Virtual orgies seek to replicate some of the magic and excitement of real life sex parties, but how exactly do they work?
In the last 10 years, I have attended a wide variety of real-life sex parties – from the silly, to the fetish-y, to the downright filthy – and losing those events during lockdown has been a blow. Luckily, event organizers have tried translating the experience for our digital age to keep the sexy dream alive.
Moving a sex party online is, for most people, a pretty strange concept though, so here’s a breakdown of how this new experience actually works in reality, based on three I attended recently.
Signing up for a virtual orgy
The majority of online sex parties have grown out of existing IRL sex party brands, usually advertised on kink sites like FetLife, through ‘alternative nightlife’ MeetUps or Facebook groups, or found through a good ol’ Google search.
The usual membership processes apply, typically relying on existing member referrals or website application forms asking questions about previous experiences and expectations.
Total anonymity isn’t usually an option – you can use a ‘scene name’, but you often need to submit a picture or join a Facebook group so that organisers can easily identify people in case boundaries are crossed. Smaller, private events for just a few friends, however, don’t need (or tend to have) that kind of vetting.
Virtual sex party consent and guidelines
For a typical sex party, participant guidelines are provided as part of the membership or sign-up process, and often re-iterated by a party steward when you first arrive on the night.
For online parties the guidelines form is often the same, but reiterated on the event details page as opposed to in-person. Many of the typical rules apply – ask consent, no assuming pronouns, be respectful – however the usual rules concerning voyeurism go out the window. T
These parties rely on people’s voyeuristic desires to function. Instead attendees are told not to take screenshots or recordings and are reminded that Zoom is not the most secure of platforms.
Fuck for the camera at your own risk.
Joining the party
Most parties are hosted via Zoom, with a password and waiting room so that organizers can vet people before they enter the ‘room’.
Attendees aren’t usually required to keep videos on, and can choose whatever name they like to display, so you can stay fairly anonymous once inside if you wish.
The later you arrive, the longer the wait, but typically no longer than 5-10 minutes.
Time to party!
I have been to three kinds of online sex parties, all of which were wildly different experiences.
The ‘Silly Disco Funtime’ Party
This 100-capacity party very much followed its typical real-life format: a cabaret followed by a series of disco and house DJs, with attendees encouraged to dress in silly costumes. The cabaret and DJ sets took place in the ‘main’ online room – set on ‘spotlight’ so attendees could dance and perform for the camera.
There was also a ‘side room’ attendees could access, set to gallery view with sound on for chatting and more intimate interactions. This ensured that the more exhibitionist party-goers could have their moment in the limelight, and the more introverted ones could connect in a more relaxed setting.
In both rooms, the chat box was the primary place for flirting and connection. This felt a lot like the AOL chat rooms of 20 years ago: you could find someone in the public room that you liked, and then invite them for a private chat, and then take it elsewhere i.e. onto your separate preferred platform if you wanted to continue interacting one-on-one.
The ‘Dark n’ Filthy Techno’ Party
The organisers of this 150-capacity party stated very clearly in the event email that explicit performance for the camera was encouraged, warning attendees in advance that they were likely to see “a lot of interesting things” in the main room.
The set up, however, was very similar to the first – a main room with DJs and loud techno music, and a break side room with interactive audio. Unfortunately, during the first party the techno music in the main room wasn’t set up well, leading to muffled beats, and some awkward silences.
Attendees made up for it however with well-lit cam-like setups, taking the ‘performance’ aspect seriously (many wearing masks given the explicit nature of the acts), and the audio was fixed at subsequent parties. Again, the chat box function was used, with more… direct… content, given what was going on on-screen.
The ‘Friendly Private’ Party
This was organised via WhatsApp by a friend, inviting 10 lovers and friends who knew each other to get together and create private shows for each other on a Zoom call.
Attendees could choose gallery or spotlight view, the latter perhaps the more entertaining as it would switch to whoever was making the most noise. This was clunky and a little awkward given the necessary lack of music in order to hear everyone, but it was definitely the most intimate and engaging of the three.
Not a patch on IRL parties, but a whole lot of fun nonetheless.
Are online sex parties really any fun?
Obviously, we’re all chomping at the proverbial (and perhaps literal) bit to get back to actually touching people, but online sex parties are a great way to explore your exhibitionist side and connect with people in a new way.
And if you’re a voyeur, it’s a great way to explore that with consent. Just remember, Zoom isn’t the most secure platform, and there’s no way of definitely ensuring none of the attendees are recording it (and NEVER do this yourself).
So take the risk seriously and act according to what you’re truly comfortable with. And if you’re really worried, get some trusted friends together and entertain each other in a smaller setting instead.
You’ll be surprised how sexy it can be.