While all parties require some planning and effort, the ones that need the most thought have been my sex parties.
When I say “sex party,” I mean any sort of party where sexual activity or kink is allowed or encouraged. Sometimes people use the term “orgy” interchangeably with “sex party,” but I don’t since “orgy” usually conjures up images of a big writhing pile of bodies—whereas the events I’ve attended and hosted rarely have much sex that involves more than a few people.
My last sex party had about twenty attendees, all in their twenties or thirties. Many of the people attending knew each other, but plenty of them were meeting for the first time. Overall, the event was set up to be “high opportunity, low pressure.” There were specified no-sex zones for people to talk, relax, and snack. Separate areas were set up for kink activities and for sex. During the event, I didn’t hook up with anyone but walked around to make sure everyone was comfortable and having a good time.
Regardless of whether you just want to watch, whether you want the thrill of hooking up with someone new, or whether you want to try something out with a partner with a consenting audience, sex parties can be a great experience. There are some unique points that you’ll want to consider, though, before you attend or host such an event.
Here are five questions you’ll want to ask yourself before a sex party, regardless of whether you’re hosting or attending:
1. What’s the general atmosphere of the event?
Is this a social gathering with rooms set aside for sex, or is the entire party sex-centric? Is it designed for casual hook-ups or will people mostly be engaging with the partners they came with? Will laughter kill the mood or enhance it?
You may not know the exact vibe of the event until it’s actually happening, but coming in with a general idea of what you can expect will help you prepare.
2. What activities are allowed?
Related to the first question, make sure you’re clear on what is or isn’t allowed. Many kink events don’t allow penetrative sex, for example. Some sex parties require all genital contact to involve barriers. Most events restrict messy play, like hot wax, if only for practical reasons. You don’t want to show up to a non-kinky sex party with a bag full of whips and canes if heavy impact play isn’t allowed.
If sex is allowed, you should provide some condoms (and ideally dental dams, lubricant, and gloves too) if you’re the host. If you’re attending, it’s best to err on the side of bringing your own supplies, but the host will probably have some if you forget. For kink events, there’s rarely toys supplied, so you’ll want to bring your own. If you don’t have much, you can ask the host if they’ll have any toys to borrow. At my parties, I set up a limited number of kink items that are easy to clean, such as paddles and canes, that people can use, clean, and return.
3. What’s the stance on substances?
While most of the regular parties I host have plenty of alcohol, my sex parties are usually dry. While alcohol can function as a social lubricant and it’s often easier to mingle after a drink or two, it also brings up issues of consent. If there is going to be alcohol or other substances, the host should have a system or guideline in place to discourage people from getting more than a little buzzed, at least if they’re going to be getting physically involved with others.
If substances are allowed, be sure to imbibe with moderation. Also keep in mind that some people may only want to engage with others who are fully sober, and respect that choice.
4. What rules are in place to promote consent and respect boundaries?
Just because someone’s at a sex party doesn’t mean they are consenting to any particular activity with any particular person. Parties should have rules in place that make explicit consent mandatory, whether it’s through clear physical signals or verbal communication. Unwanted sexual attention isn’t okay even at a sex party, and “no” still means “no.”
At my parties, I explicitly remind people in the rules that “no” means no and is not negotiable. I also added the rule, “If someone says no, don’t ask them to do something else unless they clearly and explicitly invite you to.” In other words, if you turn someone down, they shouldn’t hassle you by suggesting something else instead unless you tell them, “Hey, I’m not up for giving you a blowjob, but I might want to make out at some point so let me know if you might want to do that later,” for example.
5. What if I don’t have a great time?
Sex parties can be emotionally intense, especially if you haven’t been to one before. Attending one can be overwhelming, and might be anxiety-provoking rather than fun. Remind yourself before the party that you’re going to have a good time, and if you don’t have a good time, that’s okay. Give yourself permission to sit in the corner, step outside for a breath of fresh air, or even leave early if you need to.
At one of the sex parties I attended several years back, I ended up crying profusely after a misunderstanding with my then-partner. Fortunately, I was able to find a quiet space and a friend to reassure me, which helped me get through the rest of the party. My only regret was not talking with my partner beforehand about what we should do in that case. While we resolved things afterward, it would have been easier on both of us if we had a plan in place for a potential emotional breakdown!
If you’re a host, you’ll need to anticipate how you'll deal with any issues that might arise. Think about providing a spot for people who are feeling overwhelmed, somewhere that’s quieter and where sex isn’t allowed.
And on a more serious note, have a plan in mind for dealing with any consent violations. While chances are you won’t need that plan (I’d hope), it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
If you’re interested in attending or throwing a sex or kink party at some point, I’d definitely recommend it. They’re a fun and fascinating experience, and even if they end up not being your cup of tea, they’re absolutely worth trying. Hopefully with these pointers in mind, you’ll have a bit better idea what you’re getting yourself into, and have a great time!
Image credit: Hey Paul Studios/Creative Commons