A Cheeky Look Inside SNCTM, L.A.’s Exclusive Erotic Theatre

Actions always speak louder than words, and when it comes to sexual curiosity and other intimate endeavours, those who talk a big game are perhaps not the hedonists they boast to be. Those who know, after all, don’t speak.

There are places people don’t speak of — places we know exist, but they seem on the peripheries of society and of our minds. They exist in our visions as a mess of pop culture lore, societal convention, tawdry rumours, and simple fantasy. They are ripped straight from film and TV because those are often our only reference points.

Perhaps I’m building this up to exceedingly dramatic effect, but yes, metropolitan cities have private adult sex clubs, and one in particular offers a very high-end, very particular, and very luxurious form of erotic entertainment.

What It Is

‘Private’ would be the most informative word in describing this place. ‘Members Only’ would also be an apt description. Intimate, elite, affluent, stylish, exclusive, chic, sexy — these are the adjectives that come to mind. Curious yet?

This is SNCTM (pronounced ‘Sanctum’), a noted and prestigious sex club (also an event and lifestyle, as it were) in Beverly Hills. It hosts a monthly masquerade sex party, fostering and encouraging an erotic environment, putting on shows and performances of various kinds, and affording opportunities for voyeurs and active participants. It’s a pool and cocktail party; an arena to explore and flirt, but also one in which to watch and admire. There are masks and toys, ropes and ties. There are those who will dominate, and those wishing to be dominated.

Consent is imperative. Those who are curious can explore at their own pace, while the more experienced can indulge their specific, well, indulgences. Privacy too, is guaranteed — no cell phones here.

It really does feel like a scene lifted from Eyes Wide Shut, an easy analogy in part because it’s a pretty well-known pop culture reference, but also because the founder drew inspiration from the film. Damon Lawner, a 40-something divorcee and family man, one who was hit hard by the recession and simply wanted more from life, started the SNCTM sex party circuit in 2013. In an interview, he talks about ‘initiation’ into the ‘society,’ and alludes to some sort of blood oath. It’s somewhat secretive, sort of mystical, and certainly sexy. It’s the stuff ripped from movies or fantasies — except it’s real.

There is also a dress code, because even though this is a place where eventually most people will end up naked, you’re there to celebrate and impress.

How To Get In

All you need is an adventurous spirit and a dream. And if you’re a man, a fair amount of money. Women get priority. There is indeed a test to pass, one that seeks to determine your confidence, your interests, your attitude, and yes, your looks. Importantly, they want to know what you can offer to the experience.

A single man can pay $1,800 to take in a party, but that price is lowered by a couple hundred if the man is accompanied by a woman. There is also an annual membership option: that’ll run you $12,000, and if you want to be extremely elite, there is a $75,000 Dominus membership. This is a lifetime offering, which gets you an invite to all the parties all year long, as well as an exclusive pendant. There is also reportedly an option with a one-time $1 million fee. It’s the so-called Violet Key option, and there are only three slots available in the world. It’s the final slot that goes for a cool mill.

A Learning Experience

What’s most curious, albeit in a somewhat cruelly tragic sort of way, is that a person—and in particular, a woman—is far less likely to be harassed or touched at SNCTM than pretty much any other bar or club. That’s because this place, and others like it where sex and nudity are permitted, can only function as an enjoyable, safe space if people communicate effectively and respect boundaries. That means asking before touching (or really before doing anything), constant communication, and most importantly, listening. A yes is a yes, and a no means: don’t ask again. Those who break the rules are gone forever.

This provides a pretty good template and takeaway of how really every space, and not just sex clubs, should work. Don’t touch people unless they want to be touched.

SNCTM provides a true and tested environment for exploring your boundaries, infusing your world with a new perspective, and figuring out how important emotional, physical, and mental connections can be.

If nothing else, this is a non-judgmental place. Your interests and curiosities aren’t going to be responded to with laughter or a quizzical look. There is something for everyone, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting, asking, or receiving something while you are there. And that mentality can transcend to daily life.

Anthony Marcusa
Anthony Marcusa is a Toronto-based freelance journalist whose writing dabbles in film, TV, music, sports, and relationships – though not necessarily in that order. He’s simultaneously youthfully idealistic and curmudgeonly cynical. But he’s always curious.