Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Casual Swing Club Encounter: My Internal Plight



Sigh, that coveted casual swing club encounter.  That hot steamy night that you fantasize would just spontaneously occur.  You stack the deck in your favour of course.  Slow hot bath, sipping wine as you scrub yourself squeaky clean and do all the necessary personal grooming.  Then you dress to the nines with your partner, or in our case, pick the most elaborate costume you can.  You arrive at a packed swing club with that pre-screened and amazing looking guest list, tonight is going to be hot.  You pour yourselves a drink and begin the mingling and flirting dance.  And then you find a couple.  The small talk begins and you find some common ground.  Let’s go somewhere quieter they say.  You laugh, stroke your partners thigh and discover that it is smiles all around.  This night is going perfectly.  That fantasy is looking very promising. 

And then, you remember, your rules, and you are snapped back into reality.  No full swapping the first time you meet.  Why?  Quite simply it’s a little matter of safety and sexual compatibility.  As hot as that anonymous first time swap would be, for you it will remain nothing more than a fantasy.  When it comes to sexual health and safety we never compromise. 

At a club, in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to have a clear and completely honest conversation about disclosure.  I don’t subscribe to the idea that everyone lies, however, in a sexually charged environment, there can be a tendency by some parties to say whatever they can to sway the cards in their sexual favor.  And even if every one is telling the truth, it is an often loud environment.  It is easy to not be heard, or clearly understand what someone has said.  So, we err on the side of caution.  Touching, soft swap, all good things.  But no kissing or fluid exchange with strangers, period.

For my personal comfort and sanity, I cannot stand waking up the next morning wondering if the person we kissed was clean (I use the term loosely and for simplicity, no judgement intended).  It turns a really hot memory into one of suspicion and uncertainty.  I prefer guilt free fantasies.  Especially with my writers over active imagination.  In fact, I had situation just a few months ago, where we were soft swapping with a bunch of people, touching and getting a little intense when all of a sudden a woman stuck her tongue down my throat.  No permission was obtained and while I wanted to get lost in the sexiness of the situation, as there were hands everywhere, the reality was not hot.  It felt instead, obtrusive, invasive and all manor of inappropriate and all that separated her behaviour from everyone else’s, was the fluid exchange.  I was angry that I didn’t even have the chance to say no, or have the safe sex talk.  And as a result of how I felt the next morning and a very short conversation with my partner, we made a rule that from here on in, we tell people that we do not swap the first time we meet. 

The other aspect I mentioned is sexual compatibility.  I don’t know about you, but history tells me that first time sex with a person is average to bad.  Every sexual encounter is unique, the sights, sounds and smells of a person.  So having no clue what to expect personality wise or sexually can be a bit of a hurdle.  I even heard of a few swingers who stopped going to clubs in general because the anonymous sex was actually getting boring.  It was constantly mediocre or bad and the thrill of newness was starting to wane.  Sex really ramps up, when you get to know a person.  When you can read their body language and get into the situation without having to stop every 30 seconds to ask permission (a slight exaggeration there, but you get the idea). I for one, want a much more sustainable sex life.  I enjoy good to great sex.  I love the butterflies and after glow, and I get that from a specific memory or touch from a person I care a bit about.  Strangers just don’t have any staying power in my mental spank bank.  I don’t want objects, I yearn for flesh and blood, emotional beings.

And for us the advantages of playing this way far outweigh the lost fantasy.  Especially for us, as we love a little chase and the excitement of getting to know someone.  Building that sexually charged suspense.  We don’t always get the payoff for postponing a swap, but man, when we do!  That keeps us going for weeks!  So the trade-off of an amazing novelty encounter, versus more of the getting to know a couple sex is definitely up our alley. 

Now you can call me a tease or a dirty vanilla or a no touchie if it makes you feel better, but the truth of the matter is I would love to play the first time.  I just don’t want to waste my time hoping the sex will be good or to put myself in a situation where I do not feel safe. I’m in this for the long haul, not to just try out a few new people for curiosities sake.  Maybe I’m not a true swinger in that I don’t actually engage in anonymous sex with strangers.  I have written about already feeling like an outlier.  I know there is an argument for your valuable time.  You have the night off, a babysitter booked and you are looking for some strange.  And I respect your fantasy, just as I hope you respect my reasoning for not doing a full swap when we meet.  We try to disclose this information sooner rather than later, however we have screwed up few times and left it until we were already in the same room taking off our clothes.  For that, I humbly ask your forgiveness and I hope that you will want to get some strange with us in the future, only, not when it's 100 percent strange.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Monogamy to Ethical Non-Monogamy: A Reflection 16 Years in the Making



Do you remember your first genuine relationship?  Of course you do, that first love stays with you, long after you’ve grown apart or in some rare cases grown together.  Today I was shocked to realize that it would have been 16 years had I stayed in my monogamous relationship/marriage.  I’ve mentioned a few times throughout my blog, that I do believe I would have fallen into non-monogamy eventually.  The fantasies were beginning, and there were sex acts that I just didn’t want to take part in, so I figured a unicorn would be perfect.  And as I have admitted, I was coming closer and closer to cheating all the time.  My then boyfriend and I would have taken the non-monogamous route to keep us together for the sake of the un-realized children.  It's painful to accept, yet, I realize the truth in those words, having gained such a deep knowledge of myself and my needs.  And I absolutely know that I am not alone in this thinking.  So many have turned to an open relationships to save themselves and their partners.  Or to level the playing field after an indiscretion.  All judgement aside, this is the simple truth to why many have found themselves in the non-monogamous uncertain waters.

In my case, I consider myself lucky in that I ended things when I did.  When I walked away from monogamy and started serial dating I had yet to have heard the term non-monogamy.  So as I have mentioned when I did meet my current partner I had my eyes opened.  I can now say how fortunate I am to have found him and to have ended up where we are.  But as with any relationship we did not start out well.  I think our relationship can be broken down into two distinct parts.  The first, where I was so overwhelmed with being in an open relationship that we were living in an extremely unethical fashion.  Dates were hidden, and extra curricular activities were discovered, rather than discussed.  We began open, but did so, with a rocky and unstable foundation. 

So we broke up.  I kept writing and he kept living the exact way he wanted to.  And then, a really surprising thing happened, we started building a new foundation, free of all pressure, just two singles coming together every now and again.  We weren’t intending to get back together, instead we used each others strengths, weaknesses and experiences to start forging ahead with a relationship style that would meaningful for each of us.  By the time we knew what was happening we were living together, and running on parallel paths.  There was a strange symmetry to our work and home lives and the word boyfriend and girlfriend was replaced by that of the title, partner.

Our love story was truly beginning.  And this is when we started looking together for our first couple.  We had been to a swing club, and had mixed feelings about it.  But the take away was the same, our foundation was ready to start building upon.  To start creating experiences together.  It was around this time that I started using the word ethical non-monogamy in my blogging.  I finally understood what it meant, and more than that, was living it. 

I look back on these two distinct failed relationships, knowing that I am a direct result of them.  They were both interlaced with non-monogamy, but it wasn't until I brought the word ethical in that my shift from an uncertain bystander turned to owning my relationship norm.  I cannot help but wonder if there is a parallel universe out there, where I sit here typing in secret about cheating and the mistakes I had made in monogamy.  That perhaps, I would still be a voice, but for those of the pained, rather than those of my current community.  It’s a strange feeling, looking across time like this.  But I feel a calmness in doing so.  It’s a peaceful realization that I am right where I need to be, and perhaps I need to watch a little less sci -fi (Ok, that would and could never happen!).  The path to non-monogamy was never straight and narrow, but I hope, in some small way, my reflection can offer some comfort to someone currently struggling.  After all, the journey is where the real memories are made.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

An Important PSA About Disclosure in the Swinging Community



Did you know that there are a disturbingly large number of people in the swinging community who have ingested the Kool-Aid and believe that 80% of people have HSV-1 and therefore it is not important to disclose to play partners?  Let that sink in.  There are people out there, who are not disclosing because they have made an assumption that everyone else already has the virus and it’s a waste of breath to say anything.  Furthermore, there are people out there telling new swingers that getting tested is a waste of time and energy unless you are currently symptomatic.  Now, I want you to get angry.  I want you to look around at your community and get really fucking pissed off that there are people who think this, and have decided that it is acceptable for them to make assumptions over someone else’s health and well being.

This is disgusting and needs to stop right this second.  No one, and I mean no one, has the right to determine someone else’s exposure to a virus, disease or even the common cold, ever!  If you care at all about your body, your partners and your fellow playmates stop this asinine way of thinking immediately.  Stop drinking the Kool-Aid and passing it around.

If you look at the low transmission rates for HSV-1 and how difficult it really is to transmit (10% men and 4% women) then this virus should be on its way out the door.  We should be rallying together to out HSV-1 from our community and even better yet, looking out for the 20 and 30 years old who are dipping their toes in non-monogamy.  Rather than maintaining a cesspool of virus’s, diseases, bacteria, etc let’s work to grow and learn and just freaking be ethical human beings.  Look at what shaved pubic hair did for crabs?  If we really work together we can accomplish anything!

This community is supposed to be all about consent and no means no.  Yet here we are running face first into a complete disconnect by what that term really means.  You do not just assume everyone you meet is lying and therefore you play at your own risk.  You man the fuck up, have the difficult conversation and then you make educated and healthy decisions!  I’ve had the safe sex conversation with every single partner I have had, and even did a little write up to help my friends who were struggling with how to broach the subject.  Have a read, share it, add things to the list that are important, ie safe words, just start now (Safe Sex)!  Have the tough talk and be a contributing member in the community and continue to fill it with ethically non-monogamous sexy people. 

There are risks in everything we do, including crossing the street.  But if you get tested regularly, disclose to all your partners prior to play, practice safe sex and good hygiene, then you are a valued member of this community.  And we will soon become the norm and flush out all the people who hold onto stupid beliefs that put people at unnecessary risk.

And my final point in all this.  If you know someone in the community is not disclosing their status with their play partners, stop protecting them!  We are not going to keep silent anymore or subscribe to this stupid myth that the community is so small we must protect our own and keep silent.  The community is not nearly as small as you think it is.  It is incredible the amount of people who have come “out” to me as a result of this little blog within my own social network.  Try talking to the couple first, explain that even if they are asymptomatic they still should disclose every time as a risk still exists for transmission.  At that point, if they laugh in your face, say they don’t care, or brag that everyone has it and if you are that fearful then this lifestyle isn’t for you… out them!  But do try talking to them first, please.  Sometimes good people are under preconceived notions and just need a little education and guidance.   

So with that in mind, I am including a few helpful resources that I read when a couple we were interested in disclosed their HSV-1 status to us.  My partner and I read up on the risks and made a decision based on our comfort levels.  And I strongly encourage each of you to do the same.  Only you can decide what’s right for you and your body, with of course some education behind it!

https://herpesopportunity.com/downloads/herpes-opportunity-disclosure-handout.pdf
http://www.herpes.com/hsv1-2.html