At a Sex Club, the Outré Meet the Ordinary
By Alan Feuer
New York Times - 02/26/09
The pleasure grottoes at Brooklyn’s newest sex club tend to fill up only after midnight, when the hedonists on the dance floor have loosened their libidos with some disco, doused their inhibitions with a drink. This disputes the old saw that swingers are insatiable and will perform at any moment with any living creature that can count to 10 or blink.
They may be New York City’s most disparate individuals, as their ranks can range from squeaky corporate bankers to hairy-chested buzzards to Spandex matrons from the suburbs. At a recent Valentine’s Day party, a couple in their 60s went at it nonchalantly near buffet trays of ziti. A fat man eating cheesecake sat and watched.
Mistress Wanda, who runs the place, is inured to such behavior and smiles when asked about the outré actions of the ordinary crowd.
“Everybody comes here: cops, postmen, bus drivers,” she said. “I went to a funeral last month and recognized a pallbearer. Everyone’s a swinger.”
Her club — whose name has been withheld at her request — sits like a fine-cut jewel in rough surroundings, wedged between the Gowanus Expressway and a cement plant. The place is bring-your-own, in the expansive sense of the term (both drink and date). The erotica on the walls is hazy and romantic and reminiscent of the photographs in frame stores. The club is open only on the weekends, and the cover charge will not break the bank: $40 for couples, $90 for single men. Unescorted women, who are sex-club gold, are allowed in free.
The space itself, which is not unlike a hangar, is partitioned at the middle by a low-slung plaster wall. There, on the right, is the nightclub: liquor service, buffet table, portable parquet dance floor. Here, on the left, the private rooms, the voyeur rooms, the group room and the hardware: a spanking bench and a cross.
“It’s a nice place,” Wanda said, “because it’s safe, and there are always people watching.” She is a small, round woman with a warmly sensual manner and, much like her clients, the unassuming features of your fellow passenger on the bus.
Her clients are mostly marrieds in their 40s who have gradually watched their sex lives slowing down and are looking for the spicy weekend safety that a sex club can provide. They come here for the cleanliness and for the ambience of innocent eroticism. For the homey touches, too: Handi Wipes in each private chamber; laundered sheets; condoms on the house.
Bob “the Massage Guy” gets the evenings started. On this night, a dark-haired girl with nipple rings was first upon his table, and she quickly drew a crowd. The swingers watched her as she lay back writhing like a piece of burning paper. Pornography played on a television set beside the table. “Good times,” somebody allowed.
When the girl-on-girl show was announced, they shuffled en masse toward the dance floor as though the club were a museum and they themselves were tourists in a herd. Two young specimens arrived and took their clothes off. They mauled each other with the energy of terriers mating. It was dangerous work.
By 1 a.m., the adventurers had gathered where the dark-haired girl was strung up on the cross.
“How’s your mother?” a balding swinger asked his date. She looked at the pale pink body on the apparatus. “Fine. I’ll take a drink.”
Click here for a panoramic interior view of the Sex Club