A couple of weeks ago, I stepped way out of my comfort zone and attended my very first pansexual makeout party. Some friends had invited me, and since making out is one of my favorite pastimes, I said yes. I figured, at worst, "What Happened When I Attended A Makeout Party" would make for a great story. And at best? Well, I'd get to spend my Friday night making out with some beautiful men and women instead of eating cheap pizza, watching Netflix, masturbating, and passing out before midnight. So after a day of sweat-inducing anticipation, I got stoned AF with a couple of friends, piled in an Uber, and journeyed to the candlelit Brooklyn loft where it would all go down.
If you don't know already, a makeout party is literally just a party where singles and couples alike go to make out with both strangers and friends — and also drink, smoke, and talk with each other. As the name implies, at a pansexual makeout party, everyone is encouraged to make out with whomever they choose, regardless of their sex, gender, or self-identification. The event invite made it clear that this party was primarily about making out and meeting new people in a safe, consent-based environment.
It's not like there's a lot of pansexual makeout parties to attend where I'm originally from in the Missouri Ozarks. Plus, prior to this party, I'd never kissed someone else's boyfriend or girlfriend — much less done so in front of them with their blessing. Hell, I'd never even played spin the bottle before. All the discomfort I initially felt was worth it, though, because the night ended up being one of the best I've experienced in NYC so far. Here's what happened.
1. There Was A Sexy Dress Code
I'm not sure if all makeout parties have sexy dress codes, but the one I went to sure did. In fact, the invite specifically stated that anyone who showed up in regular street clothes or business casual outfits would be turned away, and they weren't kidding. I don't think anyone at that party was wearing regular clothes. Most of the men were sporting jackets and vests with bare chests underneath, and several women were wearing sexy lingerie.
Before the doorman could let me enter the party, he had to verify that my coat wasn't hiding a boring outfit. He asked nicely, though, and didn't leer at all. Almost immediately after he asked me to unzip, he added, "I'm sure it will be fine, but ..." Then, the second he saw I was wearing a crop top, he let me in.
Since I'll jump at any opportunity to wear half-shirts, I was pretty stoked about the party's sexy dress code. I wore a crop top and some faux leather leggings that a buddy let me borrow. I also went sans bra. This might have made me uncomfortable if my hair wasn't long enough to cover my nipples, it really came in handy later on ...
2. Obtaining Consent Was Mandatory For All Attendees
The first thing I saw after I entered the venue was a poster with a list of rules, most of which pertained to obtaining affirmative consent. On top of that, before my friends and I were even allowed to enter the party, the doorman went through the rules with us.
He explained that every single party-goer — male and female — was required to ask for permission before kissing or touching anyone else. He then told us that if anyone made us uncomfortable, we should tell him about it immediately. Finally, he told us that if any person was reported to him more than once, he would kick them out. Period. I didn't have to sign a waiver or anything like that, but it was made very clear to me that coerced consent of any kind would not be tolerated.
3. The Buddy System Was Strictly Enforced, Too
All attendees were required to come with at least one trusted friend, whom they dubbed a "PAL" (Pervy Activities Liaison). Before my friends and I were allowed to join the party, we each had to verify that we'd brought a PAL, and that we were prepared to keep an eye on each other throughout the night. Since makeout parties are often frequented by newbs like myself and also serve alcohol, I think the venue stressed the importance of PALs because they wanted to be as certain as possible that no one was hurt or made uncomfortable in any way.
4. … Which Is Part Of Why I Felt Very Safe
Between all the affirmative consent rules and the event's strictly-enforced buddy system, there wasn't a single time throughout the party when I felt unsafe. It was more than the rules that made me feel safe, though. None of the other party-goers pressured me to participate before I was ready to do so. Actually, a lot of the people I met that night seemed just as interested in getting to know me as they were in kissing me.
More than one person I met that night asked me about my unique last name. A few others told me they thought it was "brave" that I moved to the city alone without knowing anyone here, and congratulated me for stepping out of my comfort zone.
5. There Were More Couples Than I Expected
I knew going in that there would probably be some couples in attendance — there's a large poly and swingers community here — but I didn't expect there to be more couples than singles in attendance, either. From what I could tell, though, that was the case, and they were super cute together. None of them were weird about making out with other people in front of each other, and it was bizarre in the best way.
In fact, the whole crowd wasn't quite what I expected. Nerds and hipsters of all ages were in attendance, and at any given time, at least half of the party-goers were making out with each other in their own adorable little nooks and/or during games of spin the bottle. It was diverse, and there was no distinction between the "cool kids" and everyone else, the way I've seen it in so many bars and parties here in Brooklyn.
6. I Felt Like The Weirdo For Being Monogamous
When I get serious with someone, I get seriously monogamous. This preference has never made me feel uncomfortable before, but since the party I went to was a mostly polyamorous crowd, I found myself feeling like a super-huge weirdo at first. It wasn't that anyone at the party said or did anything to make me feel this way, either; I'd just never felt like an "other" for being monogamous before. It really opened my eyes to how alienated poly couples must feel when they're surrounded by serial monogamists.
7. I Almost Left Without Kissing Anyone
At one point during the very beginning of the party, I was feeling so out of place and out of sorts that I almost left without kissing anyone. For weeks leading up to that night, my issues with anxiety and depression had been pretty overpowering. I was having a really hard time getting any work done — which only made me feel more helpless — and I hadn't gone a day without crying in at least a month. On top of that, I sometimes struggle with social anxiety when I know I'm going to be meeting lots of new people. Oh, and I was on my period. And I was stoned.
Fortunately, another monogamist at the party helped talk me down from the anxiety I felt at first. Shortly after that, I decided to really give the party a chance.
8. People Were Going A Little Further Than Making Out
Things got way kinkier than just an innocent game of spin the bottle. At one point, I saw there was some bondage stuff going on, and even some bare-naked fingering. It didn't really bother me, but it didn't turn me on either. In that moment, it became very clear to me that this was not a place where I needed to feel self-conscious at all, because everyone was focusing on doing their own thing.
Mostly, I was just surprised to discover that it really wasn't a big deal at all. It didn't interrupt anyone else's good time, and it was kind of nice for me to see how much of a non-issue the whole thing was. The couple wasn't super loud, and there was enough space in the loft that no one was forced to watch, either. More than that, though, it was pretty clear to me that no one was being harmed or forced into anything. In fact, after one of the couples finished with their kinky activities, I saw them hug each other and chat for a bit. It was actually kind of sweet.
9. I Shared A Guy With My Friend
Like the party rules demanded, no one kissed me without my permission. In fact, I asked the main guy I ended up making out with for some lip action, not the other way around. Oddly enough, we were waiting in line for the bathroom when I told him I wanted to make out with him, but the setting didn't seem to make him any less happy to oblige me.
We ended up making out off-and-on all night, and it was ridiculously fun. I honestly don't remember making out with someone for that long in one setting since before I started having sex. Plus, at one point, I got to share the experience of making out with him with a gorgeous lady friend of mine, which was really hot and new for me. I also really enjoyed being so forward, though it's not something I'm unaccustomed to. I've been the one to "make the first move" with most of the people that I've made out with and slept with, but it's always empowering to be rewarded for my willingness to be vulnerable.
10. One Person Did Push My Boundaries, But I Handled Him
There was one moment during spin the bottle when I felt like my boundaries weren't being respected. This guy was groping me a bit and kissing me rather aggressively (and rather poorly). When he started to make me feel uncomfortable, I pressed my hand hard against his chest, pulled my face away from his, and made the kind of eye contact that said "We're done." He tried to kiss me again after that, but I cut him off. It wasn't pleasant for me, but it could have been much worse. The whole thing was so subtle that I don't think anyone else even noticed what went down.
In a way, I felt empowered by telling him no, but I'm hoping I don't run into that sort of thing at the next party I attend. Fortunately, though, I didn't have to report the guy.
11. I Left Feeling Happier Than I Had In Weeks
Like I said earlier, for weeks leading up to that party, I was really struggling mentally and emotionally. I was super lonely and homesick, too. But that night, I felt optimistic and hopeful about my new home for the first time in weeks. It reminded me why I moved to NYC in the first place. There's so much energy and diversity here, and it somehow manages to be both challenging and intoxicating simultaneously.
13. I Got A Super Hot Date Out Of The Experience
Before I left the party, that sexy dude I had been making out with got my number and asked me between kisses, "Would you want to go on a date with me even though I have a girlfriend?" I replied, "I don't mind if she doesn't mind." Since they're poly, she didn't mind at all. I actually got to meet her, and though it was very brief, I could tell she was just as nice and gorgeous as her partner.
The next day, he texted me and asked if I was still interested in meeting up. I responded with an enthusiastic "Hell yeah!" Four days later, I went on a date with him and had some of the best sex, weed, food, and conversation of my life.
Though I personally felt no weirdness at all about the fact that my date had a girlfriend, I still don't know if I could ever be polyamorous myself. My date admitted that being poly isn't easy, and that overcoming jealousy is an ongoing part of the deal. It was really nice for me to witness how well the practice can work for some couples, though. Plus, as someone who has struggled with jealousy in the past, and who spent nearly four years with a very possessive partner, meeting such loving couples in open relationships just further proves to me that, though I doubt my next relationship will be an open one, it definitely doesn't have to be a possessive one, either.
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