Velvet Rope vs. Club Sesso

I realize that I have written a formal post on New Horizons in Seattle, but that I have not done the same for the clubs in Portland- Velvet Rope and Club Sesso (I did write a description of Sesso for DatingAdvice, but did not explicitly name Sesso in the article. You can read that description here).

So if you are looking to explore a swingers club in Portland, and are trying to decide which club to try out, my bottom line advice is:

Go to both.

They are categorically different clubs and offer different experiences. I have only been to Velvet Rope twice, and Sesso countless times, and so I recognize that I am not the most qualified person to compare and contrast the two (and, I obviously prefer Sesso).

But like I said, the two offer different experiences, so it’s important to try both out, especially if you are new to the swinger scene and don’t know what to expect.

I like to describe Sesso as a sexy night club and VR as your neighborhood bar with a sexy twist. While Sesso has been built to emulate a night club and has a dance floor that you can watch from the upstairs balcony, VR feels like a converted office building and the space has random rooms and spaces. Sesso is loud, especially on the weekends, and VR is quiet. While the crowd and music at Sesso makes it feel like a crowded and social space (because it is), it means that you can’t often have good conversation with people you don’t know, because you have to talk loudly or yell to be heard. VR has an advantage here, because you can actually talk with people. Other compare and contrast characteristics: VR has hot tubs; Sesso doesn’t. VR has a smoking patio; Sesso doesn’t (smokers have to stand outside the front of the building). VR offers a more inclusive feel (they often have drag queens and male strippers perform); Sesso has a more heteronormative feel. VR is cheaper; Sesso is more expensive (and just raised its prices, which I am hating, and is actually a reason we have not been going as much). Both offer food, but Sesso has a full buffet (dinner at first, changed out to breakfast later on), while VR’s offering is much smaller and less appealing. Sesso’s aesthetic is more consistent and new than that in VR, making it feel cleaner to me. In both you are responsible for cleaning up your play areas, but at Sesso volunteers spray down each play surface before new folks use it, while at VR just the sheets are traded out. The crowd at both venues is pretty body-positive- there is a wide range of body shapes and sizes and ages present. At Sesso, though, more people get dressed up (as there is actually a dress code loosely enforced), while at VR it’s much more low-key, clothes-wise. Both play porn, both have non-private orgy spaces, both have rooms with doors that close. Both have condoms everywhere.

I know there is a community that frequents VR that absolutely loves it, and prefers it hands-down to Sesso. I think the fact that it is a more mellow, quiet space and is a smaller core community makes it feel homey for people. I think it is awesome that it offers a more inclusive space for sex-positive people of many identities.

I prefer Sesso overall, though, because I like socializing with people, and there are just more people at Sesso to socialize with. I also really like getting dressed up when I go out, and being around others who get dressed up- it makes the experience feel more sexy and glamorous to me.

Want a handy chart of how I view the two? Here it is:

Screen shot 2014-05-30 at 9.58.12 AM

Have you been to both clubs? What is your preference? Do you disagree or agree with anything I wrote? Comment! Especially so that others exploring their options can see different perspectives on the two clubs 🙂

6 thoughts on “Velvet Rope vs. Club Sesso

  1. We’ve only been to Sesso, but we prefer it to New Horizons… When we come down to Portland (from Seattle) it’s usually to go to Sesso.

  2. While we have yet to be to both we have been to The Velvet Rope many times. It is quite casual but people do dress up there – it’s just honestly no enforced. It’s very low key/casual which suits our personalities. I would make one correction though – there is a cage with a sex swing down on the dance floor. 😉

  3. Has the crowd at velvet rope been affected at all by the closing of sesso? I’m new to this and am interested to try things out but I would prefer a more party like atmosphere with the ability to lounge as well. I also like the pictures of what sesso was, and am nervous I’ll be underwhelmed by vr

    • I honestly don’t know how VR has been affected by Sesso closing… I’ve run into some Sesso friends out in the world who seem to have gravitated toward the vanilla party scene, but go out with their swinger friends. The crowds that went to each club seemed pretty disparate to me, so I’m really not sure if many Sesso people have started going to VR. I’ve heard that there is a group of people trying to restart something. Hopefully soon!!

      • Yea, I have also been looking into sapphire in near Tacoma, ans that it closer to us. But still not sure and I know I can scared out of things easily, so I am hoping to find a place with a good vibe.

  4. I know that club Sesso has closed, but I was looking at a review on New Horizons in Seattle, which lead me here. Now, I know a lot has changed at the VR, but I will say as long as I have beeen going, 3 years, they have always cleaned the beds with clorox wipes and replaced the sheets. As a loving member and volunteer of the club, I feel this description may not be 100% accurate

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