Orgy On Up

Our post last year, The Ins And Outs of Organizing an Orgy, has been quite popular. The Orgy Dome organizers thanked us for promoting their fundraiser, they met their goal – “if you build it, they will cum”. This year they are raising money for Aphrodite’s Garden, a “couples flirt lounge”, where you can pair up before you dive in.

Nils_Bergslien-AfroditeLast year, 10% of Black Rock City’s population participated in an orgy at the dome. Presumably there are other orgies going on elsewhere too. This means that the population of orgiers, is at least twice the population of underage kids. “Burning Man is kid friendly” might be true for some, but “Burning Man is orgy friendly” is clearly true for everyone, families and grown-ups alike.

Here’s an interview with Lefty and Shade, the Orgyanizers.

Burners.Me: Burning Man says “no spectators”. What about the Orgy Dome? Can you go there if you like to watch, or does entering the dome mean you joined the orgy?
First people must understand what the definition of an “Orgy” is in sex positive culture. A gathering where two or more couples and/or groups engage in open sexual activity within the same space. This consensual, uninhibited indulgence of passions may, or may not, include group sex.  (see our web page An orgy is not synonymous with group sex. An orgy may contain group sex or it may not.  When more than one couple or moresome enters the Orgy Dome whether or not they play with others, they are participating in an orgy.
orgyWe practice enthusiastic consent.  Looking is OK, watching requires consent: It is ok and welcome to look around the room at all the sexy people in order to fuel your own sexual mojo.  If you want to intently watch another couple/moresome do their thing – to be an active viewer – then you need to ask.
This leads us into why we are creating Aphrodite’s Garden and expanding the Orgy Dome again.  For many couples this is a new experience or they just want to get out of their crowded RV or dusty tent and they don’t want to play with others. Other couples are looking for a new adventure and to explore new sexual boundaries, while others are polyamorous and actively looking for other like minded couples to play with.  But how do you tell them apart in a dark dome?  Aphrodite’s Garden creates an area for lovers to meet and flirt.  An idea for this year is to have “open to more” wrist bands for couples who are “open to more” to wear. This way effective communication can occur before people enter the dome.  Once inside, the new dome will be large enough to have separate sections for people who looking to join others and those who do not want to be approached by anyone they did not enter with.  No area is a free-for-all. You still must always ask and receive enthusiastic consent before you touch.
Burners.Me: Do you check the age of participants? Have you ever had any problems with underage people trying to sneak in?
 When people enter the reception area they are welcomed by our greeters.  We explain our rules with them and give them a small towel. We have safer sex supplies available as long as our supplies last and we are grateful for those who bring us condom or lube donations. If anyone looks underage we ask for their ID. If they are under 18 or they cannot produce identification we do not let them enter.
1995 mud orgy

before there was a dome: Mud Orgy, 1995

We cannot recall anyone under age trying to “sneak” in. Most burners are very respectful of our rules.  Even most singles who are informed that they are not allowed in without a partner are understanding.  There are a small number of singles (mostly men) who argue how un-burner we are for not letting them in. Those tend to be the same people who don’t understand why you would need to ask before you touch. If we were to let them in we would very soon have a Dome full of single men wondering where the orgy is.  Years ago we had an incident where two men slashed holes in two of our tents trying to get a look inside. They did not see anything, as our tent walls are insulated and decorated to keep the cool AC air in and dust out with felt curtains. But we chased them away too late and the damage to the tent structures was done.

Burners.Me: Do you get visited by the Health officials? Cops?
 We have not been visited by health officials. All we provide are big tents, no food or drinks, We just provide the space – the people who cum create the orgy.  I guess if you build it, they will cum. While cops walk by often, in our memory we were only visited by cops once when our founder Jennifer Steele was giving a class on “Getting to Know Your Asshole.” The Dome was packed and overflowing into the street.  So they stopped by to make sure everything was in order nothing was in public view.  She was just talking but no one could see inside past the crowd anyway.
Burners.Me: What do you do with people who seem intoxicated? 
With intoxication, if both or one look too intoxicated to make an informed consenting decision we do not let them in the dome and ask them to stay in our large reception area so we can monitor them to make sure they safely sober up.
Burners.Me: What do you say to people who say “Burning Man is just a big orgy in the desert?
There are 60,000 people at BRC and with a little over 7,000 people using the Orgy Dome we have a long way to go for a desert wide Orgy. But as we have always said to people in the default world – Burning Man it is what you think it is… and a hundred things more, you just need to open your eyes and look.  Bring supplies and leave expectations.
We hope these answers help you.  We greatly appreciate all the work you do for the BRC community.  Below is some info about our camp and the Indiegogo campaign. ( )
With Love & Fire,
Shade & Lefty
…and then there’s only LOVE is a place of fire, fun, and passion on the playa since 2003.
We are known for our 24 hour air conditioned Orgy Dome where all couples and moresomes can escape the dust and heat of Black Rock City. We are a part of the Black Rock Power Co-Op Village and are traditionally located on the corner of 4:00 and A.
We pride ourselves in creating a sex-positive, consensual space for couples and moresomes to play during their stay at Black Rock City.  The Dome is a safe, inclusionary, and exploratory environment.  All couples and moresomes who are adults, are welcome in the Dome – straight, lesbian, gay, bi, polyamorous and monogamous. We welcome the combination of love in all forms.
We estimate that around 7,000 people used our dome during Burning Man last year and we once again had lines to get inside, with couples waiting for others to leave the dome so they could fit inside.
The Playa is a wonderful place where people have life changing experiences.  For many people our Dome is one of them.  Many couples leave the Orgy Dome asking us where they can go to experience something similar.  We are proud of what we offer the residents of Black Rock City.
Due to increased popularity, we have been slowly growing and improving our dome over the last three years.  Thanks to generous contributors we expanded our dome in 2013. Good thing, as we had record numbers and we estimate that we will continue to grow.
Planning is underway for 2014 and we want to increase the size of the Dome again – sometimes bigger is better.  We are also looking at incorporating a meeting area for people who are open to more. We want to call this space Aphrodite’s Garden.  A place where couples can get in the mood or meet other like mined couples. Aphrodite’s Garden is a place where love can grow.
Every dollar donated counts!  Every penny we receive will go into making the Dome better for 2014 and years to come. Our ever growing popularity and the smiles and thank you’s we get is the fuel that keep us at ATTOL coming back year after year.

Sexual Experimentation, Psychedelic Drugs and Futurism

Emily Witt from the New York Observer is going to have her first book “Future Sex” published next year. Presumably, there’s a bit of a buzz about it, because the London Review of Books has just published a 4000 word essay on her experiences at Burning Man. It’s a really good read, here are some highlights:

emily wittI wanted to go to Burning Man because I saw the huge festival in the Nevada desert as the epicentre of the three things that most interested me in 2013: sexual experimentation, psychedelic drugs and futurism. But everyone said Burning Man was over, that it was spoiled. The event, which requires those who attend to bring their own food, water and shelter and dispose of their own trash, was overrun with rich tech people who defied the festival’s precious tenet of radical self-reliance with their over-reliance on paid staff. Burning Man, which started in 1986 when twenty people burned an effigy on a beach, was turning into a dusty version of Davos. Old-timers lamented the rise of ‘plug and play’ culture. There were too many LEDs now, too many caravans, too many generators, tech executives, and too much electronic dance music. There were TED talks. There were technolibertarians. You couldn’t see the stars.

I would decide for myself. I rented a caravan with six other people, a group organised by a friend in San Francisco. If someone were to draw a portrait of the people who were ‘ruining Burning Man’ it would have looked like us. With one exception the six all worked in the tech industry. The exception was a corporate lawyer. None of us had been to the festival before. We paid a company from San Diego to drive our caravan to Nevada and get rid of our trash afterwards.

I ordered the items from the packing list online: dust goggles, sunscreen, sun hat, headlamp, light-emitting diodes, animal-print leggings. I arranged delivery of a bicycle. My friends would bring food and water from San Francisco. They all delayed their planning with the flexibility of people who don’t worry about money. They bought plane tickets at the last minute, and then changed their flights. One of them still hadn’t got a ticket two days before he was supposed to go. One of them ordered a bicycle from eBay Now and had it delivered to his office within an hour, like a taco. One ended up flying the hundred miles from Reno to Black Rock City in a chartered Cessna.

This year 68,000 people came. Fifteen years before there had been 15,000. The festival is organised in circles, like Dante’s Inferno.

london review of books…He lived in San Francisco, worked in tech and made lots of money. He was always ‘slammed’ at work. He had subscribed to a DNA mapping service that predicts how you might die, the results of which are posted to an iPhone app, so that your iPhone knows how likely you are to get heart disease.

When the subject of the festival first came up we both talked about how we wanted to go, how we knew people made fun of it but that we were drawn to it. He said he saw it as a good ‘networking opportunity’, but we also saw it as something that was happening right now and only right now, and we were both interested in things specific to the present. Now he put on a reflective jumpsuit and a fedora. We ate some caramel-corn marijuana bought from a California medical dispensary, went out until dawn, then came back to the caravan and had sex, despite the other occupants.

…The greeters at the gate had given us a guidebook; the lists of events read like mini prose poems in futurist jargon: ‘NEW TECH CITY SOCIAL INNOVATION FUTURES … Creative autonomous zones & cities of the future … resiliency, thrivability, open data, mixing genomes and biometrics with our passwords and cryptocurrencies. What’s your future look like? Social entrepreneurs and free culture makers, hack the system and mash the sectors.’ For someone interested in sexual experimentation, the possibilities for self-education here were endless: there were lectures on orgasmic meditation, ‘shamanic auto-asphyxiation’, ‘ecosexuality’, ‘femtheogens’, ‘tantra of our menses’, ‘sex drugs and electronic music’ and the opportunity to visit the orgy dome.

I went to a lecture on new research on the use of hallucinogens in treating illnesses. I listened to someone describe her research on ‘Transpersonal Phenomena Induced by Electronic Dance Music’.

…We made plans to meet at noon the next day. I didn’t keep the rendezvous. Instead I went back to my caravan and took a synthetic hallucinogen on blotter paper called 2CB. (Later, a friend suggested it was a chemical in the family of drugs known as NBOMes, which the administrators of the website Erowid call ‘the defining psychedelics of 2013’. They were invented in 2003 by a PhD student in Berlin and first hit the market in 2010. Ours had been ordered from the website Silk Road and paid for with bitcoin internet currency.) It was like acid but without acid’s dark side. It was acid re-engineered to be joyful. We each put half a hit under our lips and went out into the night, the chemicals leaching from the paper as the Mir space station was set on fire, the wedding chapel set on fire, the Facebook ‘like’ set on fire. We wandered through the LED-infused landscape, its colour palette that of the movie Tron, a vision of the future that had now become the future, a future filled with electronic dance music.

The drug hit us when we were playing beneath an art installation of rushing purple lights. We ran and danced in the lights, laughing and gasping. We boarded mutant vehicles. One shaped like a giant terrapin, one a post-apocalyptic pirate ship called theThunder Gumbo. We danced on top of the vehicles. Below us the burners on bicycles orbited like phosphorescent deep sea crustaceans. The memory of my day kept coming back to me. I kept thinking I was seeing people having sex, then realised I had just seen a pile-up bike crash. I kept thinking I had met the people around me before. We put more paper under our lips.

photo credit: Mike Orso

photo credit: Mike Orso

I began to see conspiracy. A mutant vehicle pulled up alongside us. On top I could see several people in their fifties and sixties. I saw them as aristocrats. They seemed to be wearing Aztec mohawks and Louis XVI-style powdered wigs. Their vehicle, which was shaped like a rainbow-coloured angler, was called the Disco Fish, and was self-piloted by programmable GPS. Its scales were the colours of the Google logo. I saw the Disco Fish as a secret plot by Google to defy Burning Man’s anti-corporate ethos with its self-driven cars, the project overseen by the executives on the second tier. 

…No wonder people hate Burning Man, I thought, when I pictured it as a cynic might: rich people on vacation breaking rules that everyone else would be made to suffer for not obeying. Many of these people would go back to their lives and back to work on the great farces of our age. They wouldn’t argue for the decriminalisation of the drugs they had used; they wouldn’t want anyone to know about their time in the orgy dome. That they had cheered at the funeral pyre of a Facebook ‘like’ wouldn’t play well on Tuesday in the cafeteria at Facebook. The people who accumulated the surplus value of the world’s photographs, ‘life events’ and ex-boyfriend obsessions were now celebrating their freedom from the web they’d entangled all of us in, the freedom to exist without the internet. Plus all this crap – the polyester fur legwarmers and plastic water bottles and disposable batteries – this garbage made from harvested hydrocarbons that will never disappear.

To protest against these things in everyday life carried a huge social cost …and maybe that’s what the old burners disliked about the new ones: the new ones upheld the idea of autonomous zones. The $400 ticket price was as much about the right to leave what happened at the festival behind as it was to enter in the first place. Still, I’d been able to do things here that I’d wanted to do for a long time, that I never could have done at home. And if this place felt right, if it had expanded so much over the years because to so many people it felt like ‘home’, it had something to do with the inadequacy of the old ways that governed our lives in our real homes, where we felt lonely, isolated and unable to form the connections we wanted

Full article here.

How To Get Laid At Burning Man 2.0 [Updates]

In the past we brought you “10 Ways To Get Laid At Burning Man”, which is still our #2 ranking post of all time.

Well, thanks to the Bureau of Erotic Discourse (B.E.D.) other Burning Man facebook group, we have some other practical suggestions. [Update: this image is not officially from B.E.D. The official B.E.D. guide is here. There are also other tips on the Interwebz from Dr Placebo, AZ Burners, TribeYahoo Pamphlet, Piss Clear, and Sex Nerd Sandra]

how to get laid BED 2


Good luck Burners! Pro tip: some camps are easier to get laid in than others.

Apologies in advance to anyone in the LGBT community who are celebrating their “pride” this weekend, because these suggestions come from a “hetero-normative” perspective. That still applies to 85% of Black Rock City, which is about as straight as San Francisco. Here are the latest stats:

Black Rock City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Burners are 15.4% of the overall population, but that data alone cannot paint the wider panorama that is gender and sexual orientation on the Playa. Remember as you review the information that both gender and LGBT status is self identified, and that these questions were asked of all Burners, not just the subsection of those identifying as LGBT.

Of all females, 15.6% identified as LGBT, compared to 14.1% of males.

Of Burners who listed their gender as “fluid or neither,” 61.7% identified as LGBT.

Another Census question asked about sexual orientation, with options wider than just “gay, straight, or bi*.”


gay pride 2014 gurlzThe largest percentages for the overall, male, and female samplings represented heterosexual Burners, however, for the group identifying as fluid/neither gender, only 17% of them chose heterosexual as their orientation. The overall data depicts the Playa as a largely hetero, but bicurious environment. The same was true for females Burners. However, the male population was largely hetero with the second-most reported orientation as gay, while the fluid/neither Burners were mostly bisexual and refused labels.

If you compare Black Rock City to these cities in the United States, it is most similar to the urban areas of San Francisco or Seattle, which is representative of where many Burners come from, and where the event was originally birthed.

[Update 7/1/14] Burner Kuja Duncan, a hater who thinks this is a shit article, has kindly contributed “How To Get Laid At Burning Man – The Non-Sexist Version”. Hope it helps!

“Stop gendering strangers. Stop assuming that the women you’re attracted to are attracted to people of your gender. Stop using words like ‘wussy’ to explain why you don’t fit into certain stereotypes. Treat the people you want to have sex with like human beings, cus they are. Find someone you are attracted to and would like to have sex with. Have a conversation with them. Decide if you still want to have sex with them. Ask them if they’d like to have sex with you, while being respectful. (Remember that whole ‘they’re a human being thing’?) If you do not get enthusiastic consent, find someone else.”

Still seems kind of sexist to me – some people are attracted to men! If anyone else has “non-sexist” and “non-genderist” tips, please share.