When we first got into the Swinging LifeStyle (LS), we dove head first into the deep end and had so much fun exploring all of the new experiences that we could. We let the excitement lead the way as we...
... started sharing ourselves online, on PlayboyTV, and through the connections we made in the North Texas LS scene. We attended some awesome parties. We instigated some early playtime at places that usually didn't get started until extremely late. We had all kinds of crazy, wild, and unbelievable sexual experiences. It was amazing!
Our earlier years were very informative of what we like AND what we don't like. We learned a lot about what gets us going and what kills the mood. We've had a lot of conversations about what served us in those experiences and what we could let go of moving forward. So, here's a breakdown of things that we've grown to understand about ourselves and how we want to operate in the future.
(Editors Note: This blog is intended to be informative both about us as a lifestyle couple as well as talking points for people who are in ethically non-monogamous or lifestyle inclusive relationships. It is NOT intended to be a complaint catalogue or gripe session. Please enjoy lessons we have learned and the preferences we have created.)
Pressure does not a Diamond LS Experience make...
Pressure is a sensitive topic. Many people will tell you they don't like to be pressured into something or that they don't want their rules to be overstepped by pressure or that peer pressure is still prevalent, even in very sexy environments. He's an example of pressure that some may not think about.
A standard practice in the lifestyle, when interacting with people online first, is to schedule a dinner or drinks date.
We have learned that couple-on-couple dates can often feel like the same amount of pressure as walking into an already active playroom.
For Nikki, the interaction will often feel one-sided because I tend to be 100% our online presence. That disconnect widens even more if I've had long, deep discussions with a person or couple on apps like KIK or through text.
It's also difficult to navigate certain uncomfortable situations if they arise, which can sour an evening that has been dedicated to one specific couple. Let's face it, some people can't turn off their "sensitive topic" brains when socializing. Politics, lifestyle drama, and all of the other topics that can be an immediate turn-off need an exit strategy.
The lifestyle is a non-stop event-fest. There are Happy Hours, Meet-N-Greets, Clubs, Club Invaders/Party Throwers, Dating Site sponsored Events at Clubs, Retreats, so on and so forth... Inviting people into a public space without obligation to each other is our preferred method of taking things off of the internet and into real life.
This helps us make quick exits if we are uncomfortable with the couple. This helps us feel less guilt if the couple is nice, but we are not 100% feeling sexy that night. This allows us to introduce couples that we feel would be better matched with some of our friends. This helps everyone involved when more options are available. Each option is a method we can use to alleviate pressure.
Time period aside: As of August of 2021, we are VERY weary of group environments due to the surge in COVID cases, even among vaccinated individuals. We have attended a couple of the Bi-Nights at Colette, which has served us well in meeting new friends. However, we may be extending our LS scene break as pandemic issues unfold.
Friends with benefits, emphasis on Friends First
The lifestyle is full of different play-styles. Some people are comfortable not knowing your name. Some people need to feel one step shy of a committed relationship with you before jumping in bed. There's a spectrum within the swinging culture, and that doesn't even include the considerations of other lifestyles like Polyamory.
Setting expectations as early as possible will help alleviate frustration and misunderstandings.
We often bump into people that remind us of early us... Ready to have fun and letting the excitement lead the way.
We're just not there anymore and we don't want to ruin their energy by allowing them to believe that the couple from PlayboyTV's Swing is right in front of them. We've grown. We've changed. We enjoy the lifestyle differently now.
This one will sound "sooooo cliché" for swingers, but communication really is what clarifies expectations up front. In most of our online profiles, we include the phrase "friends with benefits, with emphasis on friends first". We will probably, at some point, reiterate that with new interactions so they understand that we are still in first gear if the other couple has their gas pedal all the way to the floor.
Better Pre-Emptive Communication...
As mentioned previously, it feels very cliché to discuss communication as a swinger, because it's almost a comedic punch line at how often swingers say how great their communication is. But, I'm about to let the cat out of the bag on this one. Swingers are not immune to communication issues just because they are swingers.
Communication and understanding will forever be an exercise to keep the relationship strong.
Our relationship is only as strong as our communication. We do not get to be lazy, or make assumptions, or act without communicating first.
As a swinging couple, we are just as prone to miscommunication as a traditional couple. Acting without discussing things can lead to attention disparities, misunderstood intentions, or, in some cases, betrayal/cheating.
Expecting your spouse/partner to know how you feel or what your intentions are is the easiest way to experience hurdles in the LS. And the same applies when interacting with others.
Communicate as if each interaction is new, both with your significant other and with others. If every day is a new day with new opportunities and challenges, so too are the feelings that we are experiencing. What was true yesterday may be different today.
To respect your partner, you must have a valid and honest answer if others ask about your significant other (SO). That requires you to be speaking with your spouse about your desires, intentions, and limitations with each of those interactions.
We knew taking a break was necessary for us to focus on each other and enjoy life without the LS focus. It was fantastic and healthy for us to do so. Now, as we look at stepping back into things, we want to make sure we do it with the right intentions. By using the three areas above as our guiding principles, we'll be able to reduce pressure, have closer friends, and maintain the connection through communication that we made when we first started. Watch out, Dallas...
Daniel is a pan-sexual, open-lifestyle advocate and event-organizer who has used his appearance on PlayboyTV, with wife, Nikki, to commit to being a voice for the unprotected class of non-traditional relationships.