Ask the Doctors: Sex Clubs & Porn

We are a monogamous straight married couple who really enjoy our sex life.  Always interested in trying something new, we’d like some suggestions and/or resources (e.g., websites, e-lists, books) for things we can do together to spice up our sex life.  For example, we’ve talked about going to a sex club to watch others having sex.  Most importantly, what are the risks?  I’m new to SF – is it legal to do this, is there any chance we could get arrested?  Can we remain anonymous?  That is, is there a high chance this activity could affect our professional lives?  Do you have a shortlist of safe-conscious, respectful of anonymity clubs in the SFBay Area that offer this?  Is there a resource where I can learn more about this option – the “rules”, costs?

Another option is we’re also interested in trying out some new porn, but would love to rent rather than buy.  Is there anywhere we can do that?  Aside from these options, we’d love any other suggestions for fun things we can explore.

Here’s the second question: We’d also like to explore porn on the internet, but are concerned about that compromising the security of our computers (e.g., getting e-viruses).  Is it safe to watch porn on-line?  If so, do you have any tips on what’s safe to click on?  Or a resource about this?

There are several different sex clubs around and they cater to different audiences. For example, Mission Control hosts quite a few different events, including play parties. They each have a different theme, so take a look and see if anything piques your interest. Another option is the Power Exchange. They were closed for a while and recently reopened, so I don’t know anything about their current events or what they’re like. Or take a look at Club Exotica’s Second Base Party.

Another option to check out is the local swinger scene. Swinger events tend to be more focused on couples and they’re used to helping newcomers feel more comfortable. Some of them include Club Twist, Barry & Shell’s, and Club Kiss. I’d recommend reading the FAQ and event etiquette pages for each event, and getting in touch with the hosts with any questions you might have. They’ll be able to give you more info about their particular events. (I’m sure that I’m forgetting some of the groups out there, so if anyone wants to add them, comment below and I’ll update the list.)

It’s also worth mentioning that even if a particular event doesn’t work for you, one of the best reasons to go to them is to meet other people. There are a lot of folks putting private play events on and many of the smaller parties are word-of-mouth only. Once you meet folks in these communities, you’ll be able to get on the email lists or get invitations.

As far as the possible consequences of attending events like these, one of the great things about the Bay Area is that there’s much less chance of unfortunate legal situations than there is in other places. But as far as social or professional problems, that really depends on your situation. There are cases of people losing jobs or child custody because someone disapproved of their going to these parties.You can often go anonymously, though, and a lot of people use a scene name that’s different from their every day name. There’s usually a no-photos rule in effect but check for each event.

There are lots of places to rent porn. For example, we rent movies at our Berkeley & Valencia St. stores, as well as on our website. There are also lots of other movie rental places around, although the selection may be variable and of course, plenty of websites rent, too. You might want to check out the book The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn for a really good overview of what’s out there. It’ll help you decide where to start and with over 12,000 movies per year, that’s a great thing. You could also check out this page for a brief overview.

Online porn can be a source of malware, especially if you get caught up in the “free preview” downloads. I can tell you that our site is kept scrupulously clean of such things, but I can’t make promises about other companies. Here’s a great article about safety and privacy online.


We’re dedicated to getting you the information you need about sex, pleasure and your health. If you have any questions, please email our staff experts, Dr. Carol Queen and Dr. Charlie Glickman, at education@goodvibes.com! For product-related questions, please email or call our customer service staff at customerservice@goodvibes.com.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

You may also like...