Polyamory in Sydney and Melbourne is thriving. That’s what I discovered on my recent trip home to Australia. During those five months, I was lucky enough not just to dip my toes in the communities there but fully submerge myself in the queer non-monogamous joy that both these cities have to offer.
As I hadn’t been back to Australia in the four years since I started my polyamory journey (you can hear all about my story here), I was keen to see what non-monogamous life was like Down Under. So, I’m happy to share my research with you, which includes social events, dating apps, workshops, play parties and polyamory-friendly therapists in Sydney and Melbourne.
Of course, I had plenty of input from my wonderful friends in those cities too. So a huge thanks to Cassie, Jayden, Jo, Kerry and Zoe for contributing their insights to this blog and being the wonderful queer, kinky, non-monogamous beings that bring light to my life.
Have I missed a polyamory event or service people in Sydney and Melbourne should know about? Comment below and share the love.
Presented in partnership with Feeld.
Non-monogamy workshops, coaching, and therapy in Sydney and Melbourne
When you’re new to polyamory, it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming at first. There are many new terms and ways of approaching connections to learn (and so much mononormativity to unlearn). There are plenty of books and podcasts where you can seek to discover more about the world of ENM, but there is also a lot of value in speaking to other folks IRL – be that a therapist or attending a workshop to help get your journey.
Queer relationship therapist and sexologist Selina Nguyen (she/they) has created an excellent resource for all non-monogamous people in Australia with her Non-Monogamy Allied Clinician Directory. Here you’ll find a range of counsellors, therapists, and other clinicians specialising in non-monogamous relationship styles.
In Melbourne, you can also attend an intro workshop, Opening Up to Opening Up, run by the team at Curious Creatures. You’ll be hearing a bit more about CC throughout this guide as they run over thirty different workshops and events focused on consent, communication and sexual freedom, so it’s well worth checking out what they have to offer.
In exciting news, Australia’s first Feeld Social will occur in Melbourne in June 2023. This social gathering is for the Feeld community, which means there’ll be plenty of non-monogamous, kinky, queer folks in attendance, so make sure you download this dating app to attend. Hopefully, more events like this will follow.
Curious Creatures also run a monthly social event in Melbourne, primarily for polyamorous and ENM folks. Some months are apparently for the kink or trans+ communities, so always check you’re attending the right event.
Also in Melbourne, Constantly Training runs some great-sounding events at the beautiful Ceres Community Garden. They do an ENM Support Group and an ENM Men’s Circle roughly every two weeks, which is incredible.
Bisexual Alliance Victoria is very supportive of their polyam members, and they’ll sometimes run a Bi+ and polyam picnic during the summer. Dear Pluto also runs a queer speed dating event in Sydney (yes, finally, an event for NSW folks) and Melbourne each month, which openly welcomes anyone exploring polyamory or non-monogamy.
There’s also another Melbourne Polyamorous Meet-up, which I’m hesitant about including. The image they use to promote this event is very straight-presenting and sexual (which I feel is always a red flag), and it’s run by the people behind the PolyFinda app, which I’m also not a fan of. So, I suggest some caution when considering this event.
Polyamorous dating Australia
Speaking of dating apps, here are the ones I recommend for those in Sydney and Melbourne exploring polyamory.
There’s a good reason why Feeld sponsors this blog post, and that’s because it is the dating app I always recommend to my fellow polyam folks. No matter where in the world I’ve travelled, it’s always been the best way for me to connect with others in my community as soon as I arrive – and Australia was no exception.
I met many amazing people in the polyamory community through Feeld during my time in Sydney and Melbourne earlier this year. I’m still glowing from the connections, friendships and memories I made through this app during these months, so I cannot recommend it enough. It’s also great for when you’re travelling around Australia too.
Regarding other dating apps, there was a smattering of non-monogamous folks to be found on Hinge, OkCupid and #open in these cities, but most of those people I’d already seen on Feeld.
I mentioned above that I also gave PolyFinda a try while I was in Australia. As someone who considers themselves somewhat of a connoisseur of dating apps, I would say it has to be the worst one (in terms of both design and experience) I’ve ever used. It breaks my heart to think that some people might try it as their first polyam dating app because I can imagine it turning them off non-monogamy for good. So, I recommend giving that one a swerve and trying the others.
Polyamorous Facebook and Discord groups
Even though Facebook isn’t that representative of the polyamory community (as very few people under 40 use it anymore), you can still find some valuable groups for connecting with other polyamorous people in Sydney and Melbourne.
In Sydney, the main Facebook group I used was Sydney Polyamory. I found the members welcoming and happy to point me toward a full range of queer events while I was visiting. This larger group is for community chats and resource sharing, while they have a smaller Facebook group for dating posts. They also have a Discord group if that’s your preferred platform.
In Melbourne, the main group is PolyVic, where you’ll find all the information about events happening in that region. There are also many other Facebook groups for specific demographics, such queers, over-fifties, relationship anarchists and those who live in West Melbourne. Also, as I mentioned before, the Bi+ Facebook group is actively supportive of its polyam members.
Sex-positive events and services in Sydney and Melbourne
One of the amazing things about Sydney and Melbourne is the range of sex-positive events happening in each city every month. From life-drawing classes to kinky parties, it’s all about what you feel comfortable exploring. While these aren’t necessarily events for polyamorous folks, you’re almost guaranteed to meet other non-monogamous people if you go out and be social in spaces like this.
However, it’s also important to remember that not all polyamorous folks are allosexual (i.e. folks who experience sexual attraction). Asexual folks and others on the ace spectrum are also a valued part of our community.
Sex-positive stores, spaces, and services
In an age where it feels like everything is online, I was impressed to see that Sydney and Melbourne still have some great places where you can visit, buy products and find information (and community) IRL.
When my main sex toy died while I was in Sydney (RIP), I asked my followers on Instagram what was the best queer-friendly shop I should try. Everyone directed me towards Max Black, and I was not disappointed. Unfortunately, I missed checking out Sock Drawer Heroes, Australia’s first gender expression store that’s trans-owned and operated. Top tip: they’re only open by appointment on certain days, so best to message them in advance if you plan to visit.
One of the loveliest parts of queer, sex-positive life in Sydney is the nude beaches. Little Congwong is a secluded stretch of sand facing Botany Bay that is unofficially a clothing-optional space. It has also long been popular with LGBTQ+ locals, who gather here afternoons and weekends throughout the warmer months. Similarly, Obelisk Beach near Mosman is a legal nude beach with big queer vibes (but I much prefer the vibe of LC if you can be bothered to venture out that far).
Also in Sydney (and opening in Melbourne this July) is Heddon House. This “queerly-conceived, lovingly-crafted playspace and accommodation” looks lush and is available to rent by the hour or for a whole night. Plus, check out their Instagram for their bathhouse sessions.
In Melbourne, Eagle Leather is an institution that has been open for nearly 30 years. Here you’ll find leather and rubber wear alongside a wide range of toys. Passionfruit is another excellent option, which is refreshingly gender inclusive and advertises itself as “a sensuality shop for everybody.”
Sex-positive creative events
If life drawing is your thing, Sydney has some events for you. Big Thick Energy host a fat life-drawing class called Tig Ol’ Bitties. This class is inclusive of all bodies and genders and has featured nights like the Big Bellied Boyz edition. If you like getting naked along with the models, check out Magnolia’s Art Class, open to all women-identified and femme-presenting folks.
If you’re keen to learn more about intimate touch, there are plenty of workshops you can attend. Intimate Horizons in Sydney runs sessions on tantric massage, sensual touch and some rope classes. Touch Teaching in Melbourne runs in-person ‘touch experiences’ to help increase confidence around intimacy, pleasure and consent.
Curious Creatures has workshops on adventurous touch and intimacy as well as spanking, which sound like good intro sessions to kink and impact play. If you’re interested in Shibari, it’s worth checking out Ropetimes with Luke George in Melbourne and Studio Kink in Sydney.
Oz Kink Fest also runs workshops and education sessions as part of its annual showcase. You can usually join it in Sydney in March and Melbourne in October.
Sexy parties & performance nights
If there’s one thing Sydney does really well, it’s naming smutty parties. Show Us Your Tips is an amazing-looking night of pole performers that raises money for the Sex Workers Outreach Project. Big Thick Energy is so incredible (honestly, go watch their videos) that Lizzo hosted her album release party with them. Meanwhile, folks from the Sydney Polyam FB group recommended I check out the queer underwear party Leak Your Own Nudes when I was in town, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
For trans+ folks in Sydney, check out Hostage to Pleasure (hosted by Angels Only, who also run Show Us Your Tips), while trans mascs in Melbourne know how to party at Haven. Colourful queers of all rainbow flavours congregate at Unicorns, one of the most recommended parties in Naarm.
Sydney Kink Social is a dinner and drinks event with live performances every month. Silhouette in Melbourne is a dance event with kink performances (but no play spaces), while Shibari Lounge is a social event with rope shows where the tying happens only on stage.
Play parties and spaces
Melbourne has some strong parties with play spaces for queers. Trough, Homo Erotica, and the mid-winter queer fetish ball Rising Homo all mix-up dance and play in the right way. If you’re more into cruising without the party element, check out Wet On Wellington. It’s a men’s club mostly but has some more inclusive sessions, including Queer AF on Thursdays and the occasional (cringely-named) Lady Like Pink, which is open to all women and femme-presenting folks.
Speaking of women, the international members-only Skirt Club throws parties in Sydney occasionally. I also usually wouldn’t recommend checking out a swingers club (as they’re often very heteronormative and unwelcoming to bi men), but some interesting queer folks follow Our Secret Spot, so I have a feeling they might be challenging these norms.
Finally, if you enjoy some intentionality behind your play spaces, Curious Creatures have something that might pique your interest. The Practice Lab is an explicitly gender-diverse, kink-inclusive play space where you are only invited once you have attended their five-hour workshop (on a previous date). Up to 200 people attend these events, so it seems many people think it’s worth doing the prep work.
Since Hellfire Club closed its doors earlier this year, Sydney’s kink scene has lost one of its most legendary and long-running BDSM clubs, but it is still thriving. Check out queer night Extra Dirty and Sydney Kink Socials play event, Teez.
The crew at Eagle Leather are intent on making Melbourne one of the most internationally renowned fetish capitals, up there with Berlin and San Francisco. Check out their party Hanky, where you can use the traditional queer hanky code to indicate your preferences.
Folsom Down Under is another way Melbourne puts itself on the queer kink map, with this community-driven festival taking place every March. This event coincides with Oz Kink Fest in Sydney, which, as mentioned above, also happens in Melbourne each October. Throughout the year, check out their monthly BDSM play party, Provocation. For more kinky events, check out Demasque Magazine’s soirees.
Have I missed a polyamory event or service people in Sydney and Melbourne should know about? Comment below and share the love.
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