Philadelphia Sex Diaries: I Was a Sex-Party Devotee

Collage by Kevin Burzynski

Collage by Kevin Burzynski

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. 

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Philadelphia Gay Sex Diaries: I Have to Shave What?!

Collage by Kevin Burzynski

Collage by Kevin Burzynski

Like most gay men, I discovered the real truth about myself the first time I had sex with another guy. Consider it this way: Imagine you spent your entire teen years (and, in my case, up to the ripe old age of 30) eating vanilla ice cream. It was nice, it was pleasant, but you never really craved it and sometimes even felt you could do very well without it. And then one day you have a triple hot fudge sundae with nuts and whipped cream and cherries, and you think, Holy shit! This stuff is amazing! Why haven’t I been having this all of these years?

So you’re finally on the right side of the menu. But relief is quickly replaced by panic, because it turns out that when it comes to sleeping with other men, there are all sorts of rules, norms, and strongly warranted hygiene rituals that can take years to master. And, it feels, just as long to maintain.

My hetero brethren, you have no idea. You can skip the gym, dismiss the belly as “dad bod,” have sex without showering, never think about your body hair — where it is, how it looks or feels or smells. As I soon discovered, switching sides meant signing up for a full-time job of keeping up appearances. I had never even heard of a body groomer. (In case you haven’t, it’s a special battery-operated clipper for men that trims body and pubic hair.) There are special straight (ha!) razors for scraping and smoothing genitalia. There are entire websites devoted to explaining how to properly shave one’s butt, how to prepare oneself to avoid pain (or get more of it — vive la différence!), and what lubricants are best for which scenarios. And there is a virtual ocean of foams, gels, cleansers, balms, moisturizers and body powders to ensure that you are sparkling, smooth, and, most of all, fresh fresh fresh all over, so that when it’s time to get busy you both smell appropriately like Snuggle fabric softener. Ask any gay man and he’ll tell you that his weekly (yes, weekly) body-grooming routine can easily take two hours — more if it’s going to be the “first time” with someone. Half the guys I know at least trim, if not downright shave, their torsos and legs, especially if they have nice muscle tone and want to show it off. (In gay world, marketing is everything.) For the truly committed (and, in my view, satanic), there’s waxing for the chest and ass.

All of which makes spontaneity impossible. If you haven’t been, ahem, randy in a bit and have let your routine languish, a sudden opportunity quickly becomes a lost one. (I can’t let him see me like this, you think.) It all looks so easy in gay porn, where the two mechanics take the guy who can’t pay for his car repairs and toss him over the hood. In real life, not so much. For one thing, no mechanics actually look like that.

Every straight man I know looks at gays with at least some modicum of envy, in large measure because of the easy availability of casual sex; a tap of a phone app can have Mr. Right Now at your door in 20 minutes (10 if you offer to pay for the Uber). But it turns out being part of a culture that objectifies men like, well, women isn’t all no-strings fun and games. It’s work. And it’s certainly not an easy culture to age in.

But still, hot fudge beats vanilla every time.

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Philadelphia Sex Diaries: I Practice Orgasmic Meditation

Collage by Kevin Burzynski

Collage by Kevin Burzynski

I came to the practice of Orgasmic Meditation nine years ago via a circuitous 20-year route of other practices: yoga, seated meditation, bodywork. I haven’t found a more powerful catalyst for really effecting change in my life than OM.

Orgasm, the way I know it, is indirect, unpredictable, expansive, inclusive. It’s a state rather than an event. What the rest of the world calls “orgasm,” we call “climax”: part of orgasm, but far from the whole story. If the climax is the cymbal crash in a symphony, we’re looking at the whole symphony. We learn to up our attention to the more subtle stuff; the low oboe line is just as interesting and relevant.

OM is a 15-minute partnered practice in which a stroker strokes the upper-left quadrant of a woman’s clitoris with no goal except to feel what arises. The stroker is fully clothed, and the strokee is undressed from the waist down. It’s a strict 15 minutes — we set a timer. Part of the beauty of the practice is that it’s so self-contained; I know exactly what’s going to happen in those 15 minutes. The protocol of the practice is quite rigid. This isn’t a professional service, like getting a haircut or a massage. Rather, it’s a community of folks who practice, meaning they’re co-creating an experience. The whole notion of giver and receiver falls away. It’s more like jazz. The bassist isn’t giving Miles Davis a bass line. Rather, they’re both just responding in pitch-perfect resonance to the thing that’s between them.

Both stroker and strokee train in this practice — private training is three sessions to get started. (My intro package is $450, for about three to four hours of instruction.) After training, all practice sessions are free. Once you’re trained, you’re added to a private community page or forum, and that’s where you find partners for your practice. There are probably about 500 or so folks who have learned to OM in Philly. It’s not like a dating app, either. I OM with people I would never date, and I’ve had amazing experiences with partners I don’t know socially. All genders train and practice — of course, you need a minimum of one clitoris to practice. Usually it’s done in somebody’s home; just like you’d have a friend over for tea, you have a friend over for an OM.

We look at orgasm as a flow state, something bigger that overtakes you. It’s so different from other sexuality practices out there. It’s not “15 tricks to blow her mind tonight!” It’s more similar to the Slow Food movement, which took all the crap out of our food so that we can learn to truly taste how, say, an apple tastes. This is learning to feel again.

I expected OM to change my romantic relationship, and it did — it improved our communication, and we became more honest with each other. But I was blown away by the impact it had on my other relationships. The range of people I enjoy has expanded infinitely. I have more empathy and better boundaries, and I’ve learned to ask for and receive what I want more fully. Practicing that, day in and day out, with the most sensitive part of my body has made it so much more available when my pants go on and I’m out in the world. I’m nine years into this practice, and the only things I know for sure are that I’ve never had the same experience twice in an OM, and I’ll never feel all of my orgasm. And that’s the beauty of it: This terrain is infinite.

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Philadelphia Sex Diaries: I Have Three Kids Under the Age of 11

“Lock the door.”

“I locked it.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“I’m gonna check.”

“I locked it.”

“Okay.”

Bow chicka wow wow. 

“I’m just … I just … I just need to … ” [Get up. Wiggle doorknob. Return to position.] “It’s locked.”

“Right.”

Bow chicka wow wow.

“Did you hear that?”

“What?”

[Lean toward door. Freeze. Return to position.]

“Forget it.”

Bow chicka wow wow.

“No.”

“What?”

“Hold on.”

“What?”

“I did hear it.”

“What?”

“The squeak.”

“What squeak?”

“The stairs!”

“What?”

“The squeak …” 

Bow chicka wow … 

“… on the stairs.”

“There’s a squeak on the stairs?”

“Jesus.”

“What?”

“A squeak. Someone’s coming.”

“Are you sure?”

“Be quiet.”

“I don’t hear — ”

“Quiet. Just wait a — ”

Bow chicka …

Wait!”

[Hold breath.]

[Hover.]

Bow …

“DUDE!”

[Hover. Deep, irritated sigh.]

[Deep, irritated reply sigh.]

[Hover.]

“All clear.”

“All clear?”

“All clear.”

“Like clear clear?”

Bow chicka wow wow.

Bow chicka wow wow.

Bow chicka wow …

“Wait.”

“What?”

“Wait.”

“Whaaaaaat?” 

“I have to pee.”

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Philadelphia Sex Diaries: I’m a Secret Dominatrix

It started with dirty panties.

I was inspired by a friend — and Orange Is the New Black — to sell my worn underwear on Craigslist. I’m a college senior with a 3.61 GPA and two internships. I don’t exactly have time for a job, and hawking my thongs online for $30 a pop was a quick way to earn some extra cash. Before long, I discovered FetLife, a social networking site where people interested in fetishism, BDSM and other triple-X pursuits can chat with each other and post photos and videos. It’s like the kinky love child of Facebook and Reddit.

I connected with a guy — 30-something, works as a consultant — who asked me to Skype with him. The deal: 20 minutes for $50 in Amazon gift cards. I accepted, nervous and unsure of what to expect. I slipped on a bathrobe and chugged a glass of wine as I raced around my apartment, trying to find the perfect setup. The kitchen table was too formal, and the coffee table was way too low. I ultimately landed in the bedroom — which I happen to share with a roommate. She sat, wide-eyed, on her bed, just out of the camera’s reach. But the consultant was less interested in seeing me naked than I’d anticipated. Instead, he wanted to see my feet. And … my toilet.

Confused, I moved to the bathroom — could my white porcelain Kohler really be considered sexy? — and awkwardly circled my laptop around the toilet rim. He asked me to describe how I’d make him clean it with his tongue. And then he asked to watch me spit. So began my foray into the world of domination.

It’s a far cry from my otherwise vanilla life. By day, I’m the quiet girl who blushes when she participates in class. But as soon as I get home and log on, I become Paris Powell — a fierce, powerful woman who tells guys to lick her toilet, clean her shoes with their teeth and drink her urine. And who gets paid for it.

I currently have four “slaves,” all of whom I met through FetLife. Two pay me up to $100 a week; one sends me $50 every two weeks. (He’s also in college; I give him a student discount.) They have to buy me monthly gifts on Amazon, too. But I pay it forward: Each month, my slaves have to donate to a charity of my choice. For this, I send them derogatory, insulting text messages and videos of me doing things like crushing nuts with my boots. (This is what I’d do to your nuts, I say.) Sometimes it gets really weird: I once sent a man videos of me pooping. I also sold him a poop-stained thong for $45. Disgusting, I know. But when you can make money for something you do naturally, it’s hard not to milk it.

My fourth slave is the only one I’ve agreed to meet in person. He’s in his 60s, married, and a practicing psychologist in Philly. (Go figure.) Sometimes he pays me to meet him for coffee, just to talk as friends. Occasionally he pays me to come to his office and beat him to a pulp. All while his patients sit unsuspecting in the waiting room.

In the end, I don’t make nearly enough to live on. But I do make enough to have some spending money. And the work is strangely rewarding. The men tell me I make their lives better. I give them companionship, and the structure and rules they crave. (For example, they’re not allowed to eat meat on Sundays because I’m a vegetarian.) And they give me confidence, a jolt of energy in my otherwise pedestrian life. When I’m on the other side of the computer screen, I’m powerful. A goddess. A total badass. You know, one who lives on a pretty campus in a tidy apartment right next to an R.A. who has no idea that I’m on the other side of the door letting a guy in Alabama watch me take a dump for $45.

*Some names in this essay have been changed. 

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Philadelphia Sex Diaries: I’m 77 and Having the Best Sex of My Life

When I lost my first husband, I was 58. We were married for 32 years. My daughter Debbie put me on a dating website. I was on that stupid Internet all the time because Debbie, she said to me, “You have to answer at least 10 to 20 ads a night, Mom.” I was working full-time and I was up until one o’clock in the morning answering these ads. I got all these crazy responses from young men looking for older women. Anyway, it got a little complicated. My family gave me a surprise 60th birthday party, and I brought one guy with me, Henry, and I walked into this party — it was at my own house — and two of the other guys I was dating were there, too. Debbie took me into the garage and said, “Who do you want to stay over tonight?”

Henry was from North Jersey. He was a pleasant chap, but he couldn’t really keep up with me. But with the sex, he was pretty good. He actually could not have an erection because he was on medicine for his heart, but he said, “I know how to please a woman.” And he was very good at it! He even bought me a dildo. I’d never had that before because my first husband, he was a gem, but he wasn’t very adventuresome. Henry, on the other hand, was willing to try anything.

The only thing is that he had ridges on his head. He had a beautiful head of white hair, but it was a turnoff because he had all these bumps. But he insisted that I had to touch his head, that it was a way to prove that I really loved him. I went out with him for nine months. He was a stepping-stone to others. It turned out to be really good that I had this experience. It gave me confidence.

I had a few other friendships. There was one guy who lives in Haddonfield who I liked a lot, but he was not the kind of guy to make a commitment, and he was so weird. He wanted to have sex, but he didn’t want to have intercourse — he just wanted to be able to have a climax and thought I should have a climax, but no penetration. He said it was too intimate.

And then I met Andy. He’s Italian, so he’s very demonstrative and sexy. My first husband never practiced cunnilingus on me because he was very conservative. And Andy never did, either, until recently — I don’t know what happened! But that’s a new adventure for me. And it was very pleasurable. You can tell all the people who are 77 and older that they should never give up.

So anyway, I’m married to Andy now. We went out on a Wednesday and he asked me out the following Friday, and we’ve been together ever since. We were married in Thailand, on a pineapple plantation. It was a surprise. I had no idea we were getting married, but Andy had arranged it all. It was crazy. Absolutely crazy. — As told to Emily Goulet

*Some names in this essay have been changed. 

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Philadelphia Sex Diaries: I’m a Cheating Newlywed

I’ve known Mark* for 15 years. He’s been in love with me since I was in my teens; he was my brother’s friend. Before I even met Derrick — that’s my husband — Mark and I were kind of a thing. We weren’t dating; it was just casual. Once I met Derrick, I left Mark, but it didn’t stick.

In 2015, Derrick and I were engaged and had hit a rough patch, so I turned back to Mark. When we started back up, it took on a new dimension. Mark expressed how much he wanted to be with me. And he was all I could think about.

But then it came time to plan my wedding in 2016. We were so wrapped up in the wedding details, I barely thought of Mark at all. I wanted to throw the perfect wedding. Then once all that was over and done with, I thought, What am I doing? I love two men. There’s no way my husband would ever go for an open marriage; he’s very set that I’m his one and only.

The sex with my husband is extremely boring. I’m just not into it. With Mark, it’s mind-blowing. We’re sex soul mates. No one has his touch. When we touch, I can feel the electricity. And my fingertips remember how he feels. When I think about him, my hands tingle. We could literally be in bed for 48 hours straight and have no desire to leave the bed. It can be round after round. We can be done and he still wants to do it again right away. I’ve never experienced anything like it before.

But Mark lives in a different city, so I only get to see him every other month. I don’t worry about my husband finding out. I’m really good at covering my tracks, making sure my phone notifications are off and staying on top of deleting messages. For contact between Mark and me, we text and video using Snapchat, so there’s no record of it on my phone bill and the messages never stay on my phone. I work for one of the largest tech companies in the world, so it’s much easier for me to cover it up than for Derrick to actually find evidence. I guess I’ve been in love with Mark forever, and it’s something that we never really addressed. We don’t want to be without each other.

I love my husband as well. He gives me things that Mark could never give me. They are, after all, two totally different people. Some days I feel guilty, but then when Derrick and I have rough times, Mark is my outlet. I tell my husband he needs to pay more attention to me, but he doesn’t. It just doesn’t work. And I’ve always been the kind of person who makes myself happy.

I really have no idea how this is all going to end. I want to let everything play out. I tried to end it with Mark, and it doesn’t work. He says he wants to be together forever. He thinks this would be the best thing ever.

But I tell him that he only has 25 percent of me. He doesn’t have the You-need-to-pay-the-bills me. He doesn’t have the I-need-to-clean-the-house me. There are no stressors in our relationship. I’m just a fantasy that he gets to participate in. If it became real, it wouldn’t be this.

— As told to Victor Fiorillo

*Some names in this essay have been changed. 

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The Checkup: Does Having More Sex Make for Better Athletic Performance?

• Let’s talk about sex, baby: Having more of it could improve your time at the gym. According to new research, athletes who had more sex performed better when it came to speed, strength and agility. Do note, though: This new research was helmed, in conjunction with an Olympic coach, by a sex toy company. So, we’d say a grain of salt wouldn’t be a bad idea. [Refinery29]

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7 Science-Backed Reasons to Exercise That Have Zero to Do With Weight Loss

ferrantraite/iStock.com

ferrantraite/iStock.com

Sometimes, you need motivation aside from the promise of fitting into your skinny jeans to get your off your couch, outside of your pleasantly air-conditioned apartment, and exercising. If you’ve been at a loss to find any reasons (we’ve all been there), not to worry: We’ve got plenty for you.

We’ve rounded seven science-backed reasons to get off the couch and get moving—none of which have to do with weight loss—from the oh-so-wonderful runner’s high to the promise of a better night’s rest to improved skin to better sex and more. Read up, then get moving!  Read more »

Pelvic Floor Exercises: 5 At-Home Exercises to Do for Better Sex 

If you were at Be Well Philly Boot Camp earlier this month, chances are you hung out with Christina Stoltz, owner of Northern Liberties’ Ploome Fitness and Lifestyle Boutique — who just so happens to be an expert in all things having to do with the pelvic floor — at some point in the day. Along with leading a Stripp’d: Cardio-Core Workout, she also gave a talk in our Speakers’ Lounge on how to strengthen your pelvic floor to get a stronger core and have better sex.

If you are currently cursing yourself for missing it, we’ve got good news for you below.  Read more »

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