What Are Sex Parties Really Like? A Sexpert Explains Everything You Need To Know
Whether you're planning on attending your first sex party or are simply curious about what these kinds of events might entail, it can be difficult to find helpful details. If you're looking for a thorough explanation that goes beyond one individual's personal account or a couple's experience, look no further. What are sex parties really like, especially in the aftermath of #MeToo? I spoke to sex educator and mental health professional Lola Jean, who's been to her fair share of sex parties, about everything you need to know before you go to a sex party. Her fascinating insights include everything from logistics to etiquette.
If you're thinking about going to a sex party — either alone, with a friend or date, or as a couple — there are a few things you should be aware of beforehand. While it's important not to build up too many expectations in your mind, you can never be over-prepared. Your safety is just as important as having a good time (if not more so), which means you should have a contingency plan in place just in case you ever feel uncomfortable during the evening. Here are seven other things you should take into consideration before you go to your first sex party.
The vibe depends on what kind of party you go to.
There are numerous types of sex parties: some are aimed at beginners, others are proudly kink-friendly, others are for an older crowd — and that's just the beginning. Whatever it is you're searching for, it's probably out there. If you're unsure of where to start, Jean says to think of it like choosing the right college for you. It's not that you have to go to the best one. There are so many options, but some are better suited to your personality and interests.
Jean also says that there are a lot of aspects you won't know for sure until you actually get there. "All different types of things can curate and create the vibe," she says. "Some have a cocktail hour before where no sex is allowed until a certain point. Others are kind of free-for-alls." As with any kind of party, it depends on how people are feeling. You can't quite predict how the guests will mix or how well everyone will mesh until it actually starts. If you're feeling uncomfortable at any point, it's totally fine to step outside for a moment or leave altogether. No one's judging you.
Sex parties are (kinda) just like regular parties.
"It’s a lot more normal than you think it is," Jean explains. More than just the sex, she says these parties are about making connections with people and seeing where they lead. You might not hook up with anybody and still have a fantastic time. If you're a beginner, try not to go in with high expectations, a set idea of what it's going to be like, or a plan for what you want to happen. The less you build it up, the better your actual experience will be.
It does help to go with another person, though. Bringing someone else ensures you know at least one person at the party. Plus, having a partner in crime who can watch your back and check in on you every so often can take some of the pressure off. "Going as a single is actually tremendously hard," says Jean. "You would think it would be easy, but it's only you to defend yourself. You don’t have anyone to fall back on. It's easier in the normal world, but not at a sex party."
Prepare yourself for what's about to happen — but don't set your expectations too high.
"There’s never too much preparation, especially if you’re going with another human," says Jean. Before you go, talk about different codes and signals, situations that might come up, and what you will require from them. "You can always change things as they happen, but I think it's important to [take precautions] going in," she says. When you're bringing someone else to a sex party, they may also react in a way they didn't predict. Performance issues, anxiety, and comparing your body to others' are all possible in a group sex situation. Especially for men, Jean says, it's not as easy as you might think. By being honest with one another and giving each other support, you can help calm any nerves that might get in the way of having a good time.
You might want to ask your partner if there is anything you can do, but when people are having performance issues, Jean says that diverting the attention away from it is usually your best bet. "The more focus you place on it, the worse it is," she says. "It's also about acknowledging that we're all human." If you're having trouble getting wet or your partner is finding it difficult to stay erect, remember to be kind to yourself. As stated above, you shouldn't place superhuman expectations on one night.
Your safety is a priority.
Especially in the post-#MeToo era, a lot of parties have a mandatory introduction where they discuss consent and talk about how to behave at a sex party. They might give you something to read that includes their code of conduct, according to Jean. Especially if it’s your first time there, it's important to pay attention and actually read any information they hand out. Above all, this is a culture that respects consent. "A lot of times there is a designated area where the sex is going to happen, like a play area. And there's usually a safe area where no sex is happening," says Jean. Her advice is to treat it like a normal party where sex may or may not happen. If you just want to connect with people, you are welcome to stay in the non-play zones.
Most parties also have policies where you can report people during or after the event. They might have "guardians" at the venue who you can talk to if someone is making you feel uncomfortable. "Afterwards there's some kind of report that you can send to the organizers," says Jean. Whether you believe the person only needs a warning or should not be allowed back, there are multiple ways to let the organizers know.
Leave the accessories at home.
The parties usually provide all the supplies you might need, like lube, condoms, and dental dams. If you need a specific size of condoms, prefer a particular brand, or have an allergy, you can bring your own protection. Jean says that if you do bring anything, keep it in a bag that can stay near you at all times.
As for clothing, she recommends wearing a bodysuit or a dress without a bra or underwear, so that you have a minimal number of items to keep track of and collect at the end of the night. Another piece of advice? "Do not wear jewelry to sex parties. Watches, rings... I’ve lost so many and spent so much time trying to find them," Jean says.
The cost varies depending on who you are.
Jean explains that oftentimes there is different pricing for single women, single men, and couples. "Single dudes will always be more if they're even allowed," she says. Sometimes, single, straight men are not allowed at all. Other times they are, but are required to go through an in-depth vetting process.
"The costs can be all over the board," says Jean. "Sometimes it's the same, like every single person is $50. If it's a private party that someone's getting together, it's probably free if you know those people." Some parties are very expensive, but there may be an option where you can volunteer to set up, break down, or bartend to reduce the cost of your ticket. Jean says that for a single person, the median price is around $100. For couples, she says $150 is a common number.
Use empathy and common sense when approaching other people.
At these parties, you're going to see and experience a lot of new and enticing situations. Jean says that in addition to your own pleasure, it is important to be aware of how other people feel about you participating. She says to consider if you're doing something just for you, or if you're adding to the experience as a whole. "Just because you see something, that doesn’t mean you have the right to ask to be part of it. Especially if you don’t know anyone in it," she says. Before you interrupt, take a step back and look at the scenario. "It’s not just you and what you want. It’s what other people want and are OK with," Jean says. Ask yourself questions that go beyond how you feel, like if you think they would like you to be a part of it at all, whether you should approach them about it now, or if you should let them enjoy the moment and maybe talk with them afterwards.
"It's important to check in with yourself, but the experience isn't only about you," she adds. "Be conscious of people that share their bodies with you. It's as simple as just saying thank you or acknowledging them afterwards." Jean says that there is a risk of things feeling transactional. You might engage with someone and then they won't talk to you at all for the rest of the night. All you can do is recognize that this can happen and try not to do it to other people. If you're worried about it, thank them for the experience or talk to them in a non-sexual setting.
Just like any other party you'd attend, focus on behaving respectfully, communicating well with others, and using your common sense. Remember, it's all about making human connections.