How My Consensual Nonconsent Orgies Work
Structure and logistics
I’ve thrown a few consensual nonconsent orgies now, and wanted to do a writeup of what I’ve learned. Maybe you’re curious about throwing one yourself, or attending mine, or you wonder how this works in practice.
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Consensual nonconsent is a kink where consenting, informed adults engage in nonconsent roleplay; you can feign resistance or lack of enthusiasm, and people will have sex with you anyway - despite you actually consenting the whole way through. After I recently attended a vanilla orgy where I sat around forlornly wishing someone would just come over and take me despite my complete lack of enthusiasm, I decided fuckit, be the change you want to see in the world.
The orgies are called Red Means No. Attendees are able to say no - we just use different language for ‘no’ - the word red.
But how the hell do you do something like this safely? I worked with co-organizers (RubyDice, Slimswitch, N8temare, and Sacha_witt), and after lots of discussion we came up with a system that seems to be working pretty well! Here’s what we’ve figured out so far, and things we’ve learned and would like to do differently.
The first and most important step is inviting people who actually want to explore the thing. We didn’t want to set up incentives that made people warp a little bit to convince themselves that they wanted it when secretly they weren’t fully on board. I had a sexy event application form, but tried to make it nonobvious that one sort of event I would be hosting was CNC, so that people wouldn’t falsely mark they were into it just so they could attend an orgy.
(Though, to be clear, I am also planning on using applications on the form to invite people to other, less kinky events! CNC orgies weren’t the sole purpose.)
Our last event, we experimented with allowing people to bring +1’s. I think we were reasonable in trying this, but from now on I think I’d rather only allow people to bring +1s if they’ve already attended 1-2 events and are a ‘trusted member’ of the orgies.
E.g., at the last event, a man purchased a couple’s ticket with a woman he was in a relationship with and vouched for. After vetting the woman, we didn’t accept her for the event. We told the man that his ticket was now revoked (as it was a couple’s one and we had to keep the gender balanced). He said he could bring another lady, though, and we told him he could still come if he did.
I think this set up bad incentives - this man was now needed to get another woman to come in order to preserve his own access to the event, even if maybe this woman was not fully, independently excited about CNC herself. I didn’t catch this at the time. When the woman came, it seemed she in fact was not fully excited about CNC (and other organizers who noticed this encouraged her not to participate unless she started actively wanting to). While, to my knowledge, nothing bad actually happened with this attendee, I still think this was an oversight on my part and plan to be careful not to make this mistake again.
We also are quite liberal in not inviting people to this event. Even our own friends, people we enjoy in other contexts, or people we might invite to other sexy parties - invites to Red Means No are super idiosyncratic, and we try to err on the side of not inviting people who would be a good fit, vs inviting someone who would not be a good fit. We also sometimes exclude people based on tiny things, like “their coworker is attending the event already and it would be too weird for them”.
If an attendee puts on a wristband at the event, this means they’re “open for business”, and people can now initiate sexual contact with them without asking. Different wristband colors indicate openness to different genders - for example, if you’re wearing a blue wristband, you’re open to being aggressed upon by men. Red, you’re open to women (though we plan to change the color next time). You can stack wristband colors!
If at any point you no longer want people to make sexy dives at you, you can remove the wristband, after which default normal world consent rules apply.
If you’re attending as an aggressor, you don’t have to wear any bands - just check to see if someone you’re interested in is wearing a band that matches your gender! If you’re a switch, you can both wear a wristband indicating you’re opening to receiving, and aggress upon anyone else who’s open to you.
There’s lots of reasons we might want to introduce more wristbands to convey more information about preferences, but right now we’re trying really hard to keep the wristband system as simple as possible. Lights are low, bodies are moving, and if you have to stop and make sure you remembered the colors right, this introduces a lot of potential for error. In this kind of event, I think it’s super important to reduce the chances of mistakes.
In the future, I want to see if, instead of wristbands, we can use glow stick bracelets. It’ll probably take some experimenting to see if we can get a version that won’t fall off during vigorous sexy struggles, but having something glaringly super visible, where you only need the briefest of glimpses from far away to see the color, would help streamline things a lot.
Default Consent List
We have a list of “actions that you are default allowed to do to someone if they’re wearing the appropriate wristband.” This list includes most stuff that you might see in normal porn - penetrative sex, oral sex, light nipple pinching, penetration with a condom, etc
We also have a list of things people are allowed to individually opt into - things like anal sex, facefucking, penetration without a condom.
And lastly, there’s a list of things you’re not allowed to do at this party, even if all parties actively agree to it. This is mostly stuff that we think has a high chance of disturbing onlookers - stuff like very extreme pain, blood, vomit, bodyshaming, etc.
We require condom use by default (though people can personally opt out). We require STI testing within 6 weeks of the event, and have a “standard level” of STI risk that people can refer to as the default level of risk accepted by the event, and the types of STI risk to others that you need to disclose vs not (e.g., fully medicated HIV without any detectable viral load is ~zero risk to others and you don’t need to disclose this).
People can set their own risk tolerances though! Before the event we ask receivers to write down any deviance from the default risk - if, for example, you do in fact want to avoid contact with people with fully medicated HIV, you put this down in a form that people are required to read before interacting with you. Ignoring someone’s expressed preferences around STI risk is considered a serious violation and would result in expulsion from the event.
If a receiver deviates from anything on the Default Consent list - e.g., maybe they really don’t want anyone kissing them - they can wear a badge on which they write their hard limits. If they have nonstandard STI risk requirements, they can also write this on the badge as well (or direct people to go read the STI document).
If someone is wearing a badge, aggressors are required to read the badge before interacting with them.
We also provide black tape, with the rule that you can place black tape on any part of your body to indicate that you don’t consent to people touching that part.
Before the event, people attending as receivers can fill out a form where they express things they like or don’t like. While we originally experimented with having this as a place for hard limits, we did change this - this is not a place to express hard limits, only preferences.
At the event, dossiers are printed out in a booklet (including name and photo of each person to avoid mistaken identity), so aggressors can check to see what each receiver likes or dislikes before interacting with them. It is not required to check the dossier - they are optional, and only if the aggressor is into specifically fulfilling any fantasies.
Making Sure People Know What They’re Getting Into
All the instructions are clearly laid out on the invite to the event, starting with an all-caps command to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS GODDAMNIT.
At the event, we have people sign a brief form indicating they are aware of the nature of the event - that “red means no”, and that if you wear a wristband, people will try to sexually interact with you, that you know what you’re getting into, etc.
We also require people arrive before the doors close, so everyone is present to hear the opening circle. In the opening circle, we go over all of the instructions again, encouraging people to ask clarifying questions. In this circle we try very hard to make it clear that there is no pressure to participate. I say things like “If you thought you really wanted to do this, but now you’re here and you’re like fuck, now I don’t think I actually want to do this, then we strongly support you in not participating. Nobody actually wants to violate your real boundaries, and you are doing people a favor by taking care of yourself and not forcing yourself to do anything you don’t actually want to do. If the thing you decide is right for you is sitting on the sidelines the entire time, this is good and I absolutely encourage you to do this.”
My suspicion is the primary reason people might not say “red” to something they actually don’t want is fear of disrupting the scene or upsetting their partner. Thus, I also try to communicate that “saying red is doing your partner a favor. The aggressors here don’t actually want to violate you, they genuinely care about your wellbeing, and they actively want you to communicate if you don’t want something to be happening. You’re not only caring for yourself by communicating your boundaries, you’re also caring for others.”
We also have people go through exercises where they pair off and practice ignoring ‘Nos’ and respecting ‘Reds’. We have Person A touch the other person - arm, wrist, hair, whatever - and have Person B say “no”, in order to allow Person A experience it being okay to ignore the word ‘no’. Person B also can say “red”, at which point Person A must immediately stop what they’re doing. The goal here is to give people the visceral sensation of both control and safety - it can be super scary to ignore the word no, and so we let people hear and ignore it. But the real safety is in respecting the word red - you get to experience the power of a safeword, and this communicates very directly, to both parties, that receivers are still in full control over their experience.
Despite all these steps, I think I might want to try being even more clear in the future? At our last event, one person managed to get through all of these steps and still be very unclear about how things worked or what the party was about; they wore a wristband when not actually wanting people to aggress upon them, and seemed to be unclear that they could and should take the wristband off whenever they wanted (luckily one of the other organizers noticed and recommended she remove her wristband, and then she did). I honestly have no idea how this happened - it’s possible they hadn’t read through the original invitation, and maybe had some important texts to respond to when we were going over all the rules in the opening circle, and thus weren’t paying attention?
I’m not sure exactly how to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future. I’m thinking maybe during the opening circle we should ask the audience questions about the rules to verify that people understand what’s going on, and maybe also on the consent form give them a list of boxes to check that they do in fact understand the rules?
Ideal Gender Ratio
is, somewhat counter the spirit of all other orgies, about 2:3 women to men (given that the vast majority of receivers are women and aggressors are men). After some experimenting, it turns out that “some women are insufficiently ravaged” is a much worse outcome than “some men have to wait their turn to do some ravaging.”
Still, this is on average - with more men, some ladies reported feeling too in-demand - and there’s some debate among the organizers about what is the optimal balance for tradeoffs here.
We have people sign a NDA committing to not revealing identities of other people at the event. It’s pretty standard to ask for identity privacy at kink events, but noncon kink is a bit edgier and we’re trying to take it seriously.
We don’t require privacy about things that happen at the event. Anyone who attends is welcome to reveal their own identity as an attendee, and talk about things that happened there, as long as they don’t accidentally give information that people could use to triangulate someone else’s identity.
We send out a feedback form asking how people’s experiences was, what we should do differently, etc. I also use this as an opportunity to collect some stats:
The space was really hard to get right. Airbnbs are super touchy about events, especially events with very suspicious noises. Friendly group houses are better, but usually people who live at the group house want to attend the party, and it’s hard to find one that’s both sufficiently spacious and vibey, and also is fine with roommates hearing unsettling noises from their own living room that they’re now not allowed to walk through.
We ended up renting a sympathetic friend’s house that they use to throw events.
(If you know of more great spots in the bay area that would work for this please let me know!)
How do you get vast amounts of bedding that isn’t super expensive, and that you can store away when not using?
We ended up with a combination of those rubbery floor puzzle pieces people use for workouts. They’re easy to transport, store, and break down. We laid them out as our base layer.
On top of that we used 3-4 inch king-sized foam mattress topper pads. They’re a little expensive, but not nearly as much as real beds, and they’re much easier to store - you can roll them up and shove them away. On top of this we put sheets, and then scattered around cozy pillows and blankets.
This was a fantastic setup and I strongly recommend it to others!
We also set out a bunch of lube and condoms. Despite having a lot of containers, we needed more - tons of little lubes are perfect; I like the travel-size uberlubes from amazon.
Quick-release bondage stuff is important; lots of people are inexperienced with ropes, tying safely can be hard and can take a long time, so we encouraged people to instead use things like velcro handcuffs or preset bondage “stocks”.
One change I would make is introducing a ton of little trash bins around the space, so that people can pretty easily throw away condoms. This is informed by a really spectacular degree of condomy flotsam that turned up in honestly quite impressive locations while we were cleaning afterwards.
Food and Drink
We provide a wide array of snacks! We also do provide some wine and cocktails, but really firmly tell people not to drink very much, and that if someone appears even slightly intoxicated we will kick them out of the event.
Everyone, both men and women, aggressors and receivers, pay to attend. While we have a sliding scale if people want to donate more, nobody has yet donated more than $200, and people who’ve donated aren’t given any special treatment. So far we haven’t made a profit on these events, and one of my co-organizers and I are currently in the red. This is partially because we have a few big, upfront expenses - those foam toppers were expensive, as well as some of the really nice, preset bondage gear I ordered from eastern Europe.
If you want to attend
Since I’m talking about this publicly, our admission standards are changing. We have enough of a core group of attendees that we can rely on that network for guests, and we no longer are primarily relying on new applications.
That being said, if this sounds like your ideal event, if this would be a perfect fantasy fulfillment for you, if you’re really good at communicating your own boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others without taking it personally, then you can submit an application here.
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The fact that the safe word is red and the red-colored wristband means something else seems like it's setting up for first time the Stroop Effect will be the subject of expert testimony in criminal court.
These events sound ethical and well-run as described, but I have mixed feelings about publishing this post. Yes you may help future noncon orgy-nizers avoid pitfalls, if they're as thoughtful and careful as you, but I fear you've also lowered the barrier to entry for less competent/moral actors.