We’re not quite living in a sex positive world; taboos and stigmas still very much exist, and people are rarely free or able to explore, improve, and engage with their sex lives on a deeper level. We find this utterly tragic, and this is why we are so deeply inspired by trailblazers such as Kenneth Play. We sat down with him to learn a little more about him, what he does, and what a day in his unique life looks like.
My hypothesis is that if people are getting the sex they want and like, it really does help their quality of life.
Kenneth is an Asian immigrant living in Brooklyn who made his career from the fitness industry out of overcoming his own insecurities- by learning how to “hack his own body.” He is a self-declared nerd who is fascinated by science and data and sought out to understand his body to the fullest extent. Through that understanding, he was able to gain mastery of his body and his behaviors.
As he rapidly came to understand his body in terms of fitness, he noticed the lacking information and resources out there in terms of sexuality. “Next to food and shelter, sex is up there for the wellness and happiness of human beings – yet there’s not much available for someone who wants to improve their sex life. It wasn’t until my late 20s when I decided to apply the same logic I did for my fitness life to my sex life.” He began dating someone who helped him to explore different sexual and education avenues for him. “I got introduced to the swinger world, then I stumbled upon the sex-positive world, and that’s when I founded Hacienda Villa, my community. All of this gave me this really unique opportunity for my sex education. Because of the sex party community, I get to watch more people have sex than most people on this planet. Evidence-based learning is great. If you see someone doing something that works, you can really nerd out and learn all about it.”
Now, you can find Kenneth hosting sex parties, teaching play labs, helping others hack their own sex lives while promoting sex positivity, doing sex tech consulting, teaching cliteracy, and SO much more.
“If you want to get fit you can hire a trainer or find a nutritionist,” but where do we turn when we want to get in touch with our sexuality, with or without a partner? “First, how do you get the right information, and second, how do you get yourself to change your behaviors.” When you want to learn about something, you just have to dive in, and this is exactly what Kenneth has done. The most important part? Education & the circulation of accurate information. “Now I’m obsessed with hacking sex education. I want to make sex education as accessible as porn, so I’ve been doing a lot of work with Porn Hub.” In fact, Kenneth partnered with Porn Hub to release their first-ever educational content. The topic? Squirting.
I think social sex is really important. How do we engage and learn from each other in a way that is safe and fun? This is the generation where this will happen more often and will be more accepted. This is the time to build the culture.
Sex parties are gatherings in safe spaces such as Hacienda in which individuals come together to explore sexuality, have fun, learn, interact, and grow. It was at these gatherings that Kenneth became fascinated with female ejaculation, something he is widely recognized for now.
“Joining the community, the first thing I wanted to do was learn everything I could. The one thing that I spent a lot of time learning was squirting. I went out and I asked everyone that I saw doing it and learned all of the different methods. I have a way of deconstructing things to take away all the non-essentials to simplify things. Once I started doing it consistently, people started asking me how and I got asked to teach a class, after that, I just fell in love with it. That’s when my business partner Andrew approached me and asked me to start-up a community.”
Not only is Kenneth throwing parties, swingers events, teaching and curating, he’s ending the taboo around sex parties. Ending the shame over attending and stopping the uncomfortable, frightening, and mysterious nature and turning sex hacking and parties into a concept that sounds absolutely intriguing and certainly worth celebrating. It’s the core of education that will end stigmas.
Many young individuals look to porn to learn about sex and, as Kenneth elegantly put it:
learning about sex from porn is like learning how to drive from the Fast and the Furious.
With a goal of helping as many individuals as possible obtain an immersive educational experience, Play Lab was born where people come to learn, play, and celebrate sex. The experiential learning model incorporates a TED Talk-like lecture, a live demo with a co-teacher, and participants get to try the methods with a partner- who they have brought.
Kenneth also receives referrals from therapists and psychologists of whom which he will do a “private Play Lab” with a couple. “The biggest problem with sexuality in two-person long-term relationships is that people often believe their sex has merged together, that they have one sexual relationship between them. I like to remind them instead to think of it as two separate sexual relationships: Their individual sex lives and sex life they’ve chosen to partner.” In these sessions he will speak with them, run them through a pleasure mapping process, unlock their kinks and pleasure points, teach them methods and often, he will bring in a co-teacher to demonstrate with.
“Sometimes you only need to discover one thing that does it for you and just build on it. It’s sort of like the first time you ever masturbated and you go ‘oh my god! What just happened?’ I usually like to help people find that moment. Once you find it, there are things to play with for a while.” He believes it’s all about “teaching people how to play the game so that they can both win.”
As you know, Kenneth Play focuses a great deal on female pleasure. “On the women’s side, because of the extreme lack of sex ed, we are left with a huge orgasm gap. My goal has been to get out there and increase men’s “cliteracy” and focus on female pleasure.”
Cliteracy is exactly what it sounds like: teaching men to understand the female body and the female orgasm to the furthest possible extent. He explained to us that men and women masturbate in very different ways. Men learn what feels good for them, and this translates directly into penetrative sex, but this is not always the case for women, which is why it is SO important to teach men about the different ways in which women can orgasm, what feels good for them, and all of the intricacies in between.
Wikipedia says it perfectly: Sex technology also called Sextech, is technology, and technology-driven ventures, designed to enhance, innovate and disrupt in every area of human sexuality and human sexual experience. Sex Tech is what we live and breathe, we are thankful and inspired by all things that emerge from the wonderful industry, and for people like Kenneth who are on the ground floor.
Kenneth is now doing sex tech consulting in the way that he and his community and sex tech providers in creating the best possible products for the consumer. For instance, how can a company who makes vibrators know that their product is the best it can be without having individuals actually try it and give feedback? Kenneth invites companies such as these to bring their products to play labs and experience their products with real people and real experiences. One toy will not work for all types of vaginas, for instance, so it’s necessary to experiment with all sorts of bodies. This type of education and experimentation is so incredibly necessary for both individuals and innovators alike.
On top of the sex tech consulting, Kenneth is working on a special something himself. He believes that this innovation is “the future of sex, pleasure, and technology. For me, it’s all about thinking of ways to disrupt all of the things that aren’t working.” We can’t say a whole lot about what Kenneth and his team are up to, but you will all know very soon so stay tuned.
First and foremost we need to see that the system is broken, not the individual
We were curious, in Kenneth’s line of work and simply being the person he is, how does he address sex negativity? “The first thing is to respect people’s points of view – sex positive individuals tend to get on high horses and judge others. We want to work on changing the system rather than just calling people bad or making people feel wrong.” All he wants to do in these types of interactions is to understand why people feel the way they do, whether they believe the current system is benefitting them, and why. Knowledge is power, after all. “It’s about having some compassion and showing them that there are options without judging.; giving people the opportunity to examine their own thoughts, behaviors, and belief systems.”
How do we keep the movement going? “What I have found pretty consistently is that it’s really about building community and giving people access and exposure to other like-minded people. Those experiences have such a significant impact in creating a paradigm shift.”
Everyone’s different, and Kenneth feels it’s very important to keep this in mind. “I’m really lucky to live in such a super bubble. I live in a house with 14 others. The house is built for sex positivity. I live with the people who are committed to building this, so I need to constantly remind myself how privileged I am to live here and that most of the world is quite different. I just returned from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia for an adult swinger travel company, and the degree to which we have to hide our lifestyle is so much more than I would have to do in Brooklyn.”
My focus with my team is to reach the people who are right on the edge instead of just having a circle jerk with the people who agree with us already. Those aren’t the people who need the information the most, it’s the people who are lurking, who are discovering that what they know isn’t enough for them, the “pre woke” I call them. I want to be able to speak with them in a language they will hear. Just asking people questions and talking to them instead of preaching about what they should think, I want to know what they are currently thinking. What are some of their challenges? What are their desires? If you aren’t asexual, you’re likely curious and interested anyway.
Put simply, we’ve got a long way to go, but it’s people like Kenneth with ideologies like his that will make significant changes. It is in no way about judging others, calling others out, or creating tension rather, quite the opposite. Simply being who we are, loud and proud is enough. It shows individuals that there are options out there, that conversations, safe spaces, and resources exist.
If you want to learn more (of course you do) check out Kenneth Play’s website, his business partner Dr. Zhana, Andrew Sparksfire, founder of Hacienda Villa, and Back to the Body women’s retreat. You will not regret it.
Wishing much love and sex positivity to all <3