Sex Party Dropout

Sex parties, orgies, naked bodies

Photo by Archbishop Tutu

A couple of gals’ journey into, and out of, the sex party scene in New York.

(First of all, I want to write a song with this title to the tune of Beauty School Dropout from Grease. Although I haven’t written songs since high school and am a bit rusty. All I’ve got so far is “Sex party dropout/go back to dancing” for the refrain, instead of “Beauty school dropout/go back to high school.” Anyone want to help with the rest of it? H? C? In the meantime, I’ll write the post and maybe it’ll help inspire the song).

My friend Jen and I caught up over brunch recently, as we do on summer Sundays, and talked about how we’ve largely dropped off the sex-party circuit in New York. I’m not sure about her, but I haven’t been to a proper sex party (I will discuss later what this means) since October. We both found that the parties no longer have a place in our lives or are giving us what we need.

A lot of the people that go to these parties are polyamorous and swear by The Ethical Slut as their bible. The book basically promotes using the word “slut” as a term of empowerment and suggests that women should be free to be as sexually open and promiscuous as men and shouldn’t be shamed or stigmatized for it. And that everyone should have the option of having multiple partners, or open relationships, as long as they can do this in a way that’s honest and respectful to all the parties involved.

Well, this is a nice idea and all, but I find (as Jen has found, and as many of our friends have witnessed) that the double standard is still very much alive and well on this scene. The men are often irresponsible womanizers who use and recycle their partners at record speed (and why wouldn’t they in a culture that advertises free, no-strings-attached sex?). A lot of women, myself and Jen including, wind up burning out of this scene and its parties after too many bad experiences with these men. New relationships are particularly hard to build in the midst of all this. Granted, some do sustain for a while, but many wind up eventually failing over time (as my three-year open relationship experiment did last fall) and the ones that do last involve SO MUCH (ridiculous sounding) back-and-forth, negotiation and introspection, that it becomes way too complicated, nauseating and narcissistic, in my opinion.

During our brunch, I relayed a story to Jen that I had recently heard. It was about a woman  who was recently led around a sex party by her boyfriend/Dom and made to go down on other guys.

“I’m sorry, but that sounds really unappetizing to me. I have no interest in it at all,” Jen said, with a disgusted look on her face. “That’s not to say I haven’t done it,” she added.

I laughed.

“So what changed?” I asked.

She thought about it and said, “Been there, done that.” I can certainly agree. Though I still think it’s funny that we’re so blasé about things we still have access to, but no interest in, while so many other people are gaga over it. I still meet plenty of people (mostly men), who don’t know or realize that this world actually exists and when I tell them, their jaws drop. “Ooh, can you take me there??” they plead. Well the answer is: no, baby, I can’t take you to a party as I don’t go to them myself anymore, they are invite only and I can’t vouch for you unless I’m coming along.

Jen also told me about a young girl (early 20’s) that she had recently met. A friend of a friend that got introduced to these parties not too long ago. She asked Jen why she doesn’t go anymore and Jen explained that it was a time and a place in her life that served its purpose then and doesn’t really do anything for her now. That she needs something else now, something more meaningful.

“Oh,” the young ‘un said, “I thought that the people that didn’t go anymore couldn’t handle it.”

Again, I laughed.  What’s this nonsense about “handling it?” Why does everyone think this is something that needs to be “handled” or else you’re somehow not evolved, enlightened, open minded or mature enough? That’s bullshit. Some people are simply not into that and that’s just fine. It’s a lifestyle preference that’s as valid as any other.

Granted, I’ve been there myself. When I first started going to fetish or sex-parties, with a partner that I was already deeply involved with and was trying out being open/polyamorous, I initially also wanted to prove to myself that I can handle it. Well, I handled it fine for a while. And now I don’t really care to “handle it” any longer and don’t really need to prove anything to anyone.

Also, disclaimer: I went to a private party last night hosted by a friend, who calls himself Infinite Eye. The gathering was lighthouse, enchanted forest, woodland creature themed. His parties usually involve some combination of fantasy, costuming, dancing, role playing, theatrics, covert ops and games, and, yes, fetish play and sex. But he always says, “I don’t have sex parties, I have parties where sex is allowed.” This is an important distinction to me (though I know anyone reading this that’s not privy to these scenes would roll their eyes at this, but bear with me). At his parties, there is enough other stuff going on that I can entertain myself with, if I don’t want to hook up with anyone. Last night, I threw on my black and silver cape, did some coat check duty at Infinite Eye’s bequest, caught up with a few friends, danced around and avoided people’s advances. And I had a jolly good time.  So much so that I didn’t even leave until 6am.

But back to my conversation with Jen. Her (further) thoughts on the subject of what’s changed were: “I want something different now. I want intimacy.”

Yes, this.

17 thoughts on “Sex Party Dropout

  1. When you get into your next relationship will you tell your new partner about your colorful past? Because if you did and that person had no exposure into the world described above I am sure he will want to explore it.

    Would you delve into it again or just say hey that was my past I am no longer interested?

    • Good question! I’ve thought about this a lot and I think I’d want it to be with someone I can be completely honest with, but not someone who would judge me for it OR want to go there/check it out. I’ve been there and done that and don’t want to do it again. It’s going to be tricky. I need to find other “recovering scenesters” (It’s a new scene I want to found. Seems like there are a lot of interested parties…)

      • I did tell my current boyfriend about my sordid past. I might’ve even told him too much. We started dating when I was having a fling with a couple. And he knew them and was aware of it. He knew about the fetish parties and my 11-year-long open relationship, everything. But after a few months, when we decided to go a step further in our relationship, we laid down the ground rules. And the first and foremost was monogamy. We both agreed on it. I remember him even saying something like, “All of our friends who live in these alternative arrangements and open relationships, I just know every time they go home alone, they cry in their pillow.” And I agree, I don’t think it’s jealousy so much as it’s intimacy. And you know what? I’ve even taken him to some sex parties. And he liked it well enough. It was a new experience for him. But we promised each other “penetration” was between us only. And it was fine. And he’s asked to go to more parties since then, and we’ve been to a few. And hey, we’re still together after almost four years! So, I just wanted to say that it is possible to find someone that you can be totally honest with and still not have to be a permanent fixture in that scene. In fact, I’d say the total honesty is the whole reason it works because our boundaries and limits are clear and have been discussed in full. Anyway, nice blog!

  2. Interestingly enough, intimacy is the thing that kept me coming back to sex parties. The thing that struck me most in my early sex party days was how kind, how friendly, how genuine everyone was. We all go through life wearing layers of psychic armor, gradually shedding pieces of it in the presence of the people we grow to know and trust. The setting of a sex party involves the automatic shedding of a few pieces of that armor: The literal clothing itself; the formal, asexual version of the image we present to the world; the cool, unemotional face that communicates reason and seriousness. In my experience, that sets a much more intimate tone than does a typical party or similar clothes-on gathering. So many of my most cherished friendships and relationships are with people I’ve either met through or taken to sex parties.

    That being said, it doesn’t surprise me that some people react to the shedding of certain pieces of psychic armor by donning other ones, such as the detachment of emotion from sex. Particularly men, who are taught by this culture to be very afraid of vulnerability. And I, myself, have had some hit-and-miss experiences with sex parties, especially in those early days. But a lack of intimacy is no more an essential part of a sex party than that ridiculous back-and-forth overthought negotiation is an essential part of a polyamorous relationship.

    • Yeah, I can see how it can work, and be meaningful or intimate for some people. It just wasn’t for me. Additionally, I was originally going to these things with a partner that I had intimacy with, so I wasn’t really looking for it at the parties. Later, when we broke up (mostly because the experiment with polyamory blew up in my face…more on this in future posts), I didn’t really want to go there alone and it’s not a forum/venue in which I’d really go looking for intimacy, or the kind of commitment I now want. It can be a very different experience, going there as a man vs a woman, single vs partnered, etc. And for me personally, I find that intimacy gets diluted/distracted the more you spread it around among a higher number of people. But that’s just me.

      • Oh, and I’ve made lots of great friends on that scene, too. Many of them are very interesting, engaging, artistic, worldly people. I’m still close with many of them, I just don’t engage with them in romantic/sexual relationships anymore as that’s no longer the type of relationship model that I’m interested in.

  3. Angels: (La lalala lalala lalala…)

    Sex party dropout,
    Lone fornication fun for you!
    Sex party dropout,
    All for twosomes… just for two.

    Well at least you had some orgy time, to go and kink your life up,
    After spending all that time in hot tubs filled with pervs… all filled up!

    Baby don’t blow it,
    (Or do so in private, when you do!)
    Baby don’t show it,
    (‘Cept for their eyes, one and two…)


  4. Not sure what I think about these myself…they seem like a better fantasy than reality. I think you are right about intimacy. Connection. I don’t know. Anyway, I am following you, and your blog looks like lots of fun. And in terms of a quite different kind of Sex party, I voted here in oz today, and in both houses, put them first…..they are a libertarian and social justice party…..just fyi. Have a great time whatever you do…look forward to reading you.

    • Thanks for following! Love your blog, too. And, don’t worry, I’m still having lots of fun (enough fun to fill these pages with), just not the sex-party-kind-of-fun any longer. 😉

      • Agreed….I do not even like the idea of that kind of sex party….except as a fantasy where a whole lot of people penetrate me….but that really is not sensible…not at all.

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