Sex party

Sex party
Orgy or group sex scene illustration by Édouard-Henri Avril.

A sex party is a gathering at which sexual activity takes place. Sex parties may be organized to enable people to engage in casual sexual activity or for swinging couples or people interested in group sex to meet, but any gathering where sexual activity is anticipated can be called a sex party.

Sex parties, under various names, have been a common focus of moral panics fed by media reports claiming that such parties are prevalent, or growing in prevalence, especially among teenagers.[1]


Types of sex parties

Swinging party

A swinging or partner swapping party is a gathering at which both partners in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with another couple as a recreational or social activity.[2] Swinging can take place in a number of contexts, ranging from a spontaneous sexual activity at an informal social gathering of friends to a regular social gathering.

The swinging couple can engage in a number of sexual activities. During a full swap the partners engage in penetrative sex, while in a soft swap they engage only in non-penetrative sex, such as oral sex. New swinging couples often choose a soft swap before they are comfortable with a full swap, although many couples stay soft swap for personal or safety related reasons.[3] Soft swinging occurs when the couple engage in sexual activities while two or more other couples perform sex acts in the immediate vicinity.

Key party

Key parties are a form of swinging parties, in which male partners place their car and house keys into a common bowl or bag on arriving. At the end of the evening the female partners would randomly select keys from the bowl and leave with that key's owner.[4]

Rainbow party

A rainbow party is an urban legend spread from the early 2000s. At these events, allegedly increasingly popular among adolescents, females wearing various shades of lipstick take turns fellating males in sequence, leaving multiple colours on their penises.[5] Rainbow parties were covered on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003, and became the subject of a juvenile novel called Rainbow Party.[5] On May 27, 2010 the television program The Doctors discussed the topic with dozens of teens, parents, and professionals. However, sex researchers and adolescent health care professionals have found no evidence for the existence of rainbow parties, and as such attribute the spread of the stories to a moral panic.[5]

Sex parties in the media

Sensational media reports about the prevalence of sex parties, especially among young people, appear with some regularity. In the early 1950s, for example, it was reported that teenage girls throughout the Southern and Midwestern United States were forming "non virgin clubs," in which they organized and held sex orgies with reports of couples being paired off by drawing numbers from a hat. These claims were investigated and debunked.[6][7][8]

Several stories of this type arose in the US in 2003. In New York, rumors began that teens had been taking days off from school to attend "hooky parties" while their parents were at work. One school even suspended a group of girls for allegedly skipping school to attend such a party. They were refused the right to return to school until each had submitted to a medical examination for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy and school officials were allowed to examine the results. The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit against the school [9] on behalf of the girls and won a settlement which included monetary damages and a change in the school district's policy.[10]

Similar stories concerning teenagers using gel bracelets as coupons or signals for sex also arose at the time, with similar lack of corroborating evidence.[11]


  1. ^ Daly, Susan (Jun 26 2010). "Is your teen sending secret sex signals?". Irish Independent. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Bergstrand, Curtis; Blevins Williams, Jennifer (2000-10-10). "Today's Alternative Marriage Styles: The Case of Swingers". Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality 3. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  3. ^ - Gentle Nibbles swinger blog article "Full Swap vs. Soft Swap" published January 2008
  4. ^ Bell, Robert (1971). Social Deviance: A Substantive Analysis. University of Michigan: Dorsey Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0256016635. 
  5. ^ a b c Lewin, Tamar (June 30, 2005). "Are These Parties for Real?". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  6. ^ Cahn, Susan (2007). Sexual Reckonings: Southern Girls in a Troubling Age. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. (p. 199) ISBN 978-0-674-02452-6
  7. ^ Peril, Lynn (2002). Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons. New York. W.W. Norton & Company Inc. (pp. 100-101) ISBN 0-303-32354-4
  8. ^ Mattoon, Illinois History 1950-1959
  9. ^ "NYCLU Sues New York School Officials for Forcing Teen-Age Girls to Undergo Intrusive Medical Exams" (July 8, 2003). Retrieved February 2, 2007.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara (2003). "Sex Bracelets". Retrieved December 22, 2005.

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