When you first walk in, you’ll be amazed by just how gorgeous the home is. Hardwood floors, modern-day appliances, black granite countertops, and a beautiful outdoor patio with a hot tub for up to several people.
You may also be amazed by how many naked people there are.
“Mr. Sparks”—whose real name Business Insider agreed to conceal—organizes sex parties for up to 150 people at this house in Brooklyn, New York, about once a month.
Although the idea of a gigantic orgy of more than 100 people might seem intimidating, it’s more likely that you’ll feel right at home once you get there. The dingy stereotype of New York swingers’ clubs—Plato’s Retreat, the infamous 1970s swingers’ club, was held in a basement—is swept away by the tasteful interior of this brick row house.
Sparks started throwing the parties about four years ago, after attending one in Manhattan. He loved the concept, but says the execution was severely lacking. He felt the dancers were terrible, and didn’t like the way the hosts made fun of some of the guests.
Luckily for him, he had a wealthy friend who wanted to help him with a new venture, and offered up his house to host the parties. The pair live in apartments above the main living area of the house.
Plenty of parties to choose from
In Brooklyn alone, there are now a slew of different sex parties for the adventurous to choose from.
Submit, for example, is a sex party for women and trans-gender people in Park Slope. That means no “cisgendered” men (men who identify with the male gender) are allowed. Chemistry, on the other hand, is only for single women and couples.
People who come to the Sparks house either come alone or with like-minded friends. This isn’t your average swingers party, where couples come to find a third—or fourth—lover. They come for a fun night of conversation and usually sex, but are not required to participate. Sometimes, people go simply to make new friends.
Unlike other sometimes gender- or sexuality-exclusive sex parties, Sparks says, there are people who may identify as gay, straight, bisexual, queer, or even “awesomesexual.”
There’s also a mix of professionals who attend, like lawyers, doctors, and teachers. Everyone is accepted, as long as you’re at least 18 years old.
“We’re a bunch of adults and we’ve come together because we’re all slutty and want to rub our genitals against each other in as many extreme ways as possible,” Sparks says. “That’s funny. You get to laugh about it. If you can’t laugh at sex, you’re missing out. Sex should not be hyper-serious. It’s real funny.”
The house rules
Even though people are allowed to bring their own alcohol, Sparks and the other organizers try to keep drugs out. When people are under the influence, it doesn’t lend to creating a safe environment, he says. The idea is to create a context where guests can be free to be themselves.
If someone gets out of line, they’ll be asked to leave. If they mess up twice, they’ll never be allowed back.
Sparks limits the parties to around 150 people. Before each party, he’ll invite about 150 people from his email list that he’s spent a few years curating.
When guests receive the invitation, it’s only for them. If they want to bring a friend, they have to vouch for them. So if someone they vouch for comes and inappropriately touches someone without consent, they both get kicked out.
Most importantly, attendees are not allowed to touch anyone without permission. There are even sometimes undercover “sex caddys” to make sure no one gets out of line.
So just because people are at a sex party, it doesn’t mean they’re going to, or necessarily even want to, get lucky. No one is required to have sex with anyone else.
“There are lots of people that don’t do anything,” Sparks says. “And not because they’re not slutty people but because they’re really into talking to their friends.”
If you get the go-ahead, it’s up to you and your newfound partner to decide where to get down. You could go ahead and just have sex right there on the couch. Or you could take it somewhere a bit more private. Down the stairs, and through a narrow, dark passageway, you’ll find a tiny room enclosed behind a caged door. We honestly can’t tell you what happens in this room. Your imagination should suffice.
Organizers also encourage safe sex, and there are always plenty of condoms and lube. But they aren’t required.
Sometimes, things go wrong
Just because there are certain “rules” and practices in place to prevent things from getting out of control, they aren’t foolproof.
“There have been inappropriate exchanges,” one attendee tells Business Insider. “But there’s never been a rape. It boils down to ignorance, the rules, and community. When drinking happens, it dilutes a person’s reason and judgment.”
“If you’re standing there, leering at people having sex, if you don’t have their permission, it’s not cool,” she says.
“It’s ok to be voyeuristic, but ask. Sometimes you don’t want someone there just staring at you.”
And then there’s the art
Sparks generally starts his parties with a “confrontational” art show. At one party, a woman put on a knife act in which she stabbed herself.
When we asked Sparks if it was real, he said that he didn’t know. But one of the people who saw the show, whom Sparks described as a “big, burly bear,” ended up passing out at the sight of it. “It was horrifying,” a different attendee says. “But we knew ahead of time what to expect and that it would be that way.”
The idea behind the show is art is to make people think, and actively enter a “sexy space,” Sparks says.
Attendees don’t always find it enjoyable
“One of the cons of the party is the entertainment,” a guest tells us. “People go in there already feeling sexy, and then they stop everything and make everyone sit down. You feel chained. You can’t move around in the space. Sometimes it’s sexy and sometimes it’s horrifying, especially when you get into more hardcore BDSM. Part of consent is asking the audience to agree to what you want to do.”
Some of the art shows have involved clowns, Sparks says.
“So you might show up and say, ‘What is this?’” Sparks says. “The lights are on, I’m in a clown face, there’s people. But the only people who really had any idea what was happening was me and my partner because we were the ones putting it on. It was cool to blow people’s minds.”
“For me, it kind of takes the sexy out of it,” another attendee says. “I just kind of want to [have sex] and have a good time.”
It’s a hobby, not a business
The Sparks house doesn’t sell any alcohol and doesn’t charge at the door. Sometimes they accept donations, which help cover the costs of the artists and other types of performers who put on shows. The donations typically won’t be more than $20.
Sparks said that while money can be made from the operation, it’s not really what they’re going for. The money, he says, simply goes to paying the performers.
Sparks said he strives to give guests a free-wheeling, open-ended, safe, and sexy good time. The fact that, after four years, he can still pack the place tells you whether he’s succeeded.