Is Burning Man really 'just one massive orgy'?

·Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer


From photos of topless women dancing in the dust to the now infamous ‘Orgy Dome’ that sets up camp every year, it’s easy to see why people think Burning Man is all about getting your rocks off.

Unsurprisingly, after attending the nine day arts festival for myself over the last three years, the main question I’m asked by people who have never experienced it for themselves is, “Is that the festival that’s just one massive orgy?”

Cue the face palm.

While nudity is definitely a part of Burning Man life, you may be disappointed to hear it’s not the sex-fest people believe. Source: Instagram/danacakester/warrioress
While nudity is definitely a part of Burning Man life, you may be disappointed to hear it’s not the sex-fest people believe. Source: Instagram/danacakester/warrioress

Sure, you can totally get laid at Burning Man if you want.

But if you’re going there purely to get off on the sex-fuelled scenes people believe happen in the Nevada desert, then you’re going to be majorly disappointed and more importantly, totally missing the point.

The epic gathering that culminates with the symbolic ritual of burning ‘the Man’ includes daring costumes, art installations and spontaneous musical performances.

This city, built from the ground up by it’s committed 70,000 attendees, is a one of a kind community that opens your eyes and hearts to the magic of human kindness.

Not only are there no phones (there’s no signal thanks to its incredibly remote location) but the whole metropolis survives on gifting, meaning there’s no money — and definitely no trading of bodies.

Burning Man is a city built by it’s 70,000 inhabitants out in the Nevada desert — and it has a bit of a reputation for its known nudity and sex parties. Source: Getty Images
Burning Man is a city built by it’s 70,000 inhabitants out in the Nevada desert — and it has a bit of a reputation for its known nudity and sex parties. Source: Getty Images

The festival follows 10 core principals, such as decommodification — you won’t find a single brand logo here — and openly encourages attendees to freely and radically express themselves.

With such liberating freedom, there are of course many who choose to embrace their bodies and rock their birthday suits.

After all, it’s the most natural thing in the world.

But for me (and so many others) the festival is about being part of a community and connecting with others.

I don’t think I’ve ever flashed my bits or felt pressured to do so at the ‘Burn’.

This is me, being positively unsexy at Burning Man, over the last two years and definitely not flashing my bits. Soz guys. Source: Rebekah Scanlan
This is me, being positively unsexy at Burning Man, over the last two years and definitely not flashing my bits. Soz guys. Source: Rebekah Scanlan

In my normal life, I walk past countless people every day who are usually all looking down at their phones, missing out on the chance to share a moment with another person. We’re too conditioned with ‘stranger danger’ to realise there’s something beautiful in giving someone a smile.

When I first went to Burning Man in 2016, I couldn’t believe it when strangers looked me in the eye and greeted me with a friendly “good morning”. Now I love nothing more than when someone introduces themselves with a warm (and rather sweaty) hug.

It’s these encounters that make us ‘Burners’ feel human and feed our souls.

For me especially, the human connection is undoubtedly what keeps me making the 12,460kms journey every year. I’m especially grateful for every interaction I receive because they’re so rare in real life.

After my first week on the Playa (another name for the area where the festival occurs) I read a statistic that said 8 in 10 Aussies experience regular loneliness and instantly I thought to myself, ‘I know the answer’ — I found it in the desert.

There’s a lot of love and hugs on offer at Burning Man. Source: Instagram/steaknbooze
There’s a lot of love and hugs on offer at Burning Man. Source: Instagram/steaknbooze

I truly believe that if just a little of the Burning Man spirit was to trickle into everyday life, the world would be a happier place.

For me, this incredible festival is about stripping back all the bulls**t of our regular lives and simply being a person again. Talking, laughing, living…

Of course, in a beautiful environment like that romantic connections can be made and chemistry sparks.

During my first venture out there, I legit fell in love with an amazing guy from Nashville. To this day it still sounds totally crazy, but honestly, nothing is impossible in an environment filled with pure goodness.

In my opinion, the thing that keeps the 70,000 attendees coming back year after year, is the magical community spirit. Source: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/MikiBeachCamp/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Miki Beach Camp" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Miki Beach Camp</a>
In my opinion, the thing that keeps the 70,000 attendees coming back year after year, is the magical community spirit. Source: Miki Beach Camp

Should you want to find a safe space to get down and dirty with special someone, then the Orgy Dome could be an ideal place. But in my experience, you’re more likely to just go back to your tent or RV.

So I’m sorry to dash those sex-fest images that fill our newsfeeds, but in my opinion, the reason people flock from all over the world to this dusty haven is just to feel human again.

And that’s the reason Burning Man is pure magic.

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