I’ve been to many play parties, facilitated a few, and most recently had the privilege to host play parties in communities where connection is more valued than sexual acts. For years I’ve used Reid Mihalko’s Safe Sex Elevator Speech. I found it really effective for vetting people who take care of their sexual health, have clarity about their own desires and limits, and who are part of a culture of de-shaming STDs. I’m incredibly grateful for this tool.
As I enter communities where people are building tribe over years and desiring long term connections more than short term oxytocin rushes, I’ve expanded the “safer sex elevator speech.” It has become 6 things to share when creating an intimate interaction in community. And for those of you who are wondering what is a play party, the definition just got bigger! Often a play party is a space people come to explore sexual desires and connections. There are usually some guidelines, bowls of condoms, gloves, lube, dental dams, and washable surfaces. It’s a place to experiment with voicing your desires and expanding what could be possible. For some people, it’s a powerful place to explore who you are meant to be erotically without having to navigate long term relationship skills. For some people shifting the focus to connection (which may or may not include sex) can feel more aligned. If that’s you, then this list is for you! I’ve co-created this with Zig Zag Panther Peery-Wolf.
- What’s your intention for connecting? What would it mean to you if we…? Big energy likes clear intentions. It’s really helpful to start here. Perhaps your intention is to expand your confidence that your body can be turned on and feel safe. Perhaps your intention is to explore what’s truly present in your heart when you connect with this specific person. Both of those are valid and distinctly different intentions. It really helps to know what intention is motivating each of you. It reframes what success might looks like and it also gives you a heads up if you have incompatible intentions. You might decide not to proceed or to redesign what you’d like to explore.
- What do you desire? What’s on the menu for intimacy that you would enjoy? This is where specificity can be really sexy and gives your playmate a better chance of providing what you desire. You might say, I love my hair pulled, my neck bitten, I like impact play if you start soft… I’m curious about anal penetration but I don’t know if I like it yet so please wait for me to ask for it. Or you may say, I’m a seasoned poly slut and I’m really desiring a deeper heart connection where I feel seen. I’d love to cultivate a long term relationship so I’m desiring to move slowly in the physical realm and really sense into where our life passions intersect because I feel you and I could really be important people in each others’ tribe.
- What are your limits? It’s important to name at least one thing you are NO to, this creates trust and demonstrates that you have some boundaries and can speak them. For example, you might say parts of your body that don’t want touch or names you really don’t want to be called. You might also express your time limit so you are on the same page about when you need to close your connection.
- What is your health status? When was the last time you were testsed for STDs/STIs? What specifically were you tested for? What were the results? Have you been sexually active since then? (Remember it takes 3 months for most STDs to show up in your tests.) What barriers have you used and do you want to use? This essentially communicates to your playmate that you care about your health and their health enough to have this conversation before intimacy. It’s also a good time to share if you have other injuries that would impact your mobility, or your mental health. (And hey, if you’re kinky make sure you check in about asthma or pacemakers, any health information that may needs to be considered before diving deep. This article won’t really cover the full scope of kink negotiations.)
- How do you experience gender? Will you introduce me to the body parts you want me to touch and what you’d like me to call them? It’s really awesome to ask this no matter how your playmate presents/appears. It gives them the opportunity to step into a safe space of no assumptions. I’ve had the delight of witnessing many people explore an energetic cock or energetic pussy for the first time. It’s really liberating to share what experiences you have or would like to have rather than limiting the conversation to your “identity.”
- What relationship agreements do you have? Do we overlap in intimate partners or friends such that we may want to create different choices? Consider the impact on your community of people discovering your connection. How transparent do you want to be about this connection with your community? Do you know each others’ past lovers, bosses, or clients? Would it be valuable to the community to check in with specific people before connecting?
Regardless of if you chose to play together from here, simply having this conversation can create a lot of connection and trust. Enjoy!