Sex clubs are clubs where people can have sexual intercourse with one another in public areas. The term can also be used more generally to refer to establishments such as a gay bathhouse where sexual activity often takes place in private rooms. Larger establishments may also include the facilities of an ordinary nightclub such as a bar and a dance floor.
Sex clubs differ from brothels in that, while sex club customers pay a fee to enter the club, they have sex with other customers rather than with staff of the establishment. Some sex clubs cater exclusively to male/female couples, others to 'gang bangs' where several male customers have sex with a female customer, others to gay men or lesbians. Some clubs do not make any restrictions on the sexuality of their clients, and other clubs hold different kinds of events for different sexualities on different nights.
Typical sex clubs also differ from gay bathhouses in that they have few to no private rooms, encouraging sexual activity to take place in the open. In an effort to curb the spread of sexually transmitted infections, some jurisdictions have banned bathhouses, with their private rooms, while allowing sex clubs, where sexual activity can be monitored to ensure that safe sex guidelines are being followed.
Most sex clubs in the U.S. and Canada do not serve alcohol, but some allow customers to bring their own. Some sex clubs have formal membership and requirements that can include membership fees, showing proof of identity, attending a formal orientation, providing STD test results or showing that one is part of a stable, long-term relationship and is attending with that partner. Clubs with such requirements tend to cater to the swinging subculture. Other clubs are open to any person willing to pay an admission fee.
A similar type of club is a masturbation club in which members, either single-gender or mixed, masturbate together in public or private rooms. Sexual intercourse is generally prohibited in such clubs. See also safer sex party.
There is also a very large and growing group of private sex clubs across the U.S. and around the world that do not operate in a specified location. These organizations focus on private parties in homes or rented facilities and make use of the Internet to build their membership. There is usually a small door fee and most are invitation-only. In addition to sexual orientation, these smaller groups often stratify on specific criteria, e.g., heavy men with beards or those who are HIV-positive. The first sex club of this type exclusively for African American gay men was Black Jack, started in 1986 by Alan Bell.
Former 2004 Republican United States Senate candidate Jack Ryan from Illinois dropped out of the election because of a political scandal involving allegations that he took his wife Jeri Ryan to sex clubs and asked her to have sex with him there, while others could watch.
One organization of such clubs is NASCA International, which lists affiliated and independent sex clubs, swing dances and events in the District of Columbia and 43 states, plus 38 clubs in Canada, and in 25 other nations. .
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