Inside a new swingers club on the Lower East Side

An urban adventurer and some open-minded friends explore a new destination for group sex.

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John, a fellow Englishman, and I started up a friendly conversation that resulted in my inviting him over to meet the girls while we gamely waited for the cast of Sleep No More to barrel in and fuck everyone. He was just in town for the weekend, he told us. “When I’m in a different city, I usually check out the local swing clubs. Wicked in Toronto is amazing.”

The five of us chatted for about 20 minutes, but the fact that I rolled in with three beautiful girls was creating some cognitive static for John. “Why are you three here?” he kept asking. “We came with him,” they said. “Right, but why are you three here with him?” This circuitous and mildly hurtful inquiry ended when we all caught K looking into a corner of a room and seeing a standing man getting a blow job from a woman as another man looked on at point-blank range. This went on until the recipient saw that three women with younger, prettier faces than the one his member was stuffed in were watching his fellatio session, agog. He removed himself, zipped up and sauntered over. “Mind if I join you guys?” he asked. “Sure,” we each said. It seemed rude to say no. Unlike John, Carl didn’t want to chitchat so much: “What do you girls want from tonight?”

After they politely evaded Carl’s questions for several minutes, I suggested that the girls and I explore upstairs some more. We got onto a mattress, pulled the curtains tightly around us and talked freely.

“Guys, I’m so sorry,” I said, feeling a little embarrassed at having blown a huge amount of social capital with these women. “Let’s just stick it out for a little while longer and see what happens.”

“I was pretty horny before, but I don’t really feel very much like having sex now,” said K.

“I have to go soon,” said P.

Then John, who’d been hovering around outside the curtain, asked if he could come in. “Oh, he’s harmless,” said A, and in he came. “I heard Le Trapeze is good,” he said, keenly. “Fancy going there?” We told him that we were probably going to call it after one more drink downstairs in the lounge. P left us for the evening, practically running down the stairs.

A half dozen more people inhabited the lounge now; the new arrivals were on the older side. We’d barely taken our seats by the fireplace when two more guys in their forties swooped in. One, Marcel, was French but lived in Boston, from whence he’d driven down to “party.” A relished the chance to talk some partially remembered French with him. He put his hand up the back of her shirt while they spoke.

Vous…recontrez beaucoup de femmes sexy…à des clubs comme ceux-ci?” said A.

Oui,” said Marcel. “Beaucoup.”

  • Photograph: Allen Tannenbaum

    Plato's Retreat, 1977-1985

  • Photograph: Allen Tannenbaum

    Plato's Retreat, 1977-1985

  • Hellfire Club, 1981

    Photograph by Allan Tannenbaum, from Soho Blues: A Personal Photographic Diary of New York City in the 1970s

  • Photograph: Efrain John Gonzalez

    hellfirepress.com

    The Vault, 1984-2001

  • Everard Baths, 1888-1985

  • Photograph: Alejandro Ortiz III/Flickr

    Le Trapeze, current

  • Paddles, current

  • Paddles, current

     

     

  • Photograph: John Bentham Photography

    One Leg Up parties, current

  • Photograph: John Bentham Photography

    One Leg Up parties, current

  • Photograph: schoolofsex.net

    Behind Closed Doors, current

  • Photograph: Courtesy Chemistry NYC

    Chemistry parties, current

Photograph: Allen Tannenbaum

Plato's Retreat, 1977-1985

Users say

4 comments
Nai
Nai

Try Subspace Swingers. Its in Murray Hill. Private Loft, I had a great time. Would love to hear your review

Swingin Door
Swingin Door

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Mac
Mac

Veteran voyeurs will tell you it is always hit or miss at swing clubs especially if they admit single men. Much of the action traditionally occurs after hours between 3 and 5 when steamy couples make the scene to get their exhibition on. The best strategy is to bring a date who's into it.