The ‘Lifestyle’ – It’s Not What You Think
There’s a great deal of ‘myth’ built up around the whole idea of swinging. Misleading advertising by ‘hedonist’ resorts, lifestyle clubs and the Internet in general have people believing it’s something it really isn’t.
Forgive me as I write this … I’m a couple glasses of wine in and just a smidgen pissed off at a certain account that appears in my Instagram feed for one of those ‘exclusive couples-only tropical vacations’ resorts.
Now, I certainly do not want to begrudge anyone the opportunity to find their happiness. I can say that during our tenure as participants in the ‘lifestyle’, we met a number of people who were truly happy – and secure – in their relationships with their partner. We met some truly lovely ocean-deep souls – and some truly lovely bodies with puddle-deep souls. We met couples where it was pretty obvious the man in the relationship was commanding the whole experience – and we met couples where the wife had said ‘enough with the boredom of monogamy’ and was in complete control of the adventure.
But at the same time, we also met a number of people (including us) who weren’t ready for it; couples who figured it was something completely different than the reality.
Now, in our own case, it’s not that we weren’t ready for what the lifestyle stands for – the freedom, the sexual exploration and indulgence without guilt. In our relationship, we were very ready to explore a far more hedonistic aspect – the opportunity to indulge in fantasy, the introduction of others into our sexual relationship. What we found most discouraging was how prevalent cliques played a role in the experience.
The expression someone else shared with us was truer than we wanted to accept: “If you think high school was cliquey, try one of the lifestyle clubs…” It was far more difficult to crack those barriers than it was to build up the courage to say “let’s open up our marriage.”
The truth we learned about swinging was this – if you think it’s difficult to find the right chemistry between two people when dating, trying figuring it out between four people; or even three with someone willing to just hold the condoms and camera.
The ‘lifestyle’ is a very complex and complicated experience. It’s nothing remotely like the stereotype, nor is it anything close to what the Internet portrays it to be. Although, I will admit, the Internet has certainly enabled many to explore their fantasies. But our experience with the ‘lifestyle’ was much like the skepticism these days about the reality of ‘Instalives’. Let us see behind the scenes for a taste of reality.
And don’t get me started on the whole marketing approach of these lifestyle venues, either. From tropical resorts to neighbourhood dance clubs, based on their marketing alone you might think that swingers can only be those with zero percent body fat, women no bigger than a size three with perpetually perky 38D breasts and men with … (ahem) … massive (constantly hard) cocks. Nothing could be further from the truth – but it’s so discouraging and intimidating for those with curiosities.
It’s difficult to arrive at a stage in a marriage where you’re comfortable sharing the fantasy of mutually exploring with other people. From a woman’s perspective, there’s a real fear over the idea of allowing another man to be intimate with you. You’re moving out from the ideas in your head to the reality of it – the physical sensation that rises above the naughty notion of ‘I wonder what it would be like?’ It’s frightening – even when you have agreed in principle – when a man who is not your husband enters you sexually.
I imagine, from a husband’s perspective, that is must be incredibly hard to watch (or know) that another man is doing things to your wife you may not have expected when you exchanged marriage vows with her. I know there is the pressing question of comparison – how was he/was he a better lover/was he bigger, harder/etc.
And then there’s the other side of reality almost no one is willing to talk about – what if all that machismo doesn’t hold up when everyone has their pants off?