Tips for going to your first sex party
You’re invited to a sex party, now what?
Sex parties have been growing in popularity, but what exactly is a sex party? And what can you expect if you’ve been invited to one? While sex parties used to be seen as taboo or very underground in the past, they’ve become increasingly more popular as people have started using these parties to explore their sexuality and sexual preferences in a safe, open, consent-focused environment.
We sat down with Ariella (her name has been changed for privacy), a 32 year-old woman, to ask about her experiences going to sex parties.
First, what is a sex party?
A sex party is a party that is either hosted at a private home or at an event space with the intention of bringing like-minded people together to explore their sexuality, sexual fantasies, and to get and give pleasure to one another and/or to multiple people at once. Many couples go to sex parties together to have group sex experiences, like threesomes or foursomes, or to swap partners, aka swinging.
“Sex parties are a place to celebrate and unleash a part of ourselves that we normally keep private and/or sometimes even have shame around. The open and accepting environment of a sex party helps us recognize that our desire for sex and pleasure is just another component to being multifaceted human beings—something all humans and animals have in common," Ariella says.
What are sex parties really like?
“They’re a lot more normal, safe, clean, and “regular” than you would think. Before I went to my first sex party, I had a lot of stigma and preconceived ideas about what it would be like and what kind of people would be there. All kinds of assumptions. But what I’ve actually found is that there are just a lot of interesting, cool, normal people who are really open and considerate and respectful,” Ariella says.
“Some people got started right away and some people took longer to warm up. At first, I noticed four couples having sex on one bed. They were paired or in groups of three doing their own thing,” Ariella explained.
This sex party Ariella recently went to was in a house, so there were beds in different rooms. Ariela and her partner started hooking up and another couple joined the bed they were on. The other guy asked if he could kiss Ariella and she said yes and Ariella’s partner asked if he could kiss the other woman and she said yes. They asked for consent a few other times as Ariella gave the other guy a hand job, the other woman went down on Ariella, and Ariella’s partner went down on the other woman.
Ariella and her partner asked if the couple wanted to switch partners and have sex and they explained that they weren’t going to be having sex with other people that night. This is a great example of consenting to some things but not all things and being open and honest about what people are comfortable with at every stage.
STI & Covid Testing
A lot of sex parties have pretty strict protocol when it comes to testing, safety, and consent. So before you go, everyone has to get an STI and COVID test and send in their results directly from the lab. “This actually makes me feel safer than even going on a normal date. So often people don’t share that kind of information and sometimes people even lie (sigh). Having a trusted third party (i.e. the host/organizers) review everyone’s test results from a lab gives me a lot of peace of mind,” says Ariella.
Safe sex at a sex party
It’s always a good idea to bring protection to a sex party, but many of these parties will actually have condoms on hand. Since many sex parties require STI testing, some people don’t end up using condoms. If you end up going that route and aren’t using a form of birth control like birth control pills, the patch, ring, IUD, or tracking your cycle, then make sure to have Julie on hand as a backup.
Group discussions about consent
Consent is extremely important at sex parties. And the organizers and people who attend them take it very seriously.
“When we arrived, we all sat in a circle and had a group discussion about consent. We went over what consent is, how you ask for it, how you say no, how you accept a no. They made it very clear that if someone isn’t following these rules of consent then they’ll be immediately kicked out,” Ariella says.
“At sex parties, people take consent very seriously and really practice it at every level. They’ll even ask, ‘Is it okay I put my arm on your shoulder?’ and often include the person’s partner in the consent conversation as well,” she said.
What to do before going to a sex party
Before you go to a sex party, it’s best to think about what you’re comfortable with, what you want to explore, and what your boundaries are.
“If you’re going with someone, what seems exciting, what seems off limits, and what are some things you’re not sure about yet? Being unsure is totally okay, sometimes you can’t know until you’re there,” says Ariella.
Sex parties are a fantastic way to learn about yourself and your boundaries and even give you the time and space to re-assess them. “Sometimes you might feel more curious about trying things once you’re in a sex party environment, and sometimes you might feel like you actually don’t want to do something that you were previously curious about. And if you go with a partner, feelings of jealousy might surprise you, or they might not. All of that is okay. Sex parties are about giving you the space to experience, learn, feel, and communicate all of that,” says Ariella.
Agree on a code word
“Something I like to do with my partner is have a safe word or code word if we’re uncomfortable, want to talk about something, or just need to take some time for us to be alone and reconnect,” Ariella says.
“I also really recommend giving yourself and your partner grace, especially if this is your first time going to a sex party together or experimenting with multiple partners in your relationship. You might end up in situations that you didn’t know would make you feel a certain way. Or you might not know you have a boundary until you’re in a situation that makes you want to have one. So just know that all of that is okay and there’s space for all of it, “ Ariella adds.
Sex party tips
Tip 1: Vet the sex party before going.
Do they require STI testing? Do they have rules about safety, hygienic conditions, discussions and protocol for consent? Be wary of people online who might be trying to put on an underground sex party without safe protocols.
Some sex parties will require you to apply online or do a phone screening. “If there’s no vetting process, no testing, no consent or safety conversations, or a general code of conduct, then I wouldn’t recommend going,” Ariella says.
Tip 2: Make sure to eat before you go.
“I always like to eat something light, nutritious, and that’s easy to digest, “ Ariella says. Sex parties can sometimes make you feel nervous, and you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re feeling overly full or bloated, or have anything that could make your stomach feel uneasy.
Tip 3: Be careful about drinking and taking drugs.
It’s really important to give consent and be coherent enough to do so. “There’s so much energy and excitement at a sex party, so you honestly might feel high off that energy that you don’t even need a substance. Also, what you normally can handle alcohol or substance wise might feel overwhelming in that environment. So just be extra cautious and I urge you to try going sober!” Ariella says.
Tip 4: It may be difficult for people with penises to get hard.
For people with male genitalia, it can be really normal to have a hard time getting or keeping an erection. So many people struggle with this in one-on-one situations, so it’s only natural for it to be exaggerated when there are multiple people around, especially if most of them are strangers. Try not to get frustrated by it and see how you can still relax, enjoy, and have fun. Remember, sex is so much more than just intercourse!
Tip 5: Have fun and explore!
Be open about what you like and what you’re curious about trying. You might be surprised by how accepted you feel and how many people are into trying the same things you are.
Sex parties vs sex clubs
A sex party is much more like a house party. It’s more curated, private, and by invite only. On the other hand, anyone can go to a sex club. You just need to buy a ticket. It might not have STI testing, there might not be conversations about consent, and there be less protocols to keep everyone safe and comfortable. A sex club will usually feel very similar to a regular club inside with a DJ, bar, dance floor—and then of course, beds.
What do sex parties cost?
The cost of sex parties can vary. It depends on who’s putting it on, where it’s located, and what’s included. Some are more low key, like in someone’s house, while others can be more lavish and longer, like a weekend in Mexico with multiple sex party events.
Generally speaking, the standard rate is $100-200 for single men, $75-150 for couples, and $0-100 for single women. For a sex party weekend with multiple events, the range is more likely to be $500-$750.
Some sex parties are free and some organizations have membership fees that will include access to sex parties.
What to wear
Wear something that makes you feel hot and confident! But also something that’s comfortable and not too complicated. “I wore nipple tassels and a garter belt. With a black dress and coat on top,” Ariella said.
It’s up to you how much of your clothes you want to take off at the sex party, but you’ll likely be in your underwear or partially or fully naked at some point. Think about styling your lingerie as an outfit, but make sure it’s something you’re comfortable being in and moving around in for a good period of time. And don’t forget about what you’re wearing on top—something you’d normally wear out to a party or bar is usually what you can expect other people to wear.
How to find a sex party
If you’re interested in exploring a sex party, there are a few things you can do.
Use a dating app like feeld to find people who are interested in exploring sex with multiple partners or switching partners. You can also write on your profile that you’re interested in sex parties and see if other people in your area know of any.
If you’re comfortable, try telling your friends or people that you meet on apps that you’d like to attend a sex party. A lot of sex parties occur in niche circles among friends, so it can be difficult to find out about them if you aren’t connected. Putting yourself and your desires out there is a great first step to getting connected or invited to a sex party.
Explore groups online that put on sex parties. Many require someone in the group to refer new members, but it doesn’t hurt to look around and see what you can find.
You can also search “sex parties” or “swingers” in your local area online and try to find some events in your city.
Consent is a huge part of sex parties, and most people that go are very considerate about honoring and asking for consent every step of the way. Ariella said that she actually feels safest at sex parties because everyone is on the same page about how important consent is and makes a conscious effort to check in.
People at sex parties also tend to be more comfortable with receiving a “no” and don’t take it personally. When someone says “no” it is them respecting a boundary and has nothing to do with the person they are saying “no” to.
Whether you’re at a sex party, having group sex, on a date, or in any other kind of situation, you are always in control of consent. You are able to give and take away consent at any time, and if someone is not honoring that, it’s best to disengage and/or remove yourself from the situation.
Consent is a two-way street. It’s just as important for other people to ask for your consent as it is for you to ask for theirs.
Learn more about consent here.