KUALA LUMPUR – Interviews are traditionally conducted with both participants keeping their clothes on throughout. So when an interviewee starts stripping halfway through, it shocks even the most hardened reporter.
Maybe such behaviour should have been anticipated in an interview about habitually promiscuous Malaysians.
But spontaneous disrobing and other titillating behaviour are more likely to be believed of Bangkok than KL, where modesty is still assumed to be the norm.
Still, Malaysia has some surprising sex secrets, including strangers getting together through social media for orgies.
Sex parties regularly feature in the Malaysian news although such reports are mostly about police raids at orgies where drugs are used, which is to be expected given the country’s strict anti-drug laws.
Despite the heavy scrutiny by the police, sex parties, whether for men and men or men and women, with or without drugs, are alive and kicking in Malaysia. And apparently, it’s not that difficult to find them if you know how.
Ahmad (not his real name), a gay, knows how. He enjoys sex parties and occasionally hosts them. Having lived in Penang, Perak and now in the heart of KL, he has seen all sorts of fun.
He said he has never been caught in police raids at these parties. He puts this down to careful planning.
He first started sex-partying when he was 25. Now 32, he has amassed a network of casual sex partners and friends-with-benefits on social media sites. Something like keeping an old-time Little Black Book.
Ahmad told FMT that Twitter and social networking apps like WeChat and WhatsApp are easy ways of sourcing sex, outperforming more traditional ways like trying to hook up in bars or clubs.
He is also active on dating apps to find sex partners to add to the list of attendees at his parties. Video calls can be made on these apps and sometimes he posts recordings of himself to grab attention.
He is concerned, however, with his privacy. “Having your photos used by others is common on apps. Some people have recorded my videos but so far my stuff has not gone viral or been used against me.”
He doesn’t put this down to just luck. “I’m not hot. Your tapes only go viral if you’re sexy,” he said with a shrug.
The type of party Ahmad frequents ranges from modest threesomes in anonymous apartments to sex with multiple people in one of their houses. Top end orgies feature up to 30 participants in luxury hotel suites.
“Only my hot friends arrange those high-end parties. If I organise them, no one will come,” Ahmad explained to FMT, bursting into laughter.
“My parties are mostly just threesomes, but I have foursomes a few times a year,” he said. “Usually not more than that.”
Ahmad is a small, shy, soft-spoken man. So it came as a surprise when he whipped off his shirt after FMT asked for permission to take his picture.
The gay sex parties he goes to, Ahmad explained, involve mostly some old and some young men. He does not know them personally, having only liaised with them via social media.
Anonymity is an important part of these parties, “I’ll only go if I don’t know those attending because I don’t want them to know it’s me.”
Partygoers sometimes wear hooded masks to hide their identity before going in, he explained. Some may even take off their masks once the party is underway if they are comfortable with revealing their identity.
Security and privacy are also vital in these days of smartphones, and attendees must leave their phones in a locker.
Inside, the lights are dimmed, drinks served, and the music plays softly as the real fun begins. Not everyone is there to take part though, he says. There are people who come just to watch.
However, even the voyeurs have to cough up the entry charge to some parties. This is usually around RM50 and includes light refreshments. Parties generally last from 10pm to 3am, and light drug use is optional, he said.
Sex parties in Malaysia for specific seasonal holidays such as New Year is not something that he hears about a lot.
Most of his friends will leave for Thailand for fun around this time of the year, he said.
But Ahmad has not gone for these kinds of events outside of the country as the parties, which can range for days, usually require advance notice of at least a month.
He spent this New Year in Penang. He joked that many of his former sex partners have contacted him to join in with their planned threesomes and sex parties, but he has no time.
But even if his plans for sex don’t always go his way, Ahmad still has the bathhouse and massage houses here to look forward to. They still see a lot of action and perhaps much more fun come New Year’s Day.
Ultimately, Ahmad is still happy having incognito sex with strangers. He acknowledges this is risky but he says he undergoes regular HIV screenings.
However, he sounds a contrary note by admitting that he sometimes has sex without a condom. He is well aware of the health dangers of this for everyone involved but says he simply prefers it this way.