a couple of months ago

Living in a sex-positive community with Lila Donnolo

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My first play party was awkward, to say the least. I didn't know anyone there, I hated my outfit, and I didn't know the rules. Oh, and I couldn't stop sweating. It was not cute. 

At least I'd found out about the play party and was invited. Two challenges which prevent most people from attending a play party. 

It can be hard to find out about a play party to go to (sex parties) if you're not 'in the know'. Good thing for you, Lila Donnolo is very much 'in the know'. 

She lives in a sex-positive intentional community in Brooklyn called Hacienda House. We discuss the ins and outs of living in such a community, how to get invited to play parties, some of the etiquette required to fully enjoy yourself, and more. 

EP28 Play Party

Lila is also the host horizontal with lila, the podcast  of intimate conversations about sex, love, and relationships that’s entirely recorded while lying down. Lila is warm, generous, and her voice sounds like honey. Listening to her is one of the most soothing experiences I can think of. 

Here's a sneak peek of what we look like together. I think you'll agree, we are pretty cute when we want to be. 

What you'll learn (or why you should care):

• How to get invited to sex parties

• What it's like living in a clothing-optional, sex-positive, intentional community in NY

• How to be a responsible hedonist by checking in on your partners desires, fears, boundaries, and intentions

EP28 Play Party

Lila and myself recording the horizontal with lila podcast

Play Party Notes and Resources

Find her on her website and on Instagram.

To find out more about Hacienda House and to get invited to their public sexy events, go here

Learn more about Kenneth Play, the sex hacker and founder of the Husband Camp course here.

This show has been produced by Shaun Galanos with help from Gilford Street Studios. 

The Play Party Transcript

Lila Donnolo: My name is Lila Donnolo and I'm the host of the podcast Horizontal with Lila where I have intimate conversations with people that are entirely recorded while lying down as we did just yesterday, in my room, without the AC, sweltering, naked. That was the first time I've recorded naked.

I spend a lot of time naked because I live in this clothing-optional intentional community which makes it sound like a nudist colony. It's not, it's just that we're totally comfortable with nudity and with people being at various stages of undress in our home.

The place where I live is a really special environment. It is a sex-positive intentional community called Hacienda Villa which literally means house house.

The other house that the owner has in New Orleans that's more of a retreat space, an Airbnb, but you have to rent out the whole joint for sex positivity is called Hacienda Maison, which is also— house house.

There's a theme of the houses being doubled. It was co-founded by Andrew Sparksfire who is a real estate guy and had thrown sex parties called Hacienda for many years, seven years I think when we started the house and Kenneth Play, who is a sex educator, sex coach.

Lila Donnolo: Sex positivity to me is a celebration of all sexual acts and relationship styles and structures between consenting adults. That includes also opting out of sex.

Asexuality and demisexuality are included on that spectrum and are to be respected and celebrated as the choices that people want to make.

It is a celebration of the choices that people make regarding their sexuality, but it's predicated upon honesty, so knowing yourself, knowing your desires, communication, being able to tell other people what they are, asking for what you want and mutual respect.

I think what's important about sex positivity is the celebration of a myriad and also the ever-evolving array of choices that people can make.

Also, what I find implicit in it is the sense that it will evolve throughout our lifetime, it will change our preferences, our desires and maybe even our relationship styles or maybe even how we think we are wired, or what we think of as our species, as Reid Mihalko would say.

That might change throughout our lives as well.

I think a lot of the issues from our sex-negative culture come from people assuming that you have to take a label and live it through your entire life.

Any deviation from that is considered failure. It's really detrimental to our romantic lives and our sexual lives and our sense of being right with our souls, I think. So sex positivity.

And then, intentional community, there are a lot of unintentional communities in New York, people living together because they needed a roommate and they can't afford a whole apartment and so they found something on Craigslist, or people who don't have a guarantor or somebody who's willing to vouch that they can pay the rent.

So an intentional community first and foremost means we're living together on purpose. We choose to live together. It's deliberate.

And then also that we have some kind of mission or something that is important to all of us that unites us on this planet. In this case, it's the sex-positive culture. It's a desire to share a celebration of sex and sexual exploration with the world.

We have an event space that's called Hacienda Studio in the house and you've been there and it's kind of fabulous. We used to throw more play parties, this year, we're not throwing actually any of the large-scale play parties.

We used to do 250 person play parties that encompass the entire building, every floor had a different theme, but there have been some issues and some complications and I think they were right to suspend those larger parties for the year and also focus on the real mission of Hacienda now. It has crystallized and it’s outward facing and it’s to bring people in, not just to create insular parties for the people who've been partying together for years. That's the old Hacienda.

The new Hacienda is to say, "Hey, what are you curious about? We have something for that. Come take a look and see what you're interested in." And so the programming now is really incredible.

We have dr. Zhana doing sex science socials where she has a different topic, usually once a month during the school year because she's a professor of human sexuality at NYU.

She will go into the peer-reviewed science on a different topic like by curiosity, non-monogamy and break it down in layman's terms and open the floor up for questions.

It's really fantastic and it's just the science. Nobody's getting naked on those nights unless it happens later, that is not happening in the room on that night.


Click below to read the full transcript. 

Read The Full Play Party Transcript here.

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Shaun Galanos

Shaun Galanos is The Love Drive. He believes that talking about sex and love isn't always easy, but it doesn't have to be awkward. He lives in Montreal.