By Lisabet Sarai
Have you ever visited a sex club?
Would you like to?
I can't trump Kaenar, with her juicy photos of gay spas and bondage hotels. However, I can share my personal experiences at the famous New York sex club, Le Trapeze. My husband and I have spent close to a dozen evenings there over the last decade or so, whenever we happen to be in the city on a weekend.
Le Trapeze does not exactly match the way such places are portrayed in erotic romance. It's not particularly glamorous, and definitely not dangerous. However, I don't think that you'll be disappointed either.
Le Trapeze is less well known than Plato's Retreat, but I believe that it dates from the same era, toward the end of the swinging seventies. There's a nondescript door on East 27th Street with a sign—the name but nothing more. When you enter, there's a kiosk to your left. You'll be asked for your membership card and the substantial entry fee. Everything's on a first name only basis. Entrance is restricted to couples or the occasional threesome; single males are prohibited.
There's a buzz and you pull the door open, stepping into a world where your fantasies just might become reality...
The light is pleasantly dim, with a flattering rosy tinge. Rock music with a heavy bass thumps in the background. Ahead of you is a counter with a coat check and a bowl of free condoms. A nude soft sculpture angel swings on a trapeze over the head of the smiling clerk. To your right you'll find a dance floor complete with a twirling disco ball, surrounded by couches which are occupied by people in various stages of undress. A TV on the wall displays adult movies, a never-ending parade of penetrations to get you in the right mood. To your left is the bar and buffet—no alcohol is served, although you're welcome to bring a bottle, but the entry fee includes soft drinks and all you can eat.
Of course, you're not thinking much about food.
If it's your first time, Len, the manager, will give you a tour. He's a friendly bear, with a powerful body, curly gray hair, and a relaxed manner. He leads you down a corridor lined with closed doors. “Private rooms,” he says. “No one will disturb you if the door is shut.” The area at the end of the corridor includes a kind of mezzanine, a raised platform shielded by a wrought iron barrier, the floor strewn with mattresses. Although it's still early, you can make out a few naked forms on those mattresses, limbs entwined or humping away with frenetic energy. You try not to stare, much as you want to. Later, you'll come to understand that it's perfectly okay to watch. That's the whole point.
To the far right, Len points out the entrance to the locker room. “Rick will give you a number. Just let him know when you want to get in to your locker. You've both got to be there, though. Any couple who arrives together has to leave together.” This is one of the few rules at Le Trapeze. The other one, which everyone seems to know without being told, is “no means no”.
Next to the mezzanine, a spiral stairway leads to the second floor. At the foot is the entrance to the spacious orgy room, which features wall-to-wall mattresses and a mirrored ceiling. You blush. You've never seen so many naked people playing, not even in the porn flicks you and your husband sometimes enjoy together.
Len points upward. “Upstairs are semi-private rooms. Some of them have—equipment.” When you investigate later, you find odd chairs of twisted metal tubes, with stirrups to support spread thighs, vaguely reminiscent of a doctor's office but offering far better access. The “semi-private rooms”, you discover, have no doors. They tend to be occupied by triples or quartets. The narrow hallway running between them is crowded with naked men and women, all craning for a view. You feel a hand weighing your breast, a hardness brushing your rump, casual, exploratory. Do you want this? You can say yes. You can say no. Or you can simply be silent, allowing things to happen.
After the tour, you can return to the locker room and strip, wrapping up in the towel Rick hands you. Or you can stay dressed for a while, relaxing on one of the sofas, making out and getting turned on by the people around you.
When we visit, I like to wear something risqué and accessible. Think plunging necklines, fishnet stockings, high-heeled boots. So I don't necessarily want to get naked right away. I want my costumes to have their effect on the other guests. My husband and I will settle down near the dance floor, on one of those plush couches. He will slip his hand under my miniskirt and finger me through my split crotch; I'll loose his erection from his pants and start to stroke. I might slip to my knees and take him in my mouth, feeling my skirt ride up my damp thighs, deliciously aware of the lustful eyes that might be feasting on us as I feast on his cock.
There's no pressure. You don't have do anything at all, if you're not comfortable. But there's this wonderful sense of permissiveness. You're allowed to ogle the men and women around you—in fact, you're expected to. You don't need to feel guilty. You don't need to torture yourself wondering if they might be interested in a sexual encounter—it's understood, though of course any particular individual or couple might decline your invitations. The social constraints are relaxed. You're not going to offend or shock someone with your desires. Everyone here is horny.
The physical variety of people playing at Le Trapeze is remarkable. There are taut, athletic twenty-somethings as well as well-worn couples ten years older than us. Given New York's multicultural population, you'll see complexions of every hue, buzzcuts and dreadlocks, tattoos and piercings. There are always a few couples who are simply drop-dead gorgeous. My husband and I know that we're unlikely to be of interest to them, but they're a lot of fun to watch.
About half the times we've visited Le Trapeze, we haven't gotten involved with anyone else. The other times, we've started with conversation and then adjourned with our new friends to a private or semi-private room. I don't really care to be intimate with someone based entirely on a physical attraction. In fact it's difficult for me to separate physical from emotional attraction. As I've shared in other blogs, my husband and I have always been interested in polyamory. We come to Le Trapeze hoping that a connection might turn into a more enduring relationship. So far we haven't been successful in our quest. However, we've had some good times during the search!
You might wonder about jealousy. How does it feel to watch your husband having sex with another woman? How does he react when a stranger goes down on you or fingers you to orgasm?
I can't speak for other couples, but somehow neither of us are bothered. We know that we're going home (or back to our hotel) together. I have no doubt at all that I turn my husband on. Just because he's aroused by other women as well does not reduce his attraction to me. The fact that I'm bisexual makes things even easier, since we tend to have similar tastes in women.
Do I get nervous? Certainly—pretty much every time we visit. I feel shy and embarrassed at first. However, it soon becomes difficult for me to distinguish the trembling of anxiety from the buzz of excitement. The atmosphere at Le Trapeze is ripe with sex. You can't help but feel it and react.
We tend to end up in the orgy room on nearly every visit. Usually we're just concentrating on each other. He'll be on top of me. Our reflection in the mirror above us amplifies every sensation. Perhaps a finger will trace a circle around my nipple. Unfamiliar pubic hair will rub against my thigh. A solid, foreign cock will brush my palm in invitation. I can accept or decline.
Or I'll be straddling my darling, hands braced against the wall, grinding myself against his luscious hardness. I arch my back, knowing that in some sense we are performing, and enjoying every instant. Perhaps there will be hands cupping my ass or stroking my cleft. My husband feels them, too, and groans.
The one disappointing aspect of Le Trapeze, for me, is that it is close to 100% vanilla. Also, there's no male-male sex. In that sense, it's quite traditional compared to Kaenar's haunts. I know that gay and fetish clubs exist, but my husband has zero interest in BDSM or homoeroticism, and I wouldn't feel comfortable going on my own. (That is something that would make him jealous, a sexual experience that we couldn't share.)
I guess that in this case, I'll have to continue using my imagination. You'll find S&M clubs in several of my books, including Raw Silk, Incognito and Tomorrow's Gifts.
I hope that you've enjoyed your visit. I'd be happy to answer any questions...just leave a comment. Or contact me by email (lisabet [at] lisabetsarai.com) if you're too shy to ask in public!