Carla*, 35, and her partner Joe*, 36, met in their late 20s and have been together for eight years. They have two school-age children and live in Manchester. Since lockdown, they have attended two virtual sex parties, hosted on Zoom by Killing Kittens. Here’s what happened.
Carla also shared her experiences on an episode of the Cosmopolitan UK podcast ‘All The Way With’. You can listen to that here.
“Joining members-only sex party community Killing Kittens has always been something I’ve wanted to do. I’d never felt brave enough until this year. I left my career in law to go on maternity leave, and once my two children got older and more settled in school, I started thinking about the future. I was considering going back to university, or having a career change. I felt I’d reached a point in my life where I didn’t have to be just a mum. It sounds really cheesy, but I wanted to find out who I was again.
One day, my partner Joe* and I were talking about all the other things we might want to do. And I brought up the idea of going to a sex party. He was interested right away. We’d never been to one before, but found there was an event coming up in Manchester so paid the joining fee and set up our profile on the website.
Joe is straight. I’m sort of… curious. I was brought up in a very strict, Catholic Irish family. When I was a teenager, I had an interest in girls. But it was a case of ignoring that and never thinking of it again. It’s only as I’ve got older that I’ve thought more about exploring that. The parties seem like an ideal atmosphere to do so, without any kind of expectation or pressure or anything. Joe and I talked about me exploring my sexuality with women, and he was really supportive.
The sex party was planned for April, but obviously it’s not really a socially distance-suitable event. When it got cancelled and changed to a virtual event, we were still interested. It only cost £20 (R465). ‘For that price, if we hate it, we’ll just close a laptop and pretend it never happened,’ we agreed.
The night of the virtual sex party I picked out a nice outfit and did my makeup as if we were going to an actual party. Then, an hour before the event, we got an email. ‘As per the parties, masks are compulsory,’ it read. So Joe went off to Tesco to raid the party section. He queued for 20 minutes to get in, and then came back with a bottle of champagne and two pink glittery masks – it was the weirdest shop ever. When we put them on, we looked like something from a kids TV show.
I was really anxious and worried it all might be a bit cringy. I was also a bit sceptical about how it was actually going to work. We logged in to Zoom, the video chat platform where the party was taking place, and were greeted by the host from Killing Kittens.
There were about 50 other people already on the chat. Single men aren’t allowed, and it was mostly couples and about four single women on their own. Luckily, the host muted everybody to stop us all talking over each other. Instead, we were prompted to use the text chat. The host said they’d pick people to be the main, pinned video. And this would change throughout the night.
It kicked off with introductions where the host unmuted and pinned people in turn. It felt a bit like a work team-building exercise. The host explained there wouldn’t be time to get to everybody. ‘Please don’t pick us,’ I thought.
One couple had this really funny username: Mr Wee. After Mr Wee introduced themselves, the host moved onto the next couple – who hadn’t realised they’d been pinned and unmuted. We all heard them saying, ‘Oh my god, Mr Wee! What sort of a name is that?’ as they burst out laughing. The host swiftly moved on without mentioning it. It was honestly the greatest part of the whole night. Of all the embarrassing things that could happen at an online sex party, that’s probably not what you would expect.
Next there was a warm-up act, which was a woman who danced around a bath outside. It was a bit weird, and the comments everyone was posting in the chat box were really funny. That broke the ice a little bit. Then we all played games where we had to describe our sex life using only film titles, and work out our porn star names. We were then told the second act would be coming on soon, and to chat amongst ourselves for now.
‘All of a sudden, one of the couples was just doing it on the screen’
All of a sudden, one of the couples was just doing it on the screen. I’d assumed the host would tell us when we could do stuff, or there’d be a 10-second warning. It was all a bit of a shock, but someone had to go first and they really clearly thought, ‘You know what, it’ll be us’.
They’d put the laptop on the floor and she was on her hands and knees, with him behind her. They were quite enthusiastic and just going for it in front of their laptop. We soon realised it was Mr Wee, who’d got laughed at for their username. I wondered if they felt like they had something to prove. After that, everyone else seemed to think, ‘Yeah, all right then,’ and joined in.
It felt a little bit weird because at the time, I was still trying to figure out how to work Zoom. I’d set it up thinking I’d cast the party from my laptop to the TV. But I hadn’t been able to get it to work. So after I’d finished faffing with the laptop, we said to each other, ‘Are we supposed to do that too?’ It wasn’t awkward as such, but we didn’t really know what we were doing. Everyone was pretty much in the same boat though, which made it easier.
‘We ended up having a bit of foreplay and oral sex’
The host then flipped the screen between different people, so everyone would be pinned for a few minutes. There were a few couples who just seemed to want to watch. We could see them with their drinks, chatting and smiling, but not doing anything. That didn’t bother us, some people probably just want to see what it’s like the first time.
We ended up having a bit of foreplay and oral sex, all while watching the others. And because the party finished at a set time of 12pm, and we were some of the last ones to join in because of our technical issues, we didn’t have penetrative sex. But we enjoyed what we did, and didn’t feel like we missed out at all. As soon as the party ended, we agreed to attend the next virtual sex party the following week.
It surprised me just much I did enjoy knowing that there were other people there, and how much I [enjoying being watched]. That wasn’t something that had ever occurred to me before.
In normal life, I’m not really confident. I don’t like to be the centre of attention. I don’t like birthday parties and I wouldn’t have a big wedding because I don’t want everyone looking at me. I expected I’d feel really shy, and was surprised I didn’t.
Having our first experience virtually really helped us ease into it. It also meant I could work on my confidence, and I know when we go to a real party I’ll be more relaxed. We both felt really glad we got to try it online first – it felt like a practice run and way less scary. I think to attend a sex party – virtual or otherwise – as a couple, you have to be quite secure with each other. That way you’re less likely to feel jealousy, or inadequate.
Our second round
The second time was much more relaxed because we knew what to expect. While I hadn’t been able to drink alcohol before the first party as I was so nervous, I had a couple of glasses of Prosecco the second time. This definitely helped me get in the mood.
We also planned it better, and made sure that casting to the TV worked beforehand. I brought a duvet downstairs because as much as these parties are supposed to be glamorous, I like to be comfortable. I put the duvet on the living room floor, alongside the front of the sofa. This meant we could lie on it and look at the laptop perched on the seat of the sofa, as well as the TV. We did basically everything you could imagine the second time.
I know online parties came about as an answer to lockdown, but I think they should be a regular option for people who are new to it. It gives you a chance to see what sex parties are all about without committing to going to a physical party. It seems like a really safe way for people to dip their toe in.
Plus, ever since we attended the virtual parties, we’ve been so excited to go to one in real life once lockdown is over. We’re counting down the days.”
*Names have been changed
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan UK