J and I are in Seattle this weekend for many reasons (one big one is to meet our close sexy friends’ lovers!!!), but we just had to check out the main swingers’ club up here while we were here.
While Sesso in Portland has the traditional night club feel and the Velvet Rope is like your neighborhood bar, New Horizons acts like something in between. A massive house situated on massive grounds means there is a huge amount of space to socialize. The play areas are a relatively small portion of the house, but are reminiscent of the “cool” forts I tried to build when I was little. There are many levels and bunk beds and beds you have to bend down and crawl onto, beds sunken down into the floor. There is a room with fun house mirrors on all sides and the ceiling. A room with a black light and glory holes.
Pluses for this place:
-You are not allowed to wear street clothes in the play areas. We thought this probably makes the transition from socializing to playing more smooth. J also commented that sometimes it is weird to be playing at Sesso with people wearing nice/club-y clothes watching.
-You can be barefoot anywhere. No more sore feet!! So nice.
-You are able to spend the night and stay til the morning, when they serve another hot breakfast (the first is at midnight). This is included in your door fee.
-The dinner party atmosphere sounds neat, as opposed to a raucous night club or dive-y bar.
-The long orientation really helped to build potential new members’ sense of community, self-monitoring, and accountability to rules.
-You must rent towels to use on top of play surfaces (beds, couches, etc.). Staff does not change the sheets or spray down surfaces for members.
-It’s a smaller group of people that utilize the space (on average Saturdays attendance is between 125-150 people. On big parties it can get up to 500).
-The staff here, like at the Velvet Rope, did not specify what the exact rules were for using the hot tubs (and we forgot to ask).
My favorite aspect of this club? Its history.
It is the longest running swingers club. We got to meet one of the founding members, Norbert (his wife, Lorna, passed away not too long ago). The wife directed the club’s founding principle: that it was to be a safe space for women, especially single and solo women. Apparently she was disillusioned with the swinger movement during the 60s and 70s and the traditional key parties in which women were not given much agency in saying “no” to a prospective partner. So she was adamant that this new club be founded on the ability to say “no.” Pretty awesome. Norbert was pretty rad (and he’s almost 83!).
Among the small crowd that was there last night, we were definitely the youngest there (not a new experience). It was also like Sesso, in that the vibe was very straight-couple oriented (during the Speed Dating activity we participated in, men met with women. Men did not meet men and women did not meet women), and there was a lot of couple and marriage privilege: the primary dyad is sacred. In fact, while J and I were sitting in the hot tub, a woman asked if she could put her feet in, and we both said that it was fine. When she realized he and I were together, she was aghast that she “split us up”- by mere inches, mind you. And was adamant that she switch me spots: “We share, we don’t split up couples!” she said. The entire 90 minute orientation and the brief meeting with the founder and his second wife was centered around the importance of communication between the dyad. True, communication between couples is essential to having happy and fun swinging experiences. But I get kind of irked when all we hear about are couples (again though, swinging is very couples-oriented).
And while it is cool that the foundation of this club was built on women’s safety and right to say no, the fact that men are given less ownership over their sexuality and assumed to be treacherous bugs the shit out of me. Women can be just as lecherous. And, while we were at the club last night, I listened to explicit conversation among members that the “double standard” for men and women’s behavior was a-okay. Women can touch men without asking, but vice versa will get the dude kicked out.
I’m glad we checked it out, and I think we’ll probably build the club into our next visit, especially since we can stay the night there. Score! :)