Yesterday S and I hosted an event. For many years, it's been a lament of mine that, not being a night-owl, I often would miss out, or not be terribly conscious/well-functioning by the time most sexual or kink themed parties were getting rolling. Why was it, I wondered, that so many people that self-identify as "sex positive" still seemed to wait until the wee hours of the morning to enjoy being sexual or kinky with others in public? So, considering my utter ineptitude with "wee hours of the morning" play, I decided to create an opportunity to explore sharing sexual space during the very kinky daylight hours. It was duly dubbed the "Afternoon Delight" party.
Something I've noticed over the years is that, while most of the poly folk I've met would consider themselves sex positive, there are still elements of judgment, real or imagined, about playing (for the purposes of this post, let's define play as sexual or kink activity involving others) with someone you lack a relationship or dating connection with. Does it just seem too close to swinging? There seems to be more lurking in the background. Almost a sense that sharing physical intimacy in a less relationship-oriented context diminishes our polyness. Is it possible to be sex positive in a more casual sense, and remain relationship oriented?
So I sent out the invitations to my guest list. Most were poly community members that I have friendships with, but not relationship energy. Some I've seen at public events before, and knew they'd be quite comfortable. Some, this was going to push some boundaries if they chose to attend. In the week leading up to the event, I found myself fielding inquiries from potential guests. Some were anxious about the public nature of the play. A few wanted to be sure that their kinks, sexual orientation, or being overtly sexual was going to be okay. Several were concerned that this was going to be like a high school dance with everyone sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone else to make the first move.
For myself, I was seeking a catharsis. This was a way to let go of some emotional pain through pleasure, through trust, through connection. I wanted to open myself up, intentionally and mindfully, to my community in a very real, physical and tangible way. It felt pretty vulnerable, but I felt relatively sure that my friends wouldn't leave me dangling in the wind with a flop on my hands!
Sure enough, we came through with flying colors! Our home was blessed by an amazing collection of people, most I knew, but some new faces, and we all started off by sharing what we wanted for ourselves during the event. People were honest and clear. Some with trepidations or boundaries, some with desires, many with offers to help others achieve what they wanted. It was a very promising start, and from there we took off!
Our main living room was floor to floor with mattresses that people helped to bring over. We had two violet wands, side by side sybians, a sex swing, gorgeous attire, many toys, floggers, sensual aids, games, food and beverages. Most were things people donated for the event to help create a festive atmosphere. We had a significant range of ages, orientations, genders, vanilla and kinked. People participated, and it seemed to create a sense of ownership in the activities they chose to enjoy, and the event as a whole.
I was privileged to witness some really beautiful play, even more so to participate in quite a bit myself, and observe my partners enjoying themselves with me, and with others. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details, it was fucking HOT, and had we recorded things, I could make a tidy sum off of the dvds. ;)
Almost everyone participated directly in something, including people that were pretty hesitant at the beginning of the event. The daytime idea was well-received, and will be repeated. This poly/kink community let go, at least a little, of being overly concerned about "messing up friendships with sex". I feel closer to many people today than I did a couple days ago, that things are tighter knit in a good way.
Pleasure can be a tool for intimacy, not just within relationships, but within communities as well. In a poly world, relationship-level closeness doesn't always need to be the goal. Every so often, just feeling good, and sharing that with those you like is more than sufficient.