Leading a pack of interested kinky and queer folk, Miss Nora R facilitated a play party workshop on Monday afternoon. Play parties are gatherings of people who practice bondage and dominance, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism (BDSM). Her take on play parties was the header in a series of workshops in the framework of (re)Doing It!, a week-long series of workshops designed to challenge our perceptions of sex.
In a nondescript basement student space on campus, Nora (of the Against-the-Wall collective) re-animated her experiences in throwing play parties and really filled the room. She welcomed us by saying, “Play parties are places to learn!” Nora gave lots of examples and ideas about throwing a play party, what a party needs, and what challenges might be involved in organizing specifically queer play parties.
First off, what do we mean by “play”? Playing is perceived by the more experienced players as consensual, public, sexy fun.
You might walk into a play space and find an array of neat furniture to maneuver your partner(s) onto, sexy performances to see on stages, plenty of darling faces to voyeur and learn from, and a wide variety of BDSM toys to play with. And of course, you can always bring your own toys.
What to wear, you ask? Typical themes are: drag, burlesque, masks, medical, leather and lace, neon, and all black. Party organizers work hard on getting the right mood. For the more explorative exhibitionist, the Against-the-Wall party has a fantastic live porn feed. Slip in behind the screen and be filmed. Being a porn star isn’t your thing? There are plenty of other spaces: a dance floor of course, and a social area where you can break the ice. If you want privacy, that’s there too. Pop a tent like Nora does, and turn the lights low. Writing about parties can’t do them justice – so go out and try one!
Remember, safety always comes first. A great idea on Nora’s part was to have a “skillshare.” Knowledge is power, so use it. You might like that someone can suspend you from the ceiling, or that they have a lot of role-play experience. It’s also important that you define who does what. In most parties, you need a supervisor, a doorperson, a dungeon monitor, security, and possibly a DJ. Nora also suggested a listener-volunteer for those who are uncomfortable. And finally, be polite. And you’ll make lots of friends.
Last but not least: legalities. Large swinger parties get around the laws with documentation. Simply put, your event has to be for private members who are aware of what they are getting into. Nora can provide a waiver and consent form to sign upon arriving. Also, don’t sell alcohol – police don’t put such a priority in busting up a bunch of naked people. Whether it’s at the next Against-the-Wall party, a local dungeon, or your own house, remember to be safe, be sexy, and be yourself.