“You know, I think you guys really ought to have sex,” he said, within seconds of my arrival. Apparently, he’d already floated this idea to Jayna, a stylish 23-year-old marketing executive, and she'd seemed unfazed. Based on little more than a flattering description of me, Jayna had already affirmed that she was game. “Let’s do it,” she laughed, seconds after shaking my hand.
Later that night, we would indeed go home together, and I engaged in one of the most honest, uninhibited, instructive, and soulful sexual experiences I’ve ever had—all with someone who was a perfect stranger at the time. The experience set the tone for how our relationship has evolved since—and is also, understandably, why it’s still so confusing when I try to describe my situation with her to other people. “So,” they tend to ask, “it’s like a ‘friends with benefits’ thing?”
While my relationship with Jayna definitely has some components of a typical FWB setup, I think of her as being far more than just a friend. She’s my sexual confidante, my mentor, and my spirit animal. Though our relationship is not romantic, I love her to bits.
Being that we live on opposite sides of the planet, however—she’s in Hong Kong, I’m in New York—we only get together occasionally. And when we do, it always feels meaningful and life-affirming. So when Jayna told me that she would be flying into New York from Hong Kong to celebrate her 30th birthday, I asked if I could throw a party in her honour—a sex party.
Jayna, who already had plenty of next-level sexual adventures under her belt, was thrilled and delighted at the notion of a hand-picked crew of sex-positive people coming together to celebrate her birthday (in their birthday suits) and gave the idea an emphatic thumbs-up. She left virtually all of the details—including the invite list—to me. Her only request was that there be X-rated party games. With that, I booked a space in Brooklyn specifically designed for people to host sex parties.
The package I opted for included the use of a 2,000-square-foot play space provisioned with soft surfaces, towels, lube, and condoms. The venue also boasted a professional grade sound system with an outdoor area replete with fire pit and a hot tub that could comfortably accommodate a dozen revellers. (Don’t be too grossed out: It’s the only area in the space where sex is explicitly not permitted.)
Next, I drew up a list of around 30 prospective invitees that Jayna would enjoy being around and would potentially want to play with. Jayna is something of an omnisexual, so I was under no pressure to skew the gender ratio in any one direction. The core list consisted of around 20 people I knew from the sex party scene, several of whom had met the birthday girl at a party she and I had attended together the previous fall.
The remainder of the invitees were friends of mine who, while open-minded, hadn’t participated in a party quite like the one I was proposing. For some, the suggestion was enticing—but a little too steep. Others wasted little time RSVPing “yes” and went about arranging sitters for the night. Meanwhile, I arrived at the venue an hour before the start date and fretted about everything that could go wrong.
First, I spent an excessive amount of time futzing with the light level and worrying that the playlist I’d made would be in some way corny. True story: During the gang bang I previously wrote about, one male participant turned to another—mid-act—shook his head, and said disparagingly, “Oh my god, this music!” Needless to say, the incident left a mark.
I wanted the party to be in full swing by the time the guest of honour arrived, but only a handful of people were milling around the cavernous space when Jayna materialised. I breathed a sigh of relief when the room began to fill up and people began mingling. But after 45 minutes, everyone was still conspicuously clothed. A friend pointed out that, as the party’s organiser, it was incumbent upon me to get things moving.
As it happened, one of the attendees is a professional party emcee—a veteran of countless bar mitzvahs, weddings, and team building events. Within minutes, he’d expertly corralled the 30-member group’s attention for a game entitled “guess the dick.” Me and five other gents were selected from the crowd and arranged in a line. After taking a look at us, the birthday girl—who was squealing with delight by this point—was blindfolded.
We then dropped our pants and she fondled each of our junks before offering a guess as to who was who. Incredibly, she got six of six. A second round of the game, egged on with riotous applause, saw Jayna guessing the identity of six women in a similar way, but she’d only explored the first three by the time several people turned their attention away from the game and to each other. The ice wasn’t just broken—it was shattered.
The rest of the evening was a blur of people interacting with one another in every formation imaginable. Jayna was doing the rounds, and after some two-on-one time with the birthday girl, I managed to get her to myself for a bit. At that moment, and several times since, she expressed her gratitude for my putting the party together for her. It was the least I could do to celebrate someone with a similar outlook on love, sex, and friendship as my own.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health