Christine Chiu, wife of Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Gabriel Chiu, wanted to bring her Hollywood friends together for an exclusive night of frank sex talk and female empowerment. What she delivered on the evening of May 3 at Chateau Marmont’s Penthouse 64 was a fascinating and jarring mix of connected guests (George Clooney producing partner Grant Heslov’s wife Lysa Heslov and Aaron Sorkin’s ex-wife Julia Sorkin among them), high elegance (guests wore gowns and the glam decor was courtesy of celebrity florist Jeff Leatham) and a program that offered shocks and thrills, from seminars that discussed how successful women enjoy degrading sex to a seductive performance by striptease artist Dita Von Teese. One guest, Sarah Magness, a producer of Precious, a feature that won two Oscars in 2009, offers more details in an insider THR exclusive:
“Please arrive no later than 7:30 p.m. this evening, as Dita Von Teese will be performing” were the strict instructions from my friend Christine Chiu. The invitation — delivered with a fresh black rose and lace — hinted of extravagance for a night juxtaposing black-tie attire and diamonds with sex talk. I was nervous and excited.
At 7:15, I entered the long black and white hall of Chateau Marmont’s Penthouse 64, turned out to look like a mini New York City gala. Christine is posing for a photographer in a slinky Alexandre Vaulthier gold gown, an homage to the glamorous decor. The outdoor table setting is filled with thousands of red roses in lavish creations by Christine’s favorite floral artistic director, Jeff Leatham. Also looking around in awe with me: Lysa Heslov, the documentarian wife of George Clooney’s producing partner Grant Heslov; Julia Sorkin, power scribe Aaron Sorkin’s lawyer ex-wife; art curator Sylvia Chivaratanond; third wife of Bob Dylan, Darlene Springs; and Sydney Holland, former girlfriend to Sumner Redstone, among them.
At the table, “Ring for Sex” bells stand in as place cards as Billecart-Salmon Rosé, seemingly endless amounts of caviar and cocktail shrimp are served. We put on black Chantilly lace eye masks as instructed to preview an aphrodisiac-centered menu created by Martha Hopkins, author of Intercourses — a book of sexual recipes that have been “couples tested”— and Chateau’s executive chef Dean.
Oysters, a well-known aphrodisiac, are our first course, followed by black truffle arancini, asparagus salad, grilled striped bass and salmon with white soy-miso broth. Christine grabs the microphone and introduces us to our first speaker, Dr. Holly Richmond, a well-known “sex-pert” (with a Ph.D from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in somatic psychology) who promptly introduces us to the details of what a Los Angeles sex therapist does and does not do. I am shocked to hear people who actually do have sex with clients to improve their sexual performance, just like the 2012 film The Sessions. Other topics: orgasms (from a clinical perspective), how successful women tend to like degrading sex, what’s next in sex–tech and more (all devices can now be controlled remotely via iPhone apps).
I look around at the faces around me, which as the program progresses are flushing a bit, as we all listen intently, unsure how to behave. I overhear Christine say, “We should not be a 7 in the bedroom or an 8 in the kitchen — we have to keep ourselves at a 10, 10, 10 across the board, right?”
Next we are introduced to two young ladies who work at the Pleasure Chest, a well known sex shop that the who’s who of LA frequent in confidence. The women are not shy, nor aware of the demographics of the audience, and they proceed to go for it, shocking and awing this group of well heeled women. Medical stimulation, shock therapy, augmented sexual reality —what?! Christine interrupts the discussion with a change of venue, and I feel relief to be able to shift positions and breathe.
In the living room for Dita’s performance, there was real magic. All porcelain skin and grace, Dita captures the attention of every woman in the room — I am unable to shut my eyes, not wanting to miss a minute of her dance. In a purple glowing light matching the colors of the final rays of sunset, she slowly tantalized the ladies sitting closest to her. That waistline! I feel the sexual tension mounting in the room as woman who normally would not be attracted to a woman are clearly enjoying her perfection. It was an “I’ll have what she’s having” moment for sure. As quickly as she entered, like a fairy, she exited and the fantasy was gone.
The evening finishes with an introduction to seductive desserts that beckons even the most determined dieter. The experience, created by chef Chris Ford, started with “Foreplay,” “Discovery,” “Sensual,” “Excitement,” and concluded with “Climax” — yuzu and violet ‘oysters’ set in shells and pearlized with caviar vanilla cream — and “Satisfaction.”
While savoring each bite, our fearless sexual leaders demonstrate the proper way to spank your partner while opening a case of electric shocking devices for stimulating your partner. I am overwhelmed by the evening and what has been an eye-opening experience. It has challenged the simplicity of my sexual existence.