SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Once a month private parties are held in public venues, usually hidden in old factories or cultural centers like Cinemas, theaters or even art galleries, to add an artistic component to what is mostly a physical and social experience within the gay community.
These locals are then transformed into party spots where hundreds and in some locations thousands of members of the gay community gather to enjoy a night of free sex and communal interaction.
The City center has been the focal point for all of these parties. While being gentrified, the Centro is still a dangerous place to hang out at night, where much crime still happens.
Hidden in some hole in the wall, these parties see after the high night hour hundreds gather to get in, first through a tight security then into the various rooms or floors offered by the venue.
The Centro, as is defined this part of the city, is the beating hearth of the artistic and sexual scene of the city. It is in this rather dangerous part of São Paulo that a pure form of sexual expression takes place, where all do not have to feel threatened of being judged for their promiscuous behavior.
After years of decadence and abandon of this area started in the 1970’s (including abusive occupations of buildings) now the city center of São Paulo is becoming a unique example of integration between inequality, vitality and decadence.
A modern “Babel” where people from different realities and backgrounds meet each other, proudly expressing themselves (physically and sexually). The huge Paulista gay community is taking possession of this area investing into its cultural and artistic development.
This is a short list of the location we visited in occasion of the last parties :
Casa da Luz
Cabaret da Cecilia
The participants of these parties come from all kind of professions, age and social classes. Diversity is the key word and it is encouraged. In this context it means equality and respect between individuals.
People are encouraged to attend undressed, therefore sexually open to others also present at these events.
Though all of these parties share a common theme: free sex in a public setting, sometimes participants are required to follow a specific dress code in order to take part of such an event. One of these parties, like Luxuria, have a S&M theme which conditions its visitors and participants to join a similar mind set and enjoy themselves.
Though all are welcomed, each party attracts a certain type of social differences within the gay community. In fact some parties, attract poorer Paulistas, while other events attract richer ones.
Here are some examples:
Festa Dando, mostly « successful » people and young entrepreneur, age range 25 – 40/45, athletic bodies
Festa Popp-Porn, mostly dedicated to young, low budget people. Age range 20 to 30/35
Festa Brutus, mostly dedicated to experienced fetish and leather lovers and “bears” (belly hairy men), age range 35/40 to 50 yo. Social classes: high executives or public people (use of masks)
Santo’s nights, mostly culture oriented people, age range 30- 40, all kinds of social class and profession.
The common factor of these parties is their low price, as the idea is to attract as many people as possible therefore, democratizing their general movement as well as incite people to take part in as many different events as possible.
This is truly a social movement. These parties start with an entry fee equivalent 6 or 7 US$ (25 to 30 R$). No drinks are included in the entry fee. Drinks are at 1,5 US$ for water, 3 US$ for beer, 6 US$ for drinks and 12US$ for premium drinks.
The people working at the events are:
Artists and fashion designers selling gadget to complete your outfit as e.g. handmade jewelry and, clothes, and sexual accessories like jock-strap, harness and masks for role plays. Condoms and lubricant are given for free and left at disposal at every bar.
Security – lot of people working in the security like bouncers at the entrance and official firemen/women all around DJ and performers (most of the time Draq Queens)
People do not sell sex in the events. In each event there are thousands of people having spontaneous and free sex. These nights are almost free from prostitution.
Apart from the social aspect of such a movement, politics has also found its way within these events. During all these parties you can find flags, slogan, songs and performance against homophobia, racism and explicitly against the president Bolsonaro who is seen as a direct threat to their way of life.
The actual success and the continuous growth in popularity of these parties can be linked also to a form of protest against government’s position regarding the LGBT community.
When these parties were created, almost five years ago, the aim was to offer to gay people a safe space to meet and dispose of their bodies in total freedom with no specific political orientation but surely to promote integration and the fight against homophobia. During these years these events increased in popularity attracting more and more people to their cause.
At the same time the fear of contraction of HIV started disappearing due to the free access of the anti-HIV drugs (PREP) for everybody who might require. This fact encouraged people to participate more often into sexual act without fearing contracting the AIDS virus.
To many outside these circles, such a behavior is actually counterproductive as it makes people care free again especially since no one knows about the long-term effects of taking PREP on a regular basis. Not enough research has been done as the medicine is too new.