SCENES FROM A SEX PARTY

Maxim - - CONTENTS - By ADAM LINE­HAN

Maxim dives head­first into the new sex­ual un­der­ground.

I’M IN A WARE­HOUSE LOFT IN WILLIAMSBURG, Brook­lyn, a few nights be­fore Hal­loween, sit­ting un­com­fort­ably be­tween my friend Erica to my right and a naked cou­ple strug­gling to have sex on the eight inches of avail­able ot­toman to my left. Erica and I are do­ing a rather heroic job of shift­ing our gaze to just about any­where in the room but at our feet, where a pretty brunette in what’s left of a Dorothy cos­tume (ruby slip­pers) ser­vices a grin­ning, half-naked cow­boy in a Stet­son and not much else. Be­yond them, a few dozen beds lined up like some kind of Hierony­mus Bosch ver­sion of a Sleepy’s show­room play host to sex­ual sit­u­a­tions of vary­ing size and gen­der com­bi­na­tions: girl-boy; girl-girl-boy; boy-girl-boy; girl-girl; girl-girl-girl; and, on the large, sweat-drenched mat­tresses at the cen­ter of the room, girl-boy-girl-girl-girl­girl-girl-boy-boy-girl-boy (I think). A low­grade funk moves through the place like a

Up­scale, in­vi­ta­tion-only or­gies are sweep­ing the na­tion’s top cities. They’re way hot­ter, more ex­clu­sive, and less freaky than the old sex clubs of yore. But what re­ally makes these naked bac­cha­nals tick?

ris­ing weather sys­tem.

“I’m gonna get some air,” I say, stand­ing sud­denly. Erica stands, too, and when she does the ot­toman see­saws, dump­ing the bare-assed con­joined cou­ple onto the floor. “Oh, oh!” the woman cries, her big, Kar­dashian-like mane spilling over her face. A few peo­ple laugh. The man looks around, red-faced, his white but­tocks il­lu­mi­nated in the loft’s weird blue light. Then, af­ter maybe 10 sec­onds of hes­i­ta­tion, the two re­claim the di­van and carry on with the same reck­less fer­vor as be­fore.

For many, “sex clubs” con­jures up im­ages of leath­ery swinger types per­form­ing pas­sages from the Ka­ma­su­tra in clouds of patchouli smoke. But plenty has changed since your Un­cle Howie was do­ing the jel­ly­fish at Plato’s Re­treat. The mod­ern re­al­ity: A new crop of in­vi­ta­tion-only sex par­ties, lo­cated in big cities across the U.S. and Europe, is ex­pand­ing ex­po­nen­tially by re­plac­ing the old swingers model with some­thing more up­scale, more ex­clu­sive, more at­trac­tive, less emo­tion­ally scar­ring, and specif­i­cally tar­geted to the in­stant­grat­i­fi­ca­tion ethos of a gen­er­a­tion weaned on Tin­der and text mes­sage hookups. But what re­ally makes these naked shindigs tick? My goal: in­fil­trate, as­sess, and maybe even par­tic­i­pate, all in the fine name of glossy magazine jour­nal­ism.

Chem­istry, a New York–based “pro­ducer of erotic par­ties,” and the host of the pre-hal­loween bash, is one of a hand­ful of mem­bers-only par­ty­ers in the city mar­ket­ing them­selves as play­grounds for the young, beau­ti­ful, and “sex­u­ally en­light­ened.” “I don’t like the term swinger be­cause it harks back to the ’70s and the misog­y­nis­tic prac­tice of wife swap­ping,” says “Ken­nyBlunt,” a mys­te­ri­ous dude in his early 40s who says he started Chem­istry with his then girl­friend in 2006 af­ter the two be­came dis­en­chanted with the lo­cal swingers scene, find­ing it awk­ward, poorly or­ga­nized, and dis­con­cert­ingly male-cen­tric. “A lot of our mem­bers are just get­ting out of col­lege— mainly cou­ples and sin­gle women. As or­ga­niz­ers, our job, first and fore­most, is to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where women feel very com­fort­able.”

The first step: Cu­rate the hottest—and least creepy—crowd you could ever hope to find your­self in a room with naked. Af­ter e-mail­ing Chem­istry a re­quest for an ap­pli­ca­tion, my next-door-neigh­bor “dates” Erica and Katie and I are sent dig­i­tal ques­tion­naires, along with re­quests for “G-rated” pho­tos. (Erica and Katie thank­fully push that a bit.) The ques­tions range from straight­for­ward (“What decade were you born in?”) to prob­ing (“What’s your fa­vorite non­sex­ual hobby?”) to cos­mic (“What’s your phi­los­o­phy on sex?”).

Af­ter two days of wait­ing, I be­gin to worry about what a re­jected ap­pli­ca­tion will do to my ego. But the fol­low­ing day, we re­ceive a “for-your-eyes-only” e-mail re­veal­ing the time and lo­ca­tion of the party. The price for three of us is $170: $150 for Erica and me as a cou­ple (which we’re not; sin­gle guys are a no-go) and $20 for Katie to tag along. Later, Ken­nyBlunt ex­plains the vet­ting process to me. “We’re look­ing for creative, thought­ful peo­ple…. But if we have an ap­pli­cant whose an­swers sort of suck but is drop-dead gor­geous, it’s like, OK, this will be good for the party.”

It’s 10:30 p.m. when we ar­rive at the non­de­script door of a ware­house in a newly de­vel­oped por­tion of Brook­lyn’s hip­ster mecca. With trick-or-treat­ing days away, the party is chris­tened Freaky Fri­day, and guests have been en­cour­aged to dress ac­cord­ingly. Out of sheer lazi­ness, we show up in nor­mal go­ing-out at­tire. Af­ter a se­cu­rity guard checks our IDS, we step into a near-pitch-black room where we sign waivers and are ush­ered past a black cur­tain into the party. “En­joy!” says a buxom, blond were­wolf, hand­ing us gift bags con­tain­ing con­doms and mints.

We find our­selves in a cav­ernous, con­cert-like space, with about 200 peo­ple crowded in front of a stage watch­ing a slen­der woman in a glossy, skintight dress do­ing some kind of X-rated stand-up. The ra­tio of girls to guys is im­pres­sive—some­where in the ball­park of 60:40—and ev­ery­one’s pretty much straight out of the young Brook­lyn nightlife play­book. We take a mini tour. Here’s what we see: a well-stocked bar, a nicely ap­pointed snack ta­ble, a pair of metal stair­cases lead­ing to an open loft filled with rows and rows of beds. Here’s what we don’t see: Fuck­ing. Grop­ing. Not so much as a sur­rep­ti­tious hand job or flashed boob.

We lo­cate Ken­nyblunt (“KB to my friends”) dur­ing the next per­for­mance: a girl not much big­ger than a Kee­bler elf twirling fire fans while a pair of gi­ant torches shoot flames from her chest. “Man, if she burns this place down, we’re screwed,” he says. KB is a solidly built Mid­west­erner; with his top hat and skull-painted face, he re­sem­bles a stocky Alice Cooper. “The party needs time to build,” he tells us. “It’s like a pot heat­ing up—ev­ery­one talks and drinks and gets to know each other. But you’ll see, the

FOR MANY, “SEX CLUBS” CON­JURES UP IM­AGES OF LEATH­ERY SWINGER TYPES PER­FORM­ING KAMA SU­TRA IN CLOUDS OF PATCHOULI SMOKE. BUT PLENTY HAS CHANGED SINCE YOUR UN­CLE WAS DO­ING THE JEL­LY­FISH AT PLATO’S RE­TREAT.

mo­ment the show ends, ev­ery­one’ll re­mem­ber why they came here.”

Sure enough, dur­ing the fi­nal act—a by-the-num­bers zom­bie bit star­ring a blood­spat­tered girl in a nightie wield­ing a sev­ered arm—the crowd, as if on silent cue, be­gins trick­ling away in twos and threes, van­ish­ing in a steady stream up the stairs.

Pumps are kicked off. Zip­pers are unzipped. Sexy Ebola Nurse cos­tumes are dis­carded in yel­low and white heaps. Thongs, box­ers, and lacy bras are dropped mid­stream, lead­ing to beds like bread-crumb trails. In a mo­ment, the vibe has switched from Williamsburg-hip­ster-bar to direc­tor’s-cut-of- Caligula. The orgy is un­der way.

And a cou­ple of hours later, it’s still un­der way. I’ve been drink­ing all night, work­ing up the nerve to join in on the fun. But how, ex­actly? Erica and Katie have bailed, com­plain­ing about the lack of at­trac­tive sin­gle men. I de­cide to stick around, and now I’m seated on that same ot­toman, chat­ting up a cou­ple who’ve gra­ciously in­vited me to join them for the re­main­der of the party. “We were hook­ing up in the other room, and it was just way too crowded,” says Laura, a dark-haired beauty dressed like a De­pres­sion-era gang­ster, com­plete with bowler cap, blue pin­stripe minidress, and black thigh-high stock­ings. “I kept get­ting el­bowed in the face.” She’s in her late 20s and owns an In­ter­net com­pany. Her boyfriend, David, also in his late 20s, is an ex­ec­u­tive at a big New York fi­nan­cial firm. Six months ago, Laura first heard about the sex par­ties and sug­gested they try them out. “I’m the luck­i­est guy in the world be­cause she doesn’t want to sleep with other guys—just girls,” David tells me. “Most peo­ple we’ve met do­ing this are highly ed­u­cated, suc­cess­ful, and per­son­able. They’re peo­ple with regular lives, just like us.”

David and Laura are, hands down, the best-look­ing cou­ple here. A few min­utes into our con­ver­sa­tion, two girls who’ve been eye­ing Laura from across the room join us. One, a curvy blonde in her mid-20s, wears noth­ing but red lace un­der­wear and a red vel­vet cloak draped over her shoul­ders, and, not sur­pris­ingly, in­tro­duces her­self as Red Riding Hood. The other, a tall brunette whose name I don’t catch, is dressed as a Ger­man bar­maid, pig­tails and all. They want to know if Laura wants a mas­sage. She does. Within sec­onds, Laura is supine on a ta­ble, be­ing rid­den by Red Riding Hood, while Bar­maid Helga kisses Laura’s neck. Not sure what to do, I fol­low David’s lead. He po­si­tions him­self on one side of the ta­ble, and I stand on the other, and we be­gin run­ning our hands along Red Riding Hood’s up­turned ass and thighs. My heart is rac­ing. This is how it hap­pens, I think. When David pulls off his shirt and throws it on the floor, I do the same. And when he starts mas­sag­ing Laura’s thighs, I do, too.

The next few min­utes are a blur—a sweaty tan­gle of limbs and fin­gers and tongues and nip­ples. It winds up like this: Red Riding Hood grabs my head and be­gins pulling it down to­ward Laura’s nether re­gions. While mov­ing south, I shoot David a glance. “Is this cool?” I say. “Yeah,” he says, grin­ning. “Of course.” Laura is clearly into it, too. I take a breath and dive in, and now I’m 100 per­cent cer­tain this is go­ing to es­ca­late into a full-blown five-way. Then the lights start blink­ing on and off. What the fuck? I look up—ev­ery­one, Laura es­pe­cially, looks star­tled. I glance at my watch: 2 a.m. The party is sup­posed to go un­til 3. A gen­eral sense of con­fu­sion set­tles over the room, and ev­ery­one is grum­bling and reach­ing for their clothes. I pull my shirt back on, feel­ing em­bar­rassed it came off in the first place. A guy dressed as a Tro­jan sol­dier ap­pears at the door. “Hey, sorry about that, guys!” he shouts. “A mis­take! Party on—we’re go­ing un­til 3!” But it’s too late. The buzz has been mer­ci­lessly killed. “Let’s get out of here,” Helga says with a sigh, and as a group we de­scend the stairs.

At the bar, I or­der a shot, feel­ing as if I’ve reached the pin­na­cle of sex­ual frus­tra­tion. David puts a hand on my shoul­der. “We’re all think­ing about go­ing some­where else,” he says. “What do you think?” Yes! I turn back to the bar­tender, telling him to hurry with the te­quila. I down it in a sin­gle gulp and turn, ex­pect­ing to see my new friends wait­ing for me. They’re not. Through the black cur­tain at the en­trance, I see a flash of bril­liant red. I rush to the door into the crisp Williamsburg night. I look left: noth­ing. I look right: Halfway down the block, I see the sil­hou­ette of Laura’s bowler cap duck­ing into a cab. I want to yell, “Wait for me!” But I don’t. As the cab re­cedes into the dis­tance, I light a cig­a­rette and be­gin the long walk home. ■

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