Overview: At its core, a Code of Conduct is about the culture of an event. Essentially, culture concerns the environment, the values and behavior of its host(s) and attendees, and the rules of engagement when participating (or not). By encouraging attendees to read and agree to the Code of Conduct before an event, a host may effectively manage the expectations of guests and set the tone and culture. Over time and consistent practice, regular guests may adopt and align to this prevailing culture. In turn, these guests will model and thus extend the culture to new attendees. By encouraging a Code of Conduct–especially one in which consent is at the fore–a happy and healthy culture can take root and thrive at events and play spaces.
Culture of Courtesy and Respect
- Be kind, considerate, welcoming, and gracious. We are creating a safe and inviting atmosphere for sexual play, and that starts with how everyone feels *before* sexy times.
- Leave your surroundings in a state of order and cleanliness
- Please no smoking indoors [add any other venue-specific items here]
- Practice safer sex that is consistent with your needs
- Honor others’ gender pronouns, gender identities, and gender expressions
- Voyeurism is participation; the more intensely you watch, the farther away you should be
- Exercise discretion: do not take photos or videos at the event and never publish its location on social or any other media
- Exercise confidentiality: guard the identity and respect the anonymity of fellow guests and the deeply intimate acts you have shared with them (i.e. don’t kiss and tell)
A Note to Hosts
This culture is a two-way street–treat your guests with the utmost courtesy and respect and they will return in kind, as well as follow suit. You set the tone. Also, be mindful of the privilege you carry as a host. You might be inclined to make requests (sexual or otherwise) of your guests, but realize that they may feel a certain obligation or pressure to please you.
Safer Sex and Disclosure
Understand that STIs are an inevitable reality when engaging in sex. (Yes, really.) As such, we aim to build a culture that diminishes the shame and taboo associated with STIs and normalizes the experience of contracting and living with STIs. This normalization can also help minimize the risk of contracting an STI, as an informed community is less likely to unknowingly spread an STI (ignorance and shame do the opposite). The first steps in this paradigm shift entail educating yourself and talking about it.
- Get a full battery of STI tests regularly; we recommend every 3 to 6 months
- Become and stay knowledgeable on the subject of STIs
- Know your comfort level when it comes to playing with those with STIs
- Be realistic: if you need an absolutely pristine human with whom to play, understand that a play party is not the most likely place to meet a virgin unicorn
- Be honest and open about your status *before* play
- If someone discloses their status to you, be kind and gracious; recognize that they are vulnerable in this moment and that they’re showing you respect by giving you information that will help you make informed decisions
- In the event that you contract an STI at a play party and do not know how to get in touch with past partners, contact the host(s)–they will be helpful and discrete
- If you contract an STI and do not feel able to notify past partners personally, consider using an anonymous partner notification service.
Culture of Consent
We operating on a model of Affirmative Consent. These are its core principles:
- Yes means yes
- Consent is positive and attractive
- The absence of no does not mean yes
- A yes to one activity is not a yes to another or future activity
- It is much easier to say yes/no if if you are aware of and comfortable with stating your boundaries
- Should you receive a “no,” accept it graciously; do not devalue, criticize, pester or coerce
- A yes can be withdrawn at any time and for any reason
- A yes can be compromised by intoxicants
Although you may arrive at a party with the hope and expectation of having sex and/or experience a certain level or type of sexual play, understand that this may not happen for you tonight, and that’s ok. Also keep in mind:
- Consent is not presumed; attendance to this party does not imply anything
- People can be at different places at different times regarding sex; they may not be feeling it with you but they might with someone else
- There is absolutely no expectation for you to perform or engage in any kind of play
Consent may be expressly stated through verbal communication or understood through nonverbal communication and/or previous agreements. When you are at an event and observing others, you may not be able to decipher the relationship or communication style between partners. This is why it’s important to communicate about communication, aka meta-communication. See also: How To Talk To Your Partner About Sex.
It is essential to know that consent is a voluntary, mutual agreement and it is dynamic. As such, consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual act(s) does not necessarily constitute consent to any other or future sexual act. Additionally, consent may may be withdrawn at any time and for any reason. Everyone has the right to change their mind. Because consent can shift and change, we encourage you to check in with yourself (e.g.: Am I still enjoying this? Do I want to stop or do something else?) as well as your partner(s) (e.g.: Are you enjoying this? Can I [insert different play than the one being conducted]?). While this may initially seem awkward or embarrassing, rest assured that everyone has felt awkward and embarrassed navigating this communication. It gets easier! What’s more: it’s how we do things here and we think it’s positive and attractive!
A Note on Intoxicants
Drugs and alcohol may lower inhibitions, thus rendering one’s consent different from sober consent. Also note that certain drugs, whether alone or mixed with alcohol, can greatly lower one’s inhibitions. As such, an intoxicated person’s ability to consent may be compromised, and we strongly suggest assuming you do not have consent in such cases.
For more information and resources, see: Best Practices When Dealing with Intoxicants
This community has zero tolerance for non-consensual drug use. If you are suspected of drugging a fellow guest, you will be subject to our Corrective Methods.
Further and Suggested Reading: