Anyone have experience? I was thinking of taking it up because I could not afford a partner for dance classes and I don't want to punch air or get intimate with men so this seems like a good art providing a progressive curriculum without getting too macho and tight.
Is it more about the sparring (or equivalent) or drills? Are the drills "scientific"? I heard that the old samurai did not have a scientific basis for their swordfighting but just went berserk. Do you have to scream a lot? Is it fun?
Kendo is a sport, and by learning kendo you get good at the sport, not swordfighting. Yes, you scream a lot. It is fun depending on your sensei and your idea of fun. If you want to slap on some armor and whack people with sticks, then kendo is not for you. In a traditional (good) dojo you will practice drills for months before you earn the right to wear the bogu.
As far as that whole berserk samurai nonsense is concerned, I can only assume you're joking. Japanese martial arts are some of the oldest in the world, and without a doubt the most regimented. The assumption that the sport of kendo was some attempt to get "scientific" about swordfighting is silly.
My brother did it semi-competitively. He also enjoyed getting dressed up like something from Lord of the Rings and running around in the park with PVC pipping with his friends (and a lot of other grown adults) pretending they're going to war.
I think they wear too much armor, so they don't really care about getting hit.
If I were looking at weapons training in a not sport oriented way, I'd go with some brand of Philippine knife/stick fighting.