House Rules

Updated: JULY 8, 2024

House rules are guidelines for behavior in a specific home or institution. Everyone spending time in the place that sets the house rules should adhere to them. In a sexual context, house rules refer to guidelines for behavior at a play party or sex party. The host or organizer sets the house rules that all attendees must follow.

While there are common house rules, the house rules are specific to each event. The house rules for one party may not apply to another.  

Importance of house rules

House rules help a party run smoothly. Some rules keep participants safe and ensure all attendees feel respected. The rules also aim to make an event more enjoyable, as they minimize the risk of incidents that could derail the event.

“It's super important for there to be some expectations for how people are going to act in such an environment. People go to sex parties to have an erotic experience, but sex and any type of touch are still incredibly intimate acts, so attendees want to feel like they have some control over how others are going to touch them,” Emme Witt-Eden, a sex and BDSM expert, told Kinkly. “This is especially true for women. Women want to feel like they are safe in such a space. They don’t want to be in a place where any guy feels like he can touch them–or any woman for that matter.”

The kink/sex party scene

The world of kink, sex, and play parties is incredibly diverse, with events catering to all tastes and desires. They range from intimate home sex parties to much larger events with hundreds of participants held in public spaces. Some events focus on sexual play, such as orgy parties, while others offer learning opportunities. No-sex play parties encourage intimacy without intercourse, while people at sex parties may explore a wider range of sexual activities, such as group sex or swinging. These parties may be closed to the general public or open for anyone to attend.

Some parties welcome people of all sexual orientations, and others are exclusive to specific demographics, such as straight or queer people. Some events focus on a kink or interest, such as BDSM or leather fetish, that attendees share. Attendees may have different relationship dynamics and statuses, backgrounds, and preferences. There is also likely to be a mix of first-time attendees and people who’ve regularly attended these styles of parties for years. People may attend parties alone or with a partner, depending on the house rules. As sex and play parties often attract diverse attendees, people need to be open-minded and respectful of everyone’s differences.

The role of house rules

House rules aim to promote key values of responsible sexual play including consent and communication. They may also aim to make an event inclusive, by ensuring all participants treat other attendees respectfully.

“It’s important to follow house rules so that the attendees feel safe and respected in such an emotionally heightened and intimate setting,” Witt-Eden said.

Common house rules for interactions

Rules focused on how people interact aim to keep attendees physically and emotionally safe and make the events enjoyable for all people. These rules may include using a group safe word, that all participants can recognize and use if they want to stop play. Most parties insist participants gain informed consent before playing, before joining established play such as an orgy, and before observing others play. 

“I was once at a party and two couples were playing, and a single woman thought she could join in on the fun without asking. She was seriously reprimanded by both couples for doing so,” Witt-Eden recalled. “Even though the couples were playing in front of everyone, this wasn’t an invitation for any other partners, not even another single woman.”

There may also be rules about discussing boundaries, intentions, and desires with play partners. Some parties also have rules about safe sex protocols they expect guests to follow. Most house rules also state that people should see the designated host if they have any questions or concerns.

Common house rules for substance use

Rules around substance use vary between parties, but aim to ensure people use any alcohol or drugs responsibly and don’t jeopardize the safety of any participants. Some house parties won’t allow people to play unless they’re sober. Others may allow moderate drinking only or specific recreational drugs that they feel won’t impair people’s judgment or ability to give informed consent. There may also be rules around smoking, such as only permitting this activity outdoors.

Hosts may also set practical rules limiting where people can drink and their drinking vessels. One common rule insists people decant any drinks into plastic glasses before entering a pool or hot tub to ensure any breakages don’t become safety hazards.

Common house rules on play areas and equipment

Many hosts designate rooms for sexual play. Participants should only play in those designated spaces. This house rule ensures there’s safe non-play space for people to go if they’re feeling overwhelmed or simply want a break from sexual activities. 

There may also be rules around how attendees can use the space in a non-sexual way. For example, some parties ban taking photos altogether, while others insist photographers obtain consent before photographing others and sharing their images. Some large events have a blanket no-phones policy, which helps eliminate the risk of photography and filming. These rules help maintain the privacy of participants. House rules may also ask attendees to respect the space of other scenes going on around them.

Some parties have a rule that people can only touch items they’ve brought with them. This rule effectively limits people to using their own toys.

Some events may require guests to place a towel underneath them and any furniture they use when they’re unclothed. There may also be rules stating people can’t have sex on particular furniture or fixtures, such as hot tubs.

Common house rules for cleanliness and hygiene

House rules concerning cleanliness and hygiene help maintain a safe, sanitary play environment for all attendees’ well-being. It’s common for parties to insist attendees shower before play. Some events may insist attendees clean up their space after play. They may also ask guests to sterilize any sex toys used after play, so they’re clean for the next people who want to use them.

“As a guest. I would recommend finding out if the party organizer is going to supply sanitizing wipes to clean places where you might be sitting (and/or playing) at the party,” Witt-Eden advised. “Will towels be available to sit/lay on or clean off with afterward? Is there a shower on premise to clean oneself right before play or right after?”

Common house rules for noise levels

House rules for noise levels are common for private sex parties held in residential areas. These rules show respect for neighbors and maintain a comfortable party atmosphere. A rule that restricts play to inside spaces can minimize the risk of neighbors hearing or seeing more than they’re comfortable with. They may also insist attendees keep music off or at a low volume after a specific time.

Common house rules for ending the party

Another good practice is to have house rules that state a clear end time for parties, to ensure they don’t drag on longer than the hosts are comfortable with. This is especially important for events held in a host’s home. A half-hour and 15-minute warning can help prepare guests for the event’s end.

House rules should also state the procedure for wrapping up the event. There may be a check-in circle, where people can share their feelings and unwind. If the event is a sleepover party, the house rules might designate where attendees can go after the play ends.

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