While they might seem intimidating to newcomers, sex parties can offer a unique opportunity for individuals and couples to explore their sexual desires and fantasies in a consensual, open environment. When all goes right, sex parties—also known as “play parties”—can be an empowering and affirming experience—but it’s important to choose a safe, appropriate setting for your specific needs, and knowing where to begin is tough. Luckily, this is a fantasy that is surprisingly easy to make happen in real life.
What sex parties cost
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Before we talk sex, let’s talk money. The pricing to attend a sex party can vary depending on the caliber, frequency, or exclusivity of a given event, and whether it is a special theme night. Generally speaking, the standard admission price can be $100 to $200 for single men, $75 to $150 for couples, and $0 to $100 for single women. Some parties also offer a blanket price for every person regardless of gender. Others are free with memberships to the organizations that host them.
It’s not uncommon to come across advertisements for free parties, but this is a case where you just might get what you pay (or, rather, don’t pay) for. “If you’re going to a free party, it’s usually going to be organized by people you already know, a group of friends meeting at someone’s house or a hotel for a little party,” says Daniel Saynt, chief conspirator and founder of The NSFW, a New York-based organization that hosts parties. “Drugs are more common at free parties, which can make things unsafe. I’d strongly suggest staying away from free parties hosted by people you don’t know, as I’ve heard way too many horror stories.”
Paying for pleasure might not be your thing, but when you pay for a party, you have a higher chance of going to one that is well-organized and structured, where hosts are experienced and safety is a priority.
How to find a sex party
Wanting to attend a play party is different from actually going to one. Not every fancy party—even ones thrown by swingers’ groups or other lifestyle membership clubs—is going to turn into an orgy. Your best bet is to find ones that are clearly advertised as sex parties so you don’t risk disappointment at best or being a sex pest at a regular old party at worst. As a first step, try searching online for “adult” or “swinger” parties with your city’s name. Read any public reviews of clubs you find, but don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting much; these things are built on trust, discretion, and often, exclusivity, so reviews may be rare—which should be comforting if you’re worried about people finding out you’re trying to go.
See if the venues have policies that align with your needs, as parties may have different expectations or rules in terms of dress code, what sex acts you’re allowed to do, and even if they provide alcohol on-site. Sex club laws vary by state, and some places cannot legally explicitly advertise sex, hence why more coded web searches could help when Googling, but only if you’re in the know about what to Google. Saynt adds, “Searching on Google usually will turn up lists of sex clubs or popular events put together by ‘top list’ websites, but these aren’t always the best and often feature groups that aren’t around anymore … Through the NSFW Chats, we have about 24 cities where members post about local play parties and host their own, so that’s a good spot to go if you’re looking for a more private, curated experience.”
Saynt also suggests using Fetlife, a social media site dedicated to fetishes and kinks that advertises over 18,000 upcoming events at any given time. It’s a solid resource, but you still need to vet every advertisement you see. Do your research beforehand to be sure the party is actually a sex party: Fetlife lists events known as munches, or gatherings where like-minded, kink-forward people meet up to talk casually, usually at a coffee shop or cafe. If you’re interested in going to a party alone, it could be a good idea to attend a munch first and get to know people in the community—but don’t expect to get frisky at your local Starbucks.
Decide if you’re going to the sex party solo
Whether you decide to go solo or with a partner, it’s important to set expectations and boundaries. If you go with a partner, you might want to ask questions like these beforehand: What do you both want to happen? What boundaries do you have? If one of you starts to feel uncomfortable, what’s the exit plan? You should also discuss whether you intend to play with others or not and what the rules are if someone approaches you. Most importantly, stick to your plan in the heat of the moment.
If you decide to go alone, make sure the club is a large and, of course, reputable one. Consent is always important at legitimate play parties. Nobody should ever touch you without permission and a “no” should always be respected. If the vibes are off, leave. There are reputable parties hosted by pros who value respect and consent, so don’t stay somewhere you don’t feel comfortable.
What to wear to a sex party
Every party has a different dress code. Some parties will require you dress in your best evening or club wear while others might request you wear more kink-friendly leather wear. Some parties will have a theme, and if they do, try to make an attempt, but don’t stress it too much.
You don’t ever have to get naked if you don’t want to (or have sex or do anything else you don’t feel like doing), but you should try to dress up a bit. Lingerie is a safe bet, but black jeans and a nice top are also usually fine. Reputable parties send out their dress codes in advance, so if anything is required of you, you’ll know. If you’re unsure, ask the host. If they are unresponsive to a simple question about what to wear or don’t provide clear details beforehand, it might be a sign that this party isn’t well-run.
Consent and safety at sex parties
Any good party will highlight consent above all. Luckily, asking can be incredibly sexy. Knowing that someone else wants you and is respectful enough of you to ask is hot.
Don’t ever feel like you need to do anything; there are plenty of people who go and just watch (and other party-goers who get off on that). On the flipside, if you want to touch anyone, make sure you ask first and always respect someone’s no; their being at a sex party isn’t consent in and of itself. As a general rule, do not join other hookups unless you have been invited or have gotten consent. At reputable parties, you’ll notice quickly that approaching people and asking them to join is no big deal, so don’t stress about how that will go. Additionally, some clubs have an “ask once, and only once” policy. If someone says no, do not ask again. Giving and receiving verbal consent are huge at parties, so don’t be afraid to say “no” to someone and don’t take any rejections you get personally.
Many parties have condoms and lube available, but pack your own just in case. Respecting others and their health is extremely important, as is protecting your own.
Finally, you don’t have to get down and dirty at a play party
Many people find play parties empowering. Having sex in front of others can be exhilarating, but you may go with a partner only to realize once you’re there that you don’t want to get intimate with them while you have an audience—that is totally normal.
“Sex parties can be a bit nerve-wracking, so it’s important to be gracious with each other,” Saynt says. “I think it’s important for people to process that nervousness as excitement. Remember, going to a play party doesn’t mean you have to play. I know plenty of people who attend our events just to meet people and be around sexual energy. If you go into it with the mindset that you have to play, you’re going to get nervous. No matter where you go, you are the one in control of your experience.”