What My Introduction Into the Swinging Lifestyle Has Taught Me About Myself and About Love.
The definition of “Swinging” courtesy of Dictionary.com:
a person or thing that swings.
Slang. a lively, active, and modern person whose activities are fashionable or trendy.
a person who indulges in promiscuous sex.
a person who engages in the exchanging of spouses for sexual activities.
Swinging seems to be the buzz these days, or maybe it’s just because I am newly aware of the lifestyle. It’s like when you buy a new car, suddenly you are hyper aware of all of the cars out there that look JUST like yours.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the definition above, there are some definite misconceptions about “swinging”, the least of which is that it means a person indulges in promiscuous sex. My opinion and definition of swinging is mine alone, and anyone can free free to disagree with me, but I’d like to tell it how I see it, and I don’t see it at all the way that the dictionary does.
It’s important for you to know that swinging can mean different things for different people. Some couples see it as an avenue to strange sex. Others might see it as an avenue to act out their fantasies in the safe company of their partners.
I’m a 30 something professional woman with a very healthy sexual appetite, and until recently I had very little outlet for my libido.
In the throes of the divorce of a 2nd marriage gone horribly wrong (for a multitude of reasons, but one big one was a complete lack of sexual compatibility) I had one of those moments where you fall head over heels in love with someone you never expected to meet, let alone fall in love with and dream about a future with… Tim.
Life happens. What are you going to do, flip the birdie to the Universe and say, “Sorry, not what I had in mind for my life”? Not this girl. The Universe and I are buds, it always gives me exactly what I need at exactly the right moment, whether I realize it or not.
So in the process of committing to and getting to know each other, and getting more and more personal about ourselves Tim and I established that we both enjoy sex more than maybe the majority of our friends, and that we were both proponents of a life theory similar to “free love”. The world would be such a happier, more peaceful place if people could just love each other, free from judgement, jealousy or self imposed dogmatic “truths” about the way life is supposed to be.
If you want to be monogamous, fine, no judgement here, but I’m guessing that if you chose to click on the topic of this post and you’re still reading, there is a part of you that’s interested in the lifestyle. Don’t be shy, it’s human nature to be curious.
It took me some time to understand some things: (To be clear, I’m still learning and adjusting, and there are still “I wonder what he/she is thinking” moments)
How does a couple keep things “fair and balanced”
Are there rules?
How will my partner feel after I’ve been with someone else?
How will I feel after my partner has been with someone else?
Will I be able to watch? Do I want them to watch me?
My Experience with Swinging
Now sit tight, I’m going to break down my experience for you, including the epiphany I had when my first “date” was over, but first I want to dive into the emotions around swinging a little bit. These are the emotions and thoughts that my partner and I have, they are certainly not gospel. (I wonder if there IS a gospel on swinging?)
My situation is special, in that my partner and I have a long distance relationship. With long distance love affairs, things can be really stressful and emotionally taxing at times. My swinging became a way for me to fulfill some emotional need as well as physical. Sometimes you just need to be held, am I right?
Tim’s view is that he wants me to have everything and anything that I need to make me happy. He knows he can’t be here now to fulfill my emotional and physical needs, so he encourages me to seek them elsewhere. We always discuss the potential “friends with benefits” that I am considering, but 10 times out of 10 he will tell me “If this feels good to you, go for it and enjoy yourself”
We spent hours over the course of our budding relationship talking about what we were ok with and what we were not. Some things were easy, like no sleeping over: that’s too intimate (I know, sounds crazy right?). Most couples who swing have rules, some refer to them as preferences.
- Never have intercourse without a condom
- No swallowing of bodily fluids
- No separate rooms during a party
- No lone dates (meaning they always play together)
Some of those rules or preferences (or maybe all of them!?) will change, develop and evolve over the period of a couples swinging “career”. The most important factor in a relationship like this, is communication.
Not every couple can take a trip down the swinging trail…it’s not for the faint of heart, it’s not for the couple without a rock solid foundation or at the very least, an epic strength of love and commitment to each other.
Couples will swing together, or for all intents and purposes, you can change the verb from swinging to cheating, which isn’t fair to anyone involved.
My first experience and my light bulb moment.
For the purposes of anonymity I’m going to refer to my first connection as Jack. I met Jack on a website called Swing Lifestyle . It’s much like any matchmaking website, you create a profile, upload pictures, search for people, window shop, or connect via their platform email, or instant messenger. (With video capability too)
I signed up at SLS upon the encouragement of my partner who had already been a member for some time. He was not new to the lifestyle. I found a couple of people (or couples) I found interesting, and decided to message them.
Jack messaged me back and we had a nice chat, volleying back and forth a few times. Then I had a little bit of doubt, and lack of clarity about what our rules were, so I put everything on hold for a while. After more conversations and more reassurances, I decided to reach out to Jack again after a few months had passed.
We decided to meet for lunch near my office and we hit it off right away. There was a physical attraction, and an ease of conversation. After a few more emails and phone calls, we set a date to “play”.
You’ll have to use your imagination about the details of our playdate, but the important thing that happened, was on my way home when I got this message from my partner:
“Thank you for trusting me enough to do this for yourself”
Wow. Bells and whistles went off in my head. Like a 2×4 between the eyes, I finally understood with complete and total clarity what this swinging thing was all about.
I had been really worried in the back of my mind, that he was testing me, testing our relationship, and as soon as I left that date, he would be letting me know that I had failed, I couldn’t be trusted, and he was through with me. (Hangups much? I know, I’m a work in progress)
For my partner and I, swinging is about being able to fulfill physical (and on some level, emotional) needs with other trusted people, without worrying or wondering about how your partner looks at you or feels about you.
Is it about fulfilling sexual fantasies with your partner? Yes.
Is it a free for all to fuck as many people as you’d like? It shouldn’t be.
Is it the same experience for everyone? No way Jose.
Since my first experience I have gone on to become really good friends with Jack, and another couple that he introduced me to. In the emotional difficulty that has surrounded my long distance relationship as of late, they have been of great comfort to me as friends, who sometimes play together. They have also gotten to know Tim from a distance which is of some comfort to both of us.
I’m still learning about swinging, I read the forums on SLS and talk to people who have been in the lifestyle for a long time.
I don’t claim to be an expert.
There are things I’m not yet comfortable doing such as attending the big parties where you can wander into private or semi privates rooms and play with strangers. Eeeek…..not there yet. That’s like the deeeep end of the pool, and I’ve still got my sexy toes in the shallow end.
Swinging for me is about freedom. Freedom to be who I am, do what feels good, and be surrounded by people doing the same.