The process

I ran across an interesting blog post about How Humans Establish Intimacy. The process for how two individuals become a bonded couple yields insight into how people “interview” one another at a sex party.

Here is how they describe it:

Stage Corresponding action Key point
1) Eye to body First look Someone catches your eye
2) Eye to eye Preening gestures Yes/no signal (given by the female)
3) Voice to voice Talking Verbal screening
4) Hand to hand
(or shoulder)
Initial physical contact Usually initiated by female
To this point these behaviors occur publicly or in social settings
5) Arm to shoulder Bodies closer together Possible isolation
6) Arm to waist More intimate contact Likely while withdrawing from public
7) Mouth to mouth Kissing Less likely to be in public between an unbonded pair
8) Hand to head/face   Probable isolation
9) Hand to body Sexual contact Isolation
10) Mouth to breast Foreplay Isolation
11) Hand to genitals   Isolation
12) Intercourse   Isolation
Repeat steps three through 12.   In bonded pairs up to stage 8 often publicly displayed indicating bonding


This is a process that humans unconsciously follow. It cannot be stressed enough that it is an act of mutual consent, participation and trust. Although apparently sexual, its real purpose is getting to know and establishing intimacy, trust and commitment with another person.

It should also be noticed that the woman controls the primary stages. It is at her initial signal of acceptance or interest that gives the male the “go ahead” to approach her. If the female has not sent the signal and the male approaches her anyway, he will probably be rebuffed. (It is not uncommon for socially inept men to misread the innocent actions of a woman as such a signal or to simply decide not to wait. This does result in a lot of unwanted attention).

Furthermore, it is the woman who usually initiates the first physical contact, thereby telling the man that she is sufficiently interested in pursuing this interview. If the male attempts to initiate it, he will often fail the interview and be perceived as too aggressive or grabby.

There are, obviously, some differences but there are a lot of similarities and some useful insights that should help people be more successful at a sex club.

The big difference is that the isolation is almost never part of the process at a sex party. Another significant difference is that some or even most of the steps in the process may be skipped. When these steps are skipped it is always with the permission of the participants. The permission frequently won’t be articulated but there will be signals given to indicate moving to an later step is acceptable or desired.

I already knew about the female initiating touch being a big signal. But what can be irritating to me is that some women do this just for the fun of getting a man’s attention with no real interest in taking things beyond flirting. They just like the attention of a man and perhaps drawing their attention away from other women. It can be a “display of power” type thing without any intention of taking things further.

The one item that I wasn’t really aware of was “Preening gestures”. The blog post says these are unconscious and interpreted unconsciously. I’ll have to watch more for these and see if it can help me better judge whether a woman is interested in me or just being polite when she talks to me.