Flickr/Charlotte Cooper

Flickr/Charlotte Cooper

For people who are entering into uncharted waters by hosting commercialized sex parties — where someone can buy an online ticket and enter into a sex-welcomed room full of strangers — rules and guidelines of consent must be outlined and expressed to guests. This is in order to keep their reputation and the safety of their attendees up. There should be no gawkers; all guests should be enjoying each other’s sexuality — if given permission, that is.

Plastered all over the websites and repeated at parties, rules of consent might just be the most important aspect to a sex party, and each party has their own.

In 2007, Polly Superstar of Kinky Salon created the PAL buddy system, where people must arrive in two’s and are held responsible for each other’s behavior. “There were always problems. It was like us trying to figure out how to solve the problems.” For example, people would think that once you reach a certain point of a sexual encounter that consent is no longer necessary. Well, Polly says, that’s not true. Consent is needed in every step of the encounter.

So, the answer turned out to be the guests themselves. “It’s not like us policing them, it’s like the community itself upholds those agreements.” This social responsibility aspect has been successful. Even Larisa Fuchs of House of Scorpio also follows Polly’s PAL system at her own make-out and sex parties.

Other parties find that limiting the amount of single men who can attend also controls the atmosphere and sexual energy of the party, such as Chemistry NYC. At these parties, men are not allowed alone inside the play areas. Chemistry also has people who patrol the room for troublemakers, and the email invitation asks that someone verbally say no if they are not 100% interested.

While consent guidelines have changed the way sex party hosts arrange and then execute their sexual events, some parties have taken on a whole different form in order to be more effective: visual. Ruby Rogers, host of play party 2nd Base in northern California. Like Fuchs, Rogers’ party is make-out only. Her rules of consent are physically there: a stamp of one of three animals — a dog if you’re more open to being approached and touched, a cat if you’re selective and must be asked and a bird if only you can approach others. This way, people don’t have to guess or bother a person depending on their social preference.

She borrowed the idea from David Pullman, a community cuddler (think sex party but just cuddling is involved.) “Instead of having it be predatorial, it turned it into a sexy party because there were pre-negotiated boundaries,” she says. Without this form of consent, she had noticed how “poorly” people behaved in terms of approaching people. “It didn’t feel like anybody was being taken advantage of,” she says of the first time success of the cat-dog-bird system. For now, consent is still something that commercial sex party hosts are working on, as sexual and social horizons expand.

“The sex positive community is a place where a lot of innovations can happen,” Polly Superstar says.