Thursday, January 25, 2018

What I liked & hated about "swinging"

Several years ago, I wrote these two posts for my Lustful Literate blog. Mr. D and I have steered clear of any non-monogamy for quite awhile now. As we were/are having too many issues of our own, it seemed unwise to continue pursuing ANYTHING outside of the marriage.

I must admit that I see a different me in these posts. A freer, more open version of myself. I wonder if I was really being honest with myself and my readers or if I was trying to be the good wife that I wanted my husband to see. He was likely my most loyal reader at the time. It's part of the reason that I created this new blog. He doesn't know the address (though I'm sure it wouldn't take a lot of work for him to find it). He respects my need to do this without his watchful eye. And he understands that the nature of confessional writing is that I will divulge personal feelings and information that could make him uncomfortable or even angry. As such, I truly believe he is leaving me to this. I've thought a few times about the secrecy entailed in this venture - whether or not I feel comfortable keeping things from him or if I should just own up, be brutally honest, and let the cards fall where they may. What I've decided, for now, is that it is better to keep this from him. Our relationship is not completely solid. His self-esteem is not stable. And our future is not secure. We are both trying. We both love each other. And I think we are better off not adding any drama or complication to the mix. you go. These posts are a bit edited to ensure they make sense in the now, but I have linked to the originals.

(Should now be "10 things I likED about swinging," since we haven't done it in over a year.)

1)  Dating with my best friend, confidant, protector, and lover was a rather special experience. I hate dating, but doing it with that kind of support was amazing. We developed your own little codes and could read each others body language to make all kinds of decisions without the other couple even knowing we were communicating. It definitely drew us together in more ways than one.

2)  It added excitement to our sex life. Even when an experience wasn't positive, it still gave us loads to talk about and helped us to learn more about each others needs, wants, and fears. I can honestly say that if it weren't for our involvement in swinging, we would not have learned half of what we have learned about each other so far. We have faced some pretty intense situations and have come out with a tighter bond than we started with.

3)  It provided a feeling of freedom. I suppose many married couples are perfectly content to just be with each other for all of eternity. And I'm pretty content with that, too. But, it's sort of freeing to know that I'm not expected to only desire one man forever. And I'm sure it is freeing for him to know that I don't expect him to only desire me. He's always looked at other women...made comments...and it usually doesn't bother me. Regardless of my insecurities and jealousy, I don't think humans are naturally monogamous. It takes a lot of work to commit to only one person and keep the relationship from becoming dull.  I have a lot of respect for couples who work that hard; Mr. D and I work pretty hard at it ourselves. We know that if we aren't strong and stable, swinging will just instigate trouble, which is why we have put it on the shelf, and why Mr. D feels sort of "trapped" now that he's tasted that lifestyle.  

Swinging is a team sport (at least in my eyes). In the past, I have had full freedom to engage in activities with others when Mr. D isn't there - provided I ask, divulge all details afterward, and bring whomever it is home at some point to share. I haven't used that freedom - and likely never will, as ironically, he gives the freedom to me that he wants for himself...and I don't need the freedom his gives and can't provide it for him with the same ease.  

4)  It provided opportunity for growth and pushed me to try new things and challenge my own fears and insecurities. As shy as I can be, it takes quite a bit of courage for me to be aggressive in any way...especially with people who are new to me. But, having my husband there to oversee and encourage me helped. I'm still not very daring, but I've been open to experiences and have found myself loving the feeling of being surrounded by naked flesh, touching, feeling, tasting. For me, it wasn't really about the "intercourse." That might sound weird...but, in my opinion, it's more about the adrenaline rush...the high caused by desire and erotic stimulation.

5)  It gave us plenty of fodder for conversations with each other. Pillow talk, people.  It's a great way to delve into a lover's deepest desires. What do you want? What did you like? Why? What didn't you like? Why? What would you like to be different next time? What fantasy can we try to create?

6)  I'm kind of an exhibitionist, despite my shyness and my dislike of spontaneity. I like attention. I like being catered to and seduced. And since I usually know what Mr. D is going to do (not always...sometimes he surprises me), swinging provided the chance to be surprised by another person - to not really know what they are going to do...or how they were going to do it...the anticipation...the newness.

7)  I actually liked watching my husband fuck other women. I liked seeing him from a different perspective...and I seriously loved making eye contact with him while he did it. It was a huge turn on to me watching him give someone else pleasure, because I knew exactly what he was doing and most likely what she was feeling.

8)  I learned that men are really a lot less critical of women's bodies than many women think they are. There are all shapes, sizes, ages, and appearances involved in the swinging game. Most are not for me. But then most non-swingers are not for me, either. I'm picky. I was picky when I chose my husband...and I remain picky now...probably more so because I'm already getting laid - I don't need someone else to get sex - I already have it. Getting it from elsewhere was just a bonus.

9)  No matter what...I knew who I was going home with. So, even if it didn't work out, I would be having sex. Good sex. With a very sexy man who knew just how to get me off.

10)  Umm....did I mention fucking other people? That was definitely a plus. And I got the chance to be with the safety of defined relationships. I preferred married/committed couples because it made me feel as if they were in the same boat as us...a team - supporting each other, enjoying a "hobby" together, and not looking to steal anyone else's spouse. I saw a lot of respect in the swinging community. A lot of supportive husbands, and a lot of women freely exploring sex in the safety of a stable relationship. Honestly...I think women probably benefit the most.  Most clubs cater to them. Most husbands follow their lead, making sure they are comfortable and happy. After all if the ladies are happy...the men are a lot more likely to be happy, too. So, it works in their favor to be sure their women are pleased.

1)  It doesn't come naturally, sexually speaking.

I'm hard to please. I can admit that. I'm also hard to get off...for anyone but my husband - who seems to have the magic orgasm wand when it comes to my pussy. It's no wonder, then, that I HAD to have him, keep him, and make him my own - when he could do it right from the start. The light shone down from the heavens and a miracle occurred. I could finally come (by someone's doing other than my own - I've always been an expert, thank the gods)...and quite easily, it turned out. 

But, when we started trying things out with other couples? No dice. At first, I thought it was just that I was nervous. Maybe I felt like I was performing...since Mr. D was watching?Whatever the case - it didn't happen. It happened once or twice - mainly because I had my mind wrapped around it, willing it to happen with every ounce of my desire. Oh - it was because it was with friends, and we'd been with them a time or two, and I was more comfortable and knew a bit more of what to expect. 

Since sex is a very "mental" experience for me (yes, it's almost all in my head), I have to really be in the moment. That's hard to do when there are more than two bodies (unless they are just the right ones at the right time - you know...planets aligning and all that) in a room...for me, anyway.

2)  Sparks don't always fly from every direction.

The thing about swinging's hard for two people to find another two people equally desirable. I might like the man...or the woman...or both - but then my husband won't like them. Or he'll like the woman, and I'll like the man...but I won't like the woman. There are several possibilities, but the likelihood of both of us liking both of them, and vice versa, is rare.

And we have this thing about "not taking one for the team." Unfortunately - I think both of us have at some point or another. I know I'm the pickier one of the two of us - but that has a lot to do with the fact that I swing both ways...and once people know that, there's this expectation that I play on both teams - even if I only find one team desirable. I have a hard time hurting people's feelings, and I know I should be more upfront about things and less shy about telling a couple - "Hey, I think your male half is hot, but I just don't have a thing for the wife."  Mr. D just has to find the female half hot...and well - he's a man. He likes pussy. All types. He likes a wide range of figures and looks, whereas I really do have a "type." It's all stupidly complicated.

3)  Dating.

Really, I hated it when I was a teenager. I hated it in college. I hated it as an adult. The whole prospect of getting all dolled up and going out with someone I hardly know, not knowing what to expect. is horrifying to me. I'm shy and a bit socially awkward. I have a hard time coming up with things to talk about. And quite honestly, I'm just not really a people person.

So, now, I'm comfortably married. And I have to date again? WTF? The whole prospect of looking on SLS or AFF or FetLife was and is distasteful to me. It's like glancing through a menu and quickly dismissing or accepting people based on a few photos and some well or poorly chosen description, when I could be reading a novel or writing a story or cleaning the kitchen. I'm okay with using abstracts to chose articles for research, but using them to find people to hang out with seems ludicrous.

Obviously, I understand that this is the name of the game. This is the only way it happened for I'm not about to walk up to someone in a local pub and say - "Would you two like to get it on?" And I'm not about to try it with friends again. That was a disaster. 

I just don't find the hunt as intriguing as he does.  Mr. D can spend hours on SLS...just wandering through the pictures and perusing the profiles, looking for possibilities. Which is proof it's on his mind a lot more than it is on mine.

4)  Dealing with disappointment.

So, I've had a handful of experiences turn out well. Even if I didn't get off, at least I had fun...and I met some people I could hang out with and not hold back when I got a little tipsy...and handsy.

But, the majority of experiences have just not been great. They've been more anxiety-producing than encouraging...and let's face it, after a few bad experiences, it's hard to get psyched up to go back out there and do it again. The metaphor I used with Mr. D is that it's like being a football team that hasn't won a game all season, and now, somehow, they're supposed to get all excited about what will probably end up being another loss.  Defeat eventually leads to a defeatist which I can be irritatingly prone.

Not too long ago, I had a great time at a party.  It was a redeeming moment for the swing lifestyle for me. But, it also sort of solidified my take on things needing to be "organic." Let me explain...

5)  The "synthetic" nature of the game.

What I mean feels staged. And oftentimes it is, by necessity. 

We live in a small town...and, by my preference, I tried to avoid playing here (though Mr. D seemed to like it since it was more convenient and because we could extend our relationship to friendship more easily - and since our schedules are crazy, it made meeting up a lot easier...and cheaper as there was less travel involved).

I don't do well under pressure - and even though I'm not a very spontaneous person - I can't "create" desire.  And when I feel like I'm being put on display, or something is expected of me, I just can't seem to "get it up." So I drink more wine and hope for the best. Not the most positive route...but sometimes it gets me there.

Like I said earlier, I don't like set-ups. But, I'm also shy. So, yes - meeting people and having it "just happen" organically is really a hopeful shot in the dark. But, that's the way I prefer it. Mr. D isn't patient enough for that - seeing as how it would only happen once in a blue moon. He wanted it more often - "dating" sites. 

But, honestly, I hate them...and I hated faking my interest and desire to meet up and have an awkward "first date" with another couple. It wasn't exciting. It was nerve-wracking and uncomfortable beyond measure.

It was even worse if we had to travel any great distance for the "date."  I know I shouldn't feel like I have to do anything - but it felt like sort of a tease to do all this set up...the emails...the flirting via text - only to find out that, in-person, there was no chemistry.

The other issue was swingers' parties and clubs.  Though I preferred this venue to dating sites (at least I could see the people in person, chat, and make the decision to commit or casually move on without hurting anyone's feelings), they very much felt like "meat markets"--which, let's face it, they are.  Everyone eyeing everyone else looking for someone (or two someones) to fuck. There's just something sort of unappealing about the whole affair. 

6)  Disagreement over where it should start and where it should go.

In a perfect world, it would all start from acquaintances...moving on to friends with benefits: friends with whom sex just happens on occasion...when it feels right to all parties involved...not as a condition of hanging out...not as an expectation. But where do we find friends like this if we don't hit the dating sites and search for them? It isn't like swingers wear an identifying hat or arm band (maybe we should?) that makes them easy to find in public. And then, if we make friends via one of these avenues, there's the overarching expectation that we'll have sex. 

Mr. D searched couples out, contacted them, conversed via email, we met, we had sex...and from there - he'd wanted to keep in touch and build a friendship.

I suppose either way is fine - acquaintance to friend to sex or acquaintance to sex to friend. But, we are both coming from opposite directions on this...due to #3 and #5...and #8...

For me, it was about the sex. I have plenty of friends who are "just friends" - and prefer to keep my sex life separate from them, as I don't want to fuck them up (I've tried...and it's failed...and thankfully our friendship is still in tact). So, for me, swinging, in general, was about finding people to have sex with. For him, it was about relationships and making friends. 

The problem doesn't make me jealous. Relationships do. I guess, deep down, I was afraid of him falling in love with someone (not out of love with me, mind you) and having to deal with his interest in polyamory - which is not something I want to get involved in. It might work for some people - which is lovely...but for me, it just isn't an interest.

7)  I can't handle single women.

I've already tried to deal with a single woman.  And, really, I'm not cut out for it.  Yes, it's a jealousy issue.  And yes, I guess I should get over it. If only it were that easy. So, that being means we're stuck with problem #2 from above. 

I can't wrap my head around my husband having a "play-thing"...though that would solve a lot of our issues (and create a whole pile of new ones, I suspect). 

8)  I'm not as into it as he is...until the moment is upon us.

This presents another difficulty. 

When I'm in the moment, things can be grand. But, as I don't like dating, don't like perusing the dating sites, am too shy to just proposition people in public, and can't handle him having a plaything - we're at an impasse. Basically, it means either I suck it up and play along - even when I don't want to...or I give in and let him have something on the side so I can be done with it.

Hmm...not likely. Neither of us would really be happy with that. I'd be pouty. He'd feel it. It just wouldn't be comfortable for anyone.

The build-up caused by too much time to think about and prepare for a "meeting" is usually negative for me. I think about it long enough that I just talk myself out of it. And once I do that...well...there's little hope of getting myself back on track. But, as I've explained, I rebel against having it sprung on me, as well. I don't take well to surprises (been there, done that...didn't work out well).

And it's probably also important to note, this was not part of the game plan when we got married. I hadn't even thought about it. The most I knew about swinging was that some people...somewhere (mostly in the 70s) did it. End of story. And when Mr. D brought it up to me as a possibility for us, it didn't go over well - I cried and wondered if he was planning on trading me in for a newer, younger model. Of course...I'd just had a baby 3 months before - so maybe his timing could have been better. He's spent the better part of our marriage coaxing me deeper into the "game" - and I've been anything but an easy convert. 

I don't want to make it sound like he "forced" me or "made" me do anything. Because he didn't. I was in full control of my own actions.

9)  It caused tension in our marriage.

Sometimes I was into it. Sometimes I was not.  But he was always into it.  So, it's hard for him to see where I'm coming from.  And since I'm usually the deciding factor (let's face it, if I'm not into it...we ain't doin' it) there's a lot of pressure on me to "want it" and to be the "awesome wife who loves to fuck any number of people and let her husband watch and loves to have her husband fuck other chicks and gives him the go ahead to do whatever he pleases with whomever he pleases whenever he pleases..."

I probably shouldn't feel this way...but in the process of going to clubs and parties and meeting up with other couples, we have met couples where the woman just seemed to be "that perfect wife." The dream wife who permits everything, is always horny, and never questions her husband's desires. It's basically open-season all the time. I guess I have a hard time believing women like this truly exist (outside of porn)...but I've been assured (by them - and my readers) that they do. And I've read several blogs and books that show me there are plenty of women out there like this.

Okay. So, even if I buy that, I know I'm not one of them...which leaves me feeling like a disappointment to my husband, since I know he (and most other men) would kill to have a wife like that.  Since I'm not that wife, I end up feeling guilty.... And to complicate matters, Mr. D is just like "the perfect wife"...willing to let me have total freedom, open to anything, permissive as all get out.  He doesn't ask for anything he wouldn't give me in return.  This, of course, makes me feel like a stingy little brat - even though I know I shouldn't feel guilty for being the way that I am.  Regardless of some modern trends, I don't believe everyone should feel obligated to accept the ideas of an open relationship.

10)  Fear of disease and pregnancy...and drama...and complication...

I can't tell you how many nightmares and daydreams I've had about the prospect of sexually transmitted diseases or Mr. D getting some other woman pregnant.  A little "on-the-side" fun could quite easily become an absolute goat-fuck, destroying families, causing drama, and ultimately ruining marriages. I can't imagine having to explain to people the custody issues involved in something like that - "Yeah...we're paying child support to some other couple for a child we didn't want and who isn't mine...but it wasn't an affair - I was there when he fucked her...and I was cool with it then...but..."

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