Swinging today is a far cry from the no choice, no consent and dump-your-keys-in-a-bowl-to-screw-my-wife days. It’s glitzy and sexy. Media moguls mix with executives. Parties in the UK have names like ‘Fever’ and ‘Killing Kittens’ and are held in high status venues. No single guys are allowed to attend and profile pictures are vetted according to a ‘hot’ or ‘not’ criteria.
It’s an exclusive, empowering and glamorous ambience where ‘No’ is actively encouraged and sexual positivity abounds. There’s still objectification of course; but if there’s one place where objectification is consensual equal between men and women, it’s at a swinging party. No strings attached encounters with people you find attractive, like a normal night club but with a better chance of scoring.
When I tell people I’m in an open relationship, their minds immediately jump to swinging. I’m not surprised. Because when we first opened our relationship 7 years ago, I, like you, assumed that open meant I could cast off my repressed protestant sexual conditioning to delve into experimental and blissful debauchery. Yes. I was curious to try swinging. Excited even.
But my swinging report card was a disaster. It said “Doesn’t play well with others.” As it turns out, I’m really rubbish at swinging.
I’ve been to three swingers parties. Not one single time did I have what I consider to be a ‘successful’ encounter. I didn’t feel empowered, liberated or even sexual. After hiding out at two parties like a miserably caged rabbit and in desperation to pop my swinging cherry at the third, I finally forced myself to be charmed by a kind, down-to-earth South African gentleman. His name was Neil. Good kisser. But I betrayed myself and my body knew better. You see, beneath the swathes of denial I apparently knew that I didn’t really want to do it…and so the condom broke. I wasn’t in the moment and neither was my dry pussy. My swinging adventure ended in the sexual health clinic and three months of STD uncertainty before they finally gave me a clean bill of health.
I was promiscuous in my youth. As an adoptee, I sought out love in the form of sex until I didn’t have to anymore. The men sought me out. They’d heard that I was a girl who could be used as a sperm receptacle and then thrown away. In Cyprus where chastity is the currency with which girls buy a husband, I was in demand for sex.
But many men couldn’t be with me-and-my-reputation without trying to change me; some even fell in love with me, much to their disgust. They swore they would turn me into the obedient girl. They would be the one I would fall for. They would tame the beast and prove their ultimate manhood. And when they tried to change me – rejecting me for who I really was – I dumped those guys with the desperate desires and fragile egos, humiliating them. They wanted me. They hated me. They might be able to have me, but they couldn’t control me.
So much hate leaves residual traces. Even while they desired me, I was disgusting. So I internalized that hate in my already wounded psyche and it created painful welts in my core. I am left scarred by a deep hatred for sex without connection and a loathing for myself. I don’t know whether it will ever be completely gone. Especially because this scar is wholly supported by society.
Better that I am wounded and chaste, than healthy and promiscuous.
And so nowadays it’s the connection that allows me to fully explore sex, to the extent that sex without it is impossible. I can’t enjoy sex for its own sake because I, with the help of society, have spurned it. Here’s the truth. I wish that I could. I have a secret belief that those who can enjoy – really enjoy – sexual freedom have the healthiest of all attitudes. They have no shame or repression. No pain. In my envy I sit on the sidelines, watching those who have sex with careless abandon and without my obsession for mental connection, not able to do it myself.
It’s not better or worse, it’s just how it is. But when you’re at a swinging party, the whole point …is to swing. Which cuts out the all important connection part to a preamble of ~
Hey, nice to meet you guys. Are you long time swingers?
No this is Lisa’s first time, she’s into girls and we love to explore it together. Are you interested?
I’m terrified of rejection. I suffer from a set of limiting beliefs common not only amongst adoptees but also amongst women
- I must please other people to be accepted.
- If I say ‘no’ to people, they will reject me.
- People will only love me if I do things for them.
If I say ‘no’, I trap myself in the dark isolation of the phantom zone, destined to live forever outside the clan. For years my mind considered that fear to be far more dangerous than saying ‘yes’, and giving my body temporarily over to someone else’s pleasure as I diassociated myself. It’s only since the birth of my daughter that I have been motivated enough to try and love myself more and lead by example. I want her to be confident in her ‘No’. So whilst I learn to love myself, I avoid situations where it is easy to allow myself to be abused…
Situations where people assume that sexual connection is on the table. Situations where people start with the end in mind…and that end is sex. And since sex is the purpose of swinging, when I enter the room I start to panic at the pressure building in my brain as I dance around the artfully placed poles. The jacuzzi with heaving naked flesh. The enormous 12 person bed in the corner screaming COME AND FUCK ON ME.
Any situation which holds implicit expectations of sex means that those involved do not support the scaffolding I still need to give full and enthusiastic consent. It’s rare in a swinging party that anyone will wait for my YES before thinking that we might get to the next stage of intimacy.
We’re there to fuck. That’s why we came.
Which means that mostly they’re two steps ahead of me imagining me naked and kneeling; waiting for my ‘no’, which I can never say.