Yesterday, Ms Swap Fu and I were invited onto another podcast. The podcast is called Erotic Awakening, hosted by Dan and his partner Dawn. As it happens, Dan called our phone-in line with a question about swinging which we answered on our last podcast, Episode 9. He also e-mailed me a few weeks ago to tell me that he had given us a “shout out” on his podcast.; Erotic Awakening posted an episode on swinging and he mentioned the Swap Fu Podcast as being one he had listened to recently and enjoyed.
I listened to their episode and quickly learned that Dan and Dawn have had an interest in swinging for some time and have attended swinger clubs in the past. While I would like to report that their experiences at the clubs had been positive, quite the opposite had occurred. The problem is that Dan and Dawn were made uncomfortable by three different activities prevalent in our lifestyle; getting the cold shoulder from cliques, the excessive drinking and uninvited touching.
Now cliques, I think we can all agree, are unwelcome in any community that wishes to be welcoming to new members. Ms Swap Fu and I, even being the social monsters that we are (Grr!), have noticed that there are groups of people at the clubs who tend to hang out only with each other. You could call them cliques. I prefer to think of them as people who have grown used to each other’s company and are, by and large, sufficiently occupied among themselves that they do not feel the need or have the time to include every new couple. So it goes and to each his own. We can all do more to be more inclusive and I think that there are couples in the community who go out of their way to do so. Ms Swap Fu and I have met several of these during our early times out and we appreciate their attention dearly. In fact, I think it should be a goal of every member couple in the club to set aside at least one night per year to be a “host” couple and help show newbies the ropes.
To address the other two concerns, the drinking to excess and unwelcome touching, I need to give a little more background on the hosts of Erotic Awakening. Dan and Dawn, while being very sex positive, are not swingers. They are into BDSM. While in swinging, being a primarily social engagement, alcohol in its many varied forms will almost universally be present, in BDSM play, drinking is frowned upon and even forbidden in most circles. After all, you wouldn’t want some dude with his 9th Budweiser in one hand and a cat-o-nine-tails in the other anywhere near your scrotum. Dan and Dawn were taken aback by how much drinking goes on at the clubs and at parties; it’s simply not what they are used to and with good reason. (That is not to say that we don’t drink too much in the lifestyle. Anyone who has heard my past laments of failed erections will know that drinking without moderation is not without its consequences.)
This brings me to uninvited touching. I found this to be the concern that both surprised me the most and is the most telling of why I don’t think swinging will ever be a real possibility for the Erotic Awakening hosts. Dan and Dawn aren’t just into BDSM, they live in a long-term, M/s relationship. This means Dan is Dawn’s Master and she is his slave. I was struck by how concerned they were with the concept of negotiation and rules, and I came away with the impression that in order to escalate physically with another person involved a series of negotiations, boundary settings and strict rules of the road. It sounds like a lot of work. While we swingers encourage couples to have an understanding of how far they are allowed to go sexually with other people, we tend not to like a lot of rules or structure placed around those interactions. We have some structure in place to protect feelings, but not necessarily to protect order. Conversely, in BDSM, it’s all about rules and structure. So much so in fact that much if not all of the pleasure in this lifestyle comes exploring feelings of pleasure, pain, denial and release within the confines of these rules. (Please note that I don’t pretend to understand all this but I’m trying, so please forgive me if I’m whipping a sacred cow, so to speak.)
In this dynamic, Dawn belongs to Dan, and others are simply not allowed to touch her, nor she touch others, without his permission. In swinging, while it is considered polite to ask for permission before you touch someone, casual touching is permitted and encouraged. Dawn commented that she was taken aback by how casually other women would simply come up and start touching her. This is considered an affront to her Master’s authority and should not be allowed. Swingers simply do not think that way. We’ve come to the club or to parties to touch and be touched. Further, swingers are generally free to engage with whomever they want.
For this reason more so than the other two, I don’t think swinging will ever be a viable lifestyle choice for Dan and Dawn. I, of course, welcome them to keep trying, but I also understand that they have a great life together the way it is. In fact, they’ve mentioned on several occasions during the interview that they “make terrible swingers” and that’s OK. They make great podcasts host and Ms Swap Fu and were very honored to share our little piece of deviance with them. I encourage you to give them a listen, even if you aren’t into BDSM. They are a lot of fun.