“This is going on too long,” said a 30-something guy with a job in the film industry. “If we all get to know each other, nobody’s going to even want to have sex.”
It was a warm, late June evening in the Hamptons, sky turning pink and orange at the horizon, and I was at that moment sitting in white La Perla underwear in an outdoor Jacuzzi with my friend Carol and three couples whom we had met hours earlier. The topic then eliciting much concern in the hot tub: that nobody was having sex at the sex party.
We’d been at the party, run by the London-based company Killing Kittens, which boasts its members-only events are for “the world’s sexual elite,” for going on five hours. More than just a host of sex parties, Killing Kittens calls itself “a movement and community whose sole aim is the unwavering pursuit of female sexual pleasure.” Every article about Killing Kittens seems to repeat the canard that the company founder, Emma Sayle, is a “friend of Kate Middleton.” (The two briefly attended the same high school four years apart, and later were equally briefly involved with the same charity.) On this particular Saturday night, Killing Kittens, which last year expanded to New York and Toronto, was making its grand Hamptons debut.
But so far, nobody seemed to be pursuing any female sexual pleasure, unwaveringly or otherwise. As afternoon turned into evening, a button might have come undone here or there on a man’s shirt, a woman who had been wearing a bikini top under her semi-sheer dress might suddenly be no longer wearing that top — but nobody was having sex. Nobody was even making out. And everyone agreed this was a problem.
“We’d been warned not to say the words ‘sex party’ or mention the ‘Killing Kittens’ name anywhere on the South Fork.”
Let me back up. When Carol and I had arrived, half an hour after the party had begun, the front door of the house was open, and a tray of prosecco-and-spiced-rum cocktails was sitting in the sun on the porch. Gweneth, the host, materialized. We’d been warned not to say the words “sex party” or mention the “Killing Kittens” name anywhere on the South Fork — the term of art was “Gweneth’s birthday party,” as in, “Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure they’ll have lube at Gweneth’s birthday party.” Now here, in a yellow-and-white sundress that showed ample cleavage, was the birthday girl herself.
Gweneth, who had kindly invited HarpersBazaar.com to her “birthday party,” had a shape-shifting pan-Atlantic accent I couldn’t trace — she talked like Madonna when she was still married to Guy Ritchie. “Welcome, welcome,” she called out. Her handshake was firm. Gweneth seemed like a woman buoyed by a deeply felt enthusiasm. She popped prosecco with more gusto than the gamest bottle-service waitress I’ve ever seen. Her email signature was “Your Orgynizer.” “I’m also a dominatrix,” she told Carol and me, smiling.
Killing Kittens promises its members parties held in “New York penthouses, St. Tropez super-yachts and über-exclusive luxury locations the world over.” Accordingly, the Hamptons venue didn’t disappoint. The large, architecturally striking home had a realtor’s sign out front and seemed to be unoccupied but staged for sale, giving the space a kind of unreal quality. “I feel like we’re on a movie set,” Carol said, “Like all these walls are flats.” I nodded. Nancy Meyer could have filmed a romantic comedy there.
The house was furnished in white, which seemed appropriate given this was technically a “white party” with a dress code. Giving Carol and I a brief tour, Gweneth pointed out two designated “play” rooms for sexual encounters. The bathrooms and most of the house’s flat surfaces were stocked with Lifestyles condoms, Summer’s Eve baby wipes, and chewing gum. In the living room, white paper LELO gift bags were stacked on the mantelpiece; the Swedish sex toy company was a sponsor.
“The au courant way to have traveled to the party was on one’s own boat. Chanel bags dangled from Pilates-toned arms.”