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At a swanky party in a Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion last Saturday, I spot Bill Maher in a sea of beautiful young women and make my approach.
“Are you a Leo?” I ask the host of HBO’s “Real Time,” while eyeing a lion pendant around his neck.
“No, they make me wear this stupid thing because I’m a member,” he replies, stroking the back of his date, a pretty younger woman in a short black leather dress.
Around us, a mostly female crowd of models, young professionals, actresses and assistants strut about in couture lingerie, much to the delight of older male guests in tuxedos. One 20-something blonde crawls on the carpeted floor wearing red lace and a face mask with a leather pig snout and ears. Other pretty young things wear metallic pasties and black badges that read “Eat me” or “Touch me” on their décolletage, while holding silver platters of bite-size brownies and parfaits. A man who calls himself the “Bunnyman” and wears a black leather mask and rabbit ears demonstrates various Japanese bondage techniques on an aroused woman sitting upright in a plush, gold-painted chair.
We’re at Snctm, an exclusive monthly sex party held in Los Angeles and occasionally New York, where the rich, powerful and pleasure-seeking indulge their kinkiest fantasies.
The parties are the brainchild of Damon Lawner, a divorced 45-year-old with two young kids. Lawner founded Snctm in February 2013 after spending years throwing high-end, but not erotic, events in Bali. He now hosts sex parties full-time. Tonight’s event is an intimate affair for 99 people and features two performances: a live threesome and a sexy fire-eating show.
“I’m really lucky,” Lawner tells me, his blue eyes twinkling.
Single men pay $1,850 per party, or $1,500 if they come with a female partner. For the erotic elite, there’s an annual Dominus membership for $75,000, which includes admission to all parties, a sterling-silver necklace with a lion pendant and access to private rooms at parties and Lawner’s network of sex experts. The high-level membership is currently limited to just 11 men and one woman, ranging from Grammy-winning musicians to successful businessmen, according to Lawner.
“Some are married guys that just want to know how to give better [pleasure] … They don’t get this type of thing anywhere else,” Lawner says.
Dominus members sign a “blood oath,” involving blood and a paper document, to join — but Lawner won’t go into details.
“That’s all I can tell you,” he says. “It’s an initiation into the society.”
Post reporter Heather Hauswirth dressed up in Agent Provocateur to go inside the Snctm party.
For $12,000, there’s a second-tier Aurum membership that includes discounted entry and access to Lawner’s hedonistic network.
Women don’t pay to attend Snctm parties, but they must apply by submitting full-length photos via text or email to Lawner or his operations director, Nicolas de la Kethulle, who previously worked as a manager of the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge.
Cellphones are prohibited and must be checked at the door. All parties have a masquerade theme, and while masks are required for entry, many take them off inside. Men wear tuxes, women wear sexy lingerie or cocktail dresses.
As exclusive as the parties are, the vibe is friendly and there’s no Hollywood pretense. Attendees are open and eager to talk, flirt — and much more — with each other.
“I feel like I’m home here,” a young pilot wearing an Aurum-member pin on his left lapel tells me as we hang out around a small lap pool with two huge unicorn floaties in the back yard. “Warmth just kind of comes over me when I walk in.”
I brush by a towering beauty in a black-lace catsuit.
“Is that Agent Provocateur, too?” she says, eyeing the bondage-inspired, Swarovski-crystal-encrusted bra hidden beneath my sheer black cape. “I tried that one on. It looks amazing on you.”
Provocateur is something of an unofficial partner for the erotic events. Last September, Snctm held a top-secret party in New York during Fashion Week. Attendees picked up brass keys with the soiree’s address engraved on them at the high-end lingerie company’s stores in Soho and on Madison Avenue.
At another point in the evening, I compliment a busty blonde wearing black satin panties and no shoes.
“Are those real?” I say, admiring her assets. “Are those yours?”
“They’re from France,” she says.
Later in the night, I watch her orally pleasure a young blond girl with fake eyelashes on a silver ottoman.
When she comes up for air, I ask, “Do you come here a lot?”
“I’ve been a few times. I’m a lesbian … so this is amazing for me,” she says before going on to tell me how men regularly ask her to have sex with their wives.
Lawner is working to take Snctm beyond Beverly Hills. He plans to host a party on a yacht at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and do two events in New York in September for Fashion Week.
He also says he’s in talks with Showtime to do an eight-part documentary, and with Fox to do a scripted show on his life with “Glee” producer Brad Falchuk. Falchuk is dating Gwyneth Paltrow, whose website Goop has positively covered Snctm. Lawner says Falchuk and Paltrow have come to parties together.
[Gwyneth is] not a crazy-kinky person, like people think,” he says. “She’s a down-to-earth total sweetheart . . . They are exploratory with each other.”
(At press time, reps for Fox and Showtime could not confirm that these projects were in development. Reps for Maher, Paltrow and Falchuck did not respond.)
Despite his passion for his parties, Lawner says he doesn’t engage in sex at them, and his 20 employees aren’t allowed to either. Like many who attend, he just enjoys being a voyeur.
“Wow,” he says, eyeing the pilot having sex with a young woman nearby. “He’s really pleasing her.”
The host-with-the-most says he dreams of winning his ex-wife back, but believes he’s doing good with his parties.
“I provide somewhere for primal urges to be explored,” Lawner says. “It’s beautiful.”