By Joshua Ryan for ASN Lifestyle Magazine
Activist Helen Keller once wrote that “Life is either a great adventure or nothing,” a phrase that has become symbolic of the Pacific Northwest. Known for its vast green forest, wild snowy mountains, rugged terrain, and black sand beaches, Oregon and Washington offers some of the most pristine and beautiful scenic landscapes in America. The major cities of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, and Portland are home to 75% of the population leaving vast sections of the state wild and filled with adventure. If natural outdoor beauty is your thing, then the Pacific Northwest is a place to explore.
Lifestyle enthusiasts are not just about the great outdoors, which is why several lifestyle clubs flourish in the great wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. Portland was named America’s Most Promiscuous City by Time Magazine. Seattle ranked closely behind at #2.
Quality Health, an online medical website, ranked Portland the #2 “Sexiest City in America,” and HuffPost named Portland the “City Having the Most Casual Sex” in the nation. Globally, The Richest (a pop culture magazine) named Portland One of the Top 15 Most Promiscuous Cities On Earth, one of just 3 American cities to make the poll. Pricenomics, a data and economics website, ranked Portland as the city with more strip clubs per capita than any other city in America — with a strip club per every 11,286 residents. And, Oregon overall has the most strip clubs per state — outranking New York and Nevada, which makes one pause and ask how is that even possible? Portland also has the most microbreweries in America, with one per every 50,000 residents (sounds like beer needs to catch up with strip clubs). So, what’s the Lifestyle Enthusiasts scene like in the Great Northwest?
Let’s begin with the biggest and most upscale sex club in Portland, Club Privata. Opened in the same space as Ron Jeremy’s Club Sesso nearly four years ago, Club Privata is the titan of Lifestyle Clubs in the Pacific Northwest. Bigger than its predecessor, Club Privata, is three stories of non-stop adult play space, including 8,000 square feet of rustic break and polished hardwood dance floor, dining and social space, two full-service bars, and a mix of private, semi-private and public play space.
“We wanted to create not just a good space for lifestyle enthusiasts,” said owner Holly Redeau. “We wanted to create an adult playground that was elegant, upscale, and really just knocked your socks off!” Redeau concluded.
Portland is unique among American swinger’s clubs in that Bring Your Own Booze is strictly prohibited, and full bar service is de rigueur. “Our bars are stocked with all call and quality brands,” said Redeau. “We wanted to make sure our guests receive the best possible experience, and that includes very popular Oregon wines.” Oregon is now one of the top states in America for wine production, and vineyards like Ponzi and Rex Hill are only minutes away.
Club Privata is open Thursday through Saturday and on Wednesdays and Sundays for special events. They are known for creative, fun parties that often feature costume themes. “We believe people love permission to dress up,” explained Redeau. “Some of our themes are simple so that anyone can participate without a lot of planning or trouble,” the tall, winsome blonde said. “Our Little Black Dress Party is always packed,” Redeau concluded.
But other parties are also successful. Recently, Club Privata had a packed Sexy Storybook Party where guests dressed up as their favorite fictional storybook character. “I’ve never seen so many fallen Snow Whites and sexy Red Riding Hoods,” Redeau laughed. “We had a Gods & Goddess Party this summer when it was hot, and flowing white gowns were everywhere,” she explained. “And every guest received a golden Roman crown when they arrived. It was great fun.”
The Club Privata crowd ranges in age from 21-65, but the average is in their mid-30s. “We have adjusted our marketing because Portland is such a sexually open city,” explained Redeau, who, along with her husband, Charles, runs the operation, which includes a staff of 14 and more than 200 ambassador/volunteers.
“We learned this year that during every one of our parties, 40% or more of our guests have never been in a sex club before,” shared Redeau. “We realized that this new influx of guests has to be educated and have a real sense of connection to become lifelong guests and part of our community,” she said. “Our events like Newbies Night and our very popular Meet & Greet events bring in lots of new people, and they come back again and again,” said Redeau, adding, “We love that!”
Club Privata is located at 824 SW 1st Avenue in Downtown Portland. ClubPrivata.com.
Sanctuary is located in downtown Portland in the iconic Pearl District, one of the city’s premier neighborhoods considered a national standard of urban revitalization and the heart of Portland’s Art District. Sanctuary is located above a popular nightclub called Splash. The space has stairs or elevator for access, upscale furnishings, and is a long, somewhat fluid space, surrounded by windows overlooking the city. One end of Sanctuary is anchored by a bar and a kink play area, while the other end houses the DJ booth and sound system. In between are a number of spaces with leather couches, play areas, and mattresses — all with heavy drapes to separate them. The individual areas are called cabanas, and it is easy to see why. When guests wish to be private, they can easily separate spaces into more intimate semi-private and private areas. Or, they can pull back drapes to create larger spaces for semi-private and public play, or leave them open altogether for classes, an open dance space, live entertainment, or other uses in the flexible venue.
“We consider ourselves a bar with beds,” said Bad McCray, owner of Sanctuary. “What makes us unique is that many of our guests don’t come to play but they come to support our community and to feel better connected,” McCray added. “Our audience is the more open-minded of any club within the Lifestyle enthusiast community. They don’t expect to have a blueprint in order to have a good time… they can create their own great experience based on the evening and who’s in attendance,” McCray added.
Sanctuary is often described as the most poly, kink, and queer/LGBTQ sex club in the city. The owners are long-time participants of Burning Man, which gives Sanctuary a unique vibe and ethos. “We are the most inclusive sex club in Oregon,” says McCray without a whiff of arrogance. “In some clubs, you might not be readily accepted for your body size, or sexuality, or looks,” McCray explains. “But literally no one would ever stand for that in our community. We, collectively, would never behave that way at Sanctuary. There’s a place for everyone here.”
Sanctuary is open Wednesday through Saturday, and often other days of the week are open for new and community-based events. Originally, when Sanctuary moved into the Pearl, there were residents who opposed a sex club being in their backyard. “There was concern among neighbors and some of the high-rise condos in the area,” McCray reminisces. “Now they see that we have non-disruptive clientele and are a great presence here, and we love the Pearl; it’s been great for us, too.”
Sanctuary is located at 33 NW 9th Avenue in Portland, Oregon. pdxsanctuary.com
Catalyst is located outside of downtown Portland in an area called Powell/Foster, which is better known for a strip club called Devil’s Point that has a great reputation for sexy, tattoo-emblazoned female dancers. There are other sex-related businesses nearby, like a lingerie modeling club. Of course, Catalyst is in the center of it all and brands itself as “Portland’s living room with a dungeon.” Catalyst is unique in that it caters to an 18–21-year-old guest, making it unique on the Portland sex scene. Catalyst is also focused on the “alternative community” which to them is the BDSM, polyamory, and LGBTQ communities. They also have a sexy lingerie store and a collection of coffee drinks. No liquor is served there, obviously, because people under 21-years old are allowed.
Catalyst is located in a more industrial, traditional dungeon setting, which may not for everyone, but it clearly has a place in the sex-positive community. The venue is owned by Theresa “Darklady” Reed and DJ Kronos who have been active in the kink community for several decades, and they have an authentic space offering an interesting palette of experiences deserving of community support.
Catalyst is located at 5224 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206. They are open Wednesdays through Sunday. catalystsexpositive.com.
Velvet Rope is the final entry for Portland and is located about 15 minutes from downtown on the east side of the city (not a far as Catalyst, which is another 10 minutes away). Velvet Rope is the oldest sex club in Portland by about a year. Velvet Rope began as Angel’s Social Club, which existed in Portland for more than 25 years before Velvet Rope’s owners took over, bought and cleaned up the place, and relaunched their new brand.
Boasting 10,000 square feet technically makes them the largest lifestyle club in the city, but much of their space is dominated by a series of outdoor hot tubs, which can be relaxing in Oregon winters but can only seat a limited number of guests at a time.
Velvet Rope has two floors including a dance floor, two bars, a DJ booth, a stage for shows of varying quality, and two stripper poles (Portlanders love a stripper pole). They have separate lounge areas for couples and ladies only, and a large social area dominated by several pool tables, but the club produces a variety of shows featuring strippers and burlesque performers.
The Velvet Rope feels like it lands somewhere in the middle of the road of sex clubs in Portland. Less upscale and less expensive than Club Privata, not as kinky or diverse as Sanctuary or Catalyst, but larger than both. Velvet Rope has demonstrated staying power, caters to a loyal crowd, and, for Lifestyle Enthusiasts, is a perfectly good option.
The club has easy parking, which can be a challenge for the clubs located in Portland’s downtown. Check it out — all you have to do is get past… the Velvet Rope.
Velvet Rope is located at 3533 SE Cesar Estrada Chavez Blvd, Portland, OR 97202. velvetropepdx.com.
The final club in this article is located about two hours north of Portland — just about 11 miles outside of Seattle in Tukwila. Club Sapphire is large, approximating 10,000 square feet and well-furnished mainly in the colors for which the club is named — sapphire blue. The space is well-appointed, beautifully furnished, and kept in great condition. They’re well-known for active, lifestyle members that are friendly, outgoing, and welcoming.
Club Sapphire includes a dance floor with a DJ and a light buffet with snacks at midnight. This is a typical BYOB club, so bring your own alcohol; the club provides ice, glasses, basic mixers, soda, and refrigeration to keep your libations cold.
They also have a large locker and shower space with complimentary towel service. They have plenty of private, semi-private, and group play spaces. Parking is plentiful, as the area where they’re located is basically a ghost town on weekends and evenings. The club was voted Best West Club in 2016 and 2017, has fun-themed events and is open Wednesday through Sunday. Sapphire was created by the owners who hosted hotel takeovers for years. Club Sapphire continues hotel-hosted events, as the Seattle area can be a traffic nightmare; people don’t like to drive far throughout the city, so the hotel parties allow them to be all over the metro area. You can see options for parties in other cities in Washington on their website event calendar.
Club Sapphire is located 14220 Interurban Ave S, Tukwila, WA 98168. clubsapphire.net
When visiting the panoramic splendor of the Pacific Northwest, don’t forget that, in addition to natural beauty, there is abundant sexual beauty with plentiful options in Oregon and Washington. Be sure to check out each club’s website for waivers, reservations, events, pricing, and other important information like dress codes, parking, and advance ticket sales.
Most important when you arrive in Portland or Seattle is to explore amazing hiking trails and wild untouched beaches. Consider driving the short distance to a ski resort or enjoy exploring wineries, breweries and art galleries. In the evening, you can throw caution to the wind. Dress up and come play in well imagined, unique play spaces that are sure to help you make your journey to America’s last wilderness an experience you will not forget.
This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of ASN Lifestyle Magazine.