Pills have been crucial in facilitating this mindset, but there’s more to liberation than medicine. In talking to people who attend and throw sex parties, I’ve noticed a proud refusal to live by the heteronormative respectability politics that were so useful in the fight for marriage equality. (Within minutes of sitting down with Tavares, he mentioned off-handedly, “Whenever I see a traditional gay marriage, I want to puke.”) Plus, these parties offer a refuge from the hassles of geo-loaction-app acquired casual sex that has become such a norm amongst gay and bisexual men. That these parties are thriving in New York right is no coincidence, either; the city’s Health Department is more focused on targeting disease than on policing the venue choices of those who are vulnerable to it than it has been since the mid-’80s.
“I think that in New York it’s become more normal to say, ‘There’s a sex party tonight, we’re going out to it,’” said Chris Hawke, whose Golden Boys USA (GBU) party is now in its 16th year of existence. “In the beginning they were very uptight, like they were doing something taboo. Everybody came alone. Now, people walk in with five friends.”
Daniel Nardicio, another well-known promoter who’s been throwing raunchy parties since the late ‘90s, said that he once felt like something of a pariah for throwing parties where sex was permissible. Not anymore.
“Someone recently said to me, ‘Sex is really in!’” said Nardicio. “As in: sex parties are really in. I was like, ‘Girl, sex has always been in, you dumb fucking ass, it was just that you were afraid to do it before because you were going to get into trouble.”
The photo studio-turned-sex dungeon of “Simon” in in the basement of a nondescript Brooklyn apartment building hosts “eight or nine” parties a month, typically on weekends. Lubbock TX backpage escort Some are his, others are thrown by outside promoters-for example, Hawke’s Golden Boys USA is there every two weeks and multimedia artist Gio Black Peter (disclosure: Gio is a friend of mine) throws his sporadic American Whorer Party there, which has attracted a predictably arty crowd, and often features bizarre performances. The most recent one, in May, featured a DJ set and the mock baptism-in red paint, by legendary gay filmmaker Bruce La Bruce-of some naked twinks. ”
He told me the biggest difference between now and when he started is that in 1992, people always used condoms. Now, they don’t. The demand for this type of gathering, however, was high during those dark times when hope for AIDS seemed dim and the media got bored of the epidemic. Simon says his first party, a private affair in his apartment, attracted 30 guests. By the second he had four times that number. In those days, he’d advertise by handing out invitations in bars or by posting in the back of gay weekly nightlife rags like HX.
Simon began to build a following, throwing parties at various locations throughout the city before settling into his current spot about 20 years ago. He’s one of two people I spoke with whose primary income is a result of his hosting of these parties-they’re side gigs for pretty much everyone else (though, one guy told me he pays his rent from his monthly party). Simon’s is your prototypical dank dungeon with slings, a makeshift jail cell, leather-covered beds, wooden booths for more cordoned-off play (though big viewing holes make calling these “private” a stretch), and a sizable dance floor. Almost everything at Simon’s has been painted black, including the exposed brick walls, giving the space an aesthetic that’s somewhere between your grandfather’s basement wood shop and a horror-movie set.