A few years ago, my husband and I started talking about swinging. It started out as curiosity and some teasing pillow talk — and slowly morphed into an ongoing fantasy.
One night — during our talk of sexy things and forbidden desires — a quick internet search led me to a Swingers Lifestyle website and our pillow talk turned into real talk.
We’d found a website with this extraordinary subculture of people who were also curious about this unique concept of monogamy. A quick scroll through the swinger database helped us realize we had work to do before bringing anyone else into our bedroom.
That very first glimpse behind the swingers curtain — we stumbled upon other’s detailed confessions that had us both blushing and realizing how vanilla we truly were.
We read bio after bio of couples casually referencing things like “ass play” and “double penetration” just before finishing up their “about us” paragraph with “family comes first — so we’re very picky about who we go on dates with!”
At first, I was a bit freaked out. Like, slow down Sally — was this for real? These people could bounce between ass-play with a stranger to family-first…all in the same paragraph?
How did they weave their sexuality and desires so seamlessly into the rest of their lives? Surely that wasn’t normal — right?
For months — we researched.
We were intrigued.
So, we spent weeks studying other swinger couples profiles — not in a creepy way I swear!
These people were confident. They were unencumbered. They were exactly who we wished we could become — sexually and otherwise.
We learned more about the language they used — which helped us define the things we’d like to try and talk about our individual and partnered hard and soft limits.
It was the first time we’d ever openly discussed our deepest sexual fantasies.
We spent hours talking about the “what if” and “how would this make you feel” — until about two months after our first visit — when we decided we were prepared to try it.
How could we not be?
We’d spent months running through every possible scenario we could think of, we’d established our ground rules, and we’d even created our own profile on the most popular swinger lifestyle website.
We were still unprepared.
Although we’re in our early 30’s — neither of us had experienced any form of “online dating.” We met at work and got married young — well before swiping right (or is it left?) was a thing.
We were hilariously unprepared for the pitfalls of online dating — much less dating a “couple.” A few of the biggest shockers included single men who posed as couples, selfies so severely filtered they looked more like alien women than real women, and men who’d hope their wives would get on board with the idea once they’d gotten the ball rolling…
Some single men love swingers.
It turns out a lot of people who sign up for swinger's websites are not who they claim to be. We were inundated with messages from single older gentlemen trying to get in on the swinger action — sans partner. This ended up being an easy fix — just turn off the setting for “single men” and the majority were filtered out.
Stop it with the filters already.
We received photo after photo in our inbox of women with digitally perfected skin, big old bug eyes, no chin, and huge pouty lips. Girlfriend, I’ve used that filter too — and no one is believing that is your real face. To combat this — we added the following to our profile — “we don’t expect perfection, but we do expect honesty!”
Men who talk their wives into it suck.
There were countless times we’d be messaging back and forth with a couple — only to realize the wife was never even part of the conversation. The guy was really into it and he was merely dragging his wife into something she wasn’t even remotely interested in.
After our third or fourth time running into this same issue — we ended up asking right away who’s idea swinging was…which typically gave us all the information we needed to know about a couple's motivation for exploring the lifestyle.
Although we may have been unprepared for the single men, filter-crazed women, and jerks who force their partners to participate that we’d met online — we were pleasantly surprised when we met the real couples at the heart of consensual non-monogamy.
What are swingers really like?
Although “swinging” and dating as a “swinger” isn’t always sunshine and rainbows — there were things we learned about this subculture that changed the way we approached almost every part of our life.
Contrary to popular belief, swingers aren’t sex-crazed weirdos who can’t be satisfied sexually — even with their supposed nightly orgies and depraved sexual thoughts.
Swingers aren’t couples who sport-screw, and they haven’t begun cheating as a desperate attempt to save their marriage.
They are just like anyone else. They look like our neighbors, friends, or co-workers. Some are accountants, doctors, sales managers, teachers, mechanics, models, photographers, nurses — they aren’t a special breed of people — they’re just like anyone else.
We found that couples who participated in the swinging community were far less dysfunctional than our friends who’d scoff at the mere mention of such “sexual deviance.”
This was pleasantly surprising and made the lifestyle even more appealing to us.
What makes swingers different?
Swingers are just like any other couple — with one critical exception: they don’t avoid talking about or exploring tough topics like boundaries, sexuality, or their unique desires as a couple and as individuals.
Couples who swing have more open dialogue than any non-swinging couple we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. They’ve recognized their need for sexual variety, fantasy, and enjoyment — and they go after it together.
For example — there are those women, like myself, who married men — but consider themselves bisexual. Swinging gives them an opportunity to explore their sexuality in partnership with their husband and another party who is interested in the same exploration.
Swinging is not cheating.
Cheaters look for ways to replace their partner — or fill holes in their relationship. Swingers are looking for ways to add connections together — not replace the ones they already have.
Many swingers we know call it a “team sport.” It’s an opportunity to strengthen their marital bond — by adding a bit of spice and variety.
Swinging is not all about the sex, either.
Swinging is more of a mindset.
It’s an openness and willingness to explore and allow those around us to explore — all while acknowledging and challenging the reality of our reactions and emotions.
Swingers are some of the best people we’ve met.
Most of the swingers we’ve met have become friends — the kind of friends you rarely have the opportunity to make as an adult.
The swinging lifestyle has rid us of our quick judgment, closed-minded opinions of marriage and sexuality, and disapproval for those different than ourselves.
All in all, becoming swingers made us better people.
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