Snctm, Killing Kittens, NSFW: In the last few years, the sex party, for lack of a more direct term, has crept out of the dimly lit closet and into the mainstream nightlife scene, almost. While we’ve undoubtedly seen a surge of semi-secretive soirees centered around sex, the appeal lies in their elusiveness and exclusivity. Which is why the notion of throwing your own amateur version seems counterintuitive, or at least like a bad idea when, put in the wrong hands, could involve lube in bulk, some Chex Party Mix, one sad strobe light, and a lot of potentially ruined friendships.
But it can be done successfully. Of course, the definition of success is subjective; one man’s epic Caligula-esque orgy is another’s night terror. Sex parties aren’t for everyone and nor should they be. But a good one doesn’t have to feel weird or be creepy – you just need to follow a few guidelines. Since I’m no expert on sex parties (I mean, expert’s a strong word), I thought it best to talk to someone who is. Daniel Saynt is the founder and “Chief Conspirator” of NSFW, which he fondly refers to as his “little private club for the adventurous” and created after a 14-year stint in the world of fashion and beauty marketing. Dude knows how to package something and make it appealing. As he says, “I guess when you build a good product, people will just keep coming…and coming, and coming, and coming.” On that note, let’s start with the concept of subtlety.
THINK SEXY OVER SEX.
“Don’t call it a sex party,” says Saynt. “That term has a negative connotation that immediately takes people to a place where consent is ignored and older gentleman pay top dollar to hang out with young ‘models.’ You want to make sure guests don’t feel like sex is the only reason to party or in any way required.” But also don’t call it a “lingerie party,” invite everyone you know over, and then try to get them to have sex with you.
This kind of event isn’t so much about the actual act of sex as what it represents: decadence, seduction, freedom, even romance. Think unfettered fun first with sex as a bonus, if that’s what you want. A sex party is not an orgy; if you want to have an orgy, then say, “Guys, I want to have an orgy.” This is because, as Saynt breaks it down, “orgies are typically considered to be wild, uninhibited drunken fuck fests where anything goes. A ‘sex party’ is an event where there’s a little more structure to the evening. Don’t expect it to be a total free-for-all.” He likes to compare it to the grown-up equivalent of a post-prom party at your friend’s house: “His parents are away and you know if thing go right, you’ll be boinking in the bathroom in no time.”
CONSENT AND COMFORT ARE KEY.
If you don’t have consent, you’ve just got rape or worse yet, gang rape. If you don’t have comfort, then you’re not a very good host. “It’s extremely import to create a safe, accepting space,” Saynt says. “Enthusiastic consent is focused around changing our thinking from ‘no means no’ to ‘yes means yes.’ You want people to feel comfortable expressing what they want to experience. That comes from making sure all your guests are on the same page about what to expect and how to behave.” He also notes that if your event is on the large side, you might want to consider assigning some guardians. “It’s almost like a designated driver who’s watching over guests and making sure no one is getting too drunk or in an uncomfortable situation.”
STOCK THE BAR.
You don’t throw a party without booze and at least a few hors d'oeuvres. You don’t throw a sex party without top-shelf liquor, halfway-respectable bottles of wine, and dainty, possibly aphrodisiac foods. Saynt suggests setting up a self-service bar – unless, of course, you can hire a bartender, preferably one with an open mind – with ample mixers or at least pre-mixing cocktails, as well as providing bottled water and light snacks, since you don’t want anyone too drunk to know what’s going on. And common sense: “Stay away from cheeses, fish, garlic, or anything else that would make someone’s breath less than appetizing.”
SET THE SCENE.
What’s a party without a little ambiance? If you live in a cramped apartment with a Murphy bed, do yourself and everyone involved a favor and rent a hotel suite. If your home is the venue, eliminate the clutter and old sheets. “Having enough beds or padded space is ideal.” Stock your bathroom with extra towels, toiletries, spray-on deodorant, and mints and if you plan on getting kinky, having toys, paddles, and restraints available. Put condoms, lube, wipes, and trash bins easily accessible. “You’ll definitely want easy-to-find trash bins.”
This is basic party-throwing logic: Lighting is major. Saynt says it makes a big difference to swap out while bulbs for red ones and when in doubt, go dimmer, particularly in “play zones.” Finally, create a well-curated playlist so you don’t end up boning to Pitbull (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
ENLIST A FRIENDLY DRESS CODE.
This part’s up to you. Many hosts like to suggest their guests wear masks, a la Eyes Wide Shut, for an air of mysterious elegance…something like that. Most suggest cocktail attire and leave wearing lingerie optional. Saynt likes to keep it more casual: “We ask all attendees to wear black, which keeps most people on a stylishly level playing field. You can definitely encourage lingerie, but we tell everyone to dress at their most comfortable level of sexy.”
THINK PAST THE TEXT MESSAGE.
When it comes to invites, consider going a little more formal. That way people will take it more seriously. But you don’t want them to take it too seriously. While Paperless Post sadly (and surprisingly) doesn’t offer a “sensual adult fête” selection, Saynt favors this “Let’s go bananas!” invite, designed by Charlotte Olympia. A phallic fruit or vegetable will always get your message across.
LEAVE YOUR COWORKERS OUT OF IT.
Again, common sense. Your well-edited guest list should most definitely include people with sparkly personalities and/or fun, free-wheeling attitudes, attractive people, people you would actually like to have sex with, and not anyone whose eye contact you’ll have to make in the office on Monday (unless you have a special working relationship or your office is a strip club). Saynt suggests keeping the guest list small if it’s your first party.
So how do you create your esteemed guest list? “Make sure you’re choosing people who will add to the experience and are on a similar wavelength. If you’re in a more sexually inviting relationship, definitely discuss inviting existing partners. If your sex life is a little less adventurous and you’re in need of potential friends with benefits, create some new profiles on dating apps and promote your upcoming get-together. You’ll be able to screen possible people and curate the best for your little ménage à many. Try a few smaller three-four person playtimes before you try for the big leagues. That way you’ll have a community of trusted partners rather than just getting it on with a bunch of nameless strangers.” Although, there’s something to be said for that, too.