Sex parties are having a moment. Sex parties — sometimes called play parties — are nothing new, but many people are trying out group sex or exhibitionism for the first time. There are many types of group sex gatherings: swinger clubs, queer sex cruises, dungeon parties, private gangbangs at Jeff’s condo. Each has their own distinct differences. If your New Year’s resolution is to try orgies in 2023, here is a beginners guide to get you started.
Before the sex party
How much do sex parties cost?
Your mileage may vary, but a pretty standard fare is $100-200 for single men, $75-150 for couples, and $0-100 for single women. These costs can skyrocket at upscale clubs that advertise their high fees and exclusivity. Some won’t even allow single men. Alternatively, queer-led parties that are open to all genders tend to be more egalitarian. At my favorite Bushwick, NYC, party, everyone — singles, couples, men, women, and non-binary people — all pay the same price.
Some organizers think higher prices will keep out the riff-raff or the Single Man (who are often on the lowest rung of swinger society for both good and silly reasons). On the contrary, any party that anyone can attend by simply paying the admission runs the risk of entitlement attitudes and unvetted misbehaving revelers — of any gender. Plus, money corrupts. When certain acronymous parties offer five-star VIP memberships for $50,000 per year (no, seriously), questions arise if that member will face accountability for abusive behavior.
At Hacienda, a sex-positive play party community in New York City, every new attendee is accountable to the member who sponsored them. Some parties use Kinky Salon’s Pervy Activity Liaison system (P.A.L. system) where you must attend with another person even if they’re not your date. Social accountability, I believe, creates a better orgy population than lofty costs or clandestine photo-based applications. Before embedding yourself deep into a community, understand how new members are admitted.
Of course, you can keep it much cheaper when you and 19 of your sexiest friends have a party at Deion and Danielle’s house when everyone’s kids are at camp.
Managing expectations with your partner
Have a conversation about expectations with your partner (or with yourself in the mirror, if flying solo). What do you want to happen? What boundaries should you set? Are we bringing that flogger we got at the wedding? Make a game plan for when one of you starts to feel weird.
Don’t take a rejection as a slight against you but rather as a way for that person to take care of themselves.
If you’re a new-to-the-lifestyle couple going for the first time, decide if you want to play with others — and stick to it! If it’s a maybe, let it be a maybe. If one of you tries to adjust a rule at the party when a pretty pair approaches you, you’ll put your partner in a position either to be the fuddy duddy fun-killer or show that the rules don’t matter that much. You’ll remember the latter when the tables are turned on your precious rule one day.
Something people don’t tell you to prepare for: Being rejected. We’ll cover this in the consent portion, but don’t take a rejection as a slight against you but rather as a way for that person to take care of themselves. You’re not going to be a fit for everyone. Just prepare your nervous system for nos.
What do I wear to a sex party?
It may seem counterintuitive to worry about what to wear to a sex party. Ideally it all comes off, right? Maybe! But you’ll often get re-dressed to mingle before round two (or three). Plus, it’s super sexy to take something off again!
Some parties require your hottest nightclub attire. Others restrict attendees to leather and kinkwear. Often, there will be a theme to guide your color scheme, pattern selection, or costume concept. When in doubt, you can always wear a hot lingerie set or a jockstrap with a top harness or suspenders.
How to perform cunnilingus like a pro
If the party has a theme, do make an attempt. Especially if you’re a solo guy. Effort is sexy. And if you took that much care to pair those lace boxer-briefs with those fishnet sleeves and aptly apply eye glitter, it makes one wonder how hard you work at other things!
Just don’t be the guy who shows up in a collared shirt and khakis. Please. There’s always one.
At the sex party
How does consent work at sex parties?
The most common question I get from newbies is, “Does going to a sex party mean I agree to have sex with everyone?” Absolutely not. You always have the ability to give and rescind consent. Any good party will emphasize this. Other simple guidelines to remember: Ask before you touch; respect people’s nos. And know that you do not have to do anything with anyone that you don’t want to. Ever.
Ask before you touch; respect people’s nos. And know that you do not have to do anything with anyone that you don’t want to. Ever.
Sometimes a party does a consent speech at the door. Others simply trust that attendees read the whole invite email. At a small sexy shindig I attended in a hotel room among some experienced friends, one woman stood on the ottoman and gave a condensed consent recap.
How to give a blowjob like a pro
Few of us were raised with proper sex education. We all could use a little primer! Hacienda requires that new attendees arrive early for a consent workshop where you learn about how to handle a lukewarm “maybe” and why you should keep track of which hand has been inside of which people. My favorite part is when they instruct newbies to practice saying no to a hug. It may seem simple, but saying no is just as scary sometimes as asking for what you want! They even give you a safe line to use in response to an awkward rejection: “Thank you for taking care of yourself.”
Some say that obtaining affirmative consent kills the mood. You know what else kills the mood? Finding out they didn’t want their ass grabbed by a stranger as you’re getting escorted out of the orgy (and I say this as someone who has asked to grab a stranger’s ass and was granted enthusiastic permission). Most of us have been raised with this false romantic notion that you’re supposed to ‘just go for it’ if you sense some chemistry. The byproduct of being wrong is often sexual assault. Using your words to ask — instead of your hands — avoids all of that mess and potential harm. By the way, that goes for all genders. Yes you, too, saucy lady who thinks other femmes are automatically comfortable with strange women grabbing their boobs.
I think asking for what you want can be incredibly sexy! Sure, if you ask for a spanking the same way a Swiftie nervously asks Taylor for an autograph, that’s not very hot. Be confident! There is something to be said when a vibe is shared and there’s heavy eye contact and a hint of a smile right before someone takes a deep breath to say, “Wow. I really want to kiss you right now.” My panties just got wet.
Consent is even more important in group sex settings with lots of newly known people. Getting verbal confirmation before escalating or shifting sex acts helps ensure that you’re not about to accidentally assault someone. Which I hope you don’t want to do. Even minor miscommunications — such as an unwanted spank during doggy style— can have a heightened effect from the music, the bodies, and the scents of sex all around you.
Bring your empathy hat when you go to a sex party. A good partygoer prioritizes the safety and comfort of others around them ahead of their own horniness.
Can I be a voyeur without being creepy?
Voyeurism is participation! But be mindful of when your looking becomes leering. Want to watch a little closer? It’s not uncommon to ask someone if they mind you watching — but you’ll have to read the room. Please do not tap a stranger on the shoulder while they’re giving a blowjob and ask if you can watch. “What?! You told me to ask first!”
At my first vaccinated party in 2021, I made out with my buddy’s girlfriend. Later, when they were having sex downstairs, I asked these two people that I already knew if I could watch. I sat down and had a little tug while my buddy fucked her from behind.
If strangers do give you permission to peep, keep some distance. One time, I was on my back enjoying a threesome with two women when a man none of us knew asked if he could watch. We obliged, but he was standing so close that our legs were rubbing against each other. That’s too close!
Monitor your drug and alcohol use (seriously)
Different parties have different substance policies. I’m not here to police your party drugs, but you don’t want to get too fucked up at your first sex party. Your ability to consent becomes hampered with drug and alcohol use. More importantly, your ability to read and respect other people’s boundaries are compromised by substances. Plus, it’s not cute to be the sloppy drunk we can all hear vomiting in the bathroom. Please be responsible.
How to have sober sex
Learn more about ‘the lifestyle’ by making friends.
Sex parties aren’t just about the sex. You can make orgy friends, too! Networking in the lifestyle is important for finding out about other parties, exchanging kinky knowledge, and recommending fun play partners. It’s how we all know that George is a great rope top. But you have to put yourself out there. As someone who is also terrified to talk to people at even a vanilla house party, I can tell you that, “Hi! My name is…” is a universally acceptable opening line.
Sex parties aren’t just about the sex. You can make orgy friends, too!
If you don’t know what to talk about, you always have the shared experience of play parties, your sexy outfits, and whatever hot scenes might be going on around you. I’ve heard people talk about their relationship structures, their sex lives, their kinks, what they do for work, the latest Marvel movie, and how getting the kids to Hebrew school the other day was a nightmare. Pretend you’re at any other party but with more visible buttcheeks.
Challenge yourself to flirt!
Flirting at a sexy party is just like flirting elsewhere — and also not at all. In this space, your compliments can be a bit more explicit. “Your ass looks amazing in this outfit,” is usually more welcome at a play party than in line at a coffee shop.
How to finger your partner
As a sometimes-solo guy, I set an intention to introduce myself to and compliment five cute people before I leave. It gives me a fun, flirty and tangible goal to reach by the end of the night that has nothing to do with sex. Set your expectations low. If I make out with someone new, I had a great time. If I got laid, it’s a bonus!
Now, if the person(s) gives you a tepid thanks as their eyes drift back off into a sea of bodies, take the hint. Your Black AmEx will win you no points here. It’s an orgy — they’re just not interested. Demonstrate that you respect people’s boundaries by not pushing it with an uninterested hottie.
Signs that someone wants to keep talking with you are smiles, eye contact, reciprocated compliments, engaged body language, or a verbal invitation to sit with them. If it’s going well, try to make a “point of contact”. Ask if it’s okay to put a hand on their thigh. Invite them to feel your breasts. Ask if they want to make out or go downstairs and “play.” Remember what we said in the consent section: a no is a no. Don’t take it personally.
It is common for regulars to have several dates in attendance or to set up a bit of a dance card. Don’t be surprised if someone asks you to circle back to them in a couple of hours. Leave your body count discourse at the door.
Get tested regularly and have the STI talk
First two things to accept: 1) there is no such thing as safe sex, just safe-er sex and 2) you are responsible for your own sexual health.
You might run into an event that asks everyone to submit recent STI testing, but it’s not terribly common. You should already make getting tested a several-times-a-year habit if you engage in casual sex with multiple partners. If there is specific information you want from a potential playmate, it’s on you to ask for it. Not everyone is going to unsolicitedly disclose very common, non-life threatening conditions like dormant herpes or non-high-risk strains of HPV. If being exposed to those infections — which, if you have casual sex with multiple partners, you’ve likely already come into contact with — then you may want to reconsider playing with others at a sex party. Respectfully.
A well-stocked party will have plenty of condoms, lube, and latex gloves around, but if you have a preferred brand or a latex allergy, bring your own. Some will get fancy and even have mouthwash for sanitizing between oral adventures. Oh, and for the love of Streisand, please take a shower before the sex party. Seriously, dude.
What is group sex etiquette?
Sex parties are supposed to be fun! So, don’t stress yourself out about the sex part. If your dick isn’t getting hard, try some other sex acts (or take a sildenafil for back-up). If you’re not reaching an orgasm in this high-stress environment, that’s okay! Don’t think of an orgy hook-up like your typical Bumble bang — linear from making out to penile ejaculation. Great sex is like jazz! And at a sex party, there’s no rush to finish the song.
Great sex is like jazz! And at a sex party, there’s no rush to finish the song.
Group sex is a great space to let your inhibitions down — moan louder, get sweaty, make eye contact with someone from across the room while your hands keep your lover’s mouth in the right place. It is also 100 percent okay to only play with your date — or not play at all! Some couples go to an event just to dance and absorb all of that sexual energy to bring home later.
Now, let’s say you have found yourself in a fantastical situation: you, your date, another couple, and a sexy single are about to claim some mattress space and go at it. Exciting! It’s a good idea for everyone to go around and share their boundaries so everyone is on the same page before the fuckfest. Then you know that Darrell doesn’t like his nipples played with, Cheryl and Kathleen have sensitive clits, and no one wants anything in their butts.
Yes, it is important to ask for consent. Having said that, there is a time and a place. When someone you hooked up with earlier is now engaged in a five-person puddle of pleasure, you might think, “Oh! Let me join my new friend Amy!” But if you walk up and ask to join in, now everyone has to stop their play to ask everyone else if they’re okay with you joining and then everyone has to do their boundaries again and one of the chicks isn’t really interested in you so now she has to put her body off-limits for you in front of everyone. And now you’ve killed the vibe. Don’t be the guy who breaks up an orgy.
Lastly, respect the space and everyone who will be using it after you. If you or your partner is a squirter, put down a puppy pad or a towel. The next people don’t want to fuck on your wet spot. If it’s a crowded party with people waiting for playspace, take your post-play conversation to another area so others can have some fun! And try not to hang around the playspaces having painfully vanilla conversations. I really don’t need to hear about your brother getting arrested while I’m getting a prostate massage.
And of course, clean up after yourself. Don’t be the disgusting monster who leaves a used condom anywhere but a trash can.