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April 13, 2023 37 mins

Our story begins in 2013, with Damon Lawner penniless, jobless, and contemplating suicide. But then, one night, he watches Stanley Kubrick's film Eyes Wide Shut — ya know, with that iconic illuminati sex party scene — and he gets a spark of inspiration. He decides that his new mission in life is to launch a sex club for wealthy Hollywood elites interested in ritualistic sex. Obviously. But he has no idea what’s in store for him.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:08):
School of Humans. Sanctum Unmasked is about a sex club
and describes various sex acts. Please use discretion where and
when you listen. Okay, imagine this. You pull up outside

(00:30):
a Grand Tutor mansion in Beverly Hills. You're a little nervous,
but it's mitigated by the fact that you down two
glasses of liquid confidence before you got in the cab.
You rip the tag off a lace mask you just
bought at a shockingly overpriced laingerie store and tie the
silk ribbon around your head. You're greeted at the door

(00:53):
by two topless Amazonian women. One of the women dawns
a pin that says fuck me, the other spank me.
They confirm you've been preapproved by the club's overlords, aka
they check your name off the guest list, and then
they confiscate your phone. As you walk inside, the whole
place is dimly lit with red light. Everyone's anonymous under

(01:15):
their masks. Wandering through the opulent mansion full of roughly
one hundred guests, you see that the beds, chairs, or
really just any stable objects are covered in various incarnations
of people fucking a threesome, maybe a foursome, whatever. In
the bedroom, there's a guy with the biggest dick you've
ever seen, lying on a bed, with a literal line

(01:37):
of women waiting to give the thing their best dry.
In the living room, a row of naked women are
being auctioned off to the crowd, like literally. An auctioneer
asked one of the women to do a little spin.
Various men in tuxes place their bids. Five K, eight K.

(01:58):
She's sold for eleven. The auctioneer tells the happy customer, Congratulations,
Claudia will be your devote for the evening. You're like,
is this really happening, slash, what the fuck is a devotee?
Suddenly you hear monks chanting from somewhere. A man in

(02:18):
a crown of horns leads a woman out on a
leash and straps her down on top of a grand
dining table, and what appears to be the beginning of
some cult human sacrifice. Your date whispers in your ear,
I think this might actually be worth the ten grand
it costs to get into this place. This place is
called Sanctum, and it's often referred to as the most

(02:41):
elite sex club in the world. The first time you
go to a Sanctum. It's like walking into a private, victorious,
secret catalog runway party. Everything's very dark, red light. It
just feels like like a sexual heaven. I guess if
people are paying over ten thousand dollars to go, you

(03:03):
feel expectations. That is what was the most extreme to
me was the auctioning off of the girls. In the end,
it was just eyes wide shot that you could go
to yourself, but that was a powerful image for people.
Sanctum was founded in twenty thirteen by a man named
Damon Launer. When he conceived the club, he was a

(03:24):
million dollars in debt, struggling to keep his family afloat.
He was walking to work with actual holes in issues
like a cartoon character, down on his luck, and just
a few years later people were paying him hundreds of
thousands of dollars to get into his exclusive, debaucherous masquerade parties.
Sanctum became a playground for the rich, the famous, and

(03:45):
those hot enough to be hanging out with the rich
and famous. The La club hosted a list guests including
various billionaires, politicians, athletes, and celebrities. At its peak, the
most expensive yearly membership to Sanctum was sold for four
hundred and twenty five thousand dollars, which sounds fully insane

(04:06):
to me, but I guess if you're a billionaire, it's
chump change. For context, other popular sex parties at the
time tended to cost like fifty bucks. You could sometimes
even bring your own alcohol. Believe me, I was there
at various Brooklyn warehouses with mattresses on the floor and
complimentary bowls of condoms and lube. I'm not saying those
parties weren't fun, they were just, you know, different. So

(04:30):
how did this all happen? How does a man go
from being supremely broke to running an elite Hollywood sex party.
In this podcast, we're going to explore the story of
Sanctum and how it grew to become the most exclusive
and most expensive sex party of our time. But at
the center of this story is Damon. Sanctum was his

(04:51):
perverse American dream, but he would ultimately realize that his
dream of sexual liberation would come with a price. There
were times when I felt like I was on a throne,
like beyond a forty something man's wild to dreams, and
I also lived a nightmare. A lot of times too,
because along with that came just this unbridled ego and

(05:14):
excess and feeding of all of my demons and all
of my darkness, and a celebration of it. People loved
me for it. Welcome to Sanctum Unmasked. I'm your host,
Carle shortinout. So you might be wondering who is this

(05:39):
bitch and why is she qualified to talk to me
about sex parties? Ballot, Well, I'm a writer. I write
about relationships for Vogue magazine. I made a documentary series
about sexual taboo for Vice, and I also wrote a
book called slut Ever, which is about well sluts basically,
so that seems relevant here. Also, I've just been curious

(06:01):
about Sanctum for years. Looking into Sanctum open up so
many conversations about things that I personally find really interesting,
about money and power and how those things relate to sex,
about nominogamy, about the messy nature of consent and boundaries,
about sex work. I mean, let's be real. If you're

(06:22):
spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get
into an event, I imagine you might expect some party favors.
What's it like to be in a space. That's whole
point is to give you permission to explore your darkest
fantasies and most transgressive impulses, but at the same time
is elitist like, it's purposely not for everybody. It's the

(06:45):
Burkein of sex parties. I guess you could say, to
look into these subjects. We're going to talk to everyone
from the club's erotic performers to the guests who partied there,
to the people who got paid to fuck there. You know, allegedly,
we'll get a nuanced look at what goes on within
this so called secret society, from the hot to the
problematic to the truly bizarre. It's going to be hard

(07:09):
to believe that the same people that run this country,
the politicians, the police officers, the people who make the
movies that you watch, the people who make the cars
that you drive, that these people were in my club
fucking their brains out. That's Damon. Of course, Damon ran

(07:30):
sanct him from its conception through its heyday until he
finally sold the club to new management in twenty nineteen.
He talks about sex in this way that's so full
of awe and childlike wonder. It sounds nice in a way,
though I admittedly sometimes can't help feeling a little embarrassed
by how utterly sincere he is. Damon's in his early fifties,

(07:51):
but he reads younger in both looks and temperament. He's
classically handsome, a former model actually, with chiseled features and
a thick head of dark hair. He dresses sort of
like a hippie guru by way of Beverly Hills, often
wearing these flowy silk matching top and pant suits that
look like or might actually be pajamas. Demons had an

(08:14):
interesting life. The trajectory looks like an e k G machine.
Think rags to riches, them, back to rags again, rinse
and repeat. He met his wife, Melissa, a model and
aspiring actress, back in the late nineties. She was eighteen
at the time he was twenty six. They felt madly
in love and were instantly attached at the hip. They

(08:35):
were Damon and Melissa one word, as he tells it. Together.
They built a pretty nice life for themselves. They had
a beautiful home in la They started a family. They
were the couple you wanted to be. And then well,
remember that whole global financial crisis thing. Yeah, that happened,

(08:56):
and I lost fucking everything, the home, two cars, a
restaurant that I owned, a business that I had started,
Like I was a million dollars in debt, and we
were like living this lifestyle that I thought was all good,
but it all came crashing down. That's Melissa of Damon

(09:16):
and Melissa. I remember one night we were coming back
from dinner and there's this dude in our driveway like
wanting to repo his Porsche. It's like unraveling a little string,
and I was like, oh, we're about to have our
house repossessed. Like we were at that level, and I
just really didn't know to use a phrase that maybe

(09:36):
sounds cliche. Melissa is a truly radiant person. She has
this contagious smile and a statuesque beauty. She's a kind
of person that strangers just straight upstair at and she
has a really optimistic outlook on life, Like even in
two thousand and nine when the bank repossessed all of
their assets, she somehow found a way to stay positive.

(10:00):
I'm like definitely a solution based person, and I just
like Tredge forward and so as he so all of
these stressors and all of these pivots. We were just
always doing it together. I don't know any it was stressful.
In an effort to escape their seven figure debt, Damon
and Melissa moved to Bali to live with Damon's dad

(10:20):
and ended up staying there for a few years. I
promise I'll get more into that part of the story
in a later episode. It's very strange and involves Damon
being kidnapped by the Indonesian mafia, but it's too complicated
to get into that right now. Anyway, cut to twenty thirteen,
Damon and his family are back in la and things

(10:41):
aren't much better for them. He's out of work with
no other options. Damon, Melissa, and their two young daughters
move in with Melissa's mother into her small Beverly Hills
apartment and they begin rebuilding. We had to declare bankruptcy,
you know. We had to finally face our debt, which
was almost a million dollars of debt. We stayed at
my mom's house and Damon and I lived literally her kitchen.

(11:06):
Damon was so upset, and he was like a two
year old. He was not happy about it. He would
bitch about it when he wasn't having a tantrum. Damon
was spending his days searching endlessly for a job, but
according to him, he was essentially unhirable. He'd never had
a quote, real job before in his life, and it
showed on his resume. He'd gone from being a model

(11:28):
to a musician to investing in restaurants and energy drinks,
and now he was trying to rebrand himself as a
normal person and it wasn't working. I was in a
place of total desperation and I didn't know how I
was going to make a dollar. I applied for jobs
everywhere I possibly could, all the way down to a

(11:49):
parking attendant in Beverly Hills, and I tried to get
a fucking regular job. But I'm in my forties and
I don't have a resume. Like I was desperate and
in that space of not having really many options, and
believe me when I say I exhausted all of them.
He did not get the parking attendant gig. By the way,
despite their shitty circumstances, Melissa still felt like they could

(12:12):
get through it if they stuck together, which is what
they'd always done in the past. Love conquers all, even
when you're a million dollars in debt, right, Even in
those times, I was his biggest supporter, like he who
was my person? Really he was my person. That was it.
But Damon remembers this time a little bit differently. At

(12:35):
that point, she was not interested in really like having
sex or being romantic. But when you're just a fucking
loser like I had become, I don't know, your wife
doesn't really look at you the same way. I mean,
it's nothing on her like I get it, you know,
I get it. I was losing my fucking mind at
that point, and it was like, you know, suicide or

(12:55):
I don't know. After the break, Damon goes from broke
family man to aspiring sex god and somehow Tom Cruise
is involved. So Damon's obviously in a really rough place,

(13:27):
no money, no confidence, no idea what to do next.
But then late one night things take an unexpected turn.
Damon can't sleep, so he puts on a movie Eyes
Wide Shut. Given that you listener are the sort of
person who's listening to a podcast about a sex club,
there's a good chance you've seen this movie or at

(13:48):
least know what it's about. But if you're Unfamiliar Eyes
Wide Shut is Stanley Kubrick's iconic nineteen ninety nine films
starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. In it, they play
a married couple struggling with fidelity. They're sort of asking
themselves is this all there is to life? And then
one evening, Tom Cruise sneaks his way into what is

(14:10):
essentially an Illuminati sex party held by an unnamed secret society. Basically,
a group of the world's most powerful men gather together,
don cloaks and masks and have ritualistic sex with a
bunch of masked, impossibly hot models while listening to ominous
chanting chic. In this clip, Tom Cruise arrives at the

(14:34):
epic Victorian mansion where the party is held, and you
get a sense of how seriously they take this whole
secret society thing. Good evenings, passwords, Fidelia, thank you sir.
He then discovers a room full of hooded men in
Venetian masks, watching as a group of women ceremoniously undress

(14:58):
and then offer themselves up to the men, and in
what is one of the most notorious sex scenes in cinema,
Tom Cruise wanders through the mansion, watching an awe as
the gathering transforms into an orgy that's glamorous but also
has a distinctly evil vibe. People are fucking like crazy
everywhere on top of marble tables and grand pianos, while

(15:22):
others watch them with an eerie detachment. If you haven't
seen the film, you should. It's epic, great Christmas movie. Anyway,
the film deeply resonated with Damon, having been in a
pretty sexually conventional, nearly twenty year monogamous relationship at this point.
The themes of the movie triggered something in him, and suddenly,

(15:44):
after months of feeling aimless, he gets a major spark
of inspiration his Thomas Edison light bulb moment. Here he
is recalling how he felt after watching the film. It
was intriguing to me because they were talking about like
do we fantasize about another life? Do we fantasize about
other partners? And then he makes his way to this

(16:04):
unbelievable secretive party and everyone is dressed and it's in
this mansion and people are fucking and just like really
going for it, like really seeking pleasure and then getting
a chance to explore a world that is so far
removed from the world that I lived in. I mean
it was inspiring, really, it was inspiring, and I just

(16:26):
assumed that there was nothing like that I would ever
get invited to. I'm just a loser, you know, living
in an apartment with my wife and kids, just trying
to get by. Now. I think probably most hornymen on
the planet and plenty of horny women too, watched that
now infamous sex party scene and thought, WHOA, that's crazy.
I wonder if something like that actually exists. Damon on

(16:48):
the other hand, thought, WHOA, that's crazy. I'm going to
make something like that exist. I had made a decision
to really set myself free to think, like what would
I really want if I could have anything? And so
I allowed myself to have this dream. And dream was Sanctum.
It was this opulent sex club where people were just

(17:11):
free to explore and and fuck and have fun. And
there would be celebrities and billionaires there and we'd all
be in tuxedos and it would be this like eyes
wide shut, majesty. I mean, every man has that sort
of sense at some time of their life that you
get to this point where it's like you think is

(17:32):
this all there is am I only going to be
having sex with this one woman the rest of my life.
That's Mike Sager, the award winning journalist. If you've seen
Paul Thomas Anderson's iconic film Boogie Nights, which again you
freaks probably have, well, that was inspired by an article
microte Mike followed Damon around for a few months back

(17:53):
in twenty sixteen during the peak of Sanctum success for
an article in Esquire magazine. Men have fantasies, and you know,
usually people don't like carry them out. So that's what's
cool about Damon. It's like he represents the guy who
like dreams what we all dream, you know, dream about it.
If you've been in this long relationship and maybe you're

(18:13):
not getting it as much as you wish, but you're
just maybe you're too nice or too moral to like
have affairs, which some people do. All credit to Damon
actually taking this outrageous idea, like stroke fantasy, if you
really want to call it that, and he actually makes
this thing where people are paying him to come more

(18:34):
and more money. So I asked, Mike, why do you
think Damon was uniquely able to do that? I'm not
a shrink. But there's a little bit of what society
might call narcissism involved. To believe you can pull something
off like that, he has the grandiosity to sort of
blunder forward, And so Damon blunders forward. After his nightive

(18:58):
eyes wide shut, inspo he puts on his metaphorical thinking
cloak and gets to work. He starts wandering the streets
thinking thoughts Zoolander style, and he finds his inspiration in
the most unlikely of places, Beverly Hills. I would walk
around Beverly Hills, and I'd see all these very wealthy
people searching for their thing. They were all looking for something.

(19:20):
The woman was looking for a crocodile ermes bag that
was going to cost her hundred thousand dollars. The man
was looking for a gold watch with diamonds all in
it that was going to cost him a half million dollars.
Maybe there is sad and confused and searching as I am,
even though they're driving Ferraris. So I've got this idea
like I could offer them this night of like sex

(19:42):
and exploration and freedom. Talking to Damion about how this
all began, I kept thinking, God, what must have been
his wife's reaction to her broke, flailing husband coming down
the stairs one morning and saying, hey, honey, I figured
out how to solve all of our problems. I'm going
to throw a sex party. So I asked her. I

(20:04):
was like, this is the crazy idea ever? This is awesome.
I loved it. It was sexy, but it was refined
and it was beautiful, and it was, you know, just
touching on this taboo subject of sex and couples and sexuality,
and that very much interests me. Wow. Okay, not what

(20:28):
I was expecting. So now Damon has the support of
Melissa and his artistic inspiration, so it's time to actually
make this idea a tangible reality. But like, how does
one go about starting an Illuminati sex party? Anyway, as
we do, you go on the internet and you're like
Secret Society, Skull and Bones, you know, Mason's and I

(20:50):
just pulled from them. I pulled language straight from them.
I think the Mason said, the grand object of masonry
is the enlightenment of the human I don't know, I
don't but it was very close. The grand object of
sanctum is the eroticism of the human race. I just
pulled from all this stuff and just you know, I
was just winging it. So now Damon has his mission

(21:13):
statement to create an elite society with the quest for
sexual enlightenment. Sounds simple enough, and he decides on a name, Sanctum,
meaning a private, sacred, and exclusive place. Straight to the point.
Now it was time to share Sanctum with the world.
So where does one go when they want to create

(21:35):
a secret society of wealthy Hollywood elites interested in ritualistic sex. Facebook? Duh.
You know it was twenty thirteen when we come back
how to effectively use Facebook to start your sex cults

(21:55):
and other important life skills. Damon's ready to share his
big idea with the world. Remember this is twenty thirteen.

(22:18):
Sites like Twitter and Instagram are growing in popularity, but
Facebook is still the most widely used social media platform
at the time. So naturally it's the perfect place for
Damon to start advertising his sex goal or you know,
whatever you want to call it. I started it with
a Facebook page and they had Facebook ads, and I
saw that you could target to someone who's making a

(22:39):
million dollars or more. You can target to age demographics,
you can target to locations like Beverly Hills making a
million dollars or more. You know, forty years old or older.
I basically created like a fake secret society on Facebook,
of all places. For the Facebook page, he gathered a
bunch of sexy and sophisticated black and white photos of

(23:00):
beautiful women posing playfully in high end laingerie. Some had
a light fetish vibe, like women spanking each other with
riding crops. Stuff like that. Think Helmet Newton or Ellen
Vaughn Unworth. And he paired the imagery with vaguely pagan
sounding language. One might call his overall aesthetic spiritual slut chic.

(23:22):
But the Facebook page had little actual information, partly to
create mystique, but also partly because he was short on specifics. Basically,
the ad just specified that it would be a black
tie masquerade at a secret location. Secret location, of course,
because he didn't have a location to be clear. At
the time, Damon was kind of running a scam, some

(23:44):
mix of fake it till you make it and just
straight up selling people tickets to something that didn't exist.
But anyway, the Sanctum Facebook page specified that you had
to apply to be accepted into the secret society in
planer terms, you had to send Damon a link to
your profile so he could assess how hot you are.
After all, secret societies don't just let an any random

(24:06):
off the street. My earliest application process, I don't know.
At that point in LA you could just go to nightclubs.
There was no application. It was like a new thing,
and it was a cool thing. It made people feel like,
oh wow, like you have to apply to get into this,
Like this is something special, this is something secretive. If
you made the cut, a ticket to the event cost
one hundred dollars, or you could pay fifteen hundred dollars

(24:28):
for a membership, knowing only that members would have access
to an unspecified erotic performance on the night of the party.
To Damon's surprise, the Facebook page actually worked. I remember
selling that first membership and I couldn't believe it. It
made me feel like this could actually happen. This is
resonating with someone enough out there that they were willing

(24:50):
to just go on to this random page with nothing
but a symbol and send a fifteen hundred dollars PayPal
to me for something that didn't even have an address,
that didn't even exist. And I was like, holy fuck,
this might work. The event sold out. Damon can't remember
the exact numbers, but he sold somewhere around two hundred

(25:11):
tickets at one hundred dollars and eight memberships at fifteen
hundred dollars. From the sales, he had enough money to
throw a real event. Now he just had to figure
out what the fuck this event would actually be. At
this point, the idea wasn't to throw a full blown
sex party. It was more of a sexy party. Here's
Melissa retelling the club's concept. It was like sexual performance

(25:34):
art that was constructed with different characters in different scenarios
for your viewing pleasure. Men in tuxedos and women elegantly
dressed in cocktail attire or laingdreie their choice, while you
drinking the best champagne. And I would do like big

(25:55):
spreads of like tracouterie boards and like make it feel
like you're in someone's home at a dinner party. Beautiful food,
glorgeous flowers, every wear on every table, candles like it.
Just it felt beautiful and it was something too, you know, experience,
essentially a spectacle for the senses. It was to feel

(26:19):
elevated but also erotic and just like a nice white shot.
Everyone would be anonymous under their masquerade masks. Of course,
the one thing Damon was certain of was that he
wanted the night to include a live sexual performance of
some kind. Trying to find performers sex performers impossible. In
twenty thirteen, I was calling porn agencies and they're like,

(26:40):
you want to do a live sex performance in front
of Like, no, that's not what we do, and we're
not going to send our girls there. I mean, I
know there's been done in Amsterdam. It's not like a
brand new concept, but LA and people were like, what
the fuck are you talking about. Another complication was that
even if he could find people to bang in front
of an audience, it's pretty hard to sell this idea

(27:01):
to nightclub owners considering that it's, you know, fully illegal
to casually have sex in a bar. So Damon had
to get creative about finding a place to meet his
particular needs. I'm wandering Beverly Hills. I see this black
leather door on Beverly Drive. I'm not kidding, a black
leather double door, tufted black leather, and it was like

(27:25):
embossed black leather, embossed alligator skin. And I just kind
of pushed the door and it opened, and there's a
stairway leading down, and I'm like, huh, fuck it. And
I walked down the stairs. And when I walked down
the stairs, somehow underground in Beverly Hills, in the center
of all of it is this weird ass nightclub. This

(27:48):
weird ass nightclub was run by a giant Russian guy
with gangster energy. It had one star on Yelp. Conveniently,
because Sanctum's location would be kept secret until the night
of the event, the club's reputation didn't really matter. Damon
felt this place could be perfect, so he tells the
gangster guy, I want to throw a ticketed black tie

(28:09):
masquerade here. And the guy's like, you are totally crazy
to think that people will pay to get into this place,
but go for it. The club is failing anyway. The
one caveat Damon told the guy was that he needed
to curtin off a private area for some VIP entertainment.
And he's like, well, what kind of entertainment? And I said,

(28:30):
you know, the cabaret, like you're saying and he was like, okay,
it's nothing sexual, and I said, no, no, nothing sexual.
He said, because I could lose my liquor license. So
I gave him my word, knowing that of course I
was going to do something. I had to give my
members something, I had to deliver on that promise, and
now I had my venue. Now it's finally the night

(28:50):
of the first Sanctum event, Damon and Melissa dressed up
the venue beautifully with candles and flowers and red lighting.
Guests arrived dressed to the nines as required, in tuxes
and cocktail dresses and of course a masquerade mask. So
the night of the event, it's pouring rain and I've
got you know, guys with umbrellas. You know, it couldn't

(29:13):
have been any more perfect. The storm outside added to
this feeling of like where are we? What is this?
And the mood was very People just seemed turned on.
I noticed people starting to touch each other. I noticed
people starting to get into this vibe of wow, like
this is a really special place where we can kind

(29:35):
of do what we want to do. I took cell
phones away, you know, I did all that stuff from
the very first party to make it feel very private
and very like this is our little world. Finally, it's
time for the erotic performance. There's about a dozen people
snuggled up in this makeshift members only area. Remember these
were the people that paid fifteen hundred dollars to see

(29:56):
the live sex show, and the rest of the guests
were just left drinking and feeling jealous. I guess I
remember that feeling in the room. Everyone was looking around
because no one even knew if this was real to begin,
and then being like, fuck, do you have a membership?
And this one guy actually walked up to me on
the night and I'll never forget to see either. This says,

(30:16):
how do I get in there? I so, well, it's
a fifteen hundredllars membership and he just pulls fifteen hundredllars
out of his pocket and hands it to me, and
it was like, what is going on? So Damon was
able to secure two erotic performers by the way, after
calling basically every porn agency in LA with no success,
he found a lesbian couple on Craigslist who were interested

(30:37):
in exploring their exhibitionist streak and up for the challenge.
Damon and Melissa had rented a giant birdcage and dressed
the two women up as exotic birds with feathers and
full body pain and other than that, the girls were
sort of just winging it. I had given them sort
of basic instruction, like what I want is not a

(30:59):
porn show. What I hope to achieve is that you
guys forget we're here, and you make love. Don't pay
attention to us. I will make sure no one touches you.
The girls start kissing in the birdcage and they crawl
out one by one onto the ottoman and they start
just i mean making love with each other and it's

(31:19):
like no one's speaking. There was a feeling of reverence
that we were watching something that was beautiful and was powerful. Remember,
Damon had explicitly promised the Russian gangster guy that he
would not have his performers doing anything sexual, and now
these girls are fully fucking looks. The owner of the

(31:42):
club comes in with his own security guard and he
looks at me, and I was like, oh fuck. And
I just thought that he was going to come over,
and I thought he was going to knock me out,
and he's gonna end this show. This ends everything for me.
I'm nobody, I'm nothing again. The dude didn't knock Damon out,
Thank god. Instead, he did something pretty surprising. He walks

(32:06):
over to me. He's like, I'm not going to stop this.
This is incredible, and he watches the show with us.
Him saying that to me made me realize at that moment,
there was no way to stop this. What began as

(32:27):
a crazy late night idea soon blossomed into a wildly
successful business, and over the coming years, Sanctum would be
commonly referred to as the most elite sex party in
the world, and as the founder of the club, Damon
would become famous in his own right, known as the
man who curated exclusive sexual experiences for the extremely wealthy.

(32:48):
How lucky, for the one percent, there was no party
like that for them. There was parties where you would
spend like fifty bucks to get in. There was no
application process. Anyone could show up. That was the offering.
This is a sex party, and it's gonna be kind
of stinky, and beds are going to be covered in plastic.
There's gonna be some towels and some condoms and some lube.

(33:09):
You know, Welcome to the sex party. And when I
sold that four hundred and twenty five thousand, our membership
was like the entire paradigm of what this was has
completely shifted, and no one else. I don't think we'll
ever be able to do that. To me, Sanctum represented
the high consumerism that really is like become the religion

(33:34):
of our society. That's the journalist Mike Sager. Again, it's
kind of like consumerism as the religion. Celebrities are the
Greek gods and goddesses, and I think Damon just represented
this culmination of seeking the high end. In the end,

(33:54):
it was just eyes wide shot that you could go
to yourself. But that was a powerful image for people
to state the unfortunately obvious. We live in a society
that largely treat sexually adventurous people as deviant slut trash.
We are bad at talking about sexual exploration without a
healthy dose of shame. Demon created Sanctum as a rebellion

(34:19):
against the status quo, with the dream of creating a
place where people could be sexual without judgment, himself included.
And as we'll see, his eyes were opened by the
world that he created, but he saw more of himself
than he might have liked. I was kind of asking myself, like,

(34:39):
why was I willing at that moment to give up everything?
For this idea of this sex club, and I decided
that nothing was going to stop me from this journey
that I felt that I needed to go on. And
I just say to myself, I'm going to do this

(35:00):
no matter what the cost, even my own family. At
the cost of my own family, it's so fucked up,
you know, it really is. Ultimately, what I want to
know is what happens when you shed societal expectations and

(35:21):
just unapologetically pursue personal sexual freedom. What do you gain
from that? And does there have to be a cost?
This season on Sanctum Unmasked, you spent fifty thousand dollars
to join, and I think it was kind of a
given that, you know, you'd go to the party and
Damon would have a girl for you. We're living in

(35:42):
Beverly Hills, living that kind of domesticated lifestyle all the while,
on the down low, my husband runs this naughty as
sex club. Damon wanted more, he kept wanting more, and
I was wearing a lot of problems. Lie In my opinion,
I was a liar, I was hiding things. I was

(36:03):
a really fucked up, fuck up individual. See you Slut's
next week and don't Forget Your mask Sanked Him Unmasked
is a production of School of Humans and iHeart Podcasts,
hosted and written by me Carl Shortino. Edalye's Perez is
our lead producer and story editor. Amelia Brock is our

(36:25):
senior producer. Sound design, scoring and mixing by George Hicks.
Original music composed by Jesse Niswanger, fact checking by Austin Thompson.
Logo illustration by Linda McNeil. Clay Hillenburg is our recording engineer.
Recorded at iHeart Studios in Los Angeles, California. Executive producers
are Nick Stump, Jason English, Virginia Prescott, Brandon Barr, Elsie Crowley,

(36:47):
and me Carl Shortino. If you're enjoying the show, help
us get the word out by leaving a rating in
your favorite podcast app. You can keep up with Damon
on Instagram. He's at Father Damon. See you next week.
School of Humans
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