Community, Culture, Relationships
Breaking Free: From “MILF & Cookies” to “Eyes Wide Shut”
Risque Soiree has an active clientele in Utah.
People still talk about Stanley Kubrick’s weird and kinky last film… the one where Tom Cruise leads us into a world of seduction, wealth and erotic liaisons. Eyes Wide Shut was scintillating yes, but that’s just in the movies, right? And certainly nothing like that takes place in conservative Utah, right? Au contraire.
The Beehive State may be known for its straight-laced image, but those laces come undone more than people might think, thanks to a part of the population who is thinking outside the lines when it comes to what goes on in the bedroom… or anywhere like-minded souls might gather.
According to the owners of Risque Soiree, a West Jordan-based nonprofit that describes itself as a “group of sex educators, counselors, event coordinators and entertainers,” there’s a healthy, thriving “lifestyle” scene in Utah.
Risque Soiree hosts several events a year and also holds a variety of sex-positive classes, including tantra. Its events are held in a variety of places—from private homes to business buildings, to the great outdoors. Some of its gatherings are “vanilla”: As co-owner Xavier explained, “Those are our tamer parties, like our MILF & Cookies, which is more like an introduction to alternative lifestyles. There’s no sex, just a little exploration of fantasies.” Other events, like Risque Soiree’s annual summer camping event, Naughty by Nature, are designed to empower guests to explore all avenues of sexuality.
And of course, there’s one of the biggest events of the year: Risque Soiree’s Eyes Wide Shut party. One guest, whom we’ll call Kate, shares her story below.
It started with an idea… a fantasy, really: two attractive men on her arm at the party. Or to be more exact… two men in chains, linked to the stainless steel cuffs on her arms.
“What’s wrong with having fantasies fulfilled with willing, consensual parties?” says Kate. She decided to propose the idea. She sat them down together—one, her long-time lover; the other, his best friend (and her recent lover). “What if … we went to an ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ party, all together, the three of us? You’d be mine, literally. As in collared and chained to me the whole night.”
The three were no strangers to coloring outside traditional lines, but this would be taking the crayon far beyond the borders. To her surprise, they accepted.
They talked about what to wear. The party’s sole instructions were that street clothes be worn to the door, where everyone must change into a cloak and mask—from there, everything else was up to interpretation.
“I wanted to see the two of them match as much as possible,” she says. They found masks, cloaks and black boxer briefs. The men wore the same set of stainless steel collars. Kate wore a cuff on each wrist, and they picked up industrial-strength chain to tether their collars to her. The substantial weight of the chain added to the theme.
Why have them match? “I wanted us to feel like we were all together, instead of me with just two random guys. Now the boys wouldn’t be ‘playing’ together—it was never about that—but I wanted all of us to feel together.”
For Kate they unanimously agreed on lingerie under her cloak.
“Through all the planning in the weeks ahead, I fully expected one if not both of them to back out,” Kate recollects.
Crossing the threshold
But no one did, and the day finally arrived.
Kate tended to all the girlie things, including a trip to the hair salon for a commanding ‘do.
Did she divulge details at the salon? “I did. I also told the girls at the lingerie store. They were fascinated. Most people are—just not fascinated enough to do anything about it themselves. I think there’s an element of fear or shame and guilt in admitting to an interest in these types of things. But people are into all kinds of crazy things. When people get to the bottom of their fetishes—why they enjoy what they enjoy—that’s empowering. If you don’t understand your motivation for doing something, then you’re acting blind. But I’ve done a lot of work on me. I know why I like what I like. I know what attracts me. I know what turns me on, and I never cause harm to anyone else; that’s how I approach everything I do.”
Once the primping was done, she joined the men and they all boarded an Uber, ready to go down the rabbit hole.
They arrived, changed, shackled up, and paused at the inner door. At a party where everyone would come as twosomes or single females, they knew they would stand out.
“It was quite a rush, walking through the crowd. I felt like a queen, honestly. I held my head high, proud to be where I was, who I was with, doing what we were doing.”
After mingling, soaking it all in, Kate revealed a surprise. It was one of her guys’ birthdays, and she had wanted to give back, to fulfill one of his fantasies: a threesome. She had connected ahead of time with a girlfriend she trusted—also asking her friend’s husband if he would be comfortable with lending his wife—then set up all the erotic details. “It was important to me to prearrange who we were going to play with—what the boundaries of that play were going to be. It turned out amazing.”
She smiles, reflecting on the night. “We all talked after. It’s really important to me to have that conversation. We talked about what our favorite parts were, what we might do differently next time.”
So, there will be a next time?
“Absolutely. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Risque Soiree has been around for 10 years and has more than 3,000 online followers in Utah, and 10,000 across the country, according to Xavier. “It just keeps growing; we have more and more people coming to events and classes,” says co-owner Luna.
Xavier and Luna see the expanding lifestyle scene as a sign of a healthier approach to sexuality—one that isn’t necessarily easy in an otherwise repressed culture. “Where there’s extreme conservatism, you see an extreme opposite. People leaving that [conservative life] behind often have to retrain themselves, to tell themselves it’s okay to feel the way they do about sex,” says Xavier.
Both Xavier and Luna come from conservative backgrounds themselves, and for them, the journey to a more open-minded approach to sexuality has been life-affirming. They are passionate about helping others interested in finding a similar path.
On Risque Soiree’s website, they share, “The RS Group seeks to educate, to facilitate consensual open sexual expression and dialog, and to provide education and counseling for this community. As proponents of sex positive culture, we believe that the appropriate uses of sex extend beyond reproduction. They include creating personal pleasure, bonding interpersonal relationships, promoting spiritual growth, and enhancing emotional and physical health.”
They also believe in safety. They require all new members to attend an orientation, and before any event, they gather the guests to go over ground rules of respect, consent and safety.
“We give wristbands as people come in—three levels,” says Luna. “The first says ‘I’m just a voyeur, here to watch.’ The next level is for those who want to say, ‘I’m here to play but need to talk to my significant other before I jump in.’ And the third is, ‘I’m game for anything, you can approach me.’” People often come back to “level up” their wristband as their confidence and courage improve during the night, Xavier adds.
“At every one of our events, I see people leaving enlightened,” says Luna. “I’ve gotten notes from people saying what it meant to them to explore themselves. They say, ‘This has changed my whole life. It’s freed a part of me that I didn’t know existed.’ People love to feel more connected!”
It’s that desire for connection, for sexual freedom, that makes thousands of Utahns push the boundaries. Sometimes that means wearing cuffs and chains, but almost always, it includes breaking society’s proverbial cuffs and chains.
RisqueSoiree.com Eva Pomme is the pseudonym for a Salt Lake City-based actor and freelance writer.