Have you attended a play party before? These sex-positive events are a fun way to meet new people and even engage in new sexual adventures with like-minded people.
With themes ranging from masquerade to game night, and some parties dedicated to BDSM, swinging, or specific kinks, every play party is unique. Your experience will depend largely on the organizers, the space, and the other people in attendance.
Obviously, play party attendees should and do have high expectations when it comes to safety at an event like this. Concerns about consent, sexual health, and privacy are very common. There’s also the question of whether an event is safe for everyone, including members of marginalized communities.
As a result, finding and vetting discreet play parties has become quite the art form for adventurous sexplorers. Here, I’ll outline a few things you can do to identify play parties you can privately attend and what questions to ask to ensure you feel as safe as possible when you go.
Finding Discreet Play Parties
Play parties aren’t all that hard to find these days. Sex clubs openly advertise online and post event calendars to their social media.
However, these play parties are typically open for anyone to attend, which can be off-putting for many. For parties that are a little more discerning, you’re going to have to get creative.
If you prefer to keep your sleuthing online, try joining sex-positive communities on message board sites or even kink-centered social media platforms. (You don’t have to be kinky to go to a play party, but the kink community tends to know where they’re at and who is organizing them.)
The organizers of private play parties often manage invite-only groups where event information gets posted. To get an invite, you’ll need to connect with people who are already in the trusted circle. Participate in online communities, attend in-person meet-ups if it’s something you want to do and feel safe doing, and get to know the people throwing the parties you want to be at.
Another approach is to take things offline: search your area for sex toy shops and other sex-positive businesses, then visit the location. Ask the people who work there if they know about any events or play parties coming up.
Vetting Play Parties for Safety and Privacy
Ideally, well-organized play parties will post a set of rules or guidelines or are happy to provide them via e-mail or private message. Below are some types of policies you might see mentioned that center on discretion. If you don’t see them, consider whether they’re important to you, and ask the organizers to clarify.
- Network: Some of the safest, most discreet play parties have a strict policy that newcomers can only attend if chaperoned by someone who has attended previous events. By extension, this means a newcomer typically can’t bring another newcomer unless the chaperone is willing to “be responsible” for both people.
- Knowledge: Alternately or in addition, play party organizers may require newcomers to attend an introductory consent workshop or other informational event to ensure a safe space for everyone who attends. This also serves as an opportunity for organizers to get to know you and decide whether they’re ready to welcome you into their private party.
- Phones: Many parties ban having a phone with you in the party to prevent photos from being taken. This is a good rule for discretion-seekers. If you’re uncomfortable not having your phone in the building with you, ask whether there are lockers or a place where you can “check” your phone safely, like a coat-check.
- Banning: Play party organizers may ban some attendees for a variety of reasons, from not respecting other attendees’ boundaries to using others’ attendance against them outside of the party. In most cases, this is a good practice that weeds out unsafe elements.
Some other things you may want to know for your own comfort and safety include whether there are policies around who can approach who to negotiate “play” (some parties restrict this privilege to specific genders, for example) and what happens if someone feels their boundaries aren’t being respected.
Discreet Play Parties Are Private For a Reason
If you want to find and join in on these parties, you’ll have to build a certain level of trust with other attendees and organizers. Once built, you’ll also need to remember that this trust can be easily broken. If you’re new to play parties, all this means is that you should move slowly.
Get to know people, learn about consent and communicating about boundaries, and be a good listener. Don’t expect to have sex at your first play party—or any play party, really. Rather, attend with an open mind, a friendly attitude, and respect for everyone in attendance. You’ll be sure to have a good time meeting new, sexy people to have adventures with in time.
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