I Went to a Swingers’ Sex Party (& Felt Fully Sexually Empowered for the Very First Time)

i went to a swinger s sex party cat

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she needs to fill out her first sex party application. OK, maybe not every woman, but most women. OK, maybe not most women, but some women. OK fine. This woman. I am the woman. I’m Gabby Cicero and this was my very real response to my first sex party application question: What are you looking for?’

I’m three years single. I took a break from relationships to heal and discover parts of myself that were in need of care. I could not have done that in a relationship, but I am now feeling like the wind is back in my sails and I want to explore again and have fun.

Like all epic tales, I have to provide a bit of backstory for context. The fact that I write about sex is proof that the universe has a sense of humor. I grew up around the classic Italian American style of repressed sexuality, traditional gender roles and regulations and the feeling that my body was a problem that had to be solved. Over the course of my adolescence into my adulthood, I struggled with bulimia, sexual orientation confusion (how gay is gay?) and a general sense that my sexuality was something I needed to present perfectly as to avoid any kind of confusion or confrontation with myself or anyone else.

I really just wanted my sexuality to be a simple thing rather than the beautifully varied and ever evolving phenomenon that it is. Of course, the desire to be a perfect little angel became incredibly exhausting and the undoing of that whole desire took lots of time, therapy (EMDR being the most effective) and self-respect to get to a point where I could imperfectly do whatever the hell I want with my body for the sake of joy and to stop being co-dependently attached to what everyone else might think about my life and choices. Phew! OK. Cut to: The Sex Party.

After my healing hiatus, my most perverted friend (high compliment in my book) recommended that I check out a private membership club where sex parties were held in undisclosed luxury settings. Wow I thought. What a cinematic way to rip off the band aid. With an Anthony Bourdain/Lisa Ling sensibility, I set out to better understand myself and other people who desire to attend sex parties. I was open to getting laid, but honestly even more open to finally feeling something new.

Walking in, I was asked to sign a waiver. A 25-year-old in flare jeans holding a clip board asked, “You know what this is, right?” “Yes,” I replied. I signed the paperwork, took a deep breath and walked into the huge Fort Greene loft. The vibes were Luxury Burning Man: neon lighting, heavy bass music and the mildly triggering smell of modern American hippy incense. Middle aged men wearing open button-down shirts stood around a table snacking on eating crackers while—bottomless. Dear God, I cannot see anyone I know, I thought. Then, I realized, if someone saw me…they would also have to be at the sex party, so…surfs up, yolo, etc.

I made my way into different rooms. There were tents, beds and couches with naked people lounging on them. It was like Eyes Wide Shut but with normal people bodies. Bowls of condoms were everywhere and there was no booze allowed. There was a distinct sense of safety and respect. Suddenly, I started to realize I was one of the youngest people there. I wanted to text my perverted friend and tell her this was definitely a married couples swingers party, but my phone was locked at coat check along with everyone else’s.

As I perused the rooms, I saw nude people in their 50s and 60s chatting with the polite kind of warmth that can only be described as first day of work orientation or some kind of alternative lifestyle convention at the Javits Center. I was feeling oddly inspired, awkward and unsure. A few people were making out and I weirdly felt like I was intruding. No! I reminded myself. Chill out, man. You belong. Remember: surfs up, yolo, etc.

I needed to make a friend, like in the movies, where there’s another ‘normal’ person for the main character to connect with on the first day at camp, but that seemed even more difficult than just taking my top off any laying on a random bean bag. So that’s what I did. After about three seconds, I really wanted to put said top back on. So that’s what I did. I got off the bean bag (hard to do) and kept walking through what felt like an endless maze of other people’s parents having sex. It was kind of cool, weird, surprisingly heartwarming and a full-blown example of the kind of release from perfectionism I had been working on letting go of in myself for the last three years. These people were doing what they wanted with their bodies. Imperfectly and without judgement.

Although randomly touched (metaphorically, not physically, as anticipated) I was less turned on than ever before in my life and so I gave myself permission to leave the party. While I was checking out, the 25-year-old with the clip board let me know about a few ‘younger people’ parties that I might be more interested in. I thanked him, grabbed my coat and headed home. Walking the streets of Fort Greene, I had this amazing feeling for the first time. No one could ever guess what I had just experienced. It was my own thing—albeit totally not at all what I expected, odd and kind of hilarious, it was my own sexual experience. Free from the idea of perfectionism, I felt fully sexually empowered for the very first time.

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Gabriella Cicero

Freelance PureWow Editor

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