An alert chump once sent me an article in Vogue, “That Time I Went to a Sex Party” by “Slutever” Karley Sciortino.
As it appeared in Vogue, realize right now that whomever they’re writing about is younger, slimmer, and better dressed than you. So it stands to reason that the sex is more fabulous as well.
“It’s the best sex party in New York, with the most fun, attractive crowd,” Sciortino’s friend reassures her. Invitation only!
Skeptical if she can get her freak on “amidst a crowd of ‘roughly 100 people'”, she’s goes forward relying on her friend Anne’s fabulous quotient.
“I trusted Anne, because she knows a lot about this stuff. See, Anne and her husband are in an open marriage: They’re happy, successful, attractive, deeply in love, and they also get to sleep with whomever they want. How unfair.”
All the Happy, Successful, Attractive, Deeply in Love people are doing it!
So right there I know I could never be on the invite list. I’ve already made a name for myself as a dorktacular, squidgy, middle-aged woman who enjoys monogamy (and other retro pleasures like LP records, dial-up, and butter churning). Can you imagine what the vetting process for the guest list must look like?
“Janet? No, Janet’s out. Unsightly scar. Bob? Oh no. I wouldn’t fancy him on toast. How about Alastair? A Libertarian, but you can get past that considering his six-pack abs.”
You’d have to find 100 perfect specimens who feel comfortable having sex in herds. Who are these people? Personally, it sounds like the stuff of nightmares. You know that one — where you have a presentation to give and you’re in a large room of people and suddenly realize you’re naked? Doesn’t everyone have that nightmare? Along with the math exam you forgot to study for?
I can’t imagine at any point in my life being comfortable being naked in a room full of a hundred people. Not even when I was 18 years old, weighed 138 pounds (I’m 5’10”), my breasts were perky, and you could bounce quarters off my flat stomach. UNH-UH would I do it. At my most body beautiful, I was utterly convinced of my hideousness. (At comfortable middle age, I rock the squidgy.)
Okay, and that’s just getting naked. Having sex in front of other people? Who isn’t racked with self doubt? I mean most people don’t even do cocktail parties without social anxiety. Sex? Does everyone get high first? Are they checking out their neighbors and worrying that they seem to be having more fun? Or have better techniques? Or larger dicks? Or bigger boobs?
Sciortino describes the crowd as nice, ordinary, pleasant people, albeit intimidatingly attractive.
Walking into the hotel, I was slightly intimidated by how many beautiful, well-dressed people there were. (Anne was right.) For the first two hours, people mostly danced, drank the free booze, and ate canapes. Many of the guests were clearly already friends or “playmates,” and the atmosphere was surprisingly classy, even reserved. It wasn’t until midnight that the suits and cocktail dresses began to come off. Suddenly the many beds, couches, and bathtubs were filled with people going at it.
I just don’t understand the logistics of a hundred splendid New Yorkers having group sex. Isn’t anyone fumbling for their diaphragm? Is no one having awkward condom conversations with total strangers? Don’t they worry about STDs? Do they pass out hand sanitizer? Want a shower? Am I weird for thinking of these things?
To me an orgy just seems like a giant “pick me” dance. Can you imagine how ghastly it would be to go to an orgy and not be picked? Clearly, they must try to ameliorate this concern by closely vetting the guest list for only the most perfectly attractive, successful, deeply in love sorts of swingers — but what if you had cabbage for lunch and were feeling rather bloated that day? What if among the perfect specimens you were in the lower tier of perfection? Can you be an orgy wallflower?
Personally, I like my intimacies intimate, but I don’t want to judge. If this really works for people and they’re as open and respectful as Sciortino says, well, God bless them. I hope they don’t catch anything.
I was willing to leave it there. Slutever, I concede your fabulousness! But then, as is often the case with these sensational polyamory articles, she had to go and slam monogamy.
Many of my past relationships have been tainted by insecurity, jealousy, cheating, and lying, often fueled by bad communication and secrecy.
By comparison, the couples at the party seemed open and honest in a way that many “normal” couples aren’t. Let’s not kid ourselves: adultery is rife. In a way, the socially accepted norm of monogamy requires lying. It’s almost like monogamous couples actually prefer to be lied to rather than deal with the uncomfortable reality of extramarital attraction. With nonmonogamy, you’re admittedly entering into risky territory. But with ground rules and communication, the result could be a more honest, fulfilling relationship. And since keeping jealousy in check and feeling secure can be the hardest parts of maintaining a relationship for me, I began to wonder if nonmonogamy could teach me something on a deeper level that monogamy couldn’t—if perhaps these orgy people were really onto something.
Monogamy requires lying? No CHEATING requires lying. Polyamorists don’t have the market cornered on “honesty.” Monogamists do honesty as well. As a self-professed cheater, apparently YOU don’t do honesty well. That’s on you, not monogamy.
I know this is really hard for your bleached blonde, power-suited, edgy sex columnist self to realize, but some people can actually DO monogamy. No really! And even more mind-blowing — they have honest, fulfilling relationships without boffing strangers at sex parties. They even have mind-blowing sex too, but I’m not going to tell you the particulars, because hey, I like to keep these things private and not share them with 100 people in a Hilton suite.
It’s almost like monogamous couples actually prefer to be lied to rather than deal with the uncomfortable reality of extramarital attraction.
Bullshit. Extramarital attraction is not cheating. Don’t muddy the waters. Stepping out on someone is cheating — crossing that boundary. I got cheated on — and I did not “prefer” to be lied to. I preferred to not be cheated on by my ex-husband and have him make unilateral decisions about my marriage, health, and finances. I’m not deluding myself about my ability to do monogamy. You’re honest about your polyamorous lifestyle? Everyone is on the same page? Great. Now do me the favor of respecting MY lifestyle — monogamy.
It’s this really exclusive party I’m having. Only the very best quirky, intelligent, middle-aged person is coming. (He has all his hair AND a useless master’s degree in comparative literature!) Invitation only! To my husband. The rest of you aren’t invited.
Monogamy works for me. Whatever Slutever.
This column ran previously. I have an early morning mammogram appointment, which reminds me — all you people out there with breasts — GET A MAMMOGRAM. If I can squish my boob into a vise to prevent cancer, you can too. Do it.