you can totally enjoy a sex party without having sex — here are 6 yummy ways

by Suzannah Weiss, certified sex educator, sex/love coach, feminist writer
When people hear that I regularly attend sex parties, they tend to assume I’m having tons of sex in these settings. But the truth is that, for me, hooking up at a sex party is actually a rare occurrence. 
I’m a big believer that when it comes to sexual decisions, if it’s not a “hell yes,” it’s a “no” — so I never pressure myself to do anything just because those around me are doing all kinds of stuff. To the contrary, I head to sex parties expecting to enjoy all the other things they offer, from the chance to meet open-minded people to the witnessing of varied expressions of human sexuality.
A case in point: Earlier this month, I got invited to a party hosted by Snctm — perhaps the most elite and luxurious sex club in the world, with memberships costing as much as $50,000 per year. The theme was “masquerade,” and guests were instructed to wear decorative masks, gowns, and tuxedos.
When I accepted the invitation, I already knew I wasn’t going to have sex there. I’d just dealt with a dramatic breakup and was interested in having a drama-free night. The stress of subjecting myself to rejection, getting triggered by other attendees going after the same people as me, worrying about STIs… no thank you. 
I set out to have a fun and relaxing evening, and I did, no sexual activity required (unless naked swimming is a sexual activity. I did a lot of that). Here are just a few of the ways I had a ball at a sex party with no sex — and that you can too, because you never have to do anything you’re not 100% sure about.
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1. Getting dolled up
Half the fun of going out is getting ready — and how often does getting ready involve your entire body? That’s all to say, I took this event as an excuse to spend nearly an hour in the shower, listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and giving myself a new pubic hair style (a landing strip, in case you’re wondering), then sending photos of it to friends I knew would praise them and keep them safe.
Not to mention, I got to show off my favorite baby blue lingerie set, which almost no one ever sees — and wear a necklace that doubles as a vibrator (that’s the Crave Vesper). I was already having a blast before I’d even left.
2. Bonding with a friend
Since I didn’t have a date, I asked a friend if he’d come as my platonic +1 (always good to specify so there are no miscommunications). He and I got the chance to catch up on the ride there, then at the end of the night, I lounged on a bed while he massaged a woman’s feet, enjoying a heart-to-heart with them both about sexual preferences that I likely would not have experienced were he not there. 
Also, there’s no way to bond with a friend like walking from room to room and watching people have sex together.
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3. Meeting remarkable people
The individuals I conversed with over the course of the evening included two porn stars, a lingerie model, someone who got paid by men just to go on dinner dates with them, and a woman whose job for the night was to recline by the pool and entertain guests while dressed as a mermaid.
From this group, I gained a plethora of insights about the porn industry, non-monogamy, the dynamics of sugaring and more. But most of all, I got to be inspired by a bunch of unique people who aren’t afraid to be who they are.
4. Jacuzzi 
Enough said. Of the four or so hours I spent at Snctm, at least three were in a rooftop jacuzzi overlooking downtown LA. The rest of the time was spent in the adjacent pool on the very same roof. After you’ve been working hard all week, what better way is there to spend a Saturday evening than to float around in the water while looking out at a bunch of skyscrapers and some red neon signs reading “JESUS SAVES”?
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5. Intel on how various people have sex
I’m a sex journalist, so of course I’m fascinated by how people have sex — but aren’t we all? As I watched couples, triads and nearly every configuration play, I learned about toys I did not know existed and all the different ways people can enjoy their sexuality. Sex parties are among very few settings where you can be as much of a voyeur as you want. 
Oh, and there was a show where someone sang a song while getting eaten out! I hear a bunch of other things happened in the show, but I was too busy talking to porn stars in the jacuzzi to catch it. 
6. Deep conversations with Uber drivers
Perhaps the highlight of my evening was the ride to the party. The Uber driver overheard me describing an elaborate dream to my +1 and then offered his own interpretation, which led to an illuminating conversation about the unconscious and psychic abilities. 
On the way home, I had an equally deep discussion with my Uber driver — perhaps it was the time of night, or the fact that I’d admitted to attending a sex party, so no topic of conversation seemed off the table. Whatever the reason, we ended up discussing parallel universes, whether time is really linear, and other topics that seem to have a special appeal at 3 a.m.
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If you’re new to sex parties, my advice is to go in looking forward to all the perks above, rather than expecting an amazing hookup to take place. The truth is, you might not have a sexual connection with anyone there, and you don’t want to force anything. What you won’t have to force, though, is the learning experience that comes from being in an environment that stretches your comfort zone.
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