Going to a sex club can be an exciting way to explore your sexuality, but there are certain rules of conduct to keep in mind. While sex clubs, sex parties, and swinger clubs may differ when it comes to theme, guidelines, the type of space, and people who attend, some general rules of etiquette may apply to all. If you’re curious to learn more about sex clubs, or planning your first trip and feel unsure about what to wear, how to approach people, or what to expect, we’ve got you covered. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when attending a sex club.
1. Research the sex club you’re attending
Every sex club is different. They have different rules, prices, and vibes. It’s important to research the sex club you’re attending so you can learn if there are any rules specific to it, and if it feels like a good fit for you.
Kink and sex educator Emerson Karsh tells O.school that you should “vet the space/club before going! Make sure your values align with the club's values and it will feel like a safe space for you.” For example, there are some clubs specifically for swingers (aka a swingers club) and may only let you attend as a couple, or as a single woman, Some clubs work to be LGBTQ+ inclusive or safe for BIPOC folks and may have nights for BIPOC or queer and trans folks only.
Karsh tells O.school, “Some [other] things to look out for when vetting a club are how do they vet people coming? What is the condom usage/requirement? What does consent look like in the space? Are there moderators working the event? What’s the toy/kink gear policy? And any COVID things you wanna look out for!”
2. Be clear on your intentions and boundaries
Before you go to a sex club, set expectations and boundaries for yourself. Think about what you do and don’t want to do, and what you’re unsure about. Think about your intention, be it to explore your sexuality further or to simply find community and a safe space. What do you want out of the experience in general, not just sexually?
In her podcast, Sex with Dr. Jess, Dr. Jess O’Riley says to consider “How long will you spend at the club when you visit? Will you have a drink? How many drinks will you have? Will you dance? Do you plan to undress? How will you respond if you’re feeling uncomfortable? What areas of the club will you visit? (e.g. Will you go into the play rooms or just the bar?)”
3. Engage only in activities that feel comfortable
While many people think the only thing to do at a sex club is have sex, this isn’t true. You don’t have to have sex at a sex club as there are many other ways to explore and have fun. You can go to a sex club and watch other people have sex (with their consent), have a drink, dance, swim in the pool (if they have one), attend educational events, or mingle and make friends and community.
4. Set expectations with your partner(s) if you’re attending together
Karsh says that in addition to setting boundaries for yourself, you also need to set boundaries with whoever you’re going with. “If you’re going with a partner, have a big discussion of boundaries and limits so you both can feel happy and comfortable in the space as both people and partners.” Talk about how each of you feel about drinking, being naked, having sex, having sex together with another person, having sex with other people, or someone watching you have sex. Consider how you will check in and support your partner throughout the experience.
5. Come prepared
At a basic level, you’ll likely need to come prepared with your ID, some cash, and ticket. While many clubs provide condoms, lube, and towels, consider bringing your own just in case.
If the particular party or club you’re attending allows toys and props for play (not all do), consider what you could bring to make you feel sexy. For example, you might want to bring your favorite vibrator, blindfold, flogger, or harness. Some people bring many toys while others bring just one or two. Some people only bring their essentials, like their favorite lube and condoms.
6. Check if there’s a dress code and wear what makes you feel sexy
Some clubs have specific dress codes, like wearing all black and a mask for a masquerade vibe. Find an outfit within the confines of the dress code that makes you feel sexy. If there is no dress code, wear whatever you want, suggests Karsh. Some people go in a jacket and get naked immediately, some people wear a dress the entire night, some wear jeans and a t-shirt. The most important thing is that you feel good.
7. Be mindful of cleanliness and hygiene
As with any other sexual experience, to be mindful of your personal hygiene before play. Clip your nails and wash your hands if you’re planning on digital penetration, for example. Cleaning your genitals before play can also help reduce the risk of UTIs or infection. Generally, it's a good idea to wash body parts or toys that will be coming in contact with your mouth or genitals. When it comes to any body hair, do whatever feels best for you!
8. Adhere to rules around consent
Just because someone is in a sex club doesn’t mean they want to have sex or even be touched. Some clubs have specific rules like requiring you to ask to touch someone first or requiring you to ask before watching someone have sex. And even if these aren’t part of the club’s consent guidelines, they’re good rules to follow in life anyway.
Clubs often have rules about where you can and can’t have sex as well. Some clubs allow you to have sex anywhere except for the bar for sanitary reasons. Others may have more spaces that are off limits for sex. Usually, the club will explain the guidelines to you when you arrive.
9. Communicate with play partners about interests, wants, needs, desires, and limits
Even though you’re in a place where many people might be interested in sex, everyone still has boundaries, likes, and dislikes. It’s important to have conversations with potential play partners about the things they’re interested in doing and what’s a no-go for them. These conversations can also help you determine if you have similar interests and are sexually compatible. If you do end up playing with them, have check-ins throughout.
10. Have fun
While there many things to be mindful of when attending a sex club, it’s also important to remember to have fun. If you feel awkward at first, that’s okay. Ease into it at a pace that feels good for you and remember that you’re ultimately there for you and to be part of a community of sex positive folks — so enjoy it!
1. Approach strangers and ask for sex off the bat
If you’re in the sex club, and you’ve found someone you’re interested in playing with, Karsh cautions not to start the conversation by talking about sex. “Yes, the intention is sex but people want to be treated like humans beforehand.” So try to stay away from approaching someone by immediately asking if they’re interested in sex. Instead, Karsh says to “ask them about their interests, hobbies, life, likes, dislikes! Get to know them a bit before jumping into bed (or the dungeon).”
2. Push yourself
You don’t need to do everything the first time you go to a sex club. Karsh says, “Going to a sex club is super exciting but remember to be mindful of your feelings and don’t push yourself.” Keep in mind the boundaries and limits you set beforehand and if you find yourself excited to try something you didn’t think you would want to try, take it slow and be mindful. There will be another chance to go to a sex club, so you don’t need to do everything the first time.
3. Go hunting for a single woman if you’re a couple
Some couples go to sex clubs looking to find a third, often a woman. This third woman is sometimes referred to as a “unicorn.” And while there is nothing wrong with trying to find a third for a threesome, there are a few things you shouldn’t do when you’re looking. Karsh cautions not to “go hunting for a single woman.” Karsh says this can feel “objectifying, creepy, and a bit scary at times! Single women at sex clubs are not unicorns that need to be hunted. They are people with their own interests for the space that may or may not be a threesome.” If you are looking for a third for a threesome, approach people as humans and do not immediately ask if they’re interested in a threesome. If they are interested in a threesome, remember that it is not just about you and your partners’ needs, the third person also has needs, boundaries, and emotions that need to be tended to.
4. Engage in play that is specified as “off limits”
Not all sex clubs allow just any kind of play. Some clubs may be more geared toward what some people think of as “vanilla” sex and won’t allow you to bring certain toys and gear. Other clubs may more specifically be for BDSM and kink play. Don’t assume that just because it’s a sex club, you’re allowed to do “whatever you want.” If there’s a certain kind of play you want to try, you might consider asking beforehand if it’s permitted and researching the club to see if it will have the kind of vibe you’re looking for.
5. Reuse condoms or toys with multiple people
In order to reduce the chance of spreading STIs and infections, Karsh says not to “reuse toys you brought with multiple people.” It’s important to “Be aware of the toys you’re using and who you’re using them with to help minimize the spread of STIs and infections,” especially if you’re using the toys within the same sexual encounter or night on more than one person. Karsh says “Some toys can be used with condoms and others cannot, so do your research.” Also be sure to always change condoms with each new partner.
6. Get too intoxicated
Many sex clubs have bars, but it is important to remain sober enough to make decisions you’ll be okay with after the alcohol wears off. Being too intoxicated with any substance can compromise your ability to enthusiastically consent or read other people’s verbal and non-verbal cues. While being completely sober at a sex club might sound intimidating to some, it’s recommended for making the most sound decisions so as not to cross boundaries, someone else’s or your own.
The bottom line
Sex clubs are not the “free for all” many people think they are, yet they can be an extremely fun and exciting way to explore your sexuality. Be sure to do your research, vet a party or club that’s right for you, and think about your boundaries and intentions before attending. Remember to approach people as humans, not just people you’d like to have sex with. Remember to take it slow as you can always come back another time for more.