Moral Sex

City Hall Puritans crack down on sex businesses. Expect the courts to decide if the new laws are constitutional.

It is the only act of public sex during a 90-minute period at Guys and Dolls, but it probably hasn't been the only sex occurring. Four couples emerge separately from private sex rooms and leave the club.

"A lot of our members are what I call soccer mom swingers," Marcus says, "the ones you see here tonight, with two, three or four kids. They get dressed up all sexy, and they hire a sitter and come here to let loose, and then go home, rather than get a hotel room for the night."

Not everyone inside Guys and Dolls are spouses out to "let loose." As was the case at Discretions, a naked fat guy is sitting alone in a hot tub, and a lonely soul masturbates in a porn room.

The vibe at Guys and Dolls, though, is more familial than at Discretions. Most of the patrons seem to know each other and what to expect, and the place lacks Discretions' desperate, vaguely predatory atmosphere.

Then there's Impressions, a swingers' club in Sunnyslope that is the only one of the six Phoenix clubs located in a residential area.

The club's employees are lax in checking identification, and there's no membership application process.

The crowd at Impressions is at least 200 strong, and is younger, hipper and more stylish than those at the other two swingers' clubs. The deejay plays hip-hop and electronic dance music, not heavy metal.

Impressions appears to draw mainly from two demographics: young people of all sexual stripe who like to dance dirty (including strippers who apparently don't get enough dancing on the job) and older heterosexual couples, who watch, rapt, as the younger set freaks to the insistent beat of a drum machine.

A cluster of middle-aged men hovers near halls that lead to the club's "viewing rooms"--bed chambers with windows. Whenever a couple approaches a viewing room, the men troll after them. Their presence convinces each would-be exhibitionist to retreat to the safety of the dance floor.

In the city's Factual Report on swingers' clubs, officials included transcripts of zoning hearings held earlier this year, which described lurid undercover accounts of sexual shenanigans inside Impressions. (Police say they did their investigation at the Zoning Department's request.)

The hearings considered whether Impressions should be classified as an "erotic dance or performance studio," which Phoenix zoning laws define as "a business which emphasizes and seeks, through one or more dancers or other performers, to arouse or excite the patrons' sexual desires."

This was important because Phoenix zoning laws ban such establishments within 500 feet of a residence. Impressions is.

Previously, only topless and all-nude strip clubs have been classified as "erotic dance studios." For zoning purposes, swingers' clubs have been treated as private social clubs.

Zoning officials heard testimony from "Inspector Z," an investigator with the Neighborhood Services Department. The mysterious inspector--who attended the hearing in disguise--read from his report of sexual encounters inside the club:

"The two subjects, who I will refer to as Couple #1, proceeded to a stairwell north of my location and entered the southernmost glass-paneled room. I observed the male subject of Couple #1 laying on his back on the bed. The female assistant was removing the male's pants and then proceeded to mount him. After a few moments of this easily viewed sexual act, the female lifted her blouse and a white undergarment up, exposing her breasts. When this encounter was complete, Couple #1 swapped positions, with the female subject on all fours, and the male conducting sexual intercourse with her from behind. . . .

"Throughout the night/morning, the bartender, Monique, would take breaks and spend time at a table located northeast of the dance floor, occupied by several males and females. Monique spent most of her time rubbing, caressing, kissing, fondling, humping and cuddling a blonde female subject wearing a short black dress and knee-high boots. All these actions were reciprocated by the other female who, at one time, put her hand between Monique's legs, up her dress, appearing as though penetrating her. After withdrawing her hand, she rubbed it on Monique's face, allowing her to suck the blonde subject's fingers."

Inspector Z's summaries prove only that he may have a future as a pulp porn author. But Phoenix police lieutenant Larry Jacobs tells New Times it's laughable for anyone to suggest--as Impressions' owners have--that the club runs a clean ship.

"We have documented any number of illegal activities at that place," says Jacobs, who heads the department's vice squad. "It's not as if we're out to get Impressions or anyone, for that matter. What I personally think about sex clubs or whatever is irrelevant. Our job is to enforce laws, period, whatever they may be. Impressions has broken laws again and again."

Zoning officials ruled that, for its purposes, Impressions is an "erotic dance studio." The club's attorneys appealed to the City Attorney's Office, which agreed not to rule until after the council voted on the new sex laws. But since one of those laws shuts down Impressions, the exercise--short of a successful court fight--has been rendered moot.

Agent noticed another dancer who later gave us her name as 'Cat.' . . . Agent viewed this dancer sitting in the lap of the customer facing away from him. Dancer would move up and down on his genital area in a simulation of sexual intercourse. She stated, "Yee haw, ride 'em," as she gyrated up and down on his genital area.

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