Ever been out dancing and partying at a bar or club and heard someone yell, “This isn’t a fucking nightclub, it’s a nightclub for fucking!” Probably not, unless you were at 1640 West Hubbard Street, a loft in West Town where Kate and her partner, Rich, (last names have been withheld for this article) rent and operate a sex-on-premises venue through their company Private Xcapades. On Friday 11, that venue will open its doors to a new party called Impromptwo, a monthly event aimed at gay swingers, committed male couples interested in exploring non-monogamy with other couples.
Impromptwo is a joint idea executed by Kate and Rich but thought up in part by Teri and her husband, Kevin. Teri and Kevin are avid proponents of the hetero swinging lifestyle and used to teach classes on it through the Discovery Center using the name Ultimates. She believes a vacuum exists for gay couples. “My hairdresser, for example, was saying that he and his partner have been together for five years and they are not into the Steamworks scene and they don’t know how to meet other couples that they may want to swap with,” she says.
To join Impromptwo, couples must make an advance reservation via e-mail or telephone (847-417-7076, firstname.lastname@example.org) and pay $90 per couple through PayPal. The venue has a BYOB policy and boasts a bar, dance floor, sofa, pool table and multiple play spaces including two small rooms outfitted with glory holes, a room with four beds, a room with bondage and BDSM accoutrements and a “couples room” featuring two beds and sheer draping. The venue is stocked with clean towels and condoms. Says Kate, who will moderate the event (and be the lone female present), “Our facility is really nice. It’s like someone’s pimped-out, awesome basement.” Kate says they’re open to a lesbian night if the demand is there.
But gay men already have plenty of ways to hook up, including bars, bathhouses and apps and online sites. Do we need another? Kate says yes. “You may go to a bar,” she says, “but then there’s a million other people there and some of them don’t have the same mental intent. Also, let’s say you’re at a bar and you’ve met another couple– where do you go? Do you want them to know where you live?”
Scott, a twentysomething gay male who enjoys non-monogamy both with and without his boyfriend, has mixed thoughts. “I don’t know of any gay couples who are open and wouldn’t bring someone back to their apartment,” he says. “Eliminating awkwardness would be nice, since it can be confusing for someone getting hit on by someone with a partner, and then getting hit on by the partner, but you can make that pretty explicit on Grindr, Craigslist, etc.” Still, he says he’d try something new.
Meanwhile, Teri argues that gay men could benefit from education on the swinging lifestyle. The swing classes she and her husband taught included how to meet similar people, (what to do when you meet them, how to tell if you’re a good match), how to get out of uncomfortable or sticky situations, and perhaps most important, how to manage jealousy. “We’ve had gay men come to us and say, ‘We really need this,’ ” she says.
While not a swinger himself, Jonny, a local event producer with a partner of ten years, agrees. “The swingers have developed structures and systems that support couples to explore non-monogamy together and offer tools of communication and negotiation that help navigate the emotional, physical and social complexities of that exploration,” he says. “What we have mostly are bathhouses, bars, sex clubs and circuit parties.” Good point.