I’m planing a play party, and a lot of people have asked me what that entails. I feel like I have come at how to explain it from every angle, and it’s actually really hard to describe since they are different with every organizer. I thought I should write a post about how I like to do things, just as an example for people.
So first thing’s first, a play party is typically where people bring their toys and let people try them, do show-and-tell, or in some way trade information and ideas.
I happen to know a guy who does amazing shibari and has a suspension rig, so all the play parties since I have met him have involved everyone that wants to getting a chance to get suspended. It’s really awesome.
Typically, I try to make my friends that do cool stuff teach what they know. So, if they’re good with rope, they’ll teach some knots. If they’re good at planing scenes, they’ll talk about that. I had one friend who was just amazing at fire play, and that was always fun to watch. Etc…
I also tend to work with people who will be presenting to create a hand-out, because it seems to me that people are less nervous when they get a piece of paper. I guess it makes it seem more official and less like a bunch of creepy kids doing sexual things in a sweaty room.
Everyone always assumes I am trying to set up on orgy when I first invite them to a party. I am never trying to do that. I have only ever had one orgy, and it wasn’t all that great. I prefer one or two people max- because otherwise I get distracted. But never mind that.
The point is- how does one learn about BDSM? Maybe they read blogs and go to reddit.com and watch videos online. That’s cool. But what happens when that’s not enough any more? What happens when a person wants to actually see and try things? Well, that’s what a play party is for. I’m not going to claim that I know everything. No one should. Everyone you meet has something that they can teach you. I guess the idea behind a play party is to meet with others in the community and see what they can teach you.
I do demonstrations sometimes, but honestly, I prefer to let other people take the lead. If there is one characteristic of the community that makes me nuts, it’s the way everyone kind of seems to think their way is best. I don’t think my way is best. I think my way is how I do things, and I am happy to let other people do things the way they like. As such, I am always more interested to hear what others have to say.
When I do teach, I tend to give tips on scene negotiation since that is what I am best at. Having worked in a dungeon, I’ve had to talk to people in a frank and blunt way about what they want out of a scene, and then make it happen with the least amount of weird possible (since it was generally with someone I didn’t really know.) That mostly involves asking what they feel the most drawn to in kink, and then building a scene around it.
For example, I had a guy come to me once who was nervous as hell (as they mostly are) and he said he always wanted to be walked like a dog. So then I had to expand on that. That means follow up questions like: Will we play fetch? Shall I pet you and tell you that you are a good dog? Perhaps you would rather I beat you and tell you that you are a bad dog?
When you ask people these types of questions about a fetish they have repressed for a long time, they react in all sorts of unpredictable ways. Some of them giggle nervously and blush. Some get angry out of nowhere. Some are quickly offended because they are expecting judgement. You can never be sure what someone will say when talking about sex. It seems it is the hardest topic to talk about.
So when I do a workshop, I generally focus on talking with people about the idea that sex is not sinful or bad, and about how it’s okay to be frank about what you want. If you want someone to spank you, you have to ask.
I guess my most-used line would be: Those words inside your head? I can’t hear those!
With all that said; a play party will be different with every different person who sets it up. I have been to some where everyone was encouraged to be naked and they all flirted. I have been to some where people had sex in a semi-public setting. I have been to some where people played board games with their clothes on and talked about BDSM eventually- but not much.
The best way to be sure of what you are getting into is to ask. Some good questions to ask an organizer might be:
1. Should I bring toys?
2. Should I plan to take any items of clothing off/ or do people tend to get naked at these parties?
3. Is it mostly couples or single people?
4. What kind of activities can I expect?
5. What kind of clothes will people wear (BDSM or vanilla)?
Of course you should remember that in all settings, pictures are a big no-no. I have never met a group that was okay with cameras. We all have lives and jobs. We have families and/or kids. We can’t run the risk of pictures getting out of us in vinyl or leather at some fetish event.
One last thing I want to mention about play parties: I have set up more than I can count or remember. However, I obviously have never been able to take pictures at an event. That makes it hard when I move, because I have to start all over again with a new crowd of people and build up trust. This drives home an important point: There is no shortcut to trust. In the community we are all a little paranoid so be patient with people. None of us wants to be exposed as kinky without our permission.