“I’m really nervous,” I told Brad on the drive to our first sex party last weekend.
Brad admitted he was nervous too. We considered turning around and going home, but we’d already bought our tickets and had been excited all week to finally see what these “play parties” were all about.
We walked into a circle of people sitting Indian style on mats and pillows on the living room floor. Many of them were in their 50s and 60s, with a handful of 30-somethings like us.
The host was a very kind woman (we’ll call her Mary) who did her best to put us all at ease. She and her male partner (we’ll call him Paul) talked about how they almost ran out the door screaming at their first play party. She talked about her religious background and her path to sexual and spiritual freedom. Paul led us through some Qigong exercises to get our stagnant chi (life energy) flowing. And then Mary led us through some ice breaker activities like hugging, dancing and practicing making requests and responding with a clear yes or no.
We broke into groups of three – me accidentally paired up with two strange older men and Brad with an older male/female couple. First we took turns acting out different scenes with each other – me a female guitar teacher seducing my student with one of the men, me on a third date at the movies with the other man and finally a scene where the two men pretended to be coworkers admitting their attraction to each other for the first time.
Afterward, one of the men in our group asked if we would care to engage in a “cuddle puddle” – I accepted for a few minutes and then excused myself, saying I needed to go check-in with Brad and make sure he wasn’t freaking out.
I found Brad in the living room giving the older woman a back massage. I couldn’t tell if he was comfortable or not, so I used my secret code phrase – “I’m thirsty.” He said he’d come with me to get some water.
In the kitchen we poured ourselves some wine and then retreated to the bathroom. “Are you ok?” I asked. “Yeah, I think so, are you?” he asked. “Yeah, I think so.” I told him how the old men were already dive bombing me like hawks, and said I’d like to stay near him in case I got in an uncomfortable situation.
But somehow we ended up separated again, him in the living room and me in the kitchen mesmerized by a gay couple giving each other blow jobs on massage tables. A tall, older British man and his wife of 15 years struck up a conversation with me over the snack counter. I told them how Brad and I had opened up our relationship a couple of years ago, about how uncomfortable Brad had been about my formerly sexual relationship with our roommate Ben (Brad’s best friend) and how I thought he might be more comfortable witnessing me have sex with a stranger than a friend.
Soon Edmond (the British man) was standing behind me with his arms wrapped around me, caressing my breasts through my brown silk dress (he asked, and I gave my verbal yes, as required by the party rules). By the time a third bisexual man joined the gay couple’s 69 circle, Edmond found a smooth way to verbally request (although I don’t remember the words) inserting his fingers in my vagina. “Yes,” I said, feeling surprisingly aroused by the homo-erotic scene unfolding in front of me.
I became immediately wet with the first plunge of his fingers. It’s every day a proper-looking British man is forward enough to make such a request… certainly not in front of gay men having sex and various other combinations of group sex happening all around us. I’d never experienced anything so surreal.
After a few minutes of pleasure, I panicked and said I needed to go check on Brad again. Edmond asked if he was bi-sexual. I said not that I know of, but maybe bi-curious. I went and lay down on a few yoga mats in the living room with Brad. We wanted to just lay there for a while and take in all the fascinating things happening around us, but the strange men were in full hunting mode, requesting to join us every couple of minutes. We kept saying no thank you, we just wanted to watch for a while, but soon Edmond came walking in fully erect in tight black underwear.
In introduced him to Brad and felt obliged to allow him to lie down beside us. Soon, he convinced us to take a tour with him of what was happening in all the other rooms. Not wanting to be rude, we did.
We came to a room where an attractive younger woman with long, black hair and black leather bracelets was passionately riding her boyfriend on a queen-sized bed. Several of us stood around and watched and the seasoned exhibitionists perform. We were grateful for the viewing and they seemed energized by the audience.
Brad and Edmond were both down to their underwear by this time, and Edmond was caressing my back. I figured now might be a good time to play out a scene I’d been longing to play out with Brad and Ben for months. Following the rules, I asked if either of them would mind if I got down on my knees. Neither of them objected, so I removed their underwear, placed a hand around each penis and went back and forth sucking one then the other, one then the other.
Brad didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much as I hoped he would, at all. Edmond asked if we’d like to go lie down somewhere in another room. “What about here, next to them?” I said, pointing to a space on the bed near the black leather couple. Edmond wasted no time lying down, but Brad wanted no part of it. “You guys enjoy yourselves, I’m going to walk around,” he said. “Are you sure?” I pleaded with him a few times to stay, but I knew his mind was made up.
Just as we were looking for a condom, Edmond’s wife – a petite, yet slightly plump, grandmotherly type – walked in and produced one for us. I asked her if she was ok with everything. She smiled with friendly, glittering eyes and assured me she was. She seemed almost glowing with happiness for him.
Although I wasn’t exactly physically attracted to him, a strange part of me felt gratification in giving him what seemed to be a great amount of pleasure. He seemed so grateful to touch me, I felt like I was giving him – and strangely even his wife – a gift.
He showed surprising stamina for a man his age, which I later discovered was thanks to Viagra. At one point I almost wished he’d get it over with as I wasn’t used to having sex with condoms and was starting to get uncomfortable. I switched to the top for a while. By the time he got back on top, I had a better view of the couple next to us. The woman was back on top and her excitement was starting to escalate. Her moaning got me going again. Edmond instructed me to “stimulate myself” – so I reached down and rubbed my own clitoris as hard and fast as I could, while he thrust harder and slower.
The more excited she got, the more excited I got. We were feeding on each other’s energy. I only wished I’d had the courage to reach over and touch her breasts. Soon, another man came over and asked if I could use a hand. I said sure and allowed him to take over my clitoral massage, while I rode the waves to orgasm with the woman next to us until I couldn’t take it anymore. I pushed Edmond off for a moment while I got a hold of myself.
I wanted to bring him to climax too, to be fair, but I felt a strong urge to go find Brad. I found him talking to a woman in the hallway about how uncomfortable he was feeling. I was out of my mind from the adrenaline, from the strangeness of it all, and unintentionally said something he thought was embarrassing. He disappeared. I searched the house and yard for him before finding a message on my phone saying he was on his way home.
Apparently he’d been extremely uncomfortable the whole time. I’d been in such a mind-altered state, I was totally oblivious to how loud I was being during sex with Edmond, and how awful that must’ve made Brad feel. His fight or flight response kicked in and he decided to get the hell out as fast as he could.
Luckily a friend there was able to drive me home, but the last 48 hours have been rough. Brad’s been in shock, alternating between silence and anger. We finally talked this morning and sorted out some of our emotions. We realized that neither of us was remotely prepared for what we’d signed up for.
Mary had encouraged us all to set boundaries – to say “no” to a request of any kind unless we felt like responding with a “hell yes.” But Brad and I realized in retrospect we said “yeah” or “ok” to a lot of things we weren’t excited about at all, including simply accepting invitations to be grouped with people we weren’t drawn to for the opening exercises. I was uncomfortable with the acting scenes and the cuddle puddle. He was uncomfortable massaging and kissing the elderly woman he was grouped with, and he was in agony during the joint blow-job session and while I had sex with Edmond, even though he’d verbally encouraged it.
Later he said he’d only encouraged that we enjoy ourselves without him, because he wanted an out. He wanted to run and that seemed like the politest way to do it.
I’ve experienced conflicting emotions for the last two days as well, the most overwhelming being shame. Both of us admitted to being bogged down by this emotion this morning. While we both experienced excitement, arousal and physical pleasure during the party, we simultaneously and subsequently experienced an extreme amount of shame.
Shame from our culture, shame based on what we imagined our families would think and self-imposed shame. Currently I’m attempting to embrace and nurture both the part of me that feels embarrassed, uncomfortable and small, and the part of me that felt free, wild and open the other night. I’m trying to honor and empathize with Brad’s feelings while not blaming or shaming myself for triggering them.
It’s a long process for all of us to undo thousands of years of cultural conditioning designed to make us feel guilty for our natural instincts. Patience and baby steps on our journey to bliss!