Monogamy. Ish. Sex Clubs?

Advice on sex clubs.

As in, what would the etiquette be, would it be wise to establish ground rules with your partner before going, (like ‘i don’t want to share you but i’m ok with others watching us’ type thing) and how do these things generally work. What should I think of and prepare for? How do I dress?

Contemplating going to one in xxx soonish….

I am honestly unsure of how i will feel when I get there, but I know I want to check one out.

Rules aren’t as important as communication, before, during, and after your visit.

In general, if you’ve never been to a sex club before, you should expect to be in a complicated situation – one that could be any possible permutation of arousing, exciting, stimulating, challenging, scary, revolting, threatening, embarrassing, and a dozen other possibilities. WHATEVER plans you make should reflect an honest and reflective assessment of the likelihoods of these possible reactions, and an explicit acknowledgement of the possibility of the extremes. You should certainly know, in your own mind, how you would like to handle things if, say, you find yourself nauseated and repelled to the extent that your continued presence in the club is impossible.  And similarly, you should probably know how you would like to handle things if you find yourself irresistibly attracted to the idea of fucking some new strange man. Or woman. Or group of people. And ditto re: your partner’s behavior.

Who’s your partner in this endeavor? A fuck-buddy? A spouse? Something in between? The answer matters. The more emotional investment you have in your relationship with your partner, the more important communication in advance becomes, and, of course, the higher the stakes are.

In general, I’m not a fan of “ground rules,” but rather, “mandatory check-ins.” That is to say, I think it’s more helpful to say, “Let’s agree in advance that we won’t (touch/kiss/suck/fuck/have anal sex with) someone without first having a conversation in private,” than to say, “Let’s not touch (or kiss/suck/fuck/have anal sex with) anyone else.” That latter proscription runs the risk of creating a problem should either of you find yourself, in the moment, compelled to revisit it. And of magnifying that problem, by putting you in the position not just of wanting to do X, but of wanting to do X in spite of the fact that you previously promised not to.

Caution and conservatism will be repaid: if you can arrange things so your first visit is just to observe, to have fun with one another, I think that’s likely to result in a really fun first two visits. But how well that works depends so much on both your relationship and what it is each of you is seeking in your visit(s). Often, there’s a little mismatch in goals – one partner wants desperately to have sex with a new partner or seven, and the other wants, say, to be seen fucking, or to watch others fuck. (Or, to be home watching “Saturday Night Live.”)

SO: Have a conversation – discuss each of your goals. Why do you each want to do this? Are your motivations the same? How would you feel if the other hooked up and you didn’t? Or if the other wanted to hook up with half of a couple, the other half of which you didn’t find attractive? What about if one of you wanted to leave prematurely? Or stay later than the other?

Talk it all through, and make sure your expectations are aligned. This is far more important than any specific rules.

How to dress? That really depends. At Le Trapeze in New York? It totally doesn’t matter, because you won’t seeanyone in clothes (though some women may wear lingerie), and the only way others will see you in yours is if you happen to arrive or leave at the same time. At many clubs, the clothed portion of the club, of the evening, is much larger, and in those clubs, I’d recommend dressing in whatever makes you feel sexiest. And err on the side of the extreme….

Finally – let us know how it goes!


Here’s what Liza had to say about my response:

N. gives excellent suggestions about maintaining communication and checking in with each other, and the all important chats ahead of time. Talking more is better than talking less, in my opinion. And I think it’s worthwhile to talk in a neutral location. We had our chat in a restaurant, over dinner and drinks. That way if we came away from the chat with vastly different feelings our bedroom wouldn’t be the scene of the crime.

And just a final note in the realm of really unexpected shit that goes down: do not be surprised, if, after 4-6 hours of sucking and fucking you get home and still. want. more. After the second sex party it took another fuck and some serious time with the fairy wand + Njoy before I was finished. Also, don’t be surprised if you simply pass out n your trashy lingerie. Which is what happened the first time.

And here’s the beginning of Liza’s awesome answer:

We had our first sex club experience this past winter. It was a somewhat spur of the moment adventure, and it probably wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been in walking distance of our hotel. Because I was really, really nervous. Although I’d been the one to suggest it, research it, and discover its proximity, when it came right down to it I was scared and had a flock of birds beating around in my belly. Being unsure of how you’ll feel in advance is, I think, the only thing you can be sure of!!   (Read on….)


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  1. Really awesome post. I wasn’t sure what kind of questions you were going to get, but you landed a ringer 🙂 Play parties are exactly the same. It’s one of those things that you may know and have resolve and respect for the rules ahead of time, but in that space, in that moment, what you actually want and what you agreed you wouldn’t want can be vastly different. A lack of communication can lead to horribly hurt feelings and, as you pointed out, the more emotionally invested you are in your relationship, the more difficult it is to recover.

    I love the idea of inside chats. We have a system of hand signals actually…lol it sounds really stupid, but we are both “don’t make a scene” kind of people. So we will seek out each others eyes and use our hand signals to communicate really basic “yes, I’m cool with that”, “no, I’m not comfortable.”, “I want to leave.” and “we need to talk.”. It’s not much, but it works for us. The first time was a horrible disaster! It ended with a LONG car ride, allot of expelatives and hurt feelings and a night on opposite sides of the bed. when we cooled down we realised that communication was really all we were lacking.

    Terrific post…really.

    1. Thanks for your praise. I eat it up.

      But also thanks for the part about your horrible disaster. I would say that something more than half of my visits to sex clubs or play parties have been, well, if not disasters, at least REALLY complicated. I think that’s pretty much par for the course. We’re getting better, and the last one was an unmitigated success. But I think they’re hard to do well – particularly for people who have long relationships with a lot invested in them, and for whom they’re new.

  2. Great post, indeed. Before our first visit we made up lots of rules and tried to work out signals, but in the heat we both forgot what each signal meant and figured out that the rules need to be fluid (somewhat) to be in sync with our moods. Now it’s mostly about checking in with each other, in the midst of it or in between the sex, to make sure we’re both feeling it.

    And the debriefing, as N always points out. It’s so important to us, for personal growth and to discover each other and ourselves more and more. Which in turn increases the experience.

    1. One thing that strikes me is how much easier all this is when communication around sex in a couple is easy and good. Then, all this stuff can be fun and easy and possible. When it’s not? When communication is strained, or hard work, then all this stuff can be quite stressful.

      Thanks for your kind words.

      1. For me personally, the discovery that I am not half as jealousy-strewn as I expected/feared – in the context of having the loved one receive pleasure from someone else than me – was the most liberating part of all. The rest has been a rather easy and immensely exciting ride. Of course, with tons of communications and us-time.

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