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NSFW Playdate: Millennials All Grown Up

All images from the NSFW Facebook page

By Annie Iezzi

Somewhere in the Lower East Side, just off of an early-alphabet avenue, stood a suited man outside of a four-story townhouse. It was one of those townhouses that organizations can rent out for events, but there isn’t usually a bouncer outside asking for a password upon entry.

Nevertheless: “I’m here for the event,” I began, unsure how to approach the bouncer— a dignified man.

“What event?” he intoned, cordial and reserved, but with a feeling that he wanted me to get the answer right. 

Thus began Honeysuckle Magazine’s entré into the New Society for Wellness’s Playdate, a well-kept secret sex party, tailored to New York’s elite millennials. More staff met me inside the door, one woman dressed entirely in white: a “nymph” as founder Daniel Saynt calls them. The nymphs’ white costumes are a departure from the “black, sexy, and casual” dress code, and their sole job is to uphold the organization’s mantra of enthusiastic consent and safe sexual encounters. Here, I was also asked to keep my phone out of sight, as some of NSFW’s members “lead double lives” and wouldn’t be comfortable with even the possibility of their identities surfacing.

Past the nymph and the doorman, red backlighting doused the venue, the first floor of which was a sleek bar and lounge area, complete with a promotional NSFW video on loop in the living room. The screen endlessly cut between images of bondage play and the NSFW logo, giving anyone with roving eyes a point to focus on if they couldn’t yet decide on one (or more) suitor(s) for the evening.

Also on this floor, guests milled about and socialized with each other, the bartender, and the evening’s “host”, aptly decked out in rhinestones and a leather harness. Anyone who was uncomfortable could wander over to the staff for a drink or a chat, and once they were sufficiently relaxed, they could explore the party beyond the glass bannister staircase.

The second floor was a gateway to the voyeuristic component of the party and home to the venue’s one-and-only Motorbunny. Think: sex toy-meets-travel-sized mechanical bull.That’s what was resting next to a spread of mattresses. Throughout the night, the clientele ebbed and flowed through this floor, filling up the mattresses or making a pitstop on their way to the private rooms above.

According to some members, the idea of private rooms is a new one for NSFW, which used hosts its Playdates in the private clubhouse—a much more open venue. The club has recently relocated, however, and it is testing out new, secret locations to house its romps.

I reached the rooftop– a cannabis-friendly space– well before the apex of the party, where immediately upon sitting down, a ring of cruising NSFW’ers surrounded me, testing the waters and asking about my experience with the organization. Many guests were at least partially familiar with each other, if not intimate, despite only interacting at NSFW events. Some guests explained that they liked to build upon connections in the outside world; the members of NSFW are hand-selected through a rigorous application process, so there’s a good chance that they may be compatible. Most members, however, attested that they prefer to keep their NSFW friends separate from their day-to-day lives­– after all, NSFW does mean not suitable for work. 

One playmate did confess that an advertising client of his sometimes attends the events, and the two keep as much distance from each other as possible. This can be hard in the NSFW setting, where groups of attendees gather closely together to spectate; in this instance, we were watching a fire massage. A randomly selected, lucky member lay reclined on a sofa, while a well-trained masseuse teased a ball of fire between his hands, warming them gently.

An array of NSFW’s membership could be found on the rooftop: couples, singles, fabulously dressed men and scantily draped women, even though this night’s event seemed to draw a more heavily male clientele. One of the more experienced, male members that I chatted with identifies as “heteroflexible”, an attitude that seemed to pervade the sentiments of most members that I spoke with. Their tastes, discussed openly and casually, were just as diverse as the cryptic website promised. Rumors even flew that downstairs, there was an assistant on standby to educate the inexperienced in rope-play.

My descent back through the party confirmed this rumor, and many others, about the club that “cultivates a culture” around itself, as one longtime-member described it. The third floor rooms were now entirely full, occupied by voyeurs and exhibitionists alike. Rings of members, now dressed down to their lingerie or nothing at all, surrounded the beds and spilled into the hall. They pumped the atmosphere with sexual energy, but still there remained a reservedness, a sense of respect for those who they were admiring. 

An ever-changing variety of couples and groups were the center of attention, writhing in an ecstasy equal parts genuine and performative. In one room, two couples undressed, making a show of their courtship and escalating passion, while next door, four pairs shared a bed in a more intimate atmosphere.

Those already exhausted and the still revving up lounged about the second floor, and fewer people now milled about the first; the action had moved upstairs and out of the line of sight of this Honeysuckle writer. I made my goodbyes with the now-fraternizing host and the bartender, and I even may have caught sight of the infamous Daniel Saynt–clad in a pair of bunny ears. Back on the street, I couldn’t even see the party that I knew was still working to a climax on the rooftop; I was back in the suitable-for-work world. 

Annie Iezzi is a Staff Editor at Honeysuckle Magazine and a student at Barnard College of Columbia University, studying English and political science and writing in her scarce (and cherished) free time.

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