Everything to know before your first sex party

From queer raves to hedonistic mansion parties, these kinky, XXX-rated events aren’t as intimidating as you might think. Pull on your fishnets, it’s time to dive in.

You’ve seen polaroids from the leather-heavy Crossbreed party pre-drinks all over Instagram and hovered one too many times over buy ticket” on the Killing Kittens website. Maybe you’re finally thinking, That’s it, I’m going to go to a sex party!” I don’t blame you. Whenever I see a group of girls in fetish gear, snapping their fits before heading off to a sex party or a fetish rave on my feed, I think two things: could I get a pair of those giant, tight latex boots onto my legs? And why haven’t any of my mates invited me to a sex party? Rude.

If you’ve never been to a sex party and, unlike me, your social media feeds aren’t packed with pics of different parties every other day, you might have a weird perception of them. Before I got to know more about these sexy gatherings, Eyes Wide Shut had put a terrifying vision of what they would be like in my head, which mainly consisted of mystery (in a non-sexy way), creepy animal masks and rituals. That, or a sordid pile-on, an 18-man orgy where double penetration is considered first base. Even when I moved away from these wild ideas, I still presumed sex parties to be a place where I’d be surrounded by people better at sex than I am. Would everyone be over-qualified and confident, while I sit in the corner wondering how I can leave discreetly?

Thankfully, sex parties are not like that in real life. In fact, they tend to be suprisingly wholesome spaces, full of lovely sex positive people who are all about keeping themselves and others safe, comfortable and liberated, while different kinds of play are explored.

There are, however, some things you should keep in mind before you buy your ticket and a pair of 10-inch heels. With some help from three avid sex party goers, here’s everything you need to know before you make your sex party debut.

Choose the right party for you

The world of sex parties is constantly growing, with events catering to both broad interests (like, er, sex) and niche interests (like banging while dressed up as animals). This can seem intimidating at first and, as regular sex party attendee and owner of sex shop Self & More, Poppy Scarlett, tells THE FACE, sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right party for you. But this unknown territory and exploration is part of the fun!”

Her first bit of advice? Work out what your main desire is before party-picking. Is it important to you that the party is predominantly queer, or do you want something that caters specifically to heterosexual couples? Do you want to go somewhere super bougie? Are you interested in being a voyeur (watching other people play) or exploring group sex? Or is there a specific kink or fantasy that you want to see fulfilled?

These are all questions that will help guide your research. Try to find the features you’re looking for on the about” pages of party websites and narrow down your search. Whatever you’re after, there’s probably an event that covers it. There are parties where you can slather yourselves in oil and roll around with a mass of naked bodies (Liquid Love); ones for bicurious women who want to explore sex with other women for the first time (Skirt Club); queer raves (Crossbreed); parties with exciting BDSM equipment and immersive soundscapes (Klub Verboten); ones with elaborate dress codes that centre sensuality over sex (Pinky Promise); hedonistic mansion parties (Fever or Killing Kittens), and good ol’ fashioned sex and swingers clubs (Le Boudoir).

Consider what you want to get out of the evening, do your research, and go with an open mind,” says Poppy. Once you start to make friends within the sex party scene, you’ll discover parties through word of mouth. Until then, Google is your friend. You can often read reviews of parties on the various sex blogs which cover these topics.”

Making friends

Some parties also put on more affordable demo nights where you can basically sample” them, which makes it easier to choose the right party for you. Some sex party providers (like Crossbreed) even throw free social nights, where you can get to know people outside of the full-frontal environment. These are great opportunities to make connections with members of the sex party community without jumping in at the deep end. And that means, when you do eventually attend one, you should recognise some friendly faces. Check your party of interest’s website for upcoming events like these.

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Preparing beforehand

There’s a bit more to think about before heading to a sex party than your typical night out. A frequent sex party-goer, 29-year-old Amy* recommends having a good, in-depth read of any and all information that the hosts publish about the party. This will give you an idea of what to expect, and what the dress code is if there is one.” This info should also include what safety precautions will be offered by the providers.

If there is a dress code as part of your chosen party, it’ll be pretty strict for an important reason. For example, some parties only allow underwear and fetish gear (don’t worry, you can wear a coat on the bus on the way), because people attending might only feel comfortable socialising and dancing almost naked if everybody else is. It might sound odd, but sex party dress codes are about keeping people safe and feeling like they’re part of a strong community. Don’t go off base with that one.

A lot of sex party hosts provide condoms, dental dams and lube (this is a sign of a good organiser), but you should still pack your own. Amy adds that towels or waterproof blankets” are also useful to pack, particularly if you plan on engaging in wet play, massages or wax play. You should also bring your own toys and cleaning equipment, if you want to use them. Want a moment away from all the kinky stuff? Bring a robe or dressing gown when you want to have a little break.”

Brush up on sexualities and pronouns

If you head to a sex party, whether you go to a queer-specific one or not, its likely you’ll be amongst a lot of LGBTQ+ people. So, if you’re not already familiar, it’s time to whip out a book (or Google) to familiarise yourself with pronouns, gender identities and sexualities, so you understand what people’s different backgrounds are and what they might be looking for at a sex party. Make sure you ask new people you meet for their pronouns to avoid any upset and leave your assumptions at home. People go to sex parties for many different reasons and have all kinds of desires, fantasies and boundaries. Do your research, ask questions and keep an open mind.

Don’t expect a shag

I know, I know. It seems a bit odd to go to a sex party and not actually end up banging anyone. Why else would you go to a literal party for sex? But this thought process is a common mistake. Much like when you go out on the lash with expectations of pulling and end up going home empty-handed, feeling a little ashamed, going to a sex party expecting to have sex is a fast route to disappointment.

Amy says the best advice she was ever given about sex parties is don’t go with expectations of a specific act happening.” So before you head out, make sure you’re thinking realistically. I usually go with the expectation of no sex or play and then you’re not disappointed,” she says.

It’s also completely fine to go to a sex party without any intention of having sex. 27-year-old Ellie* tells THE FACE that her and her partner frequently go to sex parties just to get out of the house and meet sex-positive people like us.

We’re monogamous and not interested in playing with other people, but we love being in a queer, sex positive scene so we go to Crossbreed all the time. We always end up going home and shagging because we’re so turned on from watching everyone else writhing, but it’s not about playing in the club for us,” she explains.

Poppy also adds that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Your attendance at a sex party does not equal your consent – and the same goes for the other guests, too. It’s OK to go along and simply soak in the atmosphere, or to play only with your existing partner.”

But if you do get some…

If you do have sex at your first party (lucky you!), then make sure you use a condom and pop one on any toys you might use before putting them anywhere near your genitals.

When it comes to the proper kinky stuff (including activities like impact play or restraint), Poppy recommends only having sex with people you have an established connection with, due to the increased risks that come with power dynamics. It’s always better to explore those kinky avenues with someone you have at least a little bit of personal trust in.

But If you do end up banging someone new – no judgement here – make sure you have a conversation about your desires and limits, and establish a handy safe word. This will make it easy for you to communicate if things become too much as you play together.

Poppy adds that aside from chatting about the kind of stimulation and dynamics that you enjoy, some useful questions for the receiver are How will I know when you’re enjoying the play?’ and How will I know when you’re nearing your limit or something is too much for you?’”.

And while the non-monogamous and kink communities are usually pretty hot on using protection and practising safe sex – because, you know, they’re exploring sexual contact with more than one person – there will always be exceptions and mistakes can happen.

As Poppy says, It’s your own responsibility to make considered choices and keep play as safe as possible. You can do this by staying aware of your surroundings by avoiding getting drunk or high, carrying appropriate protection with you, engaging in play with people you trust and asserting your boundaries around protection with every new partner.”

She adds, It’s easy to get caught up in the moment in an orgy or big-bed setting, but you are always within your rights to tell someone no or to ensure someone is using protection.”

Proper preparation avoids piss poor practice, so it’s good to get as much knowledge into your noggin as possible before pulling your fishnets on and popping down to your local sex rave. But nothing teaches quite as well as experience. Bite the bullet, pick a party or a social and go. Oh, and don’t forget to keep a good few condoms in your pocket.

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