Over the past month, rumors have swirled around plans for turning the historic Tacony Music Hall in lower Northeast Philly into a sex-positive community center. Philly Music Hall — hardly a controversial-sounding name — has drawn concerns from local community members confused by the nature of the venue. Owner and programming director Deborah Rose Hinchey says the unconventional space is not intended as a place to have sex, but a meaningful gathering spot for the alternative-sex community. G Philly recently interviewed Hinchey on what she wants the broader community to understand about her unique venture.
In case you’ve somehow managed to miss the warnings: We are slated to get some snow tonight and tomorrow. Around eight to 12 inches of the white stuff in Philly, to be exact. Meaning you’ll probably be cooped up in your home without a whole lot to do (after you’ve completed your snow-day workout, that is). And you know what boredom breeds? Babies. As we’ve told you guys before, research shows that nine months after a major weather event, there tends to be a baby boom.
• A new study shows that Americans are having less sex than we used to, which begs the question: Um, how much sex should we be trying to have? Well, according to research, when it comes to couples, the optimal number of times to have sex every week, when it comes to reaping the wellbeing benefits, seems to be once. (Don’t worry, though: More is perfectly fine, too — the wellbeing benefits just level off.) [TIME]
• You’re going to want to start raising your blinds first thing in the morning. Research shows, people who were exposed to sunlight in the early morning had lower BMIs than those who weren’t, probably thanks to sunlight giving the body’s internal clock (metabolism included) a kickstart. Here, four more morning habits to tweak for weight loss. [Prevention]
In a Philly campus apartment, a student is selling her worn underwear online for weekend spending money. In Center City, a gay man is shaving everything to keep up with the onslaught of hairless, six-packed sex gods on Grindr. And all over the city, people are meeting for steamy sessions of Orgasmic Meditation. (Don’t know what this is? You’re in for a treat.) Welcome to sex in Philly in 2017.
Our always-connected, anything-goes world is changing the way we do it, taking formerly fringe practices mainstream and making it easier than ever for us to get busy. This is what sex in Philly looks like now: how we’re having it, where we’re finding it, and what’s turning us on — and getting us off. Read on. (You know you’re curious.) — Edited by Emily Goulet Read more »
“The men’s locker room at a certain ritzy Philly fitness center is infamous. There is so much sex that goes on that male employees won’t even go in there. I’ve heard stories of guys servicing each other in the steam room.” — Center City personal trainer
“When Continental Midtown opened, a couple didn’t realize the mirrors were double-sided, and a gent had a lady bent over the sink looking into the mirror at herself, not realizing the crowd that had formed to see her.” — Former GM at Starr Restaurants
“Two chicks recently jumped in the back in the pouring rain and told me to just drive around. One asked for a paper towel, and then she dried off the chest of the other one and did coke off her breasts. Stuff like that happens all the time. I don’t want no one actually having sex, but if two girls wanna go at it, I’m not gonna say no.” — Cabdriver, Quaker City Cab Company
“Oh, I hear plenty of stories. Especially the Trenton line and Norristown line, the late-night rides. Lots of BJs.” — SEPTA Regional Rail conductor
“When I would sit at the front desk, I could sometimes hear people having sex in the first-floor guest rooms. In training, we were told that we weren’t allowed to call a guest to tell them they’d left something in the room because someone once called and told a man’s wife that she left behind lingerie and it turns out he hadn’t been there with the wife.” — Former GM of a Center City hotel
I’ve been on seekingarrangements.com for a little over a year. I can decide what type of relationship I want to have and how much money I want out of it each month. What I wanted was a very casual thing where we see each other a couple times a month and I get benefits.
Usually, it’s older men. The last one was about 15 years older than me, a very discreet married businessman. Most of them are married. But some are just so busy with their jobs that they don’t have time to invest in a real relationship, and I’m exactly what they’re looking for. It’s a very easy way to make money. My usual range is $1,000 to $3,000 each month, depending on the level of commitment of a relationship. The ideal situation is a monthly allowance, but my last one usually worked out to being gifts, or he would take me shopping and out to a nice restaurant. One time we went to a tea shop and he spent $200 on tea that I wanted.
For me, the sex has been primarily straight stuff. I try to talk to them a lot beforehand, and then we have a face-to-face meeting in a public place. Depending on the guy, I’d be open to doing fetish, but for the most part, it’s all very normal.
I know some people consider this prostitution, and I guess that’s okay. I am a sex-positive person, and this is a mutually beneficial relationship between two adults. The fact that they’re married doesn’t come into it for me. They’re on this site, they’re going to do it anyway, so why don’t I get something out of it? — As told to Victor Fiorillo
“I lost count. Maybe 20?”
I was standing in Transit, the long-departed Spring Garden Street nightclub, talking to a woman I ended up going home with that night. It was late. We were drinking. I can’t remember who asked first, but I ended up telling her I couldn’t remember how many people I’d slept with.
We dated for two years, but after we broke up, my unknown number ballooned. Not bad for a guy who didn’t have his first kiss until age 15 (in a movie theater, during Godzilla). Perhaps in a subconscious effort to make up for lost time, I tore through Philadelphia in my 20s. I had a few short-lived relationships. But mainly, I just hooked up with people.
I went on more than 100 dates over a two-year period, but I was never able to nail the door shut on a long relationship. I often did the reverse, ghosting on women who liked me more than I liked them. I didn’t plan on getting laid as often as possible, but it ended up that way.
My sex life took on a mind of its own: Post-coitus, I drunkenly passed out on a woman who left in the middle of the night and then awkwardly returned the next day to claim the stuff she’d left at my place. I went home with a woman who’d repeatedly insulted me during our date. I had sex in the Gallery (my greatest triumph). I had sex 14 times with a woman as we watched the Wimbledon final one year. (Roger Federer beat Andy Murray. It went four sets and was delayed by rain.) I took a lot of women to Atlantic City, eventually realizing that things went better when I checked into nicer hotels. I briefly hooked up with someone who worked for Philadelphia’s Licenses and Inspections division. It went about as well as dealing with L&I.
I didn’t plan to stop. Things were empty but fine. But after 103 first dates, I met the right woman; we’re still together. I still don’t know my number. But I no longer care what it is.
Start with the bar. Beer and sweat splotching my shirt, seeping through my push-up bra. A plastic cup of vodka-soda I crinkle with my teeth, my boots tapping the beat to Sweet Caroline, BUM BUM BUM. We throw our hands up, a circle of girls I know from class and student groups, crammed into tight black shirts, jeans that leave marks on our thighs, and makeshift chokers (ribbons, shoelaces) that loop around our necks. I check my phone — 1:30 a.m., half an hour until last call. Only 30 minutes to find someone, or the hair-straightening and winged eyeliner and overpriced shots will be wasted. Good times never seemed so good, we sing. I glance around. I look for a guy.
Maybe I’ll meet his eye in line for another drink. Or maybe he’ll come up behind me in the center of the dance floor, palm my hips, thread his fingers through my belt loops. As the clock ticks closer to last call, I’ll search for him in the booths with checkered tablecloths, in the row of international students smoking cigarettes outside. He can be anyone: a frat boy from the Main Line, an English major with poems tattooed on his wrist, an exchange student winking beneath a backwards hat. The details don’t matter. What matters is, he’s there.
We’ll bend our heads together and kiss as “Closing Time” plays. Around us, the crowd pairs off. We’re a collective force: making out, groping, exchanging numbers. The template for these nights never changes. I’ll giggle my name, and when he asks, “Do you want to get out of here?,” I’ll nod and wave ’bye to my friends. The sex will be fervent or fast or awkward or loud — it all blends together. In the morning I’ll leave with his number in my phone (“Kappa Sig boy,” “Guy from Cape Cod”), plus a few details. His major. His favorite song. I’ll pride myself on not thinking about him emotionally — “I don’t catch feelings,” I’ll tell my friends. I’ll see him around, won’t make eye contact but will add him to the list of boys I text when the tequila hits me next weekend. Or the weekend after.
Lather, rinse, repeat. As for so many college kids, sex is an extracurricular activity, baked into my routine like going to the gym or looking over my poli-sci notes. It doesn’t matter who I’m having it with. What matters is that I’m having it at all.
There was a time in my life when all my sexual adventures and misadventures originated in one way or another at the Rittenhouse Square outpost of La Colombe. Such was the case with my descent into the world of swingers parties.
My girlfriend at the time had the hots for one of the baristas, a real femme-fatale type who suggested we all go to a Halloween party together. But this wasn’t just any Halloween party. It was a full-fledged swingers party, the first of many we attended as the “throuple” we became.
Swinging may seem like some bearskin-rugged, lotioned-up practice from a bygone era, part of Uncle Ned and Aunt Myra’s past that you’d rather not know about. But the truth is, the scene is still going strong. From South Philly to the Main Line to Center City, there are swingers parties, sex parties and all-out orgies happening in warehouses, private homes and suburban motels. You don’t have to look very hard to find one.
And it’s not just older men with mustaches populating these things — although there’s always a guy sporting a big ol’ Burt Reynolds. At the parties in the city, which skew younger, there are plenty of experimental millennials you’d swear just waited on you at Standard Tap.
It’s common for a young couple to show up — the woman obviously dragged there by her boyfriend — and after 30 minutes of total abandon, he’s suddenly jealous of all the attention she’s getting but she can’t be pried away.
When we were at these parties, it was mostly voyeuristic. Oh, the three of us would have sex with each other, sometimes right next to other people engaged in other libidinous activities. But we weren’t into just randomly having sex with whoever walked into the room, although there were plenty of people more than willing to do just that.
Take, for instance, this one Eastern European woman in her late 40s, a married suburban schoolteacher with three kids — and the most enormous, snow-white breasts I’d ever seen. While her super-suave husband was getting a seemingly endless blow job on a couch (and man, what he had between his legs would make almost any guy feel inferior), we watched as on all fours, she went to town with six men (six) at the same time. Outside of porn, I had never seen anything like it before.
As our throuple dissolved — they always do — so did my excursion into that world. And I was happy to leave it. It’s difficult enough to sexually gratify one partner at a time, and relationships between just two people are plenty complicated. I’ll take the good old traditional one-on-one. But thanks for the memories.
*Some names in this essay have been changed.