There’s nothing like a good sex party, depending on what floats your boat. Specific sex-positive spaces have been around for a long time in Toronto — parties just for men, for fetish communities, trans folks and admirers, for swingers, for nudists, and on and on.
But according to Toronto organizer Akio Maroon, play parties and bathhouses continue to be uncomfortable landscapes for many people whose bodies don’t fit into rigid societal norms of beauty. That’s why she created Grind, a sexy event series especially for queer and trans people who identify as black, mixed-race, indigenous or of colour.
“There isn’t really a venue for POC [people of colour] folks to enjoy our sexualities in an open space, where there’s no sense of criticism or the burden of certain stereotypes,” explains Maroon, who began the party in January and is hosting the fourth — the blacklight-themed Blackout edition — in October.
Beyond its safe-space mandate, a crucial part of Grind’s mission is to promote safer sex and informed consent. The party space is thus divided into a dancefloor area and a VIP play area, giving people a choice of how to engage. Guests can also take part in a workshop on consent and how to make condom and dam use sexy, which includes live demonstrations.
“The idea is to make safer sex fun, interesting, sexy and easy to do,” Maroon says.