Chelsea Liley

Hot tips for hosting your first group play party

Sexologist Chelsea Liley shares her handy hints for hosting your first group play sesh

Keen to host your first group play sesh but unsure where to start? You’ve come to the right place—sexologist and sex enthusiast Chelsea Liley is here to map it out for you with all the tips and tricks for hosting your first play party.

1. Do things in your own time

Start small if it’s your first time with more than two people in the bedroom. Playing with others can be exciting but daunting once you get between the sheets. Another pair of eyes can lead to performance anxiety, taking you out of the moment and into your head. Navigating an additional set of desires can be challenging, and jealousy may be an issue depending on who your partners are.

It's a good idea to test how comfortable you’ll feel once you involve more people than the standard sexual narrative—consider trying a threesome first. The trick is finding people you trust to play with, whether that means open-minded friends, pre-existing lovers or members of your local kink scene. Inviting the right people is critical, as comfort, desire, and trust are crucial to sharing a satisfying experience.

Once you’ve chosen your potential play partners, invite them however feels most comfortable to you. You might broach the topic in person or send them a cheeky DM. It’s all about communication and what works best for you; remember to prioritise consent and respect. Be open to a ‘Yes’ and understanding of a ‘No’.

'Start small—playing with others can be exciting but daunting once you get between the sheets'

2. Set the scene (and have snacks) 

Once you’ve assembled your team, you’ll want to set up the space, both the tangible setting and the emotional vibe it creates. Rearrange furniture, dim the lighting, light some candles and curate the perfect playlist to set the mood and create an inviting, sensual atmosphere.

Litter the space with plenty of soft things like cushions to help people regulate and make them comfortable. And lay out some toys in an accessible spot to instigate more debaucherous fun. People may be more at ease using familiar toys, so consider asking your partners to BYO, but you don’t need to limit yourself to conventional sex toys.

Instead, you can create a buffet of pleasure with playthings like food or sensory items, such as chocolate, honey, feathers, forks, ice cubes and heat packs. Prepare some charcuterie in case you get hungry and keep water on hand (you’ll need it). There are no hard rules: set up the space that encourages you and your guests to explore each other.

3. Communication and consent are key

Before you dive in, sit down with your partners and check in with them. Start by discussing your likes and dislikes, your aftercare needs, and relevant traumas your partners should be aware of and STI disclosures (if necessary). Try to communicate your mood: toppy, subby, primal, sensual, voyeuristic, exhibitionistic or something else.

From here, the conversation tends to get giddy. Don’t worry if you get giggly or flustered; that’s normal and all part of the fun. Discuss whether any alcohol or drugs might be used in advance and come to any decisions as a group. Remember that consent cannot be given when under the influence.

Consent is paramount to group play. What each person wants to do and is comfortable with might vary between partners and spaces or may change during the play session. It is important to respect everyone’s boundaries and to continually communicate what you are and are not comfortable with as things progress.

You can make consent sexy and express your desires by checking in with people before playing. Ask ‘Can I kiss you right now?’ or something like ‘That looks like fun, is there room for another person?” before acting. Navigate the space how you might at a regular party, getting to know people, letting them mingle, and removing yourself from situations you don’t enjoy.

There is no pressure to do anyone or anything in particular just because it’s an orgy. Not everyone will be comfortable doing the same things or the same people. You might want to be in the middle of the action or you may want to be a voyeur. Your play party is a space to prioritise your pleasure however you choose and without expectation.

'There is no pressure to do anything just because it’s an orgy... your play party is a space to prioritise your pleasure'

4. Aftercare, aftercare, aftercare 

As things wind down, people will start to create their aftercare. It will look different for every person but might include gentle contact, hugs and holds, and verbal check-ins. Having some form of connection and intimacy post-play is essential as it decreases the chances of vulnerability hangovers or insecurities later.

It’s good to discuss aftercare before playing (as I suggest above) but if you’re unsure where to start, I recommend a chat and debrief with your partners. It could also involve group cuddles, soft touch, pillow talk or one last kiss before they finally leave. For me, it means a shower, comfortable pyjamas, Netflix and snacks—think about what makes you cosy and snug.

5. The day after isn't the end of the world

Waking up the next day, it’s important to remember the magic but also the mundaneness of your experience. Sex and pleasure are natural and everyday things, and you should treat an orgy like any other date night (just with a few more people). It doesn’t have to be awkward afterwards if you don’t want it to be.

Treat it as any other sexual experience, whether a Tinder-fuck, a romantic rendezvous, or a cute date night. However it happens, you can look these people in the eye again as you would with any past lover. And, when you do, you can share a moment of recognition about a simple human experience.

Checking in the next day is good practice to avoid negative emotions or insecurities. Be gentle with yourself and offer words of appreciation and praise. You might also enjoy describing your experience with your partners. Ultimately, a successful play party is a lot of work, but with the proper planning, you’ll already be planning the next one by the next day.

Chelsea Liley (she/her) is a sexologist and pleasure educator based in Perth, Western Australia. Her background is in psychology and sexology and she has a passion for self-love, sexual liberation, and holistic sex education. In her spare time, she volunteers at several sexual health and youth mental health organisations.

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