Elon Musk: So-called Valley sex party was just 'nerds on a couch'

Commentary: Disputing author Emily Chang's characterization of debauchery, Tesla's CEO says he's only seen mild affairs.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Sex party? What sex party? (Elon Musk is actually speaking here at an astronautical congress last fall in Australia.)

Peter Parks / AFP/Getty Images

It rained a lot in the San Francisco Bay Area this week and every time I saw a puddle in the road, I couldn't help thinking about Silicon Valley's sex parties.

As related by Bloomberg TV's Emily Chang in her forthcoming book "Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley," these parties involve libertine debauchery and something called cuddle-puddles.

It emerged from subsequent revelations from the book that one specific party described by Chang occurred at the house of Steve Jurvetson. He left venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson in November in the wake of sexual harassment allegations -- allegations which he denies.

Now Elon Musk has stepped forward to say he was at the allegedly exciting party and thought it not exciting at all.

"Emily Chang's article was salacious nonsense," he told Wired. "She conflated what happens in SF [San Francisco] sex clubs in the Tenderloin, which have been around long before Silicon Valley was anything, with boring VC parties on the Peninsula. That is misleading to the public and she should be ashamed. If there are 'sex parties' in Silicon Valley, I haven't seen or heard of one."

That's odd, because I have. 

Speaking specifically about the DFJ party, Musk added that it was "boring and corporate, with zero sex or nudity anywhere. Nerds on a couch are not a 'cuddle puddle.'"

But can't nerds be sitting on a couch and then a cuddle puddle spontaneously breaks out, as their inner algorithms get the better of them?

Neither Chang, Jurvetson nor DFJ immediately responded to a request for comment. 

However, a spokesman for the Tesla CEO told me that Musk thought it was "a corporate party with a costume theme, not a 'sex party,' and there was no indication that it would become one after he left."

How can one ever tell what will happen at a party after one leaves?

The VC firm issued an apology, reported by Recode, in which it said: "We were dismayed to learn of behavior at the party that was completely at odds with DFJ's culture, which has been, and will continue to be, built on the values of respect and integrity. We would never want anyone to feel uncomfortable and we are sorry if that happened."

Musk said he went to bed at 1 a.m., that night and witnessed nothing untoward at all.

On the other hand, entrepreneur Paul Biggar said in a Medium post that he was at the party and even though he left at 12:30 a.m. before it really kicked off, he can confirm that many of the details in Chang's depiction are accurate. 

"This wasn't billed as a sex party; it was official party [sic] of the VC firm. But we were certainly primed for it -- there was a sorta 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' thing going on," he said.

After the winks and the nudges, of course, there might come stinks and grudges. As one VC admitted to Chang, he might not want to do business with someone he'd already seen half-naked.

Biggar admits that he saw no sex and drugs. He left, he said, at 12:30 a.m. Which doesn't mean that this was a routine social affair.

"I regret being so cavalier to what I should have realized was an exploitative situation," he said.

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