Jesse Tise

This week’s party was a dual birthday celebration at a sex-positive house. Yes, the house itself was sex positive—or so said the host.

Approaching any event, I look for red flags, like if the address is on a boulevard. A true boulevard should be sufficiently tortuous to discourage thieves and comedians from entering your palatial home. Thus, Barbur Boulevard doesn’t count. That’s a highway with multiple dispensaries and at least one meth lab. Tonight’s destination, however, was on the truest of boulevards—including the gate.

Once parked, I feverishly jotted down scathing notes about my resentment of the rich, and dove deep into my treasure trove of judgy tropes about the intersection of wealthy, powerful men and the heteronormative dominance of the sex positivity movement. As I approached the oversized front door, I reveled in the knowledge that I had brought nothing but grape juice in alcoholic and nonalcoholic form. If I had to pretend to not resent the wealthy, then they would have to pretend to not judge the poor. Passive aggressive victory would be mine!

I was greeted by a warm, friendly gentleman who treated me with utmost deference. Neither he nor the other first dozen people I encountered lived there. I was told the owner volunteers the space for community events. I can’t say how the home—which felt like a giant tree house with boulevardian hallways leading to bedrooms and more hallways—had been afforded, because it never came up in any of the numerous streams of genuinely engaging conversation. I was undoubtedly the poorest person in attendance, but by no means the friendliest or queerest.

After checking my coat and biases, I poured myself a glass of wine and drank in how surprisingly shy most of the guests appeared, including the two Virgos of honor, the first of whom was dressed in an elegant mesh gown and a radiant smile. Another guest filled glasses with Pétillant Naturel, a sort of “rural” champagne. I initially declined, as I was already holding a full glass of wine, but was encouraged by another double-fister to go for it, and so I did.

There was conversation of how odd it seemed for a sex-positive space to be nestled in an upscale, woodland suburb, but it didn’t strike me as the least bit strange. If I’ve learned anything from my time with Portland’s sex-positive community it’s that, by the time any sex gets involved, I’ve already had my fill of human interaction. The working class simply lacks the time for that much socialization and boundary setting. Kink is for the patient, and patience is a luxury of people who don’t have to work on weekends. What struck me as odd was the abundance of irresistible food, thoughtfully labeled with allergen warnings. I’m personally uneasy about eating before fully clothed activities. The sex positive are truly brazen.

Though I left before consent-based Spin-the-Bottle really heated up, the pleasant whimsy of the night earned this sex party a full 10 points.