Oh my god faaaaaaaaaaaaake.

Or at least that's what I want to say, but I guess other people's lives are pretty different, huh? Geeze. Where do I sign up for problems like this?
Yeah, I thought the same thing... um, can't she just say, "hey, I'm not into this but happy birthday! and I'll be leaving now, see you guys later, have fun."

Also, damn. Where was this scene when I was in my mid 20's?
Not fake, just very, very young. And I'm with you, Urgutha.
I don't get the feeling you're into "the scene" as much as you think you are, OP. "The scene" is FOR exhibitionists. The entire basis for having a public scene in the first place is to do this shit in public, or watch it, and get off on it. All you actually need is a meetup group for non-scene people who are into S&M--these are called "munches" and sex is discussed there in a nonthreatening environment, but it is not performed. I'm sure there are shitloads of them in NY.

I'm not saying you're not entitled to be turned off by group sex or public sex. You can like whatever the fuck you want. But the way it sounds, you're into one-on-one S&M behind closed doors... which is great... but NOT what "the scene" is all about.
Hee, kinda going through this myself, only on the other side of the country, and haven't been invited to any straight-up orgies. It's still a bit odd to be fully dressed in biz casual while most other chicks are nude or nearly there.

I'm just modest that way.

(And there are never hot naked men. ><)

Not at all! The Scene is for getting to know other people into the same stuff, exploring new kinks, learning from people who know how to do edgier and more dangerous play safely. There are LOTS of people who are mentors. Also good places to meet potential partners/boyfriends/girlfriends/hookups.

Public sex is absolutely not at all required.
I dunno if it's fake, but I'm in the same situation—my friends are all poly playmates, and every party turns into an orgy. I just roll out when the pants start coming off—it's not like it's a big deal.
Go with a nice gift (on the generous side of whatever your budget suggests). Fetishes are expensive habits. Be the thoughtful person who thinks about what the birthday girl might like (nipple clamps? vampire gloves? a bullet vibe?)... As for leaving, I think Dan's right that it's best to tell your long-term friends that you don't enjoy watching sex acts. But if you can't, it's always appropriate to say "I'm wiped out, I'm sorry, I have to go." (BTW, Miss Manners says you should never feel obligated to give a reason for declining some invitation.)
I would have thought one of the first things someone into this kind of kink/scene would have learned to do is voice their boundaries/limitations.
Hi, everyone! I'm real. (And 24 with a pretty reasonable amount of experience.)

I agree that the scene isn't just about public sex. I've been pretty involved for about a year and a half (although the first class I took was about 3 or 4 years ago) and I've gone to plenty of munches and a few relevant classes.

@Urgutha I'm shocked. All we "kids these days" hear about the old days is that once upon a time, there were a half-dozen playspaces that were public, and so much hotter, and so much more sexual, and blah blah blah.

I'm good at voicing my limits -- way too good, most people will say. It's not that I refuse to be present at an orgy (it's just kind of awkward) or even that I absolutely, hard-limit-level, refuse to participate (there were a few times with a few very good, trusted friends...). But it seems like my preferences are very different from the rest of this social circle of mine, for whatever reason. It seems really hard to explain that even though I think you're a fine person (awesome person, good friend, whatever), and even though I'm single and not really doing much, I'm not particularly interested in a spanking -- I'm all set, thanks. It's definitely weird of me (in this community), so that message doesn't always go through well.

I'm usually fine with ducking out partway through; I wasn't sure about this party because I'm not sure there will be a nonsexual part. There's not even a bar crawl first -- I think clothes will be off about the time some people walk through the door.
And for everyone going "orgies, poor baby!!!" maybe it'll help if you realize that I have to choose between possibly hurting a friend and probably pissing people off on one hand, and either having sex I don't want to have or being really awkward and pooping a party on the other hand. Thanks!
Sorry, I guess you're just gonna have to go and fisted. I mean she's your FRIEND right? And it's her party, she can if she wants to. You told them you were kinky, but it looks like maybe you're not kinky enough to hang with this crowd. Unless it's just that you're too good for your friend, or too good for orgies.

My god, I thought these tactics stopped affecting people by grade 4. Are you 10?
WATO, this isn't really a problem any more than going to a party where an ex is going to be. If you want to support your friend, talk to her before hand about wanting to be there and not wanting to participate. If you feel the need to duck out early, she knows why and if anyone says anything, don't give a fuck about what they think. But, if you do go there, and chance upon someone who you can connect with and end up do participating and having a good time, then you're not at a loss at all. The older people are right, you're being too sensitive and if this group doesn't understand, then it's not the right group.
Some folks are just kind of old fashioned. Nothing wrong with it.…
@WATO: The benchmark for good advice is not that it's correct or true, but that it's useful.

It's easy to belittle someone else's problems when you don't have to deal with them. We all joke about "first world problems", but the fact is, this *is* something that you have to deal with, and it's something that's causing you some degree of emotional pain, and I'm guessing that having a number of commenters tell you to "grow up" probably isn't all that helpful.

I'm with you and blah: nothing says that you have to be into public play to be involved in the kink community. Here in Seattle, there are lots of munches, classes, socials, and all kinds of way to meet kinky and sex-positive people without having to, you know, play in public. It's true that you're more likely to run into poly and public people, but that's just because they tend to be louder about their interests and/or run in more circles.

In my experience, there isn't much to be gained from arguing about semantics and labels. Are you part of the "scene"? Who cares? Often, I've found that people who try to tell you that you're not who you think you are are trying to cover up for their own insecurities. Don't waste your time worrying about what they think of you.

As far as the question at hand, Dan's entirely right [since I know you don't trust Dan's advice until a random Internet person validates it ;)]. Respect other people's boundaries, and be honest about yours. That's all you need to do, and if your friends are decent people, they'll do the same for you.
If you think you're "on the verge of pissing people off" then the people you're pissing off are assholes. In fact, WATO, I think you're the asshole - I suspect the alleged pressure you feel to attend the oh-so-many orgies you're invited to validates you. If not, and if you're a grown enough woman to say "no", why the fuck are you writing in?
Don't wanna have public sex... then don't. Simple. Problem solved.
Don't like being around other people having public sex, then leave. Problem solved.

I don't generally prefer to be out there, having public sex at sex parties... and guess what, I simply don't have sex. I stay (scantily) dressed, decline offers for sex if I'm not into it, and simply enjoy the libertine atmosphere at the party. Simply done.
And, for the future, stop cancelling on orgy parties. Instead of cancelling, just don't accept in the first place!

It's very rude to constantly cancel after accepting an invite. It is NOT rude to say "No, thank you."

And, to drop the hint that you'd enjoy hanging out with them elsewhere, you can take the initiateive to invite them out to a bar, or wherever you feel comfortable.
My crowd has a very simple tactic: when things are getting too raunchy for sociability, someone will pipe up with "it's not that kind of party!" What counts as too raunchy slides gently along as the evening progresses, but the line never erases entirely. Sometimes people reply by asking "can we turn it into that kind of party?" and decisions will be made.

Parties intended to be that kind of party from the beginning (or the majority of the time) are expected to label themselves as such on the invitation.
This is so straightforward and simple. I've attended and heard of parties all the time where somebody likes the person hosting, goes to hang out for part of it (drinks, dinner, crudites, whatever) and takes off because they don't enjoy the other planned activities or want to save money (orgies? how about video games, or mini-golf, or pirate lessons?).
I disagree that "the scene" is about public sex. I've never even heard it called "the scene" before, but then I'm not exactly active in the bdsm community. I have been to a party though and here's what I saw in public: Public spanking, public fetish wear, public dancing, public bondage, public roleplay scenes and public socializing. But there was no public sex- that kind of thing could probably get you arrested. Not all play parties include full nudity or actual sex and not everyone with an interest in kink is also into group sex. It's especially important to be able to set your limits and boundaries if that is the kind of thing you're into- b/c if you haven't noticed (you sound like a sub), many doms/dommes like to push boundaries. So this party coming up is a good time to learn to be direct and set some limits- as someone who has mostly submissive tendencies I can attest to this. You have to find the balance between submitting and being a good gatekeeper that keeps the assholes out of your life.
There seems to be some confusion about the term "scene," which can have two meanings:

1. A community of people who are into BDSM and enjoy munches and get-togethers and orgies.

2. A public sex or BDSM show.

#5 was thinking definition 2; I think everyone else meant definition 1.
This doesn't seem any different to me than turning down a piece of cake. "No thank you" is not rude, and those who are offended by it may have other dangerous or unpleasant boundary issues, so you are better off distancing yourself from them anyway.
I was on WATO's side until she reposted @12/13 and showed no sense that she might be overthinking her problem. No, we're all idiots for suggesting that she can just say no to whatever she doesn't want, and leave when she wants to. Don't we all realize that she has "to choose between possibly hurting a friend and probably pissing people off on one hand, and either having sex I don't want to have or being really awkward and pooping a party on the other hand." Um, no. Didn't you read the advice?

Bring a thoughtful treat or a present. It's a birthday party for a good friend. Were you raised by wolves? Now you haven't hurt your friend.

No one else cares what you do or don't do at her party, or when you leave. Don't have sex you don't want to have. If people ask to spank you, say "no thanks," with a smile. And what the fuck does "pooping a party" even mean? As Caralain asked @14, are you 10? Or, as ghassan @18 suggests, do you like bitching and moaning about how many orgies you're invited to, but how there just "there aren't a ton of people I'm attracted to." Grow up already.
Wow, so much negativity here... I liked schala @ 17
For those who think this is fake or it sounds glamorous, there are plenty of parties and events like this in Seattle and every other major city. However, such events do not generally resemble a porno or Eyes Wide Shut, but are more like a gothy version of People of Walmart.

That said, there is nothing wrong with saying "no thanks" to attending a party where participation is expected.
There is nothing worse than orgy peer pressure.
@ 12 WATO why don't you just say this then??? "I think you're a fine person (awesome person, good friend, whatever), and even though I'm single and not really doing much, I'm not particularly interested in a spanking"

Your friends don't have to agree with or even particularly understand your personal sexual (or otherwise) boundaries, but if they are any friends worth having they better damn well respect them. Start being absolutely honest with your friend about how uncomfortable you will feel at this party, and if realistically those attending are going to be offended at you turning down unwanted sex or spankings then perhaps it's better if you don't go. If an orgy birthday is what your friend wants encourage her to have it and have a good time, and then schedule a time when the both of you can celebrate under circumstance you are comfortable with.

Be aware that if your friend or circle of friends for that matter like spending a majority of their social time together doing something you'd rather not (and only you know if this is the case here) I'd have to unfortunately suggest that you should gravitate toward people with similar interests.
wow... other people's problems
@21 - I want to go to "that kind of party" :-)
Look, I stopped short of actually calling this fake, on purpose, because I know other people's problems are different from mine.

I just wish that I could have orgies without worrying about alienating my friends by inviting them. I am having the opposite problem. And before anyone suggests the CSPC, I know, okay? I am just too poor right now. I am poor. Very poor.

I wish you the best of luck, though, WATO. Seriously, just go to a party, then leave when the fuckin' starts. It is okay, I promise. People will be too busy fuckin' to notice you notice you sneaking out.
It gets better
"First fist disappears into the first orifice" is the new "She sells sea shells by the sea shore".
@28 FTW!
Ok, as someone who also has friends who are way more into public stuff than I am, I understand about the feeling awkward about leaving part. One thing I have done at times when I might want to stay somewhere but not really get involved is to give myself a job. Be the bartender! Organise an expedition to go get snacks/booze/drugs/whathaveyou! Take the dog for a walk (people always forget about the damn dog at parties. The dog needs a walk, dude)! If you aren't sitting around looking uncomfortable, people won't notice how uncomfortable you look.
It's sad to me that an apparently sexually open young person has to apologize for not wanting to participate in group sex. When you tell your friends what Dan suggested, please don't use phrases like "I'm boring like that." As has been mentioned, one never has to give specific reasons for leaving a party. If you cheerfully, but with light regret, tell the room, "Sorry, gotta go!" and they insist "oh but why?" just practice repeating that same phrase. "Sorry, gotta go! See you all again soon!"

I think the LW is worried that her friends are going to kick/wish her out of the group for being a poser or hanger-on. Maybe she needs to figure out what she's in the scene for; or if she knows, maybe she needs to be clear with her friends (in the group/scene) what those reasons are. I don't do public play myself, so I avoid private (or semi-private) parties. But the public (in bars) parties and munches are a fun way to watch people get worked up, and to talk and learn without having to edit oneself. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a watcher/vicarious (and that I LOVE asking questions), so it quickly becomes a non-issue. I've asked plenty of times "will anyone be offended if I just watch quietly?" And being the charming (and appropriately-dressed) young lass I am, no one has ever been offended.

Oh I've also done just what @38 suggested and have offered myself to be the designated gofer so no one has to put their street shoes back on. :)
I'm glad Savage answered this letter because I've been having similar problems lately. Not going to go into details but a lot of my friends are poly and very public about sex. I'm monogamish and like to keep my kink and sex private. My friends generally know my boundaries though and at this point just invite me to the things they think I would like.
@Wallflowerattheorgy Totally understand. I would either not go and try to spend time with my friend on another date or go and leave before people's behavior starts to make you feel uncomfortable. Presents go a long way to mending ruffled presents too. In the future you need to be clear with your friends about where your boundaries are.
Urgh I can't log in. How is the page not found?
I have to wonder is #8 is in my group of friends. My boyfriend hosts parties that usually start normal evolve to naked hottub time and maybe some playful spanking and then ends up with group sex. I bow out of the group sex and often leave my boyfriend to enjoy whikee I either go to sleep (typically it is about 4 am when this happens) or I go visit one of the other people not joining in. In fact I have beome chat buddies with another guy whose wife joins. He and I are not into it so we go somewhere else in the house and talk movies and books.

WallFlower I understand your fears but really if people are going to be that mad that you leave early and bow out they are not friends they are predetors. Most people on the scene get the concept of saying no.
The point is: why is this a problem?
This is a situation you should easily be able to handle by, oh I don't know, 16 years of age.
This is basically a sexy version of "but I like my stoner friends when they're *not* smoking up".

Like being around a group of people interested in X, but not when they're actually doing X around you? You have three choices. Start engaging in X, continue hanging around this group and feeling slightly awkward/leave when they start doing X around you, or stop hanging out with them and find a different group of friends.

It's not rocket science, it's using a logical thought process. I seriously hope you were home schooled, and just missed out on all these cultural lessons that you're supposed to learn in middle school.
Note to self: no more late-night oversharing drunk posts in SLLOTD threads.

No, this is so totally *not* a fake. Sorry, but private play parties and/or orgies are pretty standard in the BDSM scene in my area too.

The difference is that I *like* the orgies.
I am the same way as Wallflower, especially lately, and I would definitely say the size (of the party) matters a lot. If the party is relatively large, it's much easier to just go right at the start time, bring a gift, and voice your immediate apologies to your friend that you wish her a Happy Birthday, but can only stay a short while. In a small party setting, I'd give the friend a gift beforehand, voicing your regrets at being unable to attend at that time. Small scene parties are much harder to disentangle from, as expectations may form unbidden, especially if the girl is highly desired by someone there as a potential partner. Of course, you don't have to do ANYTHING you don't want to do, that goes without saying, but it's always easier if you set up very precise boundaries up front, and while conversing with anyone, make sure s/he knows you are leaving before the "fun" really gets started.
@35 That's fuckin hysterical! If I had been drinking something I would have done a spit-take when I read that!

Comment of the Year.
It's interesting to me that the BDSM scene is so sexy in New York! Here in San Francisco, fucking at a (hetero) play party is so rare that people joke about it, and why pervs are such prudes. It's like, there's Kinky Salon, where you can fuck but a paddling will get you curious looks, or the Citadel where you can do bloodplay and set people on fire, but a blowjob is practically scandalous. I don't think gay parties have these issues but straight people, man, they're weird! And I say that as one of them. Oh yeah, there was Debaucherama where you could do heavy scening and have group sex, but sadly that party doesn't exist anymore.

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