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Inside the Scene: A Look at the World of Sex Parties

Published: MARCH 21, 2024 | Updated: APRIL 12, 2024
Thinking about going to a sex party for the first time? Here's everything you need to know before you go, according to the experts.

Curious about sex parties? From the steamy vibes of swingers' hangouts to the thrill of BDSM play parties, we're exploring it all. Whether you're a voyeur or a potentially interested participant, we've got you covered. Discover the ins and outs of finding these events, insights into what to expect once you're there, and essential tips on how to make the most of your experience. We're here to show you how to experience pleasure, whatever that looks like to you.

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Types of Sex Parties

If you’re a total newbie to the scene, you might not know that there are several different kinds of sex parties, and each has its own norms, rules, and expectations. Don’t freak out, though. We’ll break it all down for you!

Play Parties

Sex play parties are gatherings where consenting adults explore various sexual activities in a safe, consensual environment. Participants engage in intimate encounters, BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism) play, role-playing, and fantasy exploration. Communication of boundaries and desires is encouraged, with consent being essential for all activities. These events occur in private homes, clubs, or designated venues, often organized within communities of like-minded individuals sharing common interests or kinks.

Munches

A munch refers to a casual social gathering or meet-up of individuals who share an interest in BDSM or other alternative sexual practices. Unlike play parties, a munch typically does not involve any sexual activities or play.

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Instead, it serves as an opportunity for people within the BDSM community or those interested in exploring BDSM to meet in a non-threatening, non-sexual environment. Munches are often held in public places such as restaurants, cafes, or bars, allowing attendees to socialize, discuss topics related to BDSM, share experiences, and build connections with others who share similar interests.

Swinger's Club

A swinger's club is where consenting adults gather to explore sexual activities with others outside their primary relationship in a safe, private setting. These clubs offer amenities like private rooms and bars for socializing. Rules vary but prioritize consent, respect, and discretion. Participation is voluntary, with communication and mutual respect being key. Swinging involves engaging in sexual activities with others with the knowledge and consent of all parties involved, making it a consensual and open-minded lifestyle choice.

Sex Club

A sex club is where adults come together to explore their sexual desires and fantasies in a safe environment. Unlike swinger's clubs, which focus on consensual, non-monogamous activities, sex clubs offer a wider range of experiences. They provide amenities like private rooms, BDSM dungeons, and themed areas for individuals or couples to experiment. Consent, safety, and discretion are top priorities, with specific rules in place.

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BDSM Play Parties

BDSM play parties are events where individuals interested in bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism come together to explore their kinks and fetishes in a safe and consensual environment. Activities may include bondage, spanking, role-playing, and other forms of BDSM play. Black sheet parties is a slang term for an orgy involving people in BDSM.

Fetish Parties

Fetish parties cater to individuals with specific sexual fetishes or interests. These parties may focus on particular fetishes such as foot fetishism, latex or leather, voyeurism, or exhibitionism. Attendees engage in activities related to their fetishes and may dress in fetish attire.

Sex-Positive Resorts

Desire, Temptation, and Hedonism Resorts offer adults the ultimate getaway to explore their sensuality and indulge in their wildest fantasies. From clothing-optional beaches to provocative entertainment and themed parties, these all-inclusive destinations in Mexico and Jamaica provide the perfect backdrop for couples and singles to let loose, connect with others, and embrace their adventurous side. Whether lounging on the beach, enjoying adult-oriented activities, or dancing the night away at wild parties, guests are invited to be themselves in a judgment-free environment where fun and freedom reign supreme.

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Read More: If You Want to Test Your Relationship, Take Your Partner to a Hotel With a Sex Package

Everything You Need to Know Before Attending Your First Sex Party

Now that you know what kind of sex parties are out there, let’s dig into everything you need to know before you actually attend your first event.

How to Find Sex Parties

Finding sex parties can be straightforward with the right resources, as Suzannah Weiss, a sexologist at BedBible, points out. She suggests using online platforms like Google, apps like Bloom, or websites like Kasidie, which maintain databases of sex-positive events worldwide. Once you've attended a party or club, Weiss recommends networking with other guests to discover additional venues and gatherings.

However, Zach Zane, Sex & Relationships Expert at Fun Factory, emphasizes the importance of establishing connections within the sex-positive and kink community before attending such events. He advises attending munches, non-sexual gatherings hosted by FetLife, as a means of meeting others in the community who can then introduce or recommend you for sex parties. Alternatively, Zane suggests using sex-positive community apps like Archer or Feeld to connect with people who can guide you to these events. Ultimately, building connections and fostering a sense of trust within the community is key to safely navigating the world of sex parties.

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Do Your Homework

When contemplating attending a sex party, Kayden Roberts, CMO & relationship coach at CamGo, advises doing thorough research to ensure the event prioritizes participant safety.

"Consider exploring established communities or organizations known for hosting such events," she suggests. "Also, do read the fine print!" Roberts notes that there are usually conditions, such as presenting a negative STD health bill for admission and specific "house rules" that can vary from party to party. Roberts suggests contacting the host or organizer to obtain all the specifics beforehand so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Sex Party Etiquette

Understanding proper sex party etiquette is essential. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help foster a safe, respectful, and enjoyable environment:

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1. Educate Yourself: According to Aliyah Moore, Ph.D., Therapist and Resident Sexpert at SexualAlpha, "Educate oneself with the particular rules and restrictions of the party, including any applicable safety precautions, dress codes, and spaces designated for different activities."

2. Prioritize Consent: AASECT-certified sex educator Weiss emphasizes, "Consent is very important at sex parties." She advises approaching others respectfully and engaging in conversation before initiating any sexual activity.

"Just because someone is there doesn't mean they are there to hook up," she adds. "And even if someone is looking to hook up, that does not mean they're looking to hook up with you."

(Weiss has taught consent workshops at sex parties and created a guide on sex party etiquette for hosts.)

3. Approach with Respect: Weiss suggests approaching others in a similar manner as you would in a non-sexual setting. "Talk to them, get to know them," she says, "and then you can start testing the waters with questions."

4. Group Activities: Weiss warns that joining group activities or orgies requires unanimous, explicit consent. "Before joining group sex, you need to ask everybody in the group," she emphasizes.

5. Maintain Confidentiality: "Don't provide any personal information about other guests or the events happening at the party," Moore advises. This ensures a judgment-free and safe space for exploration.

6. Respectful Behavior: Zane, author of Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto, states, "While at a sex party, the etiquette is pretty simple: Don't be a creep." He emphasizes the necessity of consent and respectful behavior at all times.

7. Dress Appropriately: Zane advises against wearing street clothes. "Wear something sexy: leather, lace, lingerie," he suggests. "Look the part! Put some effort into it."

8. Attend with Company: Zane recommends attending with a friend or companion, especially for beginners.

"It doesn't need to be someone you're having sex with," he notes. "But there's a lot of downtime at a sex party, and it'll be nice to have someone by your side to talk to when you're there."

Communication is Key

When navigating sex parties, Weiss encourages bold communication to express desires clearly. She highlights the absence of implicit scripts in these settings, emphasizing the importance of open dialogue.

"Nothing is assumed, and it shouldn't be," she asserts.

Weiss suggests initiating physical connections with questions like "Can I kiss you?" and engaging in conversations about preferences before proceeding further. To indicate sexual interest, she recommends asking, "Do you want to go to the playroom?" — recognizing that while some venues offer designated spaces for sexual play, not all do.

Read More: What Consent Looks and Feels Like

Talk About Boundaries Before Playing

Weiss also stresses the importance of clear communication before engaging in sexual intimacy, emphasizing mutual understanding of desires and boundaries.

"Before going to the playroom or engaging in sexual intimacy," she advises, "lay out what you want and ask the other person what they want, as well as if there's anything they are not open to." Weiss suggests ongoing communication, even during intimate encounters, to ensure comfort and respect for individual preferences. "Do not assume that the interaction will escalate to a certain point," she cautions, acknowledging that not all encounters need to lead to penetration or genital touch.

Let Go of Expectations

If you don't engage in sexual activities at your first few sex parties, Weiss advises against feeling discouraged. Instead, focus on enjoying the environment and meeting interesting people. "Don't have it in your mind that you need to hook up with someone, or else the night is a failure," she adds, cautioning against setting yourself up for disappointment. Weiss emphasizes the importance of staying true to yourself and not feeling pressured to pursue encounters you're not genuinely interested in. "If you are not a 'hell yes' to an encounter," she advises, "you may not enjoy it or feel good about it."

Safety First

When venturing into the exciting world of sex parties, it's essential to prioritize your safety and well-being, Weiss and Moore advised. Weiss recommends not using alcohol or drugs before or during a party, noting that while they may seem like a way to relax, they can cloud judgment and make it harder to assert boundaries. Moore echoes this sentiment, highlighting the need to exercise caution with substances that can impair judgment, as they may increase the likelihood of engaging in risky behavior.

Moore also stressed the importance of bringing your own condoms and practicing safe sex. Both experts emphasize the importance of seeking guidance from organizers or experienced members of the sex-positive community if you have any questions or concerns to ensure a fun and fulfilling experience while staying safe.

Check In With Yourself

When navigating advances from others at a sex party, Weiss advises checking in with yourself to assess your feelings and sensations. It's perfectly acceptable to slow down and communicate your comfort level if you feel anxious or hesitant. "If someone expresses interest in you," Weiss suggests, "take time to check in with yourself and see what feelings and sensations are arising in your body." She recommends responding gracefully if someone declines your advances, acknowledging their honesty, and respecting their boundaries. "Thank them for being honest with you," she advises, noting that there may be reasons beyond your control for their decision.

Ultimately, Weiss encourages creating a culture that fosters open communication and mutual respect, where everyone feels empowered to express their boundaries without judgment.

Now that you’re armed with all the information you need go forth and live deliciously!

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Ryn Pfeuffer

Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. She got her start in the mid-90s at the Philadelphia Weekly, managing a 10-page section of the newspaper and more than 500 lonely hearts.Her professional stock skyrocketed when she started writing a saucy (and pre-Carrie-Bradshaw-era) dating advice column called “Ask Me Anything.” She appeared regularly on local radio stations and late-night TV as an expert on everything from grooming...

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