How to Host an Orgy

How to Host an Orgy
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There’s nothing new about sex parties. Bonobos have been holding orgies since before people even existed, and the earliest evidence of human group sex dates back to cave people attending Neolithic fertility festivals. Sex parties were an annual springtime tradition in ancient Egypt, and don’t get me started about how the Greeks and Romans got down, those kinky motherfuckers.

If you’ve decided to join this grand tradition, good for you; but before you send a group invite to your astronomy club, there are some special considerations for hosting this type of ‘do.

I talked to a couple of OG orgy-heads — veteran adult industry journalist Gram Ponante and certified intimacy educator and event organiser Stella Harris — to get the scoop on hosting your very own neighbourhood bacchanal. These two have organised dozens of the kinds of parties I never get invited to: orgies, sex parties, near-sex parties, and other outré expressions of sensuality and group identity.

Who should you invite to an orgy?

Any party is only as good as its guests, but an orgy has requirements a Kentucky Derby party does not. As the host, it’s your responsibility to keep your guests safe, and to make them happy. So don’t scrawl your address on a bathroom wall or invite all your Facebook friends; you have to be discerning. This is probably not the time to find out if you vibe with someone new. Instead, make sure anyone you invite is within your social circle of trust.

“At house parties…you’re generally only there if you’ve been vouched for by somebody. You’re either a friend of the host, or you’re the date of a friend of the host. So at least one or two people have already vouched for your ability to handle this kind of space,” Harris said.

Harris advises carefully considering the personalities and reputations of anyone you invite: “You want to think about what you know about folks. First, are they even game for this sort of thing? If so, how do genders and sexualities align? Because you want there to be people for everybody to play with…Who are the people who are good, clear communicators? Who are the people you know to be good at consent? Who shows up on time; who follows through with others’ requests?”

Ponante points out that the crowd at his sexy Saturnalias are surprisingly diverse. “There’s a through-line that goes through the type of people who would attend a sex party. For lack of a better term, it is shame-resistance,” he said. “When you get a group of people who don’t necessarily feel constricted by shame as much, it’s not necessarily an indicator of what part of the racial, economic, or political spectrum they might be part of.”

Keep the guest list small, especially if the idea is to have a truly shared experience. “A sex party is almost never an actual free-for-all,” Harris explains. “I would say you can have maybe up to five people, if you want just a pile of bodies all doing things with each other.” More than quintet, and they’ll probably break up into smaller groups, just like people socialising at clothing-mandatory parties.

Inform and forewarn your guests

Do not invite anyone to a sex party who doesn’t know it’s a sex party. Don’t throw a regular dinner party that you hope will turn into an orgy — that shit only works in porn movies. And be straight with your guests about what they can expect right from the start.

“You need to make sure that everybody understands what they’re signing up for, and that starts with the event invitation,” Harris said. “You tell people, like, ‘Hey, friends, maybe this sounds a little strange, but I’m throwing a sexy party, and you’re invited.’”

If you’re anything like me, many of your friends are squares who would balk at attending an orgy — it’s a little intimidating, after all. If that’s the case, Harris suggests an intermediate step between party-party and orgy: A sexy party as opposed to a full-on sex party. “If it’s beginners, and you’re getting folks used to a sexy space, it’s really helpful to have it be an introductory event,” Harris said. “Like, ‘we’re going to watch porn together,’ or ‘we’re going to read erotica together.’”

Temper your orgiastic expectations

Unless you’ve attended one, your concept of an orgy is probably based on pop culture portrayals of the practice. According to my group-sex-experts, those depictions are wildly inaccurate: It’s not going to be like a porn movie, and it’s not going to be like Eyes Wide Shut.

“The pornification of sex parties is really a Hague-level crime, a U.N.-level crime,” Ponante told me. “I’ve had porn stars at my parties, and if you watch one of their sex party porn movies, then see how they behave at an actual sex party, it’s night and day. You don’t have people screaming and just crying out at an orgy. The way some porn movies depict these things, they’re deadly serious; but in real life, they’re actually fun. People laugh.”

Preparing for the big day

Once the most charming cads and dashing reprobates in your contact list have RSVPed to your dream sex party, it’s time to get down to specifics: The food, the drinks, and the theme.

Orgy grub

Like any party, you should provide your guests with food, but when creating your orgy menu, keep the specific needs and activities of a group-grope in mind. Don’t go with a big pot of chilli, for instance.

“If you’re not careful, everybody just brings dessert,” Harris jokes. “It’s kind of a running joke that there are always snacks, and that people do not always think through what foods go well with sex. You want things that are not too messy, more like finger foods style…You definitely need to have proteins and energy foods.”

“We did catered bacon-wrapped something, or other little bits of protein. Nothing garlicky, nothing too dairy. Individually wrapped things, no deli platters or anything like that,” Ponante added.

To theme or not to theme?

Whether you want to have a specific theme for your party beyond “it’s going to be a freaking orgy!” really depends on who you roll with. If your friends are into Ren Faires, maybe a Medieval theme would be fun (although, if you’re friends with Ren Faire people, you probably don’t need any help planning an orgy). If you hang with historians, maybe a Roman orgy theme would work?

A final note: No matter the libations or decor, clean your house well. Hire a maid if you’re lazy. No one wants to get down in a pigsty.

Gracious hosting for the inclusive fuck-fest

Genteel, decorous party hosting may be something of a lost art, but, weirdly, the 1950s-era skill-set of greeting your guests warmly and making them feel welcome is vital to a successful orgy.

“The host should welcome everybody, reiterating whatever the ground rules are for that event, and that would maybe be the way you handle communication and consent,” Harris said.

“I hung out with [a porn star who shall remain nameless] for a little while, who helped me host a couple of these parties. She would go talk to the shy guys, and I would talk to the shy women, but we’d both be available for same-sex reassurance, too,” Ponante said. “I’m talking to the girls to say, ‘Hey, thanks for grooving.’ We would just make everybody as comfortable as possible.”

Try to avoid leaving socially awkward people alone, unless that’s what they want. Both Harris and Ponante suggested the possibility of pairing up greenhorns with experienced hands.

Group introductions are important

Breaking the ice is vital to a sex party. Don’t wait for your guests to get to know one another and/or get busy: You’re the host and you need to be the catalyst. Both Harris and Ponante suggested a group introduction. This serves a dual purpose — it makes your guests more comfortable, and puts things on a schedule.

“You might say, people can arrive up until 9 p.m., we’re going to mingle, have snacks, cocktails, whatever, until 10 p.m. And then at 10 p.m., the opening circle starts,” Harris said.

At Harris’ parties, the circle is when everyone says their names, their pronouns, maybe their sexuality, and what they hope to get out of the evening. You could also have guests tell you their STI and relationship status, their safety needs, and really any information you think would be relevant to you and other guests.

Turning a party into a sex party

If your party is for experienced libertines, everyone is going to know the deal, but newbs might need a little help. Harris suggested a variation on the ancient sexy game “spin the bottle.”

“I realise it sounds ridiculous, but spin the bottle is an incredibly good icebreaker,” Harris says, “My group plays an updated consent-focused version of the game. When you land on somebody, you propose something, and they can accept your proposal or make a counter-proposal. So, instead of being pressured to kiss someone, it’s a little practice negotiation, So, I could land on somebody and say, ‘Hey, how about a kiss?’, and they say, ‘Actually, I’d prefer a hug,’ So people learn how to have that little back and forth.”

If it’s your first time at an orgy

If you’ve been invited to an orgy, you should feel good about yourself — someone thinks you can handle yourself and/or handle others — but make sure you only attend with the right attitude. Openness to new experiences is good, as is confidence. Sex-positivity is a given. Creepiness is a definite non-starter.

For newcomers, Harris stresses the importance of going in without a specific goal in mind, so you won’t end up disappointed. “You are better off thinking, ‘I’m going to get my feet wet. I’m going to get a sense for this,’” she says. “You’re better off framing it like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I was invited to an orgy, and I get to see all these hot people getting it on!’ That’s already a win. So offer people snacks or pass the lube bottle.”

According to Ponante, another key guest attribute is confidence. “Not braggadocio or anything like that,” he said, “but the understanding that you’re supposed to be there. You got tested, or you answered the right questions on the form… Don’t hide your light under a bushel.”

“Be prepared to go slow,” Harris said. “Be prepared to watch, at least for the first part of the evening, and get a sense for the culture or vibe of this group of people.”

According to Harris, it’s important to scope out how guests are handling communications, and what the rules, norms, and activities of the party are. It’s also important to have a deeper idea of sex than our puritanical culture often provides and a healthy respect for the other guests.

“Just because somebody has come to a sex party doesn’t mean they want to do everything with everyone,” Harris says. “ Someone might go to a sex party and only want to do hand sex, or play with sex toys, so if someone else shows up and only wants to put their penis in people, that limits the kinds of play that can happen, and the combinations of people that can happen.”

On the soul of the orgy

To throw a successful orgy, you should invite an interesting group of people who are likely to get along, provide the right snacks and refreshments, be a gracious host/hostess, and make sure fun activities are provided. If that sounds like the recipe for any kind of successful party, you’re right, but there’s a key difference with a sex party. According to fans of the practice, an orgy is a potentially transformative experience in a way that a dinner party almost never is.

“There is no such thing as casual sex,” Ponante explains. “As crazy or as spontaneous as a sexual encounter can be, it’s still fraught with meaning. The idea is that people can change in a safe environment; people can have their minds blown in a safe environment. That’s really exciting. In the way that you want to see stuff happening in the ant colony. You might walk out a different person than when you walked in.”

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