PHOTOS: AMY LOMBARD  text: kara studzinski


Pick your pleasure. On one side of the room was a bench with whips and chains and all sorts of other things I wasn’t sure where to put or what to do with. Did I want to pour hot wax on strangers? Tie someone up with a rope, or get flogged in the corner by a nice man named Andrew? (Andrew is a really good guy who wants to be a lawyer.) Entering the event in a hidden Bushwick warehouse, you are transported to a scene reminiscent of the infamous “surrealist parties” hosted by the Rothschilds in the early 1970s, when guests roamed the corridors dressed in Kiki De Montparnasse, La Perla, Fleur du Mal, chains, whips, crotchless panties, floor length gowns, masks, or nothing at all.

Combining the worlds of art, sex and dinner, the party attracts fetishists, people who frequent play parties, and more innocent guests. The dinner portion itself was informal, and lasted about two hours. No seating arrangements or name cards. Instead, people were lying down, naked except for a nude thong, covered head to toe in all sorts of delicacies, eating food with raw abandon. Some aphrodisiac, some carnivorous, some non-dairy. All with a gluten-free option, of course. Use your hands, feed a stranger, use your mouth – anything and everything was encouraged. Guests licked food and sauce off of limbs, lovers and strangers. As I watched a woman in nipple tassels arrange a pile of vegetables on a man’s crotch, I realized I was starving. I joined the couple that was kneeling on some pillows beside him and dipped a string bean in sauce smeared across his thigh. Spicy! Next to me, a woman in a sultry black dress let her date’s hand make its way up and massage her thighs.

Immediately following dinner and champagne, the space was host to sexually-charged performances, interactive art installations, live music, and intimate corners to explore, all curated and produced by artist Abby Hertz. In one of those corners was the “red room”, which offered a large structure with wrist restraints, and voluptuous half dressed women awaited, breasts out, ready to tickle or torture you. My safe word for the night in case things got too intense? Cincinnati.

The party was patrolled by staff walking around with red armbands – their job was to make sure everyone felt safe and pull people apart, much like a principal at a middle school dance monitoring for any below the waist action during a slow song. There were couples, singles, couples wishing they were single, twenty somethings, fifty somethings, men, women, and transgender people of all different shapes, colors and sizes. 

As 3:00 AM rolled around and guests started to put their clothes back on, I thought about the parts of themselves that they had revealed during the evening. I wondered what would happen if we all had the courage to live more of our lives like we were at a sex party. Would we ask for that promotion? Tell our mother-in-law to mind her own goddamn business?

In short: I came, I saw, I ate food off of boobs and vaginas. Sure, I might regret the room temperature oysters tomorrow, but it’s important in life to let the experience do most of the talking. Maybe I left with more questions than answers, but isn't that the point?