The founders of NYC sex party Chemistry reveal what goes on behind closed doors.
Meet KennyBlunt and SheilaMonster, a sexually adventurous married couple with a shared appreciation for Burning Man and burlesque. Frustrated with the limitations of the traditional "swinging" scene they experienced at sex parties, the duo formed an exclusive N.Y.C. sex party called Chemistry. The couple place ambiance at a premium: chemistry books burlesque acts and awesome DJs for the event and its locale in rented Brooklyn loft spaces is both elegant and welcoming. "People can walk in jeans and sneakers or tuxedos and be equally comfortable," says Sheila. YourTango sat down with Kenny and Sheila to discuss the party, the meaning of "lifestyle," and the ways sex clubs can rev up your sex life.
Why did you start Chemistry?
SheilaMonster (SM): We were involved recreationally in lifestyle [sex] parties, including one in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. We were friends with the people who ran it and we were like "Let's see if we can do that!" We felt we were going to provide something that wouldn't be provided by any of the other lifestyle promoter.
SM: There was a lot of pressure to have sex at sex parties but if you weren't having sex, there was really nothing else to do. Ironically, if you create a party where sex is the last thing on people's minds, it relaxes them into a place where they can organically cultivate chemistry.
KennyBlunt (KB): You'd go to another party and honestly, the conversation you would have twenty times in the night was, "So how long have you been doing this?" "Been to this party before?" "How long have you been going to sex parties?" And there was nothing else to talk about. I think we really knew how to threw a party first.
You describe the parties as a "lifestyle." What does that word mean to you?
KB: That's a general term people use to describe anything that goes beyond the typical monogamous relationship. It encompasses polyamory, people who call themselves swingers, BDSM, the fetish scene.
SM: There are two factions. The swinger mentality is usually that sex is a recreation, just like going golfing or going to the movies. It's like, "I am totally emotionally devoted to this person, I would never do anything without them and we go to parties where we recreationally have sex with other people."
"Polyamorous" literally means we're both giving each other permission to fall in love with someone else and actually cultivate deep emotional connections with them as well as physical connections. Even in poly there are variations: some people are going to enjoy other people together — they'll never experience other people apart — whereas some people are willing to have relationships independent of their primary relationship.
KB: Our party tends more towards the poly side than the swinger side. For example, a typical swinger party promoter is only interested in how old you are and what you look like. We care about things other than that.
You have a screening process for people who want to attend the party. What questions do you ask?
KB: We ask couples to talk about their relationship — and more than just if they're married. We ask them what their philosophy of sex is.
SM: We ask them what their favorite non-sexual hobby is.
KB: We ask them to describe what their perfect night of Chemistry would be. We want people to be really prepared and have given this some thought. We really discourage people from thinking — and this is typical of NYC — "I'll wait to see how that night goes, maybe I'll do it and maybe I won't," and they're kind of blase about the whole thing.
Could a monogamous couple have a good time at your party?
KB: Oh, a lot of them do!
SM: The percentage of people who go all the way at our parties is probably in the minority in relation to the amount people who are really there because they find our atmosphere titillating and sexy. Most of the couples who attend don't have sex with anyone other than themselves but our parties are great for giving people things to talk about. It's sort of like foreplay.
What would you tell someone who is nervous about going to an event?
KB: Go with a friend. Maybe even a male friend, which may have its own issues, but it could help.
What about a couple that's nervous?
KB: I'd encourage them to express those fears in the screening. There's not much we can say other than "Don't worry". They have to set their own boundaries when they come to the party. Our party isn't the type where you'd have to strip down to your underwear at midnight — one of the big parties in New York does that — and we're mostly geared towards people's comfort levels. Anything goes.
SM: You don't want to negotiate things on-site because issues will come up. You want to be sure your boundaries are clear before you go to this type of party because re-negotiating your boundaries in the moment is probably not a good idea. People can get into doing things that they weren't quite ready to do.
Are there boundaries that you set about what can't happen at the party?
SM: Unattended men cannot go into the play spaces by themselves.
Why is that?
SM: I think the term in the scene is "wankers" — people who are stroking off watching other people.
KB: We don't think that would make people in our scene comfortable.
What do you want couples to get out of this party?
SM: One of the hopes — and what we actually seem to be doing — is that couples fall back in love with one another. They're recharging their relationships. They're having a dialogue about something that is beautiful and healing and phenomenal, which is sexuality. That sexuality may never include other people getting involved but at least they're talking about it. At least they're seeing each other with fresh eyes. When done well, responsibly and patiently it can be one of the best therapies for couples who are struggling.
KB: We both believe that 90% of the messages you hear in society about how relationships are supposed to be are false. We're trying to get people to think for themselves about what sex is supposed to mean in their lives, not what Cosmo says, or what Republicans say.
SM: Or what religion says.
KB: (Laughs) Yeah, there can be a lot wrong there!
To learn more about Chemistry, visit Chemistry-NYC.com.
- A Former "Friendzone" Guy Reveals The #1 Reason You're Single
- I Can Sum Up Marriage In These 8 Texts I've Sent My Husband
- 9 Totally Normal Breakdowns I've Had About Being Single