I hold sex parties, and at every sex party, it seems like some guy messes up and pisses off some woman. In most cases, he is a perfectly nice and not at all creepy fellow who just screwed up slightly while following his instincts. Men of the naughty party world: I’m here to tell you that when it comes to sex and play parties, your instincts are wrong.
Have you ever been that guy? Have you ever felt awkward at a play party? Have you ever said something at one of these parties and totally regretted it later? Have you ever made a really clumsy and bad come-on? Have you ever annoyed a woman at a party? Have you ever gone home with a severely deflated ego after a party that just did not go right? I have done most of these things, and after a number of years of experience in the scene, I have mostly learned how to get my groove on at these parties in a manner that makes me happy and does not piss off anyone I am interested in. This did not come naturally to me, but was learned through trial and error.
To help other guys who have problems negotiating the party scene, I have put together this handy list of guidelines that will make these parties better for you and the people around you. I made up these rules specifically for men attracted to women, but they also work pretty well for men attracted to men, and those of us attracted to both.
Without further adieu, how to not be that guy, in twelve simple rules:
1) Avoid that desperate, needy, overstimulated feeling. There is a certain mode that guys get into at play parties, that can be summed up as desperately desiring play, so much so that actually negotiating play becomes difficult or impossible. It is this simultaneous feeling of entitlement and need that causes men to act rude at these parties. Other people can sense this mindset and will avoid it like the plague.
So, be confident and happy. Be satisfied whether or not you play, and no matter how the play goes. Do not think of a play party like a sexual or kinky menu that is available for your pleasures. Instead, think of it as a social event, where people just happen to be doing naughty things. And if you feel the desperate feeling coming on, do what you have to to avoid it, even if that means backing off from the sexual or kinky aspects of the party. Experienced players typically have this trick down, and will come across as happily social and at home, even at the most frolicsome of parties.
2) Do not touch without asking. Most of you already know this, but you may not realize the extent of this rule. I mean no touching, at all, ever. No light taps on the shoulder. No sitting down right next to someone on the couch. The one exception might be hugs (because I live in California), but even they are more restricted than usual: only hug your friends only when they are clothed, and keep the hug brief and formal.
This may seem a little counter-intuitive to you. Why would there be *less* allowable physical contact at a party which is all about the physical contact? Well, that’s the exact problem. If you touch someone casually at work, at a bar, at a party, or just in everyday life, there is no expectation that the touching will go anywhere. At a sex or play party, sex is heavy in the air, and any touching carries a sexual meaning. So just lay off. If and when you get into some nookie, there will be plenty of touching. Save it for the nookie.
3) Do not expect that you will play with strangers. Really, do not expect that you will play with anyone if you have not arranged it in advance (see #4 below), even if they are your friends and acquaintances. Sex and BDSM play are very intimate acts, even at a play party. Just because someone comes to the party with the intent of getting naked and dirty does not mean that they will want to do it with you. I think men new to the scene have this idea that they will walk through the door and suddenly hordes of women will descend on them. It is just not true.
Now, ridding yourself of the expectation that you will get some action at a party may be more difficult than you think. It is easy to get your hopes up. Do whatever mental gymnastics are required. If this means acting and thinking as if you definitely will not play at the party, so be it. This particular trick has been incredibly useful for me – in an ironic twist of fate, some of my best stranger play has happened precisely because I assumed it would not.
4) Make sure you will be entertained. Most of the time you are at the party, you will not be getting it on. What are you going to do during that time? If you get bored and twitchy, then you will fall afoul of rule #1. Perhaps the best way to ensure entertainment is to BYOB: Bring Your Own Booty. Make sure that you negotiate with your Booty pre-party, so that you both go in with matching expectations. Another good way to stay entertained is to socialize all night, which means coming with a group of friends or going to a party where you will know a lot of people. Yet another method is by volunteering: this is a great way to fill the time, meet people, and help the party.
5) Come on to people in a non-threatening way. When actually saying what you want to say, be brief and direct: a quick expression of desire is much more comfortable than beating around the bush. Also, do not expect an immediate response. The word “later” is your good friend. Asking someone to come find you later if they are interested will reduce the pressure on them, which in turn means they are more likely to play with you. The standard play party proposition goes something like: “I have been checking you out tonight, and you seem very cool. If you are interested in playing, come find me later.”
Try not to suggest specific sex acts, unless they are somehow creative and nonthreatening (see #8). Otherwise you are assuming that you know what the other person is into, and this is often considered rude even if you are right. Instead, see what they are into and try to figure out what you can do for them. Similarly, do not compliment specific body parts. If you want to compliment someone, compliment their style, their actions, or their overall appearance.
Also, it is generally a good idea to walk away from someone fairly soon after you have hit on them, assuming they do not jump all over you or immediately start leading you to a comfortable spot. This keeps things from getting uncomfortable if they are not interested, and takes the pressure off if they want to think things over. It also is a key piece of acting confident, making it clear that you will not be a crushed little puppy if they do not play with you.
If someone says that they are not up for playing for situational reasons, but they make it clear that they are interested in playing with you, then smile and be flattered, and consider approaching them at a future party (per #12 below).
Also, you do not want to be that guy who hits on everyone at the party. If you find yourself approaching and being rejected by a number of people, stop and reassess your situation. Consider stepping back and waiting for others to come to you, as in rule #8 below. If this is an ongoing problem, give yourself a hard limit. For example, do not hit on more than three people at one party.
6) Try not to swoop down upon people. This is a corollary of #5 that deserves its own bullet point. Do not corner them or come on to them when they are intent on doing something (see #9 below), or when they are busy. It is best to proposition people whom you have already been socializing with, or someone that you already know. Coming on to a stranger is fine, but when doing so respect their space, use the word “later” (as in #5), be brief and to the point, and then if the other person does not suggest immediately playing, walk away.
7) Be flexible, in choice of people and acts. Part of the allure of play parties is that you can casually play with people that you would not normally date. So, if you normally carry around a specific set of standards for people you date, drop them for the party. Instead, consider who and what is turning you on in the moment, and try to go with it.
Because these parties are typically somewhat casual, people will tend to shy away from acts they consider more intimate. In mixed-gender sex party situations, this typically means that manual and oral sex are preferred over intercourse. Similarly, it is unlikely that you will get up to that very intense kinky scene you have been fantasizing about, if you are scening with a stranger. So, when negotiating play, do not impose your particular idea of play on the other person. Instead, listen to them and try to come up with something you both would like to do, that might be out of your normal realm of practice. Some of the hottest play is hot specifically because it is surprising and new.
8) Wait for others to proposition you. So far, I have been talking as though men only come on to women at these parties. While this is unfortunately the typical dynamic, it is very loaded and can be difficult to pull off, as rules #5 and #6 suggest. It is often more fun and rewarding to wait for others to come to you. Being patient can be frustrating, but it is a good way to avoid the mindset in #1, and it will spur you to find ways to have fun at the party aside from play.
Even if you are not patient enough to wait for people to proposition you, consider a minor version of this rule where you wait for someone to obviously flirt with you before propositioning them. Not only is this an easy way to avoid rejection, but flirting is fun in its own right.
A corollary to this rule is to play up what makes you interesting or attractive. If the party is a costume or theme party, ask yourself what outfit you could put together that would be fun and sexy. If you have some particular skill that is relevant to the party, try to think of ways to apply it. For example, if you are an expert at pouring drinks, volunteer to work the bar. If you have some interesting sexual ability or proclivity, consider how to apply it in a nonthreatening manner. For example, foot fetishists often offer people free foot massages, and then thank them and walk away. If you can take a fist in your ass, bring someone to do a scene with you, and I guarantee that a number of spectators will want to be your friend afterwards.
Note that being interesting is not an excuse to trot out annoying or problematic habits. If crude jokes or sexist behavior are part of what makes you interesting outside of the parties, then leave them at home.
9) No joining, energy sucking, or masturbating on your own. These parties are not orgies. If someone is involved with a scene, do not ask if you can join. Give them plenty of space, depending on how crowded the party is. Do not stare. If you like what they are doing, wait until they have finished and cleaned up, and then compliment them on it. Do not suggest that they do the same thing with you. If they want to, they will let you know.
Similarly, do not ask others to join you once you have gotten something going, because it tends to short-circuit negotiation. There is nothing wrong with trying to get together a group scene, but it should be negotiated before the scene, and it is very tricky business.
In particular, be very careful if you are trying to arrange a threesome of some sort with two women. Women get these propositions all the time and they are typically sick of them. If this is with someone you are dating, do not have her approach the other woman, and do not approach the woman yourself. Instead, you should approach her together and you should both clearly be interested. Follow all the rules in #5. Also, if this is a persistent fantasy or desire of yours, the best way to do this a lot is to be willing and interested in having lots of threesomes with one woman and two men. Turnabout is fair play.
Also, do not masturbate on your own. The other people at the party have not consented to be your pornographic wank material, and they will get offended, and you may be kicked out. There is nothing wrong with masturbating as part of a scene with others, even just as an observer, so long as it is negotiated in advance. There are parties where masturbation is the point of the party, so if that is your big thing, then go to those parties.
10) Keep your head together. Many parties enforce this rule by banning intoxicants or intoxication. At the parties that allow it, consume in moderation and keep an eye on your own mental state. Or get a sober friend to keep an eye on your mental state. A little bit of intoxication is great for helping people to settle down and enjoy a party, but too much will cause you to break these rules left and right, annoying lots of people and possibly getting thrown out of the party.
This rule also applies to general mental and emotional state. If you find yourself getting social anxiety or otherwise falling into a state which is not appropriate for a party, either find a way to settle down or leave the party. If you were dumped earlier in the day and that is going to turn you into a bear in any social situation, then stay home.
11) Do not throw your dominance or submission around. While you may not consider this behavior to be sexual, other people do, and if you start acting in a D/S manner towards them before negotiating, then you are essentially having nonconsensual sex. Do not do this. Dominance or submission may be part of your nature, but you manage to keep it under wraps in most day-to-day situations, so you can do the same thing at parties. I know it may seem like a good idea to start demanding things of that cute subby type, or to kneel at the feet of that mistress, but it will only piss them off and ruin any chance you had to play with them. Instead, follow all the usual rules in #5 above and save the D/S for the actual scening.
12) Build for the future. Most play party scenes are actually fairly tight-knit communities. If you want to have a lot of play in your life, you should become a part of one or more of these communities, with all that that entails. Plan on going back to the same party a number of times. Volunteer, socialize, meet people, and integrate into the community. Instead of treating the parties like a sexual smorgasbord, treat them as social and community events for a community that just happens to be centered around play. Go to parties whether or not you intend to play that night.
Along similar lines, if you meet someone interesting or attractive, try to take the long view instead of focusing on what you can do right now at the party. Flirt with them in exactly the same way you would if you were meeting at a non-play party and were interested in dating them. (Which is not much of a stretch – often relationships start when people meet at these parties.) Do not get worried that your chance with them will disappear when the party ends; there is always the next party, or you could try to meet them outside of the parties.
This long view has a very interesting side effect, which I call the “coat-check effect”. Some of the most amazing play party hookups do not happen at the party. Instead, people will often catch someone just as they are leaving (say, at the coat check), say that they were sorry they did not get a chance to play, and give them a phone number. The pressure is off because people are putting their clothes on, and this is an easy and nonthreatening way to express interest.
The metaphor I use for this long view is planting seeds of interest. Instead of barrelling into someone’s life at a play party and propositioning them, it is often better to flirt, or make minor remarks, or give them your number. If they are interested as well, you will hear back at some point. If you are patient, some of these seeds will germinate, and eventually you will be part of a web of play buddies grounded in the community.
March 14, 2007 at 1:20 am
I am so very grateful for this post. Women constantly hear about “How to Avoid That Guy” — it’s truly heartening to come across advice aimed directly at That Guy. Thank you for acknowledging That Guy behavior and discussing (accurately and clearly!), with men, how they might avoid it. Thank you, thank you!
March 14, 2007 at 7:07 pm
You’re welcome! Feel free to copy, print out, plagiarize, or otherwise spread around this post (or other posts). I really want to get the word out – I am considering holding a class for men locally.
March 15, 2007 at 5:50 am
one flippant comment –
i once responded very positively to a great guy whole commented on a specific physical aspect of mine. something like “great set of guns” may go over much better than “my, that’s a fine ass.”
March 15, 2007 at 5:52 pm
i once responded very positively to a great guy whole commented on a specific physical aspect of mine.
A lot of the “rules” I’ve listed above are not hard and fast, but rather just good guidelines. There are non-creepy ways to compliment particular body parts (even asses!), but it takes some skill and social ability to do so. When in doubt, it is best avoided.
Masturbating alone is something else that can be done well or badly, but is usually done badly. Doing it well requires focusing inward and basically running a one-person scene, contributing to the erotic energy of the room instead of feeding off of it.
June 22, 2007 at 3:05 am
This is brilliant, thanks. I’m going to start spreading it around. Consensually, of course. ;-)
July 23, 2007 at 5:53 pm
[…] How to negotiate play parties, for men […]
August 15, 2007 at 5:02 pm
excellent. very thoughtful. thanks!
i have naked parties in dc, and although my website is pretty explicit, i’ve decided recently to add a page about sex party etiquette. will be taking some of your tips for it. thanks again for sharing.
August 15, 2007 at 5:47 pm
Dave: Glad it was helpful!
September 13, 2007 at 8:54 am
Thanks for this — it’s useful for us girls too, especially the part about how to approach people. I was looking for what to say that would indicate interest without seeming pushy or putting people ill-at-ease — your suggestion is spot-on.
Regarding the “planting seeds” concept — I see it in exactly the same way. My other preferred metaphor of friendly/sexual interest is “acorns”. I travel a lot, so will sometimes meet cool people in random places. If I don’t get a chance to get to know them better on the spot, it’s an acorn that goes into the hidey-hole. If I get a chance to come back to the same tree later a few months later, I’ll check and see whether the acorn’s still there, so to speak (i.e. we’re both interested and available). If so, I’ll try to get to know them better; if not, c’est la vie. Sounds kind of hippy-dippy when it’s all written down — that’s ok, I’m a tree-hugger =)
September 13, 2007 at 6:56 pm
You’re welcome, and I’m glad this is useful across gender.
Of course, these days, I seem to be taking the “planting seeds” thing too far, and I’m having trouble following up or responding when others follow up. I guess the next thing for me to work on is my shyness in these situations. =)
January 2, 2008 at 9:33 pm
This is brilliant. I really, really like it.
January 2, 2008 at 10:21 pm
[…] 2 January 2008 — devastatingyet This is from February, but Freaksexual’s post “How to negotiate play parties, for men” is brilliant. I find the advice relatively gender-neutral, […]
January 3, 2008 at 1:51 pm
This is so wonderfully written and so helpful, mind if I post it in one of the bdsm community I moderated on LJ? Of course I will credit you and provide a link to your page.
You know you could easily do this as a presentation/class in a bdsm convention.
January 3, 2008 at 6:44 pm
Mz. Carmen: You are welcome to repost this wherever.
I have been thinking of doing a presentation on this, but my current priority is doing the “practical kinky nonmonogamy” workshops at kink conferences. Perhaps I’ll add this at some point in the future.
January 3, 2008 at 7:40 pm
great, actually I been reading a lot of your essays and the community I moderate is No Drama BDSM on Lj. If you join I’ll grant you posting privleges.
I am going to post this essay and link back here for others. Thank you very much ;-)
I do attend quite a bit of conferences, so I will be on the lookout for you.
January 3, 2008 at 9:01 pm
Excellent information for ANYONE at a play party. I’m taking you at your word and spreading this around. I will be sure to link people here.
I agree with other posters, you should consider presenting this!!
January 4, 2008 at 8:26 pm
Steve: Welcome! And I’m glad you liked it. I’ll see what I can do about molding this into a presentation.
January 7, 2008 at 11:48 am
This is very useful – I plan to link it to a number of people. :)
January 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm
January 7, 2008 at 8:52 pm
You hit the nail on the head……excellent and very accurate advice!
January 7, 2008 at 11:39 pm
I help coordinate events and find myself giving out advice like this regularly. A line I use a lot is “Congratulations, you made it into the sex party! Now prove you can talk about any other topic.”
I actually use your last point (#12) as my opening point. It takes time to learn to recognize your face, and then to put a name to that face, and even longer to get to know your personality… and after all that you may find out you don’t like the total package that comes with what attracted you to someone else in the first place.
January 8, 2008 at 12:03 am
I’ll contact you via Tribe as well, but that’s blocked here at my work, hence this mode. Might we be able to reprint this (with full credit of course and everything) in the Kink-E-Zine (published out of the Citadel)? Great info for the community . . .
January 8, 2008 at 12:59 am
I’m a straight male and I went out into the bdsm scene where I lived for about a year. I went to every club going and some of the munches.
I can only remember a few brief moments out of dozens of nights that were actually enjoyable. I usually ended up talking to other single males there and I can honestly say that in the UK if you are a single male sub then you are better off staying at home. The scene that I encountered seemed to be entirely made up of tiny little tight groups that spent their time gossiping and backstabbing about each other.
The first munch I went to was cancelled because the organisers had fallen out with each other. The third munch I went to split apart because the organisers fell out with each other (I think there was actually a scuffle in the pub at the time).
One of the clubs I attended a few times ceased to be because the organising committee fell apart.
The gossiping and forum flaming became such that I found it impossible to trust anyone in the scene.
Most of the people there bullshitted through their teeth about how hard they played, how much experience they had, even about non-scene related stuff.
Just so much deception and nurtured bad feeling.
I didn’t go out expecting to play, just to make some new friends that I could talk to about kinky stuff, but even that it seems was far too much to expect.
As for the advice above..good it may be.. but any single male would be far better off taking up a sport instead and finding a club for that. That at least will do you the long term good of getting you fitter if nothing else.
January 8, 2008 at 1:04 am
Excellent article, Pepper!
I worked out #8 and #6 a long time ago, as I hate queueing. (c:
January 8, 2008 at 5:57 am
the ‘no wanking’ rule is why I ( a woman) *don’t* like to attend parties at a local club, and instead prefer to travel elsewhere, where jacking off isn’t treated like a social disease. If I didn’t want to be someone’s live porn, I wouldn’t go to a party where I was being shagged senseless in front of everyone. That’s just me, but I’ve always found the rule offensive, myself. Everyone else gets to be sexually pleasured, but because you want to use your right hand, it’s not ok? Bleh.
I also see too many women at play parties acting as if every guy there is a potential Creepy Stalker. Lists like this, while useful, well, written, and containing good information, tend to encourage that mindset. It also makes it very very hard for men to who might be interested, but shy, to step out of their comfort zone, because they read things like this, and then are amoungst people who are waiting for them to fuck up. Maybe, if there was more leeway and forgiveness when someone does make a misstep, there wouldn’t be this layer of fear.
I would also posit that some of this may be regional or situational. None of the parties I’ve been to would look askew at a polite touch on the shoulder, especially if there is music, and you’re trying to get someone’s attention. I certainly would be taken off guard if I found myself in trouble for touching someone in a casual manner like that.
And if we all followed #8, no one would ever get any playing done! Someone has to make the first move, right?
January 8, 2008 at 6:51 am
Jaded408: Wow, it sounds like you’ve had some lame experiences.
While I have very little experience with scenes in the UK, I do want to throw out that scenes are often very different, even in the same city. Here in SF I keep finding new and totally different kinky scenes with very little overlap. Now San Francisco is special, but I have heard reports from other places that are similar.
Also, around here at least, single guys (subs or not) do pretty well. So there are scenes that make a decent effort welcoming them. In some ways, the unofficial expectations I’ve listed here help, by reducing tension all around and defusing some of the usual gender problems that lead to women (say, women tops) deserting a scene.
So try not to get discouraged. Either there’s a decent scene for you out there, or you have the capability to start your own. Maybe you and a couple other sane folks can put together a munch. It’s really easy – I just started a poly munch in SF and it’s doing pretty well.
January 8, 2008 at 7:07 am
There are some scenes where single guys masturbating has pretty much wrecked a scene, because you can’t do anything without immediately having way too many dicks being rubbed much too close to you. We have one of those here in San Francisco. In these scenes, you have no choice about being a spectacle, and you end up being porn material for someone else’s fantasy whether or not you want to. While some folks are fine with that, most are not.
I think that’s where these rules come from – people have had some experiences like that and choose to ban such things from their scene to prevent it. I agree with you that blanket “no wanking” rules are unfortunate, and we should find some way to change them. However, at the same time there is an unfortunate tendency for guys to view play parties as nothing more than voyeuristic opportunities without taking into account others’ feelings. As I’ve said above in comments, it is entirely possible to masturbate in a play space without causing problems, but it requires a bit of self-awareness. Am I contributing to the energy in this room instead of piggybacking on the pleasure of others? Am I at a respectful distance? Am I not breaking into someone else’s scene? Am I making others uncomfortable?
Now, if all guys who wanted to masturbate at parties thought this sort of thing through, the anti-wanking rules would disappear pretty fast. My big point writing this list was to get the idea into guys’ heads that their behavior in these parties matters, and thinking through your behavior makes everyone happier and more playful. While some guys go into the spiral you describe, where they are too worried about their behavior, I find that most guys (especially when new to the scene) aren’t considering their actions enough.
And sure, women bear some responsibility here. In bad scenes, men (mostly) get too aggressive and women (mostly) get too defensive. I see lots of women working on getting over their defensiveness, which is also important, but at the same time that cannot happen without men working on their aggressiveness, and I don’t see as much of that.
This is indeed regional and scene-specific stuff. (Though touching in a polite manner would also not get you in trouble in my scene – it would just be uncomfortable, which is reason enough not to do it.) It sounds like you’ve been blessed with some good scenes. Where are you?
January 8, 2008 at 7:12 am
Anathema: You are welcome to reprint this in the Kink E-zine, and I’d be happy to work with you on any needed edits. I’ll contact you via tribe.
January 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm
Thanks, this is a very nice article.
I think the main point is that a play party requires the same social skills as most non-sexual parties do. If you can’t talk to a woman without making either of you feel awkward, you won’t be able to do so at a play party. If you can’t escalate a normal social interaction at a bar to kissing or making out, you won’t play with a stranger or a casual aquaintance at a play party.
However, there’s one thing I disagree with. It’s your “don’t touch without asking”-rule, or rather, its rigidity. It may be that I’m experiencing a different situation here in Europe, but in my experience, touching a woman during an interaction is absolutely crucial when going from “just social” to anything more than that.
Of course it takes quite a lot of social calibration, as well as attention to who you’re interacting with, to do comfort-building, non-awkward, nonsexual social touching (and realize wether one can take it further, and when to stop). Sadly, few men have learned this, and a play party is not the right place to start out.
“No touching without asking” will work well as a rulefor That Guy, or men who are prone to fall into this trap, but on the long run, this stops men from acquiring essential flirting skills.
January 9, 2008 at 12:50 am
Christoph: I agree that touching can be done, if the person knows what they are doing, and as you put it, is well calibrated socially.
That said, recently in my own life I have come to understand that men (including me) perhaps rely on touching a bit too much for flirting, and that can turn off people, especially in sexually charged situations. So in my own life I’m working on figuring out how to flirt without touching.
January 9, 2008 at 1:56 am
Any advice on finding a play party in the first place?:)
January 9, 2008 at 8:13 pm
I follow a random link from LJ and find myself at your blog. It’s amazing!
I think you are right on, by the way. It’s nice to see some well-expressed and reasoned advice that goes farther than “don’t be creepy”, which, while understandable, doesn’t do much to help the creepy folks become not creepy.
January 10, 2008 at 5:16 pm
Hi there, I couldn’t find a email address to contact you. Could you please email me? I’d like to use this essay on my BDSM resource site.
January 11, 2008 at 5:23 am
axe: If you are looking for BDSM-related stuff, ask around the kinky folks in your area. There is almost certainly something going on. Even in areas that don’t have official dungeons, people seem to throw small private house parties. There’s probably a scene or two that you don’t know about, and is not advertised, which is therefore invisible even though it could be walking distance from your house.
Or, call on the powers of the internet. Ask around BDSM lists, post on your blog, etc.
January 11, 2008 at 1:00 pm
pepomint: I’m happy to see you’re taking it to the next level, so to speak. It shows a lot of strength and non-neediness to let go of the belief that a man has got to be the one to make the first step in many areas, and personally, I’ve not made it completely yet. I’m very much looking forward to reading more of your blog.
January 11, 2008 at 6:33 pm
A guy on a local mailing list posted this, and all I can say is wow. I wish more people would read this kind of thing and learn some manners.
Oh, one other thing I’ll say, I can’t wait until after the Flea when I’ll have more time to read your blog!
January 12, 2008 at 8:19 pm
[…] you have sex party etiquette questions, check out this smart post by freaksexual. Published […]
January 13, 2008 at 6:15 am
great piece, believe me some girl needs to read this too!..
in many other parties u can get laid, but the aim is usually something different like, new year, birthday, grad vs.. but in those parties situation is different.
here the aim is sex. thats the biggest problem. so ppl think that they have to do it.. or they can do it with anybody… guys act like it is just any other party… that’s the point!!!
May 16, 2008 at 9:25 pm
I know you’ve already said “okay” a hundred times when asked if it’s all right to disseminate this post, but I thought I’d ask anyway/let you know it’s happening again. I’m going to be printing out a few copies for a local kink group’s newcomer drop-in.
Thank you so much for gifting the internets with this no-nonsense, non-judgmental, *sensical* advice. It’s greatly appreciated by those of us who have to watch the etiquette trainwrecks, even if we’re not involved in them.
May 16, 2008 at 9:47 pm
BJ: Thank you! As always, feel free to copy, and I am glad the essay is useful for you.
July 29, 2008 at 1:19 pm
Listen up gals……if you go to a play party with the same attitude that you go to a regular bar….men are pigs…you will accomplish the following;
Demonstrate your appalling lack of understanding of the male sexual dynamic
Turn men off to the scene
Become bored and boring
Attract Madonna/Brittney wannabees who really have no idea what they are doing
So–why are you there in the first place? To put guys down when they approach you? Granted, there are men (and women) who lack the social skills to navigate their way through life–but most are interesting enough to at least try to get to know.
Examine your motives and motivations……brutal honesty is required here.
July 29, 2008 at 11:23 pm
Gillian: I considered deleting your comment, since it is at the very least insulting to women and at the worst sexist. But I decided to leave it up, as an example of the shitty attitudes that men have towards women at sex parties. If your comments descend further towards sexism I will cheerfully delete them or the entire thread.
You are the one demonstrating an appalling lack of understanding, specifically around the social dynamics of play parties.
Most women at play parties are not looking to play with strangers. They typically come with friends or lovers and play with them. And very few of them are there to be available to random guys, which is what you seem to be implying they should be there for.
I have no idea if you are a man or a woman, but your attitude is typical of many men who enter a play party scene. They come in with this badass entitled attitude, as if the women at the party are somehow there to service their personal sexual needs. And you know what happens? Everyone laughs at them or ignores them, or in the worst case they get thrown out. Certainly they don’t have sex with any of these women who they seem to think they own.
Let me make this absolutely clear. Women do not owe you shit. They do not owe you sex or play or love, at play parties or anywhere else. And particularly at play parties, where women tend to be sought after and tend to have lots of other options, they will ignore or ditch guys who think they are owed something.
Women are defensive for a reason, at play parties and elsewhere. They are defensive because jerks with entitled attitudes are constantly bugging them, because they get catcalled and harassed on the street, and because they have to worry about rape. We end up dealing with this defensiveness in the scene, but it comes from the entire culture.
If you have issues with women being defensive in sexual situations, don’t blame the women – blame all the asshole men who made them defensive. Go work for an anti-harassment group or an anti-rape group. When you’ve solved the harassment and rape problems that our culture has, then come back and complain about women being standoffish, and maybe you’ll have an argument. Until then, you don’t.
Turn men off to the scene
Funny! I challenge you to name me one mixed-gender play party scene that consistently has more women than men, or that has more trouble finding men than women to attend. They don’t exist. Turning men off from a scene is never a problem – but turning women off from a scene is.
male sexual dynamic
“Male sexual dynamic” my ass. There is no male sexual dynamic – we’re all different, thank you very much. People who try to excuse men’s bad behavior based on their “male sexual dynamic” are just making excuses.
Examine your motives and motivations
You are the person that needs to examine your motives. Why are you insisting that women make themselves available to men, as if you have some right to dictate their behavior? Why are you defending men who are aggressive or pushy at play parties? What’s your personal stake here? Are you a man who thinks that women should just make themselves available to you? Because what – you’re special or something?
August 24, 2014 at 8:58 am
That reply was amazing. If only more men had the respect – and especially the understanding that you do of women. And if more men did think like this – women would would feel more free and safe to act out whatever their desires might be.
October 23, 2015 at 7:14 am
Awesome reply.. can’t argue with your logic there 😃
July 30, 2008 at 2:40 am
Gillian’s comment is such typical Nice Guy (TM) bullshit.
August 8, 2008 at 10:46 pm
I just followed a link here from Figleaf’s blog. I have never been to a play party. However, I think most of this is excellent advice for parties and clubs in general. Much of this advice is just having good social skills.
November 5, 2009 at 3:52 am
[…] How To Negotiate Play Parties, For Men […]
March 9, 2010 at 3:19 am
Wonderfully written article – dense with great advice. (I found it from a link on Fetlife) I’ll definitely be linking and sharing this in my community as well.
I think setting the expectations is so important – I have things to do and volunteer activities – and so often I hear guys grousing in their little huddle of negativity about the lack of women, lack of sex, lack of whatever. They offer nothing to the community, nothing to a partner and pretty much are just selfish.
For men that get up, contribute, and have something to offer there are always women – as friends, play partners, and lovers. This works for the quiet introverted guy who is just working on a craft and volunteering to stock drinks as well as it does for the handsome extrovert.
Anyone responds to someone who is engaged, present, and active – that is the guy to be.
Thanks for spreading the good word – I know this is going to help a lot of people.
March 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm
I’m glad you liked it!
And I really like your point about contributing. It’s so true that a lot of guys feel entitled to get things from our communities but don’t feel any urge or obligation to pitch in themselves. I will totally mention this in future writing.
October 29, 2010 at 7:40 pm
[…] for men (but really everyone)October 29th, 2010 @ 2:40 pm Polyamory advocate Pepper Mint has a great post on how men can conduct themselves well at play parties. (This advice is secretly good for everyone, actually, not just male […]
November 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm
I was one of those creepy guys at a munch. I sent a message to the event organizer, saying thanks for a great event and I got a reply saying that some of the other guests said I was “Creepy”. I am pretty new to the scene, and that was my second munch where I don’t know anybody.
I pretty much had good time at the play parties I have been to earlier, no body found me creepy. The organizer sent me link to this blog, and after reading this, I could figure out where I messed up and sent out that “THAT GUY” signals to others.
This is indeed a very good essay to bookmark or print and read regularly…
thank you pepomint.
October 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm
Perhaps there should be some rules for females too.