3 min

Lube is not a take-home gift

Learning how to throw a sex party

PARTY FAVOURS. Writer Shaun Proulx finds that being a good host means making your orgy guests feel comfortable. Credit: Kris Rochard

Sex parties are de rigeur lately and even the AIDS Committee Of Toronto is getting in on the action. As part of AIDS Awareness Week, ACT hosted its Sexploration series to help men who have sex with men “explore their sexual horizons.”

The pamphlet for one workshop asked: “Wanna throw the fiercest sex party? Explore your WHORE-rizons in a titillating conversation on party planning. Tips and tricks: Things Martha would never tell you. Snacks and refreshments.”

The Sexploration series was aimed at encouraging men to investigate sexuality’s myriad facets, without openly promoting discussion around safer sex, though, ACT being ACT, there’s hope it will have that effect.

Wondering if an AIDS organization’s workshop on orgy-throwing would be a sexy experience, I decided to RSVP. When it comes to the low-down on a ho-down, does an underlying safe-sex message give or take away credibility?

ACT was welcoming “slut-positive and orgy virgins,” a description that didn’t speak to the 35-year-old in me, and this slut is positive he’s no orgy virgin. But I’m always eager to improve upon my skills as a host.

The location for the sexual soirée, only revealed upon registration, was a village coffee-house, providing a twist on the usual klatch witnessed by regulars, I’m sure. In attendance was a fairly fresh-faced keener crowd of 20 or so people, most younger than me and many of whom had never been to a sex party. Others had, and were now working towards holding their own bonk bash.

All of them wanted to play the numbers game and no one was shy about it. Picture chatting about gang-bang sex around a big camp fire, with guys wearing GAP.

A sample invitation handed out was for a safe-sex party – which is what many parties initially claim to be – and there were handy tips on where to leave supplies of condoms (lots at floor level). There were also tips such as remembering to consider pets and allergies, avoiding certain lubes you’ll never get off your floors, asking guests not to over-accessorize and greeting someone you know at a sex party (what happened to “Wanna fuck?”).

As mandated, there was no safe-sex preaching from the ACT facilitator. But voiced or not, it’s hard to avoid a 20-year-old message. An hour after the workshop concluded, group discussion continued and included issues like HIV status disclosure at sex parties, an example of how their efforts did payoff.

The Sexploration initiative beats re-working educational messages for ad nauseum repetition – show me the man who doesn’t tune out nagging – but for an AIDS organization to produce a useful and entertaining how-to without harm reduction seeping in seems unavoidable.

Blame the “how-to” element. While I was merely an attendee at the orgy workshop, I was a panelist at a Sexploration event earlier in the week called Raw Sex, speaking of my experience interviewing men who bareback for a recent piece I wrote for Xtra. Raw Sex was an equally relaxed and open event, but it was no how-to. As such, ACT’s Raw Sex forum stepped off the treadmill idea that men shouldn’t bareback and skipped to the fact that they do.

If you take ACT and its message out of the picture though, you’d get a sex party host like my friend Brad, who, were he to hold his own workshop, would never broach offering a message about wrapping dick; where is the gay man in our society today who hasn’t heard about safer sex?

“There are lots of condoms at my parties. Whether they get used is not up to me,” says Brad. He says he’s yet to host or attend a party that is 100 percent safe. When I tell him that an ACT workshop attendee suggested a monitor to ensure safer sex was practised, he rolls his eyes.

Practically speaking though, did I get the 411 needed to throw my best fuck-fest ever? I made notes like a good student.

• There are all kinds of sex parties: men only, women only, pansexual, trans inclusive, chemical free, anonymous, safe sex (or not), BDSM parties and parties including various communities and cultures. Being inclusive is a nice theory, but Brad thinks invitees to a sex party should be people of similar minds

• If you expect to play at your own party, don’t. Hosting is work that requires time and sobriety; you can’t be off sipping G and eating ass

• As for lube, condoms and other supplies, ACT’s message was obviously that they should be everywhere. But that gets expensive and people can be unappreciative, says Brad. He now asks for an upfront donation towards supplies, recalling once buying a $60 vat of lube with a pump, only to see guests lining up to top up their personal lube bottles before going home

• Take a cue from the club scene with a defined chill-out space to mentally, emotionally and physically re-charge. The kitchen is one idea; hard surfaces and sharp objects make sex unlikely to happen there

• Usually the rule is clothes off at the front door, or at least strip to your jockstrap. So have plastic bags ready to store guest’s clothes, with tape and a marker to ID each one. Brad adds that more than five guests means someone should monitor valuables to avoid guests getting fucked over while getting fucked

• What happens at the party should stay at the party. Brad complains that’s hard to achieve. “For some reason Toronto guys need to be taught how to keep their mouths shut.”

* Shaun Proulx can be reached at