Content warning for trans-antagonism and rape culture.
I’ve been doing kink in private for years, but in the past six months I finally broke out into the public kink scene and went to my first two play parties.
Play parties are events in public or private venues where people do BDSM in front of other people. Play parties may include sex, but they also might not. What’s nice about play parties is that people can share knowledge and toys with each other, discover new play partners, have observers to intervene if something goes wrong in a scene, and of course, there’s a certain exhibitionistic thrill to doing kink in front of other people that many BDSM practitioners enjoy.
As you might imagine, I was excited to attend these parties. But as my friend Lunas has written before, there are a lot of safety issues associated with kink communities in general and play parties in particular. So I was also apprehensive about whether I, as well as the other party guests, would feel safe and supported.
My experiences at these two parties were different in ways deep and complex enough to really get me thinking about what set them apart. Here is my perspective, as someone new to the public kink scene, on what was good about these parties, what could be improved, and how kink communities can make their parties fun and safe for everyone.