When the elevator doors open at the top of the Manhattan luxury tower, the first thing I see is the slim backside of a woman. She is sheathed in a floor-length, sheer lace gown, no underwear. I step into the entryway, and she turns on her heels to face me. A mask made of medium-weight chains obscures her face. She offers us champagne from a tray.
To the left, a DJ in underwear plays sultry deep house. In the corner, two women in bustiers make cocktails behind the table serving as the open bar.
It's my first sex party. But it's not just any sex party. Somehow, I'd been invited to the most exclusive sex party in New York, if not the United States. The guest list includes actors, musicians, founders of notable startups, and the bar to entry is tougher than a mega yacht off Cannes. At this party, I congratulate a couple on their wildly successful Kickstarter, and a woman starring in a notable Broadway play walks by. In fact, it is even tighter than a yacht—organizers routinely deny entry to the rich and powerful for not following the rules and spirit of the party. A new guest must be personally recommended, and if they are kicked out, their sponsor is kicked out too. Crashers never make it through the door, though they try.
Each party’s invite list is curated to produce a perfect ratio of female to male—53 percent to 47, allowing for the more bisexual proclivities of females. This party is what the heavily publicized but ultimately depressing Killing Kittens was trying to be: sexy, beautiful, and discreet enough to allow for uninhibited and joyful play of all sorts.
Before tonight, my knowledge of sex parties was limited to a viewing of Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, where professionally beautiful women are attended to by rich, older men. I did not have a good impression, but my boyfriend and I recently opened up our relationship to other people, and this seemed like an effective shortcut to finding similarly open-minded people to play with. Also, our sexy new friends, let’s call them Kit and David, had invited us. They’re Burners, who are known to be into equality of the sexes (and orgies). Maybe this would actually be good.
The invitation email arrived with specific instructions: cocktail attire and/or upscale fetish to start, a $75 contribution or more required, no non-consensual contact, and do not tell anyone about the party. (The cooperation of the organizers for this story was secured only after I agreed to take out every single identifying detail. They’re worried about guests being pestered for invitations. No, you can’t have one.) I Paypaled my contribution over with trepidation.
"When I open my eyes, another muscled, glistening, shirtless man is in front of me, closing in. I'm in a hot, shirtless man-sandwich."
What does one wear to a sex party? Should I show up dressed like a gala attendee, slut it up, or go straight to nudity? Google was immensely unhelpful in this regard, but my boyfriend settled on a slim-cut suit with Calvin Klein underwear. I put on a tiny thong and a full-length dress, the back tied so low that it dipped below my butt crack (subtlety) and heels that strapped securely around my ankles. Who knows what acrobatics I would be getting up to?
Maybe none. I considered the possibility that I would find the party cheesy or gross, with unattractive swinger-types in cheap, trashy lingerie and 50’s-era costumes getting in my personal space. Or that someone would grab me or try to force me into some crazy sexual situation involving a whip and I would bolt for the door. Or worse, it would just be depressing and sad.
But as we take a look around in the main room of the two-floor SoHo penthouse, I'm pleasantly surprised. Both the men and women are just attractive enough to be very fuckable, but not so attractive as to make me feel self-conscious or inferior. There are tall and short men, women ranging in size from 0 up to 8.
We climb the stairs and come quite suddenly upon the first bedroom, where a man is banging a woman doggy style, hard, while she hollers. We hurry on. As we pass through the master suite’s bathroom, we come face to face with another couple. The guy is cute, so I smile at him, and we all stop to introduce ourselves. Matt, I’ll call him, and his fiancé chat with us for a few minutes. “Perhaps we can hang out later?” Matt asks us. We agree and move on.
We pass through a second bedroom, at this point unused, and into another room with a DJ spinning to a mostly empty dance floor. In the corner by the fireplace a pile of women dressed in black lingerie, cat masks and bunny ears snuggle together, giggling and tracing their fingers down each other’s bodies fondly, like a Helmut Newton slumber party.
Things are starting to heat up under the soft lights. I'm trying not to stare at the parade of gorgeous women walking by in a whole store’s worth of Agent Provocateur and Kiki de Montparnasse lingerie. Everyone seems confident, intelligent, and at ease. Conversation is stimulating.
My boyfriend is called to the DJ booth to play. Music, I mean. Left to my own devices, I find a couple that we met just the night before at an unrelated party. I hug the woman hello and turn to her shirtless husband. Before I know what's happening, I've been swept into a sexy dance with him. He runs his hands down the front of my body, whispering, “Is this okay?” in my ear.
“Yes," I whisper, leaning my head back to take it in. When I open my eyes, another muscled, glistening, shirtless man is in front of me, closing in. I'm in a hot, shirtless man-sandwich.
While two sets of hands explore my midsection and breasts, I look up and catch my boyfriend’s eye. He's laughing from ten feet away at my shocked, gleeful expression while he mixes in the next song. Shirtless guy picks me up, and in a fluid motion, turns me around and settles my legs around his waist. He kisses me, flicking his tongue into my mouth. “May I fuck you?” he asks.
Holy shit holy shit holy shit. I realize that it would probably make my boyfriend feel like a schmuck if I disappear into another room to fuck while he is unable to do the same.
“I would love that,” I purr. “But my boyfriend is stuck behind the DJ booth right now and I just don’t think that would be fair. Perhaps I can find you later?”
“I totally understand,” he says, gently placing me back down. “I look forward to it.”
This is the first clue that something is remarkably different. First of all, I can’t remember the last time a man had articulated out loud what he wanted to do with me. Usually it’s all insinuated, leading to a guessing game of expectations. And then, when I demurred, he was cool with it. Did that just happen?
Turns out that I was at a sex party with a super-emphasis on “affirmative consent.” It’s a relatively new term. You might have heard of it when California and now New York officially required colleges to institute policies requiring both parties in each sexual encounter to explicitly agree to every act. Basically, it flips the “No means no,” standard around to “Yes means yes.” If you’ve been wondering what affirmative consent would look like in action, I’m about to tell you.
I make my way back through the scrum of increasingly naked bodies and tell my boyfriend that I'm going to go explore, but I'll check back in before anything happens. I go out on the balcony to get some air, and fall into conversation with a handsome, trim man in his forties. We talk for nearly half an hour as we pluck light hors d'oeuvres from passing trays, and I ask him questions about how he handles his polyamorous life. He tells me that he’s married with two children. His oldest, a 13-year-old daughter, knows about their lifestyle, but doesn’t know that they go to sex parties. His wife isn't here tonight. I like this guy, though I'm not sure yet if I want to take the plunge. It starts spitting rain and we rush inside. At the door, he takes my hand and says, “I would love to find you later, is that OK?” I really hope he will.
The dance floor is emptying out as guests get down to business in the adjacent bedrooms. Up at the DJ booth, my boyfriend has a blonde grinding on him. I run into Matt, who asks if he can dance with me. “Of course!” I reply. He twirls me around and pulls me into him. I can feel his dick growing hard in the small of my back. Then he snakes his hands down my front toward my nether regions. With the dance floor so empty, I'm sure that my boyfriend will see and will not be happy. “Is this ok?” he asks.
“Actually, no,” I say, relieved. I again explain my situation. “Oh, that is quite alright,” he says with a warm smile. “Maybe I could have your number?” I gladly give it to him.
When my boyfriend finishes DJ-ing, he gets in line for the bathroom. Meanwhile, I find shirtless guy in the next room, but he's inviting another hot Asian woman in a lacy teddy to play. I've been replaced, easily.
While my boyfriend is in line, a blonde German, her pupils dilated with MDMA, flirts with him and then starts making out with him. Before he goes into the bathroom, she tells him she wants to see him later, plus meet me. When my boyfriend finds me and tells me this story, I'm excited for him. How rare is it for a hot girl to walk up to a guy, hit on him, make out with him, and then say she wants to meet his girlfriend?What a sexual utopia this is.
A woman next to us taps my boyfriend on the shoulder and says, "May I make a request? Try looping her leg over your shoulder. Yeah, how does that feel?"
I strip my gown off but keep the heels, and we take another tour of the party. We’re trying to find a place to get it on, but every bed is crowded with couples, the couches are occupied. This party is so successful that there is, literally, no place to have sex. I would call that a successful party. Finally, we stop in a hallway beneath a neon heart. He turns me around and bangs me against the wall. I feel a little awkward, because we have to stop fucking to allow people to pass. We move to the balcony overlooking the main room, then finally find an open space on a bed and get down missionary style. A woman getting hers next to us taps my boyfriend on the shoulder and says, “May I make a request? Try looping her leg over your shoulder. Yeah, how does that feel?” Mid-coitus advice from a sexy girl; I like this.
We run into the blonde German again, and she follows us to a couch by the dance floor. I end up sitting on my boyfriend, my face pressed into her crotch. Then someone knocks some iced drinks off the armrest, right onto my bf’s balls, sadly ending the encounter. She begs off, saying she’s saving her orgasm for someone else. I’m beginning to long for the privacy and calm of a bedroom with a closed door. Being so distracted makes it hard for me to get mine, though I manage.
We finally finish in the corner on a pile of blankets next to the fireplace. I have my third orgasm while watching two glistening women grapple with each a foot away. When my boyfriend explodes, several people look on appreciatively, with the air of people taking in art. It's around four in the morning, so we get dressed, grab our coats and wander out in a daze. What just happened?
It takes another week for me to process it all. I saw spanking hard enough to produce bruises, a woman elaborately trussed up hanging from a sex swing, dildos, threesomes, foursomes, fivesomes. 50 Shades of Gray feels like Disney now.
But more importantly, I was witness to a tiny, special world, where women weren’t afraid of being labeled for exploring their sexuality, and so felt free to pursue new connections to their fullest. They could be honest about what they wanted, whether it was a foursome, some pegging, or just a quick make out, without being judged or made to feel like a slut or prude.
Even better, because of this, men didn’t need to pressure or guilt women into hookups. If one woman said no, another hot connection could be found right around the corner in the next room. Again and again as I turned men down, they gracefully exited in the most gentlemanly way possible—which made me want them to come back. No wonder this is the most coveted sex party on our coast.
I felt safer and sexier at that sex party than I’ve ever felt, including all the college frat parties and clubs I’ve been to, or even my neighborhood bar. My boyfriend agreed that he felt more comfortable turning me loose at that party than he does at a normal bar, because he knows my wishes will be respected and he won’t need to swoop in to protect me. Plus, he had been hit on by a hot woman himself. Yeah, why should men have to do all the work? I want life to be like that sex party.
As for all those times I said no? A few weeks later, Matt asks me out on a date, and I agree. I tell my boyfriend about it, and he lets me go— he’s simultaneously having two Facebook conversations with women he met at the sex party.
Matt and I have a nice dinner, full of lively conversation and flirting, then continue with a glass of wine nearby. As we leave the bar, he says, “You can of course say no, but I would like to ask you to come home with me.” I take my time with my answer, relishing this moment of unencumbered consideration.
“Please,” I finally say.
At his apartment, he asks me before he takes off my top, before he unbuttons my jeans, and if I'm enjoying the way he's touching my breasts. When he finally asks if he can fuck me, I can hardly contain myself.