Sex parties – you know what they are. You’ve seen them in the movies and on television. If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve probably even thought  “wow that sure looks like fun” a time or two. However, there’s picturing yourself living it up at a sex party and then there’s actually walking into a situation like that as a newbie.

If you’re excited and intimidated in equal parts by the idea of attending a sex party, you’re not alone. New experiences can be a lot of fun, but it’s also normal to have some reservations, questions, and concerns as well. The following are just a few things you’ll definitely want to make a note of beforehand.

1.      Consent is always Rule Number One.

It’s a common misconception that sex parties are wild, disorganized events that see everyone having sex with everyone else sooner or later. In reality, consent is super important at sex parties, so it’s perfectly acceptable to politely say “no” if you’re not down with something. It’s just as important to understand that other guests have the right to say “no” to you. What does or doesn’t happen while you’re there is 100% up to you.

2.      The other rules vary from event to event.

Every sex party is a little different as far as what’s allowed and what’s not. Some parties may only welcome men if they’re part of a couple. Others may have a “no lurkers” rule, meaning you’ll be expected to participate to one degree or another while you’re there. Make sure you’re cool with whatever the protocol is before you decide to attend so you know what will be expected of you.

3.      Sex is only part of the reason people go to sex parties.

When you’re in the mood to make some new friends, what do you do? If you’re like most, you take classes, attend socials, and go to events designed for people with interests and values similar to yours. What better way to meet potential friends that are just as sex-positive as you are than to chat people up at a sex party? Yes, most of the folks there will be there because they’re interested in sex. However, they’re probably just as interested in meeting like-minded people in general.

4.      The sex doesn’t usually happen immediately.

Unless you get there really super late, you’re probably not going to arrive at a sex party and see people going at it right from the get-go. The average sex party starts out similarly to any other party – with socializing, drinks, and simple conversation. That said, no one will be expecting you to walk through the door, immediately drop your pants, and reveal your raging boner to everyone present. Just show up the way you would to any other social event, grab your favorite drink, enjoy the company, and let things unfold naturally over the course of the night.

5.       You may run into people that aren’t there for sex at all.

Not everyone you’ll run into at a sex party is necessarily there with the intent to get down and dirty. There may be entertainers or service providers that are there in a professional capacity – bartenders, caterers, comedians, and dancers among many other possibilities. Also, many parties don’t have any rules against simply observing the action, especially if you’re new. At the end of the day, a sex party is still a party, so people can and will be there for all sorts of reasons.

6.      The mood isn’t the same at every party.

When beginners picture sex parties, they tend to picture an incredibly sensual atmosphere that positively oozes sexual energy. In actuality, each sex party is going to be an entity all its own, so each is definitely going to have its own vibe. Some really will be exactly what you may have pictured in this regard. Others – like the Orgy Dome at Burning Man – are part of a larger event that’s about other things, so the overall mood may be different.

7.      A lot of guests have sex mostly with people they know.

Sure, some parties will see just about everyone getting freaky with everyone else there. The average sex party isn’t necessarily like that though. The great majority of the sex going on happens between a guest and other people they actually know. In many cases, those other people actually arrived with them. That said, it’s fine if you want to walk around asking other guests if you can join them, but not everyone will be doing that, nor will it be expected of you.

8.      It’s not necessarily easier to approach people at a sex party than it is anywhere else.

Lots of people get anxious at the idea of walking up to someone they’re attracted to at a traditional party. They also assume that those nerves are magically going to disappear into thin air the minute they try it at a sex party instead. The fact of the matter it’s always tough to walk up to people you find attractive and ask them to consider getting with you. You’ll find that’s still the case even in settings that involve multiple people having sex right there in public.

9.      Knowing how to handle rejection is essential.

No one is going to approach you or your group and just jump right into the action. (Remember what we said about consent.) They’ll politely ask you if they can join you or ask whether or not you’d like some company. Regular sex party attendees are also masters at the art of handling rejection as you’ll soon see. It’s not a big deal or anything to take personally if someone isn’t interested. That said, come to the party fully prepared to not only be rejected, but to reject other people’s offers as well.

10.  Put some thought into how you dress.

The average person you’re going to run into at a sex party is going to be impeccably groomed, as well as very well-dressed. By “well-dressed”, we mean they’ll be presenting themselves at their absolute best and sexiest. You’ll want to make sure you are as well. Although it may seem like a no-brainer, definitely make sure you shower and brush your teeth before you go. Choose your apparel with care. It ought to be something that’s equal parts flattering and practical (meaning it’s easy to remove once the action gets started).

11.  Arrive with an open mind.

No, you don’t have to agree to anything you don’t actually want to do. You do want to keep your mind open and come prepared for just about any possibility. Sex parties are nothing if not a colorful experience. Yes, you’ll eventually see multiple couples going at it simultaneously. You’ll also see threesomes, foursomes, and even larger groups enjoying one another thoroughly. You may also experience random things like being stripped naked or having a total stranger take your hand and lead you somewhere mysterious. Of course you can say no… but don’t be afraid to say yes.

12.  Safe sex and condoms come with the territory.

While it may be tempting to think of an orgy as a place safe sex doesn’t matter or isn’t practiced, this is far from the case. Due to their very nature, most sex parties place a high level of importance on safe sex. Regular attendees practice it themselves outside of the parties and they almost certainly do the same at the parties. That said, huge bowls of condoms on tables are common fixtures at these events. (If you have a personal preference as far as what type you like, you’re always welcome to bring your own!)

13.  There’s a protocol when it comes to sex toys.

While sex toys are certainly welcome and present at the average sex party, it’s commonly understood that attendees bring their own. (Examples include vibrators, anal beads, butt plugs, and so forth.) This is to avoid “cross-pollinating” with playmates you might not have or want a fluid bond with. If you’d like to bring a few of your favorite toys with you to a sex party, make sure you wash them thoroughly before and after use. It’s also worth noting that condoms can be used on dildos and vibrators just as well as they can flesh and blood penises.

14.  Be prepared to see fetishes explored.

No sex party would be complete without a way to explore certain fetishes. It’s also worth mentioning that fetishes sometimes follow trends. For instance, with Fifty Shades of Grey being so popular now, it wouldn’t be at all unusual to find BDSM rooms complete with sex swings, St. Andrew’s crosses, and the like ready and waiting for show time at today’s sex parties. Some sex party venues even have what’s known as a “wet room” – someplace to explore fetishes like blood, golden showers, scat, and so forth.

All things considered, a little information and preparedness is really all you need when it comes to attending your first sex party. Explore the possibilities today! It’s sure to be a life-changing experience.