just sex.

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