How to host sex parties (and why you probably won’t)

Hosting sex parties is hard because:

* People are super flakey.

* Logistics are always a challenge.

* You are your network. Your party is who you know and who knows and trusts you. Trust may be the most important quality of all, rivaled only by taste.

* Getting the right people at the right time and the right place counts.

These challenges can be overcome but they are real. The current equilibrium exists the way it does for a reason. To host a party you need trust. To get people who trust each other (and you), you need to vet them and vice-versa. There is no shortcut, and a would-be host has to find and choose people who are, among other things, open-minded, generative, lusty, reasonably attractive, reasonably like to show up, disease-free, supportive, and so on.

Hosts especially need couples and couples are the foundation of good parties. Those who haven’t hosted routinely are often surprised by this, but couples are usually easier than single men or single women. That’s true because couples (usually) trust each other already, and that basic trust is a good start. They’re already (usually) attracted to one another, so even if a given couple doesn’t like a given party, they can still have satisfying sex.

A male-female couple keeps the ratio pretty even, and for most parties an even gender ratio is good. Invite too many single guys and the party can get a predatory feel, even among good-natured guys; the girls won’t feel safe, happy, and relaxed (this isn’t true all the time, and sometimes a woman may want three or five men in a night). Plus, a lot of single guys who can’t get a date are losers, bad in bed, or have some other defect that makes them unsuitable; one odd thing about running sex parties as a man is that I’ve become accustomed to evaluating guys in a way similar to how girls evaluate guys.

Invite too many single girls and a lot of them will be stuck on the sidelines having a girl-chat clam jam instead of getting fucked like they want. Most girls also want to be approached rather than doing the approaching. Yes, there are exceptions, but I’ve seen this generalization play out over and over again. Plus, if there are too many girls eventually the guys will run out of steam and be too knackered for sex. It sounds like a funny problem but I’ve seen it happen. I’ve experienced it, too, when some pretty girl wants sex at the end of the night but I have nothing at all left in me.

The paragraph above obviously doesn’t apply if many or most of the women attending are bisexual and are willing to approach other girls.

While couples form the base of the party, singles are good too. Single and mentally stable women are, for obvious reasons, rarely problems. Single guys who have been vetted are okay. I’ve been one of the single guys at parties because I’m well-known and not, for the most part, an asshole.

Most parties also have a mixture of experienced couples and novices. A party full of novices is unlikely to happen or work correctly because all those novices will be too nervous to party or too nervous to gather all in place or just unwilling or unable to make a first move.

With sex parties, like with sex itself and many other things, everyone has a first time, and first timers should be encouraged. We’re totally in favor of first-timers, yet we’ll observe that lots of people also like sex parties and having sex with other people in theory, or when they’re masturbating to porn, but the actuality of doing it can leave them limp, dry, jealous, or squicked out. A party with a ton of novices may devolve into couples fighting, bickering, or leaving. Leaving is fine; when we’ve brought novices to parties, we’ve always told them, “You can leave at any time for any reasons, no questions asked.” We mean that. It’s not just for show. Sex parties die if anyone is coerced and thrive to the extent that people are open to choose their own adventures.

We won’t get into looks and aesthetics except to say that everyone has different thresholds and, again for obvious reasons, most parties vet at least somewhat for looks. We do. We’re not demanding that everyone be ready to step into an Agent Provocateur or Calvin Klein ad. But we have some undefined-but-real vibe and aesthetic standards.

You may have missed the word “vibe” in the preceding paragraph, so I’ll repeat it. We sometimes invite individuals or couples who don’t seem like immediate hotties but do have nice vibe, skills, and/or presence. We’ve met gorgeous assholes who we don’t want at our parties. Aesthetics and vibe matter, and you can imagine why if you imagine what other people want, especially for what amounts to casual sex and friends with benefits.

Besides aesthetics, what do you want in couples? A bunch of stuff. “Not crazy” is a start. “Takes care of themselves and others” is another. One looks for generative, giving people who want to give and receive pleasure. One needs people who will own their yesses and their nos. People who are:

* able to graciously accept “no” for an answer.

* able to make an offer without pressuring the other party to accept.

* able to accurately and reasonably judge others who should be invited.

* not a bore, blowhard, asshole, or bitch.

* tolerably responsible. Given the reality of STIs, general responsibility and health responsibility are important. Some self-destructive people simply don’t take of themselves and are willing to destroy others; I don’t want them at parties. Wildly irresponsible, dangerous people drive out anyone who isn’t.

Also, some people express a sexuality that is wounding or destructive rather than generative. They can’t be allowed to attend, or, if they attend once, they must not be allowed to again. No filtering process is perfect and an overly aggressive policy will often lead to sterile, boring, or repetitive party. A filtering process that isn’t aggressive enough will let the wrong people in.

In our experience, good parties have a core of people who know and like each other along with a reasonable influx of fresh friends. I co-host with another person who we trust and who has interests and ethics similar to ours. But my friend and I tend to move in circles that are different enough that we meet different people and different kinds of people in different circumstances. By now we’ve met enough people to have continuity, but we also meet enough new people to ensure novelty (and the replacement of those who drop out: people often drop out when they start or end relationships, or, depending on their age, when they have children).

Lots of people justifiably want to just show up at a sex party to fuck and be fucked. Totally makes sense. But someone, somewhere, has to make the fucking happen. Someone has to set the right tone. Someone has to make sure the rules are respected.A sex party rarely happens spontaneously, on its own. Costs must be paid in terms of time or money. “Time” gets paid through hosting and vetting. “Money” happens when you offload those duties to someone else. In major cities, for example, Killing Kittens’s United States parties cost $250 — $350 per couple right now. Menages in Nashville costs less, but Saturday nights are still $70 per couple, plus dues.

Everyone pays, one way or another.

Notice how almost everything above is about people. Sex parties are all about people. If you want to start from nowhere you can try sex clubs in your city, online dating through sites like Swinglifestyle, Kasidie, KillingKittens.com, and others. Lots of groups have low-stakes munches where people get together for talk and flirting without the expectation of sex. OkCupid and similar sites are now supposedly offering polyamorous and kinky options. Feeld is supposed to be Tinder for threesomes and moresomes.

But sex clubs have the usual challenges and online dating for three or more can be as hard as online dating of any other caliber. Online dating has an adverse selection problem in which the best people are often claimed quickly or find like-minded people rapidly, while the worst are often spamming thousands of low-quality approaches. Many parties are invite-only. We don’t advertise our parties online at all. You have to know someone who knows someone.

Once a host has he people, venue should be pretty easy. It can be apartment or house or hotel; if it’s a hotel you’ll probably need to collect some cash to pay for it. When we throw parties we tell people to bring the food and drink they like and they think others will like (if you want someone else to take of that for you, pay for it. More on that later too). If you’re hosting, we also recommend that you get a bunch of red LED bulbs or pink bulbs and change out your normal lightbulbs. Red and pink hues are more flattering than white or blue hues and are especially flattering to women, many of whom are conscious of lighting.

For any given party, you can assume that between a tenth and half the guest list won’t show, depending on your relationship with the people who RSVP. People get sick or get periods or breakup or just make garden-variety excuses. The less well you know someone, the greater the likelihood of flaking.

This is one of the many reasons why Internet-only parties with no money involved rarely work out. We do very little online dating now (though we sometimes meet couples via Reddit or Tumblr) and are more likely to tell other couples to meet us at a party or event. If a couple cancels last minute or turns not as advertised, we don’t care. There’s still a party to enjoy!

Many people also come to parties for the first time because a close, trusted friends invites them. The more people a host knows, the more second-, third-, and even fourth-order connections theyhave. Friends of ours will bring and vouch for their friends. We will sometimes bring normal friends to their first parties (right now I’m thinking of someone in particular, a girl who went from “OMG I can’t believe this” to a very… active… participant in a short period of time). She didn’t immediately strike us as a likely candidate but she’s also proven us wrong.

Good luck. I will reiterate, in case you’ve forgotten: you are your network. If you have none, start building now. Good party people aren’t that easy to find and they won’t trust you right away, for good reason.

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