I'm a newbie with respect to all this stuff. Still, I've been to Le Trapeze three or four times, to Chemistry once, to Behind Closed Doors twice, to One Leg Up once, and to Ddevious Delights three or four times. Each has its own personality, its own vibe, and each is very different from the others. Over the next few days, as a sort of companion to my ongoing series on sex addiction, I'll also publish a review of the sex clubs and parties I've had the privilege of attending. First up? The most established of them, the granddaddy of them all.
Le Trapeze: The skeeziest of all the events/venues I've been to. It's in a disconcertingly fancy-looking limestone townhouse on 27th Street, between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (the one in New York, not the one in Kansas). You walk in the fancy front door to find yourself instantly in a grungy portal leading to some sort of debauched co-ed fraternity. Signs everywhere warn men against bringing paid companions, but they abound nonetheless. Or at least, so I would imagine, given the proportion of older, pot-bellied guys accompanied by 20- or 30-something women who are decidedly unenthusiastic. After paying your $120/couple (single ladies get in for a ridiculously cheap rate), you are admitted to the front area, a cross between a hunting lodge and a frat basement, with porn on the TVs, a disused cabinet of sex toys, an improbable sign advising that sex acts are prohibited, and a table featuring a buffet, with semi-nude men and women hovering over the crudites. In the corner, a water bubbler and a soda tap. No liquor here.
Just beyond this room is a hallway with six or seven private rooms off to the side. These rooms have doors that lock, and mattresses on the floor. If you want to get busy with your partner and not be bothered, here's the place. Hardly soundproof, but still, private. From there, you proceed into a little waiting room which abuts both the (unisex) changing room and the first of the various sex rooms. The unisex changing room is the only place I've ever had a conversation with anyone other than my partner - conversations which usually go something like this: "Hey - wanna hook up?" Or, "Oooh, you're leaving? Bummer. We really wanted to hook up with you." Beyond this point, you must be either naked or in a towel.
And then, on to the rooms: up a few steps is a dark room that can accommodate 10-15 people comfortably, mattresses on the floor. To the left, another room, this one bigger, that can accommodate maybe 25-30 people. Up a narrow spiral staircase, and there are a couple of DARK, doorless rooms that hold 3-4 people each. And two rooms in the back that are lighted, that can hold 2-3 couples easily. And in the little vestibule before these two rooms, two machines like the one above.
The clientele at Le Trapeze varies night to night, but generally, it's democratic. Old, young, thin, fat, wealthy, working people. The other sex clubs/parties I've been to all differ in this regard: Le Trapeze seems to be the only place to go (other than, possibly, Club Amante's, to which I've never been) if you're a fat, 55-year-old civil servant. Among attendees of all the other places I listed above, and about which I'll write in the coming days, Le Trapeze is universally seen as dirty, the people as unattractive. This seems harsh to me. My own experience is that it's a place where people have sex, and the people who have sex are much like those you pass on the street. I had a terrific encounter with a gorgeous, 30-something woman in glasses and perfect breasts here. And, as I've said elsewhere, I can be looksist, so I'm not in a hurry to have a sexual interaction with anyone I don't find really attractive.
Thus far, I have talked about the place, about the ambiance, but not about the sex. The way it works - or at least, the way it's worked the couple of times I've been there - is that people generally fool around with their partners, positioning themselves either in a private room, in a room that's big enough for another couple or two, or in one of the two "party rooms." Other couples typically gingerly approach. "No" is utterly respected (although, in one case, a man was angry because my companion wasn't so interested in him, though his companion was interested in me - he pulled her mouth off my cock and left with her). And there tends to be a sort of unofficial "grouping" of folks by age/ethnicity, although this is by no means hard and fast.
In short? Le Trapeze is all about the fucking. Not a lot of mystery or conversation, not a romantic or even sensual environment. It's all business.