Quick, off the top of your head, tell me: Are sex parties primarily for the pleasure of men or women?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the majority of you immediately thought “men.” That’s because our culture upholds the idea that men are insatiable sex monsters and women are innocents who need to be coerced and corrupted into participating in any kind of sex, much less sex with strangers.
First of all, let’s get rid of that myth, shall we? If women are not as sexual as men, it’s only because our culture have made them that way. Physically, human women are some of the only animals in existence that can have sex whenever, wherever and for however many times they want.
Human males, on the other hand, have this pesky thing called a “refactory period.” That means that once a guy blows his load, he has to rest for a while before he can get a boner again. Women, however, can come and come and come until the cows come home.
Anyway, point being that, biologically, human females are made to have lots of sex with lots of partners. If you need any more facts to back up that statement, please stop reading this article right now and go buy Christopher Ryan’s amazing book Sex at Dawn. Warning: after reading it, you’ll find yourself talking more about monkeys than you ever imagined you would. Just roll with it.
But back to sex parties! Contrary to popular belief, good sex parties (i.e. the ones you want to go to) have an extremely female-centric focus to them. In fact, in my experience, a woman is less likely to be coerced or assaulted at a sex party than she is in her neighborhood bar and she’s more likely to end the night having had amazing, mind-blowing sex.
Why is that?
The first reason is that pesky old idea of women as the guardians of “virtue.” Even though women’s bodies want to fuck all day every day, the cultural conditioning that’s jammed into all of our heads from a very young age is really hard to fight. Even women who know that they have high libidos that maybe can’t be satisfied by one partner are often scared to admit it because that would make them a “bad girl.”
Or, in harsher terms, a slut.
The second reason has less to do with women’s cultural conditioning and more to do with men’s. While women are taught that good girls keep their legs closed for everyone but their husbands, men are taught that their main objective is to pry those legs open, by any means necessary. Women – and especially women who are viewed as sluts – are seen as property than can be used and disposed of as men see fit.
And the third reason is all about risk. Women are simply taking on more risk then men when it comes to any sex combo that involves both penises and vaginas. Women are more at risk for sexually transmitted infections from penis in vagina sex and they’re the only gender at risk of pregnancy, both of which make going into a sexual environment with multiple partners potentially really, really scary.
People who run sex parties know all of this. They know that women are taking major risks (both physical and emotional/psychological) by participating in their events. That’s why most of them take very conscious steps to make sure that women feel safe comfortable, and – most importantly – sexual. A good sex party is not a free for all. There are clear rules and regulations outlined for all of the participants, either beforehand or right as you enter the space. The most common of these are:
Practice safe sex.
Ask for consent for everything, every step of the way.
Don’t get wasted, on either drugs or alcohol.
Don’t be a creep.
No single guys allowed.
No cameras or cellphones.
No means no – don’t persist.
And all of that is after you’ve already been pre-screened for entry. Bet you don’t find that at your local.
These parties also have security that goes way above and beyond the bouncer at your corner pub. At the swinger parties in San Francisco’s Mission Control, for example, players in the local scene circulate just to make sure everything is running smoothly.
One player, Rusky - a 27 year-old tattooed photographer who’s deep into the local sex scene - told me that any kind of inappropriate behavior results in immediate reprimand from event staff and possible expulsion. When I asked her what kinds of things she means, she specifically cited “just standing in the corner and jacking off,” and touching without consent as two major no-nos at Mission Control.
“A lot of men are culturally taught that they can do things that are not okay and not consensual. It’s important to navigate them through that to create a safe space,” Rusky pointed out. Citing the fact that a lot of the participants in swingers events are “bridge and tunnel folks” (read: suburban) who are coming into the city for a little taste of transgression, Rusky sees the sex parties at Mission Control as a very sexy form of community education.
And it’s the type of education that I think should continue past the darkened back rooms of sex clubs and private parties. At their core, good sex parties are all about respecting women: their comfort levels, their safety, and their sexuality. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could say the same thing about everywhere else in our society?