Not a word about the war
Stas from Belgorod has the letters Z and V on his VKontakte avatar, he supports the Russian occupation of Kherson and is looking for a bisexual guy of Slavic appearance for group sex with his wife. According to the swinger, the proximity of the border and full-scale war did not affect the diversity of his sex life. And swinger parties in the city are regularly held, and the exchange of wives does not suffer. Other supporters of group sex from the front-line regions answer in monosyllables: shelling, air defense and an abundance of military orgies are not a hindrance. In the country as a whole, the opposite is true. Ilya Lukichev, the leader of the Russian Svoi Lyudi project organizing swinger parties, and one of the few public Russian swingers, is sure of this: “I can definitely say that this year there were more people at swinger events.”
This party is very closed. Most of the organizers and club leaders interviewed by The Insider refused to answer questions. And groups in social networks where live communication takes place do not accept outsiders and are carefully moderated. To some extent, at the beginning of the war, this helped to contain conflicts. While in all Russian-language social networks, up to blood donor forums, people were arguing and cursing about what was happening, swingers nipped such discussions in the bud. Ilya Lukichev explains it this way:
“We have 70 administrators, and in the community it is strictly forbidden to discuss politics, children, LGBT, drugs and the ROC. For the first violation - a warning, for the second - a ban.
Lukichev, by the way, is a former military man and began to hold his first swinger parties during his contract service. It is not surprising that shortly after the start of mobilization, he received an invitation to the military enlistment office - but has not yet been mobilized.
“But two other party organizers are already in the army. But this did not stop us from actively holding events this year, including large festivals for 200 people. Yes, perhaps, the military-style parties that we held are not relevant now. But we already abandoned this topic a couple of years ago, because it's just boring.
Prices for participation in events, according to Lukichev, have not changed since 2019. Let's say, if in some city a ticket to a swinger meeting cost 5 thousand rubles for a single man, then it costs the same amount now.
But the organizers of sex parties Kinky Party are seriously thinking about raising prices. It's been a good year for them. Although, according to the co-founder of the project, Taisiya Blanch, everything started badly:
“At first, after February 24, there were noticeably fewer people willing to participate. There was a very strong stress in the society, the level of nerves went off scale. On the other hand, our meetings are just the place where people come to relax. Therefore, in March, we even came up with and held an event of a new format, without sexual interactions - Kinky Care. You could come there, hug, give each other a massage and listen to meditative music.”
In a normal situation, Kinky Party bears little resemblance to meditation and is not complete without sexual interactions. This is a relatively new format of sex parties for Russia with a preliminary selection of participants, obligatory themed costumes, shows and erotic activities such as shibari or spanking. The name of one of the projects, Kinky Party, has become a household name for the entire format, but now several different teams are working in this direction, and such large and chamber meetings are held quite regularly in Moscow and St. Petersburg. It would seem that they are also orgies, but the audience, according to Taisiya, is very different from the swingers:
“Seven years ago, when we first started, we tried to collaborate with swingers or a BDSM party, but it quickly became clear that we had a different audience. Kinky Party is about a culture of active consent, exploration of one's sensuality, safety. Therefore, we are very attentive to the selection of participants, we ask you to fill out a questionnaire and choose people who share our values. Check out their social media. The people who visit us share the same values. That’s why, by the way, we didn’t have any conflicts within the community after February 24th.”
This audience began to gradually recover at the end of April. At the same time, the first classic Kinky Party after the start of the war took place. Over the summer, the previous number of events was also restored, but then mobilization was announced. Almost immediately after that, Taisiya had to open ticket sales for the next meeting:
“We laughed, we thought that we would have a party of some girls. But that did not happen. There were, as always, approximately equal numbers of men and women wishing to buy tickets, and demand suddenly jumped so much that sales had to be closed three days before the event. It was even a little crowded in the hall.”
Approximately the same trend was observed at Feel it - more intimate erotic meetings in St. Petersburg, which the organizers themselves define as "ethical sex parties." Here is what the founder of the project, journalist Tatyana Bakun, says:
“We held a meeting right before the February events and then in April. April people were very much looking forward to. We closed the registration very quickly, there was a request, people wanted to be distracted. During this period, we held five meetings. Interestingly, after the announcement of the mobilization, there were even more men who wanted to participate.”
At the Kinky Party, some change in the mood of the participants is also noted. The second founder of this project, sex educator Tanya Dmitrieva, shares the following observations:
“We got feedback in a personal and in questionnaires: people write that they don’t want to put off their desires anymore. Even those who did not dare to come to the Kinky Party for a long time, against the backdrop of what is happening, realized that now is the time.
People no longer want to delay the fulfillment of their desires
In general, with the demand from the organizers of sex parties, things are going well. But worse, according to Tanya Dmitrieva, it became with contractors:
“This year, the people we work with were leaving and reporting it at the last moment. Of course, it cannot be said that the shibari master left and there is no other. It's just that there used to be a large selection, and now it's small: let's say, out of 30 of our permanent DJs, fifteen remain. Once we delayed the editing of the video, because the editor was mobilized.”
As for sex workers, they are just seeing a drop in demand. The founder of the Silver Rose movement that protects the rights of these people, Irina Maslova, states:
“This year hit the girls working in the lower and middle price segment the hardest. The first big drop in demand occurred in February-March, the second - at the end of September, when mobilization was announced. Only VIP escorts and dominoes feel more or less confident now. In the field of BDSM services, customers have remained, and prices have not decreased. Everything else was hit very hard by the events of this year.”
Of course, no one has a complete picture, but in a recent autumn publication of The Secret of the Firm, the press secretary of the Sex Workers Forum, Marina Avramenko, cited the following figures: the flow of clients fell by 2–3 times, revenues decreased by 30–50% less .
Kristina (not her real name), a The Insider interviewee who provides human rights assistance to Russian sex workers, said the outbreak of the war had little effect on the sex economy. The main blow was dealt by mobilization:
“Immediately after February 24, almost nothing has changed. It was only on the forums that quarrels began, because sex workers are the same people as everyone else, just as susceptible to propaganda. Someone was for the war, someone was against it, someone took the position “not everything is so simple”. At some point, sex worker forums simply decided to ban politics. Some girls even lost regular customers due to the fact that they did not see eye to eye. At the very beginning of the war, there was a case when one salon dressed its employees in wreaths and embroidered shirts and offered clients to “punish Ukrainian women together.” Absolutely outrageous, in my opinion, a publicity stunt.
Some girls even lost loyal customers due to the fact that they did not see eye to eye.
From the beginning of the mobilization, according to Christina's observations, there was even a certain surge of interest in sex services:
“People wanted to party, they had bachelor parties before going to war. In some cities, street girls have moved their points to the military registration and enlistment offices - especially those who work in cars. Marketing has not been cancelled. At the same time, wealthy clients and the middle class began to leave Russia, some of the girls followed them. But now Russian women are badly given visas, and even with a visa they may not be allowed to enter Europe. So many left for Istanbul. There's a lot of competition out there right now."
The aforementioned October publication of Secret of the Firm stated that sex workers of the cheapest segment, whose main clients are labor migrants, who were not affected by the mobilization, did not suffer. But Christina believes that now the general crisis of the profession has affected them too:
“Apparently, there has been a reassessment of values, and many clients now prefer to bring money to the family. Some got married - recently, if you remember, there was a boom in quick marriages - and also refused sex services. Even in the salons working on a stream, where each girl had 6-15 clients a day, it is now empty. If ten people enter the salon, it’s already good. Customers are now increasingly asking for a discount referring to the fact that they are going to war. But girls, as far as I know, don’t give such discounts.”
Of course, the war, the mobilization and the movement of troops have created places where, on the contrary, customers are plentiful. Sex workers in Novosibirsk are now talking about increased demand - it's all about the mobilized training camps surrounding the city. There is little information from the front-line territories. But Irina Maslova from the Silver Rose notes that it got worse there, not better:
“In the regions bordering Ukraine, there is practically no normal sex work left. One of the girls who regularly traveled to the south to work in the summer returned this year with the words: a nightmare, never go there again. Now she has moved to work in Kazakhstan.”
All this, according to Irina Maslova, has great social consequences:
“Prices are going down, and sex workers, in pursuit of a client, agree to more dangerous practices. From rapidly impoverished regions, many move to large cities, especially to Moscow. At the same time, the impoverishment of the population has led to the fact that women who have not previously been engaged in this are forced to look for this kind of income. And this more than covers the outflow of citizens of other CIS countries who leave Russia due to problems with foreign bank transfers - now it is much more difficult for them to transfer money to their families.
Christina notes that girls now have to take not only physical, but also legal risks:
“Now the sex workers who are left without clients are actively lured into webcams. And in Russia, webcam girls are no longer judged under the administrative article “engaging in prostitution”, but under the criminal article “producing pornography”.
At the same time, law enforcement agencies suddenly began to show increased interest in girls. So, in November, a whole month was held in Moscow to combat prostitution. The Sex Workers Forum cites astounding numbers: 719 administrative protocols in the first three weeks, about 20 times the usual monthly rate.
According to Irina Maslova, this is something unprecedented:
“In November, everyone was detained in Moscow: both brothel workers, and individuals, and even webcam girls. And then all the same spilled over into the regions. I already have information from Kazan, from Nizhny Novgorod. Apparently, this is due to the intensification of the common struggle for morality and temperance.
Is it worth it in such an atmosphere to be afraid for the organizers and participants of orgies? Ilya Lukichev is optimistic: “We, swingers, are not being touched yet. I think we will be dealt with after the gays are finished.”