Note from Ashley: This is a guest post from a dear friend and attendee of Monique Darling's Wild Women Play Party, which I co-hosted. The event was welcoming to any women-identified folks. This reflection is provided by a lesbian identified cisgender woman, so please take this as her personal experience and not as a broad generalization about women-oriented play parties or those who attend them.
You know that feeling when your orgasm elicits applause from a room full of gorgeous, smart, powerful women in various stages of nudity? No? Well then— you’ve never participated in one of Monique Darling’s Wild Women play parties.
But before you let your imagination run amuck in pornographic images of Barbie-doll women soaping each other up in a giant bubble bath to swanky elevator music, I will tell you that nothing could be further from, or sexier than, the reality of this experience. Allow me to set the scene.
The evening is still as your tires peel over the asphalt of this residential block and pull up snug to the curb. It is not the hushed tension of anticipation, but the warm tranquility of quiet reverence that paints this street. It radiates from this home in particular. There is no question which dwelling is the venue. Despite its architectural similarity to those adjacent, it stands out bright and approachable. Upon entering and introducing yourself you understand why as Monique offers your a heartfelt hug that somehow makes your wonder for a second if you’ve known her your whole life. You smile and shake off the feeling, stepping out of your shoes and into the open space and warm-colors of—is it a living room? It feels like one, it’s certainly where a living room should be. But it feels like nature and looks like an intimate performance space. Goddess inspired art, crystals and the vague, cozy feeling of unconditional human connection fill the periphery of your senses. In the center of this maybe-living-room, positioned before a full length, ornamental mirror, is a tall, sturdy metallic pole that runs from floor to ceiling.
Some of the attendees have arrived before you and a few are chuckling, taking turns experimenting or showing off on the pole in their jeans and leggings and hoodies. They don’t look scared at all. They look powerful. Playful and powerful.
On the other side of the room, opposite the mirror is the low counter and familiar trappings of a clean little kitchen. Behind the kitchen and the living room—is the loving room. If every home comes with a sleeping room, a bathing room and a living room, than so too should they come with a loving room.
Like the house, this room is unmistakable in its draw on you. Your body is gravitating there and, through quiet, nervous introductions, you make your way over to that doorless doorway protected from the brightness of the room behind you by a wooden screen which extends, accordion-style, across it.
Pushing the screen aside and walking into the dimness beyond is like stepping back into the womb. There is no other way to describe it. The feeling is so immediately comforting, so simple, so specific that you’re almost certain it’s that way by design.
The light in here is soft, very soft. It’s generated by tiny pink and purple holiday lights slung in gentle hammocks across the ceiling and along the far wall. Even the shape of the room is womb-like. The soft, clean rug on the floor is the only actual “floor” to be had. Where the rug ends the gentle rise of pillows begins. The smaller pillows begin just feet from your toes and progress in size to larger pillows, bean bags, enormous stuffed animals, and a blanketed futon. They’re crowded up the walls, softening the hard edges of the space, turning corners to curves and cupping the room, cradling it. The ceiling feels some blend of domed and peaked, the sweeping fabrics hung across the entirety of it are various shades of reds, pinks and peach, enhanced by the dim, rosy light. You feel suspended for a moment, the swaths of material sweeping gently upwards above you, the cupping roundness below you, the diffused magenta light filtering through it all—this space identifies with you.
You think of the women behind you, standing around the living room, playing on the pole. You take in the scattered few in this womb-room with you, they acknowledge you gently from where they lounge. You think of the women still arriving, each making their way uncertainly up to the door, or striding to it with intention. Each of you are here for different reasons, with different stories that drove or drew you here; but you know every woman here tonight will identify with this space. Not because it is “pink and girlie” or “soft and frilly” but because it is feminine, strong and feminine. This space is uterus and labia and heat and depth. This space allows for you, unconditionally. It celebrates you for no other reason than your existence, your presence, your intention here tonight.
All your trepidation about the night, all your anxieties and expectations dissolve. There is an ownership of self that washes over you. A confidence in your higher decision making skills, a fortification of self-worth that manifests in a cocky little grin you can feel across your lips and sparks of your inner mischief goddess smolder in your eyes, you feel that too. There is a safety here that instills a greater sense of freedom. Anything could happen tonight. The air is saturated with possibilities, each a choice, not one a commitment. The night is calm, as it was before but this room is somehow mellow and kinetic.
One by one the attendees find their way into into this space without being instructed. You feel more than see your presence being counted. The door is locked. The soft babble dies. Without being told, every woman seems to sense that the night has begun.
The party has naturally gathered in a nearly perfect circle around Monique Darling and her co-host of the night, the incomparable Ashley Manta. This is surprising as no one seemed to have noticed either woman slip into the room and sit down quietly. Patience and love emanates from these two in waves as they wait for shifting and squirming about the room to settle. When it does Monique begins to speak.
There is a ritual to these things. A mindful play party has a clear, gentle beginning and end. Nobody is wandering around asking themselves “is now the time I take my clothes off?”. Every party’s experience is of course unique based on the specific blend of humans curated therein, but the good ones all begin the same: with a discussion about boundaries, support, freedom, consent, choice and safety. An expert of conducting these things will bring all these points under a microscope without bringing any element of lecture to the environment. There is an art to emphasizing such intimidating concepts as safety and consent without taking the eroticism out of a room, or edging the air with fear. Monique and Ashley are nothing if not masters of this art. They field questions, explain boundaries, affirm choices and generally confirm for you what you had suspected from the moment you walked in the door: this place is a safe place. A glance around the room reveals the same realization in bright eyes and eager faces and with that, the night unfurls her wings and the playtime begins.
Ashley, Cannasexual®️ to the core, produces various CBD and THC infused personal lubricants and spreads out her wide variety of sex toys for the enjoyment of all, including the massive, sturdy red Sybian with a host of exciting, unique attachments. Immediately yoni (pussy) massages are exchanged and the rich, heady scent of coconut oil and musky wetness hangs in space like a pheromone fog. You find yourself soaked in the sensation of your own body. In the silent spaces between soft moans and low, feral growls you can feel your own heartbeat; not frantic, not hard, just present. As you are. As you all are. That, beautiful reader, is the reality of the experience.
Play Parties suffer under a great stigma, largely because the idea seems inseparable from that of an orgy. But no mindful gathering of human beings with the soul intention of expressing love and pleasure need ever feel like an orgy (unless you want it to). It is an experience that shouldn’t leave you feeling exploited or coerced--rather recharged, affirmed in your sexual identity, and excited to own your sexual power. Your power to heal your sexual self and those of others. It is an experience that, when well facilitated, leaves you with new friends and new ideas about yourself.
And that is the spirit you will always find in any one of these ladies’ events—even the ones where nobody takes their clothes off.
- Addy Hammar
**You can find Addy's testimonial about my last all-gender play party here**