I went to an all-female sex party and here's how I felt about it
11PM, Exmouth Market
It’s late, I’ve just arrived and I’m flying high on mezcal negronis. The smoky bitterness is hitting me right in the middle of the eyes. There is a gold hairpin placed elegantly by my drink, as if it’s a marker of my femininity. A brass key and leather strap lingers beneath and I try to ignore it. I’m not quite sure what it was meant to mean but I felt offended as soon as it was awkwardly tied onto me. It was as if I was branded with novelty. I hated being a tourist. I was not here to explore. I had been here, twice, and it had nothing to do with the lace or the booze or the ticket or the free pass.
Allow me to explain: this journal extract was written about 30 minutes after I fled an all-female sex party. It’s not what I expected; primarily to even be at an all-female sex party (with my boss, no less), or the feelings that arose, or the reaction I had to it. And I definitely didn’t expect to come here; to seek refuge in the one place I have always felt most dangerous.
I’ll rewind a little, for context. Working at a sexual wellbeing company means that your extra-curricular activity might start to shift in a slightly different direction than before. Rather than attending surf movie nights or beach barbecues (I worked for a surf brand, in case you were like ‘who dis’), my evenings have been filled with talks on sexual equality, panel events on the orgasm gap and in this case: a night at a reputable womxn’s sex party where my boss was giving a talk.
Let it be known that this was about a million miles from my comfort zone.
I had been with womxn before (two, to be exact), and it wasn’t the womxn only part which seemed to have me twigged. The idea of stepping into a space where womxn would be dressed in beautiful lingerie, there purely to explore their curiosities, no pretense that this was what they were here for: that scared me.
We took the edge off with negronis before heading to the East London townhouse where the party was being held. In the Uber, I could feel my cheeks reddening and my heart beating fast. I was not an outwardly shy person, and I honestly considered myself quite a sexually open and liberated person (within reason). But there was something off tonight.
We knocked on an unsuspecting green door and the waiting felt like being held in suspense. We heard heels on floorboards approach and the door opened. We slipped in, and my eyes and ears were filled with the colour of the night. Every womxn was dressed in black lace, high heels, some with bunny ears (the theme was Nobody Puts Bunny In The Corner for Easter weekend), all looking beautiful and glamourous. I had opted for a navy silk shirt dress, Heist tights and Blundstone chelsea boots, so you can imagine that I looked a little out of place.
Someone greeted us and tied a piece of black string with a brass key around our wrists.
“So that everyone knows you’re new and to be gentle.”
ALARM BELLS RING.
I’m panicking - what are they going to do? What does gentle mean? Have I just signed myself over to a sex cult?
We walk down the glass stairs (some kinda house) and the voices are struggling to talk over the music, and it is loud. Inside I am clamming up. Someone hands us a drink and I decide to just concentrate on talking to my boss and on drinking this glass of champagne. It goes pretty quick so I grab another.
It’s strange: I think I expected everything to be a little more… seductive. I was looking for the velvet curtains, a chaise-longue, masks and subtle corners of the room where you could sit and observe. It felt more house party than sex party to me.
Perhaps my expectations were too high. I had lofty imaginings of the Playroom in Fifty Shades of Grey, or burlesque debauchery from Gossip Girl, or at least a bit more London glamour like in Secret Diary Of A Call Girl. I felt a little cheated.
We spoke to a few womxn - me avoiding eye contact at all cost and plotting ways of escaping to the bathroom without being seen. My boss did her talk - a glorious call to arms on the empowerment of female sexuality, exploration and curiosity. But I could feel myself panicking. The night’s proceedings were outlined, and over the blood pumping around my ears, I heard the words burlesque show and rooms to explore, and I saw smiles and knowing looks.
I needed to leave.
I quickly said goodbye to my boss and said I had to get out of there. She could see the panic on my face and hugged me goodbye.
I ran up the stairs, grabbed my coat and rushed out of the door - it slammed shut and I let out a huge breath.
It was about 10pm, and the air had a gentle bite to it. I found a bench and took a seat. I felt so reactive - almost annoyed to have been there. I wasn’t sure why I felt so upset or angry: I had explored myself with womxn before, and I have never been one to rule out curiosity. But it was always on my terms.
I immediately texted a number I knew I shouldn’t, and hadn’t for a long time: “This isn’t a booty call, but I just had a weird night. Mind meeting up for a drink?”
Which brings me back to this bar, at 11pm, 30 minutes after I fled an all-female sex party. I sip my mezcal negroni, get out my phone and start writing.
PS: In case you were wondering, the sex party we went to was the intriguing Skirt Club - with locations in London, New York and San Francisco. Check it out and see how you feel - let us know!