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There was nothing quite like the orgy I had for my 20th birthday

Charyn is a Seattle-based print and digital writer, editor and strategist, specializing in food, travel, lifestyle and sex-positive topics. Her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets, including AFAR, Delta Sky, Marie Claire, Na...

The orgy I had for my 20th birthday may be the best gift I've ever received (and given)

I didn’t set out to have an orgy on my 20th birthday, but that’s exactly what happened. We didn't have what you might picture as wild and crazy porn star sex, but elation and orgasms were had, which is pretty much the best birthday present ever. You see, I've had a strong sexual curiosity for as long as I can remember, and how group sex on my birthday unfolded so spontaneously was pure magic.

I was living in Baltimore, Maryland at the time, working and going to art school. To celebrate my special day, I gathered all my favorite people for a soirée at my house. What started out as a night of eating, drinking and dancing in the living room, ended up on my bedroom floor. One minute, the group was getting down to Deee-Lite’s "Groove Is in the Heart;" the next moment, it was a hot and sweaty tangle of bodies. I don't recollect the aha moment that prompted us to retreat upstairs, though I get goosebumps every time I think of the sexual chemistry that pulsed through my body as we giggled and held hands and paraded up the curved staircase. Among the group sex participants was my boyfriend at the time, a one-night stand turned close friend, a female classmate I was wildly attracted to, among others. It was a moment of pure carnal pleasure.

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When we got to my bedroom, I felt a twinge of initial hesitance. I was in a monogamous relationship and extracurricular activities had never been discussed. So, here, in the heat of the moment, my partners were trying to read and assure each other that everything would be OK. There was no time to address boundaries, so I played it safe, sticking to kissing and touching. I stuck to no penetration beyond my partner, which seemed to make all parties involved happy. (I've since mastered the art of sexual negotiation. Nowadays, all of these details are hammered out in advance.) Others kissed, touched and sucked, all of which was all highly arousing.

It was like a mixed-up jigsaw puzzle having familiar hands and mouths all over my body — in an upside down context. When my gal pal started going down on my boyfriend, there was nothing weird or awkward about it. Everything was in sync. Lovers past and present co-mingled without skipping a beat. The timing and circumstances were serendipitous.

When it was all said and done, most of the guests went home. My boyfriend crawled into my bed and the remaining few house guests slipped away to their respective sleeping spaces. It was all quite civilized. The following morning, there was no awkwardness. Instead, an empowering sense of satisfaction. There's so much shame surrounding being sexual — at any age — so I applaud my friends for being open-minded and exploratory, especially given our lack of experience at the time.

When I woke up next to my boyfriend, we giggled about our group sex antics. We touched base with each other, to make sure we were both OK with what happened (we were), then had incredible sex — fueled by whatever sexual energy was remaining.

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I'm sure it was the first time any one of us had navigated such a free-flowing sexual landscape. I'd swapped spit with women in college and had one clumsy threesome, but the fluidity of this group dynamic was brand new to me. In retrospect, it could've crashed and burned in so many ways. Feelings could have been hurt and friendships wrecked. The merging of sexual partners — past and present — could've incited jealousy. Despite no prior plan or conversation, safe sex was practiced.

Knowing what I know now about negotiating sex, consent and boundaries, it's a miracle we all walked away safe, sated and happy. Two decades later, I'm still friends with most of the players of that hot, erotic night. We joke about that night from time to time, blushing before breaking out into an ear-to-ear smile. If there's any one big takeaway from that evening, it was pure sexual fun.

My 20th birthday may be in the rear view mirror of celebrations at this stage of my life, but it's a standout in my personal timeline of debauchery. As much as I almost always have a plan, occasionally the best sexual experiences happen organically. Bonus if they’re with people you like and respect.

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