On a chilly Saturday night in New York City,
Skirt Club, "an underground community for girls who play with girls," threw a prohibition-themed play (read: sex) party to celebrate the anniversary of their founding. I went, came, and had the time of my life. began Skirt Club in London in 2014, to fill a void she saw in the current play party scene as a bisexual woman. After attending co-ed play parties with her former partner, she faced roadblocks (or more literally, cockblocks) when trying to use the events to play with other women. "I felt that my bisexuality was very much a way for him to leverage his way to have threesomes,” says LeJeune. (#beenthere.) Geneviève LeJeune While there are indeed co-ed play parties focused on education and consent where people of all genders behave themselves, LeJeune wanted to create a members-only community where women could meet, experiment, and have sex with other women away from the eyes, hands, and erect genitals of men. Prior to attending the prohibition party, I had attended one other play party. It was co-ed, however thankfully within a community based on consent, so no one tried any funny business. Still, I only watched. This time around, I was excited about the opportunity to meet and play with other women, as, like LeJeune, that's my main interest in play parties in the first place, as a queer woman currently in a live-in relationship with a man. I attended the party with a sidekick I’ll call Eva, my former lover and current friend. The drinks were prohibition themed, and the 60-or-so attendees were dressed in 1920s attire. The event was held at a private penthouse in the Lower East Side. There was a large hot tub with an incredible view of the city, several bedrooms with pristine white sheets, heated toilets, and an extra-large bed upstairs (more on that later). The lavish digs, themed drinks, and costumes were all quite intentional. “Women like to have soft furnishing, champagne, cocktails, a theme, a party, you know?” LeJeune says. Ahead, I'll reveal a few of the things I learned at Skirt Club — and what to know if you'd like to attend an all-girls' sex party.
While we're arguably more in control of and confident about our sexuality than ever, there's still so much we don't know about female arousal. So this month, we're exploring everything you want and need to know about how women get turned on now. Check out more here.
You don't have to be a lesbian (or even bi) to attend a girls-only sex party.According to user data, 70% of Skirt Club members identify from 0-3 on the Kinsey Scale, meaning they're mostly straight or bisexual. For women who identify as mostly straight, it can be difficult to find a safe place to explore sex with other women. Sure, you can hit up Tinder, but a quality I've always admired of play parties is their honesty. They get right to the point. Skirt Club bills itself as an underground community for girls who play with girls, and that's exactly what it is. As a femme, cisgender queer woman currently in a live-in relationship with a man, I often fear that I will be deemed "not queer enough." Unfortunately, there is still a stigma around bisexuality. Skirt Club provides a safe (and luxurious) setting, free from judgment, where you can remain as anonymous as possible while enjoying or exploring your sexuality. Despite the user data, at my experience at Skirt Club, I found the women in attendance to be far more experienced than their submitted Kinsey Scale number suggested. People knew what they were doing. I also met women there who identified as lesbians. No matter where you fall on the Kinsey Scale, if you're a woman interested in sex with another woman, Skirt Club is for you (although there is a strict vetting process).
Safer sex is important — even when no penetration is involved. While touring the penthouse, I was pleased to notice an array of (flavored) dental dams elegantly laid out next to each bed or near a place where sex could take place. A dental dam is a thin piece of latex used during oral sex for safer sex. Sticking with honesty: They're not very popular. While lesbians are at a lesser risk for STIs such as HIV, hepatitis, and gonorrhea, women who have sex with women are still at risk for STIs like HPV and genital herpes, which can be spread by giving or receiving oral sex. Yet placing a mint-flavored sheet of plastic downtown isn't always sexy, so sometimes people don't do it. But regardless of the Skirt Club attendees' personal safer sex practices, I was pleased that they were made available. At one awesome point in the night, a strap-on was brought out. “There was someone with a strap-on there?" LeJeune said when I relayed the incident, as Skirt Club discourages their use, as using a dildo carries a higher risk for STI transmission because it involves penetration. However, to my (and LeJeune's) delight, both in the conversations I heard at the party about the strap-on and during its big moment, safer sex practices were implemented. (What practices make using a strap-on safer? Clean it with antibacterial soap and water after each use, and always use condoms when sharing the same toy with multiple partners.)
Icebreakers can turn an awkward vibe into a sexy one. After my date and I stepped out of our cab, we were greeted by a beautiful hostess who led us up to the penthouse. I'm not going to lie, being surrounded by 60 women or so, all there to get it on, was awkward at first. LeJeune & Co. solved this with icebreakers. After a burlesque performance from Karina Libido and a comedic talk on women's liberation from Zoe Nightingale, a game of tequila body shots began. At other Skirt Club events, often "dare cards" are passed out as an icebreaker, encouraging members to get to know one another and help remove the awkwardness of attending an event decked out in costume with the goal of getting laid. I'm not a drinker so I had to miss out on the body shot opportunity, but thankfully games of spin the bottle kicked off shortly after, and I happily joined in. Pretty soon, most of the guests had kissed most of the other guests, and the "play" was rapidly injected into the party. While playing spin the bottle, I noticed people leaving, and assumed they weren’t into it. Remembering the Kinsey Scale data, I got bummed out that maybe everyone was too straight and boring. Oh boy, was I wrong. It just turned out there was a full-blown orgy going on upstairs on a bed big enough to fit Angelina and Brad (RIP) and their 800 children, and I was the boring one downstairs still playing kissing games.
Just like straight sex or sex between two men, lesbian sex is hot AF. "Some common misconceptions I hear are that all sex between two women is probably sweet and soft and loving (not true! We can go hard too)," Liz Powell, PsyD, an LGBTQ-friendly sex educator, coach, and licensed psychologist, told Refinery29 previously. Likely as part of its effort to make "bi-curious" members more comfortable, Skirt Club bills itself on the softer side. "We’re not fluffy, but we’re certainly on the pink and petal side rather than the strap-on dungeon. But you’d be wrong to think it would always be a bed of petals,” says LeJeune. There was lovely, panties-on, passionate sex (IMO, if someone's getting off, it's sex) between two women at the prohibition party. There was also anonymous, "eat my pussy now" super hot sex up against walls, and spankings doled out from a variety of whips. There were conversations about perfume. There were women coming loudly. There was group sex. There was polite kissing in bathtubs. As Isobel Fuller, Skirt Club’s events director, pointed out to me, people tend to view sex between two men as always rough and sex between two women as always soft. The truth is, sex between two people of the same gender isn't that different from straight sex. It can be slow. It can be passionate. It can be aggressive in a mega-hot way. For those who have never seen sex between two women in real life before, Skirt Club is a glorious reminder of that.
You only have to go as far as you want to go (and consent is crucial). From asking someone to kiss, to if they can be spanked, to trying to pull them into an orgy, you must first get consent at a play party (and you should in any other setting, too!). The flip side of this is deciding beforehand what you're willing to consent to — but of course, you can change your mind at any time. Once at a play party in an extremely aroused state, it can be easy to let your genitals think for your brain. For this reason, it's crucial to spend quality time meditating on your boundaries, what you want out of the party, and how far you're comfortable going sexually. It's also wise not to get too drunk to help adhere to your boundaries and avoid morning-after regret. As Skirt Club is largely targeted to women looking to sleep with other women who are currently in relationships with men (like myself), discussing boundaries with your partner(s) before you attend is also crucial. Failing to do so will land you in a spider web of shit. For more information on how to prepare for your first play party, discuss consent, and set boundaries, please consider reading relationship coach and educator Effy Blue's Play Party Etiquette book, which has literally everything you need to know.
Sex parties aren't for everyone. Watching two (or more) people have sex in real life isn't like watching it happen in porn. It's messy, it's real, and if you've never been around public sex before, it might freak you out. For some straight women attending Skirt Club out of curiosity, it seemed like all they needed was to watch someone get their pussy eaten to know it's not for them: I noticed a few women leave on the early side rather than stay and engage in play, and that's totally cool. It's also totally cool if you fall in love with play parties and start attending on the reg, or realize your number on the Kinsey Scale is quite higher than you thought. Whatever your reaction to attending a play party, do you. I promise no one's judging.
In conclusion... I ended up being one of the attendees who stayed late and (while adhering to my boundaries pre-discussed with my partner) had the time of my life. Skirt Club gave me exactly what I wanted, which was a safe space to meet and hook up with other queer women. While I identify as queer, as I'm attracted to non-binary people, I'll at times still use the word "bisexual," and identify with the community. A stereotype of bisexual people is that we're incapable of monogamy. When I was younger and dumber, while simultaneously figuring out my relationship format preference and orientation, it was a stereotype I was guilty of using myself. When writing this article, I worried about perpetuating the stigma that bi people are incapable of monogamy, as the reality is many not only prefer it, but are fabulous at it. However, there definitely are non-monogamous and "monogamish" (people in a mostly monogamous relationship okay with certain outside activity, such as attending a play party) folks who identify as bisexual. There are certainly plenty of non-monogamous straight people, some of whom unfortunately express their non-monogamy via cheating rather than ethical discussion. There are people across the LGBTQ spectrum that are varying degrees of non-monogamous. My experiences and Skirt Club don't speak for all bi women. We can provide safe spaces for women in relationships with men to sleep with other women while understanding that's not what all bi people are into. Attending the Skirt Club party not only ignited my desire at the moment, but left me turned on for days to come, benefits my relationship reaped as well. I'd just say, for the women with boyfriends attending such events, make sure to remind your male partner that, contrary to what their penis may think, your sexual experiences with other women are not about them. “The problem with men is that they get cock-brain,” says LeJeune. That's why it's just fine to create a sexual space with no boys allowed.