“There are mattresses, then chairs for people to watch.” 💋
Double Teamed is a podcast about non-monogamy, kink, and sexuality. Hosts Cami and Niki are on a mission to bring awareness to these taboo subjects and make them more understood and accepted. Niki began her journey when she opened her marriage four years ago, and Cami when she began reading reverse harem fiction.
“Can you describe what a sex party is and how it works?”
Niki: I always like to make this distinction: There are threesomes, foursomes, and fivesomes. Six to 20 people is an orgy. More than 21 people is a sex party. With a sex party, there’s a lot more room and a lot more people for exploration. I’ve been to clubs that host sex parties, and then house parties that are sex parties. There’s a common area where everyone mingles or drinks and whatnot, and then there are rooms set up for sex for the people who want to partake. So you don’t have to have sex at them. It’s basically a party where sex can occur and is encouraged.
Cami: I’ll make the distinction that we will go to sex parties together, but we will not go to orgies together.
“Do people go into sex parties knowing what to expect? Is there a part in the beginning where rules, expectations, and boundaries are set, or is it more of a ‘free-for-all’?”
Niki: With the house parties that I’ve gone to, usually the hosts do a really good job of explaining the environment and the rules. I remember the very first one I went to, they sent us a long text that laid out all the rules and did a good job of communicating what to expect. It’s still going to feel like a surprise no matter how much preparation you get. The club events do provide some details, like dress code and such, but they don’t always do a good job of explaining the atmosphere.
Cami: When you’re going to like a club that is specifically a sex club, I think it’s expected that you know the “hidden rules.” Obviously, consent is key. With some bigger clubs, you do an interview beforehand via FaceTime, and they ask if you’ve been to a sex party before. I had, so I told them I knew what to expect, and they said great, and moved forward with the interview. It’s as much a responsibility on the individual people as it is on the sex club to make sure everyone’s well-informed.
“Could you explain how health and safety are addressed? How has COVID-19 impacted this community?”
Niki: it’s kind of an honor system when it comes to STD testing. There are condoms provided at all of the parties and you’re encouraged to use them. When I’ve watched people, everyone’s been very cognizant about switching condoms in between partners. I remember once I was walking by a room and I stopped to watch because there were two girls laying on the bed on their backs with their legs in the air. There was a guy having sex with one of them, and then he pulled out, whipped his condom off, put on another one, and started having sex the other girl.
Cami: Guys have to realize that if they’ve got multiple girls lined up, they have to use a different condom with each of them.
Niki: The only time I’ve seen people not use condoms at sex parties is when they’re with their partner that they’ve brought with them. Most of the people who attend these events have pretty active sex lives. I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I get tested every three months, even if I don’t have any concerns. As far as COVID-19 goes, most of the ones I’ve been to this year have required proof of vaccination, a negative test, or both. With the house parties, if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not invited. I feel like everyone takes it seriously and wants to make it a healthy event.
“What are some examples of etiquette/rules people follow at these events?”
Niki: All of them take your phone at the door. As far as etiquette goes, just be respectful, and don’t touch anyone without asking and getting consent. You can bring toys, and there will be some out and about to use. Obviously, wash the toys after use. Respect, kindness, and hygiene are the biggest things when it comes to etiquette.
Cami: If you want to wear a butt plug or use something that goes inside, I’d say bring your own from home.
Niki: When it comes to oral, I wouldn’t say it’s a rule not to do oral, but I don’t see as many people partake because it’s not as enjoyable with protection. If you’re going to do oral, you might just want to go through an extra check to make sure the other person is up-to-date on STD testing.
Cami: The most basic etiquette is just being emotionally aware. There are people of all ages, from 21 to 60+, at these events. You have to be able to say no if you don’t want something. Use your words.
Niki: Handle rejection well, because not everyone’s going to want to sleep with you.
“What happens if there’s a participant you don’t want to play with? How do you handle things when you aren’t attracted to other participants? Are there ever uncomfortable moments?”
Niki: For the most part, I’ve always seen people be pretty mature. You just have to be able to handle rejection. If someone invites you to do something you don’t want to do, you just say, “No, thank you,” or “I’m not interested.” They’ll usually just say, “Okay, thank you,” and walk away. You have to understand that you’re not going to be attracted to everyone, and not everyone’s going to be attracted to you. But there’s a whole pool of people. So, chances are, someone else will be into you.
Cami: I like that there’s such a variety of people. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You see different body types, different everything!
Niki: They’re usually pretty good looking crowds. Have I been attracted to everyone? No. But every single one I’ve gone to has had people I’d be interested in.
“How did you first learn about sex parties, and how do you discern between the ‘legit’ events and the shadier ones?”
Niki: I’ve never been to any sketchy ones. I think I do a good job of vetting them. I was writing a piece and was looking at a well-known techno/sex club in Berlin, so then I looked to see if there was anything similar in the US, and that’s when I discovered Snctm, which is a popular one over here. If you go as a couple, it’s quite expensive. Price depends on a number of things, but Snctm is one of the more expensive ones. So I started looking into other ones, and there are a ton out there in different cities. Look at their websites. You can find information on Reddit too from people who have been to different clubs. You can also look at a club’s Instagram, see who follows them, and maybe even DM people to ask about their experience with the club. There are definitely ways to vet clubs. House parties are different — use your discretion. My husband and I went out to dinner with this one couple and got to know them a bit before we went to their party. Take some time to get to know people before going to their house.
Cami: If you accidentally end up at a sex party and you didn’t know, read the room! You can always leave. Also, I want to point out: When it comes to the price for single girls at places like Kinky Rabbit and Sntcm, it’s generally cheaper. We started with home parties before applying to these bigger clubs.
“If you throw a sex party, what are some ways to be a good host? For hosts and guests, are there any grooming preferences or expectations when it comes to your body?”
Niki: I wouldn’t say there are expectations around grooming preferences. Just have good hygiene. I’ve seen people totally bare, I’ve seen full bushes — it’s really your preference.
Cami: With hosting, there are a lot of things our friends do that we like. There are condom stations and wash-up stations. In the bathroom, they’ve got extra towels for cleaning up. The last one at their house was actually a glow-in-the-dark paint party, and there was paint everywhere. Their entire house was covered in tarps.
Niki: You just want to set up an environment where everyone feels comfortable and safe, but also sexy. Mood lighting, a fog machine, and good smells are all great. There are plain mattresses with a top sheet or two, and areas for people to watch. Sometimes there are mirrors by mattresses, too.
Cami: They usually put something down over the floors because you don’t want the floors to be slippery.
Niki: At the first Kinky Rabbit I went to, there was a large puddle on the floor. Luckily, there was a guy telling people to avoid that area, or else I would’ve walked right through it. So hosts have to be aware of the various fluids.
Cami: Also, have a lot of water stations, especially if people are also drinking.
Niki: It’s also good to have areas for people to chill and hang out after having sex.
“Is there small talk, or do people just get right into it?”
Niki: The general flow of a sex party is: You get there around 10 p.m., and usually people mingle for an hour to an hour and a half. People walk around drinking, talking, and getting to know everyone. At the house parties, after about an hour to an hour and a half, things start turning a bit sexual. It feels like it goes from 80 people in a room to no one because everyone disperses. There are some people you just won’t see again for the rest of the night. From there, maybe you go play for a while, then take a break or go back to mingling areas, then go play around again. Usually they end around 2:00 or 3 a.m.
Cami: If you’re going to one of the bigger production events, a lot of the small talk is people discussing jobs, vacations, all sorts of things. There are some pretty affluential people there as well, including celebrities. If you run into them, the small talk is very small, or you don’t bother them at all.
Niki: At the club ones, usually people mingle until around midnight, then there’s a performance that’s very sexual to get everyone in the mood. Once everyone’s turned on from the show, the sex gets started.
Cami: We went to one where two performers had snakes because it was jungle-themed. That was interesting. There was lots of small talk about the snakes. I ran into one girl that did not like that they were there. I was like, “Ah, let’s talk about the weather!”
“How do you find a safe group of people (not your friends) to go to sex parties with?”
Cami: Dating apps are a good way to start. Tread with caution, but I would say you can find like-minded people.
Niki: I went solo for the first time, and then I just made friends. Now I see those people every time I go. I know them already and can expect that they’ll be there. Or go on clubs’ Instagrams and find people that follow them too, DM them, and get to know them a little bit.
Cami: If you go on Reddit forums, you could maybe befriend people that way. Also, Facebook groups! I’m not in any, but I have seen them. As always: Vet the people properly and get to know them first before going to a party with them.
Niki: Just don’t be afraid to go by yourself and make friends there. I’ve made some great friends from parties.
“Does jealousy ever play a part, and if so, how do you handle it?”
Niki: I used to go to the house parties with my husband. He never went to the clubs because it’s expensive to go as couples, and while he likes those events, they’re not totally his scene, so he was fine if I went by myself. We’ve been non-monogamous for a while, so we worked through that initial jealousy. There’s no way to avoid it. It’s just about understanding how to handle it. At sex parties, there are hot people walking around. You just have to remember that everyone brings something different to the table. Beauty is relative, and you have to be confident with what you have. Yes, there will be good looking people there, but they’re not you.
Cami: I always say it’s like a potluck. You don’t want to go somewhere with 10 mashed potato dishes. Everybody brings something different.
Niki: You want a variety. Just understand that you’re a part of that variety. If you’re going with a partner and watching them with someone else, there could be some jealousy. It’s good to have discussions beforehand with your partner. Have a way to signal that you want to remove yourselves from a situation if you’re uncomfortable. You can’t predict how you’ll react, so have a plan in place.
Cami: The first time I went with my partner, he got a little jealous. But Niki was there to help my partner and give him a little pep talk. At that point, I didn’t even know — I found out later on. It takes a good amount of communication beforehand, during, and after. Have a debrief after if you go with a partner. My partner and I had rules for each other the first time we went together. I stayed within those rules, but he still got a little jealous. So we talked after the party about how we would approach the next one.
Niki: You never know how your experience is going to go, so you can’t go in with expectations or some dream scenario. Afterwards, discuss it and see how you can make it better. My husband got jealous the first time too, but we talked through it, and the second one was so much better. You’re going to be out of your comfort zone, so emotions will arise. Let yourself feel and process them, but then let them go.
“Are there expectations around using alcohol, drugs, etc.? Are you considered a ‘party pooper’ if you don’t want any substances?”
Niki: I’m sober at basically all of them.
Cami: I drink, but I think at the last one I just had a glass of champagne. You’re not expected to be under the influence. At sex parties, you want to be a consenting person, so you want to watch what you’re doing. Plus, drugs and alcohol can inhibit certain things with your body. They dehydrate you, they dry you out, or you might not be able to get hard.
Niki: Are substances there? Sure. Lots of people drink and some bring their own party favors, but it’s not an expectation or a requirement. You need to know your limits. For most of them, I’m totally sober.
“How does it smell?”
Cami: The house parties we’ve been to actually smell great. I think they put essential oils in the fog machine. Every time I’ve gone, I’ve never smelled anything bad.
Niki: With the events, when you go up to the rooms, sometimes there is a little bit of that “sex smell,” of fluids and latex. But, it’s usually just a hint. I’ve never walked into a room and choked on the smell.
Cami: I went into a room that was just full of people having sex, and it smelled great.
“How do you handle a relationship where you want to participate in non-monogamy, but you don’t want your partner to?”
Niki: If you and your partner discuss interest in non-monogamy, but they say they’re good and give you the OK to go explore, that’s one thing. Those relationships are out there and can work. But if you want to be non-monogamous and sleep with other people, but you don’t want your partner doing the same, that’s not going to work. That’s an ego issue. You want freedom, but your partner can’t have the same? You’re not giving them the same room you want them to give you. If you want to impose a rule on your partner that they can’t do something you can, that’s not going to work. At that point, you’re really removing someone’s autonomy.
“When it comes to non-monogamy, how do you find time to manage different relationships while still having time for yourself?”
Niki: Google Calendar! It’s all about balance. I think you get better at knowing how to manage your time. There are some nights I set dates with partners, and there are some nights I save for myself. Listen to your body too. There have been times where I’ve planned five dates in a row, and by about day three, I’m like, “Why did I do this?” Find a way to stay organized, and when you need some time for yourself, take it.
“What are some misconceptions or myths about non-monogamy and exploring multiple partners?”
Niki: One of the biggest misconceptions is that people are non-monogamous because they can’t commit to a partner. Absolutely not. In my marriage, for example, we’ve been together for nine years and have been non-monogamous for half that time. My commitment to my husband has never wavered because of non-monogamy. Non-monogamy does not equal non-committal. Additionally, monogamy, or even marriage, doesn’t equal commitment. Another misconception is that it’s all about sex. Some people like multiple loving relationships. There are asexual polyamorous people. People can practice non-monogamy and polyamory and have it not related to sex. But sex can also definitely be involved. Some people want to explore their sexualities, but it’s not always centered around sex. Another misconception is that everyone is dirty and STD-ridden. I get tested every three months. Any time I ask a monogamous guy the last time he got tested, he’ll say, like, two years ago, and they’ve had unprotected sex with god knows how many different partners over that time. Everyone’s really safety-conscious in non-monogamy, from my experience. With monogamy, just because you’ve had one partner at a time (but changed partners over the years) doesn’t mean you’re clean. People in non-monogamy take things very seriously, but they also understand that these things aren’t as taboo or as bad as people make them out to be. If there’s anything I’ve seen on my non-monogamy journey, it’s that these people are very health-conscious and consent-conscious. You’re taking multiple people’s health and feelings into account. I’m not saying everyone in non-monogamy is perfect, but overall, I’ve met really good people who I’ve shared positive experiences with.