Etiquette: The customary code of behavior in polite society.
It sounds like it’s about which of the seven forks to use at a Downtown Abbey theme dinner. But it’s about how we treat others in any situation, from a dinner party to a sex party.
Sadly, Miss Manners never wrote a column on sex party etiquette. If you’ve never been to one, you might imagine they are filled with naked strangers rolling around with zero regards for the buzzkill of rules. You’d be wrong. Sex parties absolutely have rules because rules help to ensure everyone has fun.
In an environment where so many of the regular rules don’t apply (like the Never Take Your Clothes Off At A Party Rule), it’s important to know which behaviors are ok and which are not. Knowing and following the rules will help your fellow partiers to feel comfortable with you and enjoy themselves. (Or enjoy you!) Fortunately, your Erotic Emily Post is here with your primer on sex party etiquette.
1. Don’t Call It An Orgy
Nothing screams “I’ve never done this before” like showing up with a six-pack asking, “Is this where the orgy is?” Mind you, “orgy” may be an accurate description of what’s going on. But you’ll sound much more legit if you call it a “play party”, which is a catch-all term for parties where sex might happen.
2. Know What Kind Of Party You’re Going To
Is it a swinger party? A swap party? A cuddle puddle? A kink munch? The sex positive community (a term for people who celebrate sex as a healthy thing) has many branches, and they all host their own gatherings. Some are focused on sex, others on social interaction. Some cater to singles, others to couples and their guests.
And they all have their own sex party etiquette. Lots of parties don’t admit single men. (Sorry, fellas. Get a date.) Others require everyone to come as part of a pair. Some parties restrict sex acts, i.e. no penetration allowed, or it’s allowed but only in certain rooms. Know the rules before you get there. Or ask what they are upon arrival. Then follow them.
3. Dress To Impress
Another element of sex party etiquette: most parties have a dress code. Know it and follow it. And wear something that makes you feel good, whether it’s a loose dress, a rubber corset, a tailored jacket, or a sarong.
But whatever you wear, be clean and be comfortable. Always shower and brush your teeth beforehand. Shave anything you’d shave before a first date.
You are showcasing yourself. So showcase your best self.
4. Be Prepared
Lots of parties supply condoms. Some even have lube and towels and wet wipes. But showing up at a party where you anticipate having sex with strangers without a single condom or dental dam is tacky. And I hope it goes without saying that safer sex practices are essential.
5. Don’t Overdrink
A drink or two can help you to relax at the beginning but keep it classy. Don’t be Sloppy Steve or Pukey Polly. Don’t make a mess or a scene. And if you’re at a party that doesn’t allow booze, show up sober. It’s basic sex party etiquette. Sex parties happen in a small world. If you blow it, you could easily find yourself blacklisted.
6. Remember It’s a Party…
… not a brothel. You are not entitled to sex because you showed up. Not even if you paid a steep cover charge and drove really far. Everyone there is a guest like you. More importantly, they are a person. Treat everyone with respect and if you don’t get lucky, be cool with that. It’s a party. There’s always another party.
7. It Might Be Rude To Stare
If watching is your thing, ask the host if it’s allowed. Many parties prefer to give guests privacy. An important part of sex party etiquette is consent. If someone having sex in front of you asks you to leave, be gracious and get out. And if you’re watching because you really want to join in, ask if you may. Which brings us to …
8. Break The Ice
Sex parties aren’t some secret society where the right handshake will get you an instant blowjob. They are gatherings of people with a shared interest in sex. If you want to have some, you’re going to have to make a friend (or three). So introduce yourself and get to know people. Don’t push your new friends for sex. It’s rude. Read their body language. Are they leaning in close or touching your shoulder? When the moment feels right …
9. Ask – Always
Never touch someone without their permission. In movies, it seems hot but in real life it’s not cool. Whether it’s one person or a group, always ask first. If this is new for you, it might help to practice some lines ahead of time.
- “Would you like to go into the playroom with me?”
- “Is there anything I can do for you?”
- “I’d like to have sex with both of you.”
- “May I join you?”
- “May I touch you?”
- “We think you’re hot. Would you like to join us?”
- “Is this ok?”
- “Do you like this?”
- “Do you want to have sex?”
Don’t worry about being “smooth.” Everyone knows why you’re there. Be direct and respectful. And remember that consent can be revoked at any time. (And if you’re worried this might kill the mood, read our article about Making Consent Sexy.)
10. Keep It Friendly
If they were nice enough to share their body with you, be appreciative and pleasant. If they declined to get naked with you, be a good sport about it. No one likes a sore loser. That goes triple at sex parties.
11. Be a Good Citizen
Clean up after yourself. Don’t hog the bathroom. Don’t take pictures or video of anyone. Be discreet about what you see. And if something just feels off, let the host know.
Sex parties are fun! So if you’re feeling nervous, just treat them like any other party. Focus on people, not on sex. If you screw up, an apology still works. Be open to what unfolds, whether it’s one new friend or three new lovers.