The sexual revolution was more than 50 years ago, but many still see sex parties as immoral. However, they are still fully embraced in pro-sex and kink communities. They are everywhere in popular culture, including hip hop songs and the CW’s Riverdale , where sex parties are depicted as rites of passage for the current progressive and gender-fluid generation. Major US cities have very posh nightclubs especially designed for the sexually liberated among us, some of which are rumored to have hosted celebrities. However, some don’t realize that participating in sex parties is not a new concept. Evidence of sex parties dates back to biblical times and was considered a sacred act in some religions. Sex parties were also present in various ancient cultures, including Egypt, Rome, and Greece. In these societies, orgies were a means for the affluent to get their freak on with each other and their slaves as well as celebrate fertility and increase the chances of pregnancy.
Sex parties in modern-day America have been hush-hush for decades, but that has never stopped people from having them. As a way to stay discreet, organizations such as the Hellfire Club were formed. Established in the 18th century by Sir Francis Dashwood in West Wycombe, England, the club was specifically meant for the richest and most powerful people in Britain. Word of the Hellfire Club made its way across the seas, with American political leaders of the time such as Benjamin Franklin being very active members. Have you ever seen Eyes Wide Shut? Yeah, think of that but in the 1800s.
Sex parties continued throughout the Victorian Era and into the Roaring 20s through the 50s. In the 20s, petting parties became an American phenomenon. Famously mentioned in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, these secret soirees allowed men and women to explore their sexuality through kissing, touching, and other intimate acts. It is essential to note that the parties did not often involve sexual intercourse between individuals but it’s almost a certainty some paired off for some serious fucking.
Petting parties evolved into a way for women to explore sensuality and those who attended became known as flappers. Women who adopted the flapper style redefined femininity so that it included behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and publicly dancing. In many ways, the flappers attempted to free women bound by traditional concepts of morality, purity, and decency.
In the 1950s and 1960s, with the introduction of birth control in different forms, petting parties were no longer necessary to engage in what was called “sexually deviant” behavior. Due to contraception and modern medicine, people were able to explore sexuality in more exciting, scandalous ways. But that doesn’t mean petting parties went away. The concept of “dirty dancing,” as depicted in the hit movie of the same name, became the mid-20th century version of them. Couples would “trade off” and dance erotically together for the expressed purpose of sexual rebellion.
Sex parties became more mainstream during the height of the sexual revolution in the 1970s. In fact, the 1972 book, The Joy of Sex, dedicated an entire chapter to the interest of sex parties and orgies, and how they could be considered a part of a healthy sex life. “Wife swapping” became a male-centric term during this time and while key parties may just be a myth, psychotherapist Dr. Albert Ellis did reference them in a 1965 lecture on sex parties. “Whichever car key you get, you get the wife, if you’re the male that goes with this particular set of keys,” Ellis explains. “This is done on a chance, you might say a raffle kind of basis.”
While their popularity faded over time, sex parties never really went away. There are still elite sex clubs and some have an eerie similarity to the Hellfire Club. However, they now cost thousands of dollars to join . As recently as 2019, Snctm, a Los Angeles-based sex club, held an ‘Ultra VIP’ event at a mansion in Miami, catering to the 1 percent and A-list celebrties. The Daily Mail reported that celebrities, Gwyneth Paltrow and Bill Maher were allegedly in attendance, and that club membership fees range anywhere from $12,000 to $75,000.
Of course, sexually open singles and couples can and do have sex parties in bedrooms and basements across the world. This recreational ecstasy can usually be had for the cost of a bottle of wine presented to the host. What these smaller affairs and the expensive clubs have in common is a deference and reverence for female pleasure. It’s good to be us!
Regardless of what society deems sexually appropriate in any given era, it is completely natural to be interested in participating in a sex party. But for beginners, there are so many questions that come along with attending. How do they work? Are they safe? Where can I find one? Could attending one of these parties help or hurt my relationship with my current partner?
However, the biggest question is, what are the rules around consent at sex parties? Initially, it may seem very different than having sex with just one partner, but it really isn’t–there are just more steps involved and is absolutely not something you should go into blind-sighted.
Before the party
Ask yourself why you want to attend the party
The first thought that may come to mind could be that you want to do this because you’re interested in the idea of having sex with different or multiple people, likely with no strings attached. While this may be the answer for you, there should be more layers to this question. Are you trying to explore your sexuality? Are you looking to try a new kink? Are you trying to find a place where you can act on your innermost sexual desires? Are you doing this because you want to spice things up with your partner or are you doing this because you’re unhappy with them? Do you plan to tell your partner? If it’s either of the last two, there may be some underlying issues you should try to work out before attending.
Do your research and set your boundaries
Like most things you may want to find out about discreetly, the best way to find a sex club is to ask the google gods. This is important because depending on what state they are located in, many sex clubs cannot legally advertise their services. So if you’re trying to find a proper club, you’ll want to put in licensed, private, sex club along with some key SEO words like, ‘swinger’ or ‘adult parties’. You could also list your sexuality preference or a specific kink, fantasy or desire. Additionally, type in a bigger city that is around you. You’re not very likely to find licensed sex clubs in small towns. Unless that doesn’t matter to you and you’d be into having a sex party at your or someone else’s, home. Everyone has their preference, no judgment here.
Another important reason to do your research is because you’ll want to make sure the clubs boundaries line up with your own and so you understand what to expect when you get there. For example, some clubs allow full nudity, penetrative sex, both, or neither. Most allow you to bring your own toys in, but others may not. In the cases of the Hellfire Club and Ultra VIP, attendees were asked to wear masks and specific clothing to the club. Many also have themed nights or nights that are dedicated specifically to swingers. Also note that almost all private clubs have a membership fee.
If you want to be really thorough with your research, reach out to the club you’re interested in and ask if they do tours. It never hurts to scope a place out before you attend a party if you can. But perhaps you know of a friend or acquaintance who is having a sex party. That would be fine to partake in, too. Just make sure you trust the host to respect your boundaries. So, Do you want to be completely nude? Are you just in it for the foreplay or do you want to go all the way? Is using toys and bondage something you’re ok with? Do you want to conceal your identity? Are there places you don’t want to be touched? Are you ok with having unprotected sex with a stranger? These are questions you need to ask yourself.
If you have a partner, discuss your thoughts about attending a party and be ok with them asking you questions.
This is a big one. Attending a sex party without letting your partner know ahead of time could end your relationship very quickly. But if you’re going to do it, you need to be honest with them. Obviously, you should ask them if they are ok with you attending and partaking in the fun. But you should also ask if there is anything they are not ok with someone else doing with you, to you, or if there are things they don’t want you to be doing to other attendees. Is there anything that is off limits? Do they think attending the party would improve your relationship in any way? Also ask if they want to tag along, even if it’s just to observe. If they feel more comfortable with you attending as long as they are there, there shouldn’t be any reason why you should feel uncomfortable with them coming with you. I cannot stress enough that it is imperative that you don’t hold anything back when having this conversation.
Decide if you are going alone or with someone
Kind of going off the last bullet point, figuring out if you want someone to go with you is often an overlooked question. Going alone is fine if that’s what you want to do but bringing a friend or partner does add an additional layer of safety to the situation. All clubs have policies against forcing people into sexual acts and many have a zero drug policy, but frankly, people can be sneaky and may not listen to your boundaries. If you have someone you know there who is looking out for you, your ability to let loose will increase tenfold. If you’re going to a sex club for the first time, I would definitely recommend bringing someone, even if it’s just a friend.
During the Party
Get clear consent from everyone involved before doing anything.
This should be obvious but it’s the most important rule out of the bunch. We all know that no means no but ‘maybe’ and ‘I don’t know’ also means no. I would even play it safe and take ‘mmhhmm’ or ‘sure’, as a no. It’s yes or no, nothing in between. Also pay attention to body language and your potential partner’s tone of voice. Are they playing with their hair or peeling their fingernails? Are they laughing a lot? Do they have their arms crossed? Are they standing in front of you at an angle, or even leaning against something? All are signs of nervous or distant body language. Do they sound nervous or scared? If they do, you can calmly reassure them that things will be ok but don’t push it. If they’re still displaying any of these traits after you have that talk, walk away. It’s better to do nothing in that situation than do something you could regret later.
Communicate your boundaries with others and ask about theirs
Knowing and stating your boundaries first is important, but so is knowing everyone else’s. Take the time to talk about each other’s or everyone’s (in the case of a group sex scenario ) boundaries, before touching a hair on their head. Everyone needs to respect boundaries. If you don’t plan to, there’s no point in going. you’ll just get kicked out of the club.
Think before you snap a photo or record a video
Most sex clubs have a very elaborate interior designed to make people feel comfortable. Many also offer themed rooms that could make a very Instagram-worthy photo. You may make some new friends at the club, too. While it is natural to want to capture fun memories, remember that this isn’t your average party. Some of the attendees may not want others to know they’re there. Thus, you should keep in mind that if you go on to post a photo or video on social media or another online outlet, they could interpret photos of and inside the club as a form of advertising which could get the club owners in trouble. Bottom line, get clear consent from everyone in the club, including employees, before taking any type of photo or video.
Don’t do drugs or get drunk before or during the party.
While having a drink or smoking a little cannabis can relax you, it also can lower your inhibitions to the point you may do something you don’t want to do. This could cause internal moral conflict later on or cause issues with your partner. Some clubs do allow you to bring your own booze in, but at clubs where it is allowed, there is normally a limit to how many drinks you can have in a single night. If you’re obviously intoxicated and can’t clearly consent, club employees will make you leave in order to avoid liability. Besides, if you need to be a little tipsy or high to enjoy yourself, maybe sex parties aren’t for you.
Practice safe sex
Practicing safe sex in general should seem like a no-brainer, but it is especially important to practice at a sex club, licnesed or not. You’re going to be mingling–or likely, something more, with strangers. You don’t know where they’ve been or who they’ve been with. Don’t be afraid to be upfront and ask awkward questions: Do you have a history of STI’s or STD’s? Have you had mono recently? Are you on birth control? Have you had a vasectomy or hysterectomy? You have to remember that practicing safe sex is not limited to using a contraceptive barrier, like condoms or spermicide.
Bring some toys or outfits from home if you would like
Have a favorite toy or an outfit that makes you feel like a sex god or goddess? Bring it with you! Would you feel better warming yourself up first before you move on to playing with someone? Remember that part of the reason you’re doing this may be because you want to try something new. If having these things with you boosts your confidence, don’t be afraid to bring what you need to feel comfortable. Most clubs have no issue with people bringing things into the club from home, as long as you have consensual fun with it. As an added bonus, wear something to the club that makes you feel sexy. It will make your confidence radiate as soon as you walk in.
Don’t be afraid to reject someone’s advances
If someone is doing something with you or to you that oversteps your boundaries, do not sit back and tolerate it. If you’re uncomfortable with something, speak up or push their hands away. Whatever you do, don’t be subtle. If they still are doing things you’re uncomfortable with, yell for help, smack them in the face, or whatever else you feel you have to do to get out of the situation. Remember, women rule in sex clubs and parties. You’re the Queen and it gets done your way or not at all.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be afraid to step outside for some air—or even leave.
In a way, going to a sex party for the first time can feel like losing your virginity. Clearly by this point, you are at the party but in the middle of the fun you may feel a little bit overwhelmed with what’s going on. It may be too much for you to handle all at once and that’s ok. If your partner or partners respect your boundaries, they will be ok with stopping until you feel comfortable and want to start again. Or maybe, you’ve had enough for the night when you’ve barely reached first base. That’s ok, too. It’s important to take baby steps with these experiences and go at your own pace.
After the party
Reflect on how you felt during the party and ask yourself if you would do it again
Getting out of your comfort zone can be hard in any new situation, but attending a sex party, especially for the first time, can take things to a whole new level. You are literally putting all of yourself out there in an effort to have fun with people you don’t know. So, how did you feel during the majority of it? Like any new experience, it’s ok to feel a little shy and awkward at first, but did you have fun and get more relaxed as the night went on, or were you uncomfortable the entire time? Do you think it would take attending again in order to feel comfortable in that environment? It is also important to reflect on what you did and didn’t like at the club. Were any of your boundaries crossed? Did you feel judged? Did you learn something about yourself and your sexuality during this experience? If so, what did you learn? It’s ok if you did or didn’t like the experience, what’s most important here is that you’re honest with yourself.
If you go with a partner, talk with them about their experience
Communication with your partner is just as important after the big night as it is before it. In addition to asking questions you would ask yourself, ask them if they were comfortable seeing you with other people. Did they get jealous? Maybe they found a turn on that they didn’t know they had. Were they uncomfortable with the amount of people you were with? This may be a hard conversation to have and it may even result in a fight, but if your partner wasn’t comfortable with the experience or is now uncomfortable with you attending, it may not be worth going back for round 2.
The bottom line is, whether it’s at an official sex club or at a friend’s house, you should not be ashamed or afraid to attend a sex party. You will not be the first or last person to do so. However, you also need to acknowledge that it is best to not attend one out of spontaneity. As long as you follow these steps, focus on the positive things that could come out of the experience and not be scared to have fun. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find something out about your sexual preferences and desires that you never would have found otherwise.
The Celebrity List
4 Stars Who’ve Gone to Sex Parties
1. Rihanna has not only visited sex clubs, she’s tweeted about them. She supposedly dressed up in a black cat-suit and visited a Toronto sex club, claims the National Enquirer.
2. Kate Middleton doesn’t seem like the type to socialize at a sex club, but according to the Telegraph, in Kate’s wild youth, she frequented sex parties hosted by a school pal of hers.
3. Lady Gaga is known for her outrageous behavior, so we guess it’s not surprising that she visited a Berlin sex club and invited a journalist from the Times of London along to document the experience. “All I can say is, I am not responsible for what happens next. And wear a condom,” Gaga was quoted as saying.
4. Gwyneth Paltrow is one of several celebrities to frequent a posh sex club, according to the club’s owner.