“Uh, how often do you change the sheets?” my boyfriend asked the proprietor, gesturing to a dish-sized puddle atop a bed on the second floor of a bar that hosts swingers events, which cater to couples interested in swapping partners. “Sheets? We don’t have sheets!” he responded. He pointed to a can of Lysol and a roll of paper towels perched atop a wooden ledge. “You just spray down the rubber covering on the bed.” I had the urge to sprint down the stairs and out into the muggy Atlanta night. But we chatted a few more minutes with the charming, funny truck-driver owner. Granted, his establishment has a certain dive-bar appeal, but I’m too OCD for that. Fortunately, it isn’t the only place for swingers in metro Atlanta. We left to go to Trapeze.
A well-known swingers club whose patrons have included the Silicon Valley actor Thomas Middleditch, Trapeze, which opened roughly 15 years ago, is located in an industrial area near Six Flags. From its satin sheets to its steak-carving station, fondant mints, and complimentary condoms, Trapeze is going for a classy, hedonist vibe.
Like most swingers clubs, Trapeze is targeted to couples and single women, with single men not allowed on Saturdays and charged a much higher entrance fee on other days. On a Friday night, a single male’s first visit could cost $175, compared to $65 for single women and $120 for a couple. Access to the couples-only VIP area costs an additional $50 on Thursday and $100 on Friday and Saturday.
Here, you won’t see a massive orgy upon entering. The large front room has a dance floor (with an obligatory stripper pole), a buffet table, and two bars. Most of the action occurs in the back, where there are two separate areas: the “diamond” club, which is only accessible with an access code and features a separate BYO bar and made-to-order food, and the general area with a bar and pool table (referred to by VIPs as “gen pop”). The general area also has a large room where you will, indeed, see up to 50 people engaged or just watching, usually in arrangements of two or three. Both sections have a number of smaller bedrooms where couples go to fool around.
It’s worth noting that Trapeze is fairly heteronormative and caters to the male gaze: The female bartenders wear thongs and low-cut bustiers while the male employees fade into the background in long-sleeved, formless black shirts and pants. A similar dress code applies to the customers: For women, it’s somewhere between day-shift stripper and horny nightclub patron. Men, on the other hand, are required to wear business-casual attire, with dress shoes and pants. By custom, men assiduously avoid even incidental contact with each other. For women, the unwritten rules are completely different; they often kiss and sometimes have sex with each other. Also, though the crowd is racially diverse, hooking up is less so.
We discovered people are exceedingly friendly, there’s no pressure to have sex (consent is taken seriously), and the food, which ranges from comfort food like chicken and waffles to upscale fare like roasted rockfish, is pretty good. No Lysol necessary.
This article appears in our September 2019 issue.