With more and more couples open to some version of non-monogamy, the sex club is having a bit of a heyday. Sometimes called a swinger club or a lifestyle club, sex clubs are venues that host parties for consenting adults to meet, mingle, and get a little wild. Most large cities have at least one or two and major metro areas have several for a variety of interests. 

But what’s it actually like? 

The particular vibe really depends on the club you go to

Most clubs have a nightclub sort of feel— mood lighting, a bar area, social areas, and private areas. But the exact mood can vary. The larger clubs usually have a sort of disco vibe with colored lights, dance floors, and lots of glitz and shine. Smaller clubs might look more like house parties, sometimes with pools or hot tubs included. And then the more kink-friendly clubs often take on moodier aesthetics, leaning into Southern Gothic or BDSM dungeon looks. 

Yes, there will be nudity and sex

While there is usually a social space that keeps it PG13-rated, the whole draw of the sex club is… the sex. The areas for sex are sometimes in full view of the social space, but most have them loosely separated, so you can dip in and out of the sex areas throughout the night. 

There is usually a mix of private and open spaces

Most sex clubs do have private or semi-private spaces if you’re feeling shy about being watched. Some of the semi-private ones have two-way mirrors for onlookers, some have tucked-away booths, and some have actual rooms with policies for closed doors. But the main draw is usually the wide open spaces. In these, you’ll see beds, platforms, and couches for people to have sex in full view of each other. 

Consent is key

This is #1 for any sex club. If people, especially women, feel unsafe, the club is doomed. Because of this, there are strict rules about asking BEFORE you touch. It doesn’t matter if you’re naked in the orgy room; you have a right to say no to anything you don’t want, at any time. Period. 

Not everyone is there to swap

Going to a sex club doesn’t mean you HAVE to swap or play with anyone at all. Some couples go just to play with each other and soak up the voyeuristic energy. However, most people are there to swap or to try to have threesomes. This leads into…

There are different prices for couples, single women, and single men

This is just simple demand and supply. Even though most couples are interested in swapping with other couples, nearly all of them would happily accept a threesome with a second woman. Fewer are open for a threesome with a second man. Fewer still are looking for a gangbang situation with several men. (I’ve seen it happen though!)

Because of this, solo women will usually have heavily discounted admission. Couples are the standard tier, and most clubs charge significantly more for solo men if they allow them entrance at all. 

Most clubs are BYOB and people use the social space to meet and mingle

Although some clubs have a no-alcohol policy, most ask that you bring your own alcohol and they’ll supply mixers. Even if you don’t plan on drinking, you’ll want to bring some single bills for the tip jar, because this is typically the space where couples and solo people mingle and chat. 

Swingers tend to be a really friendly crowd

If you’re new, it’s perfectly acceptable to go up to a couple or a group and introduce yourself. Usually, couples will spend a bit of time socializing, getting to know new people, and seeing old friends before deciding to play. If a couple or crowd is standoffish, just move on and say hello to other people. Sometimes clubs get cliquey because the regulars all know each other. Keep showing up, you’ll be one of them too!

It’s acceptable to ask people to join you for sex

Since you’ve all wound up at a sex club together, it is perfectly acceptable to ask a couple or a solo person if they would like to play with you. Common etiquette states that if someone is there alone, it’s totally fine to ask them to join for a threesome, but if a couple is there together, they should be approached together. (The term “wife poacher” is used derisively for couples who ask a woman to leave her male partner alone to join them.) 

Also, playing with others isn’t all or nothing. Some couples do what’s called a “full swap,” meaning trading opposite sex partners for penetrative sex. Other couples prefer “soft swap,” which includes some sex play, but stops short of penetrative sex with other people. (This very often includes bisexual play as well.) And it’s also totally fine to just share a space with a couple or many couples for parallel play, where you might end up tangentially touching another person, but the sex is focused on your own partners. 

Remember the Golden Rule

There is a good chance you will be met with rejection, there is a good chance you will reject others. Always remember that you’re under no obligation to play with anyone, ever. But there’s something to be said for softening the blow of rejection. Always be kind, and always be willing to hear a no in whatever form it takes. If someone tells you some version of “maybe later,” that means they will find you and let you know if they change their mind. Be courteous and remember that this is supposed to be fun and low stakes.