Sex parties are events where people are allowed to participate in sexual activity with others, often in view of the other attendees. Sometimes called ‘play’ parties, they’re a way for people to explore their sexuality and meet like-minded people who share the same kinks and fetishes.
We asked Georgia Di Mattos, co-founder of home testing sexual health app iPlaySafe, to discuss the benefits, misconceptions and etiquette at sex parties – and share advice about how to pick the right event for you:
How to find sex parties?
Despite the sense of mystery that surrounds them, finding sex parties to attend isn’t all that difficult in today’s digital day and age. The adult lifestyle is expanding, and the adult partying scene is growing fast, says Di Mattos.
‘From secret dungeons to splendid multi-million pound townhouses accompanied by oysters and champagne on arrival, to funky, sexy venues, spas, or even casual settings – the idea of what to expect of a sex party is changing rapidly,’ she says.
What happens at sex parties?
How long they last depends on the party. Some parties may be held in country houses and last for the weekend; others are on cruise ships and may last a week or two.
‘Typically they last for one night – as per any usual nightclub party – and are laid out pretty much like any nightclub,’ says Di Mattos. ‘There is a bar, a DJ area and a dance floor. The difference is that you will see a few designated areas famously called ‘playrooms’ where people can have sex.’
However, people are not free to have sex with anyone they want. ‘Touching someone at a sex party without their consent can get you thrown out and barred from coming back,’ she says.
Sex party general rules
There are a few things to be aware of when attending sex parties for the first time:
- Most parties welcome couples and single women, but not single men.
- There are different rules and requirements around alcohol – on some occasions you are asked to bring your own.
- Parties have various rules in place to make sure everyone feels safe and respected, so make sure you read these before attending.
Before you go, check the party website for the dress code. ‘For events without specific dress codes, a cocktail dress with lingerie underneath is a safe bet for women and something you would wear to a normal night club for men,’ says Di Mattos.
No matter whether you’re planning to go on your own, with friends or team up with your partner, ask for permission before touching anyone. ‘Don’t assume that a lack of response means yes, and don’t join other people’s hook-ups unless you’ve been invited,’ she adds.
And don’t take selfies or photo souvenirs. ‘Clubs normally have very strict rules about taking photographs or videos and if you are caught doing it you will probably be asked to leave and may be permanently banned from that club,’ Di Mattos adds.
Sex party myths and misconceptions
There are plenty of misconceptions about sex parties, some of which may put people off or give unrealistic expectations about what to expect. Here are some of the most common:
You have to be naked
The reality: ‘Going to a sex party doesn’t mean that you must get naked,’ says Di Mattos. ‘You don’t and it’s not obligatory. You often see fully dressed people hanging around and talking to a fully or half-naked couple. No one will make you feel awkward if you decide to keep your clothes on.’ Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Everyone looks like a model
The reality: ‘If you go to your first party thinking all sex parties are like the movie Eyes Wide Shut, you will be frustrated and disappointed,’ says Di Mattos. ‘Even though they are normally set in a very sexy location and the ambience is charged with a lot of sexual energy, the people who attend sex parties are normal people with all body types and shapes.’
You will definitely have sex
The reality: ‘Another big misconception is that if you go to a sex party you will definitely have sex,’ says Di Mattos. ‘No one is entitled to sex, not even at a sex party, and paying to enter is not a guarantee that you will have sex.’
You’ll get an STD
‘Another common misconception is that people who attend sex parties or indulge in group sex are reckless and open to risky behaviour, however, it is usually quite the opposite,’ says Di Mattos. ‘Sexual health status can be openly discussed beforehand and the iPlaySafe App is making that conversation easier than ever.’
Sex party benefits
There are countless reasons why people might choose to go to sex parties. ‘The hedonistic environment is a big draw for many, what better escapism from everyday life?’ asks Di Mattos. ‘Those who attend come away with a new perspective and an open mind.’
- To explore a side of their personality they don’t usually show to people.
- To seek new and exciting experiences.
- To spice up a relationship, if in a couple.
- To watch strangers have sex, or their partner have sex with someone else.
- To have sex with multiple partners in one setting.
Whatever the reason you choose to go, always be conscious about safety and safe sex. ‘Be as careful as you can be when it comes to your sexual health, and always associate with partygoers who feel the same way,’ says Di Mattos.
What to consider when choosing a sex party
If you’re new to sex parties, some clubs offer events for beginners. ‘These are not full on sex party events, but more like a taste of what they could be,’ says Di Mattos. ‘There’s no sex or nudity and they’re a great place to gather with like-minded people. These types of parties are a great option if you are thinking of attending your first party but not yet fully committed to doing so.’
Once you feel ready, figure out which event you’d like to attend. Just like any other party, sex parties can range from boring to unforgettable, says Di Mattos. ‘I’d suggest joining a sex party chat group,’ she says. ‘There are quite a few out there and they’re a great way to meet people with common interests and to see posts about events that might interest you.’
Be sure to familiarise yourself with the application process. ‘Do your research beforehand, says Di Mattos. ‘Depending on the party, it can be as simple as signing a form at the entrance, or as detailed as having an application process with photos and a copy of your passport.’
Be clear on your boundaries before you go – and agree on the boundaries with your partner, if they’re attending
You also need to be clear on your boundaries before you go – and agree on the boundaries with your partner, if they’re attending. And as tempting as it might be, give the bar a wide berth. ‘If it’s your first time you will probably be nervous and will want to drink to take the edge off,’ she says. ‘But don’t get drunk. It’s very important to be in control in order to give people consent.’
If you do decide to join in on the fun, remember to practice safe sex. ‘The majority of sex parties provide safe sex supplies, but come prepared with your own,’ Di Mattos adds. ‘And most importantly be up to date with your sexual health status. If you engage in sex parties it is important to get tested for STIs at least twice a year, so you have the peace of mind to play with confidence.’