Swinging in the Deep End – Learning Boundaries


One of the events I was most excited for at the Swingset Takes Desire was the High School Play Party. We’ve been to a few swinger events at local clubs, but have not yet met a crew of people who do play parties the way my friends in other cities have described them. Adding the element of the high school games like spin the bottle was a fun twist and we were down to get down. The rules were first bottle match meant chaste mouth kiss, second match was frenching, third match you went into the shower stall near the hot tub for ‘7 minutes in heaven’. Either party had the option to refuse at any time.

The game started with a medium crowd of people, with all of whom I had either already established a sexual relationship or at least an intense flirt that I was happy to have lead somewhere more physical. As the bottle spun, I got the chance to smooch a few people I hadn’t had the chance to put the moves on yet, and it was a fun, light way to have that happen. The fact that I happened to be sitting in a spot that the bottle favoured due to the uneven tile floor… no complaints from me.

A few more people joined and after some dissatisfaction about the chaste kissing part, and that the game was moving too slowly, it was decided that we needed to up the ante so that the first kiss was frenching and then straight to the shower. It was a still a small enough crowd that I could go for that, and when Flick made my dream come true by frenching one of the other hot guys on a first match, I was in my happy place. I was so impressed by the guys in the game either kissing one another or opting out, without any ridiculous chest pounding or making a big deal over it.

The group grew larger a few more times and it got to the point where I no longer knew everyone in the crowd. Since we were merely at kissing, I was perfectly happy to give and accept kisses, even if that was essentially my first introduction to someone.

Everything changed when the ‘7 minutes in heaven’ started.

When I looked up to see oral sex happening in the shower as the immediate step after frenching, my stomach dropped and panic began to set in. I am exceptionally naïve to have imagined there would be making out, maybe some grinding as the next step. Admittedly, the people in the shower were people who had already established sexual connections, and so it made complete sense for them to go right to a more advanced level, but it was setting a precedent for those of us watching. Even if the players in heaven had been out of sight, so we only had to wonder what they were up to, it would have been okay, but I felt sick dread, rather than sexy fun as I watched.

If the group had remained with the initial, smaller crew, I likely would have been willing to step out of my comfort zone a bit, but as things progressed, all I could think was that I was either going to have to blow someone I didn’t know/didn’t have chemistry with, or have to reject someone rather publicly and have it be this whole awkward awful thing. I knew that I had every right to say no at anytime to anyone, but it was a different situation than someone approaching me at an event and me saying, ‘no thank you’ to their advances. This would be everyone in a large group watching me say, ‘no thank you’ and potentially humiliating a really delightful person I felt a friendship connection with. This was a high school play party, but I didn’t want to be the person sending someone back to that terrible time by turning them down in front of all their friends.

I mentioned my fears to the sexy friend in the seat next to me and he was on the same page, so at least I knew I was not alone. I tried to figure out a clever code phrase to say to Flick, but ended up just asking him to come talk to me away from the group. He felt exactly the same way I did, so we decided to opt out and leave the party. We bade our surprised friends goodnight in a rather sudden way and headed back to our room.

Leaving felt like a shitty option too, because we’d been so excited for a night of play with the people we wanted to play with. There are only so many nights at Desire, so missing out on one of them sucked. And we probably could have just gone into the hot tub for a while and popped back in on the party when the dynamic changed, but I knew I’d be overly conscious of the laughter and ruckus from fun and games we were missing out on.  Leaving was the best bad decision we could make.

We spent a couple hours lying in our bed chatting and processing, and trying to figure out what we could have done differently, but couldn’t come up with anything. We were simply out of our depths in the situation and leaving before one of us did something we really regretted was the only call. I suppose it was a good opportunity to learn a hard boundary for us. We’re just not open to play with people unless we’re really into them, and we’d rather give up the potential sexy connection with people we are into than do something we’d rather not with those we don’t know or feel chemistry with.

Another fucking opportunity for growth, as they say. It would just be nice if doing the right thing actually felt good.


About Author

Kat is a sex-positive, geeky, Canadian, pansexual, deviant, slutty, feminist pervert who came to ethical non-monogamy 21-years into her relationship with her husband. After a quick toe-dip to test the waters (and hours of obsessive reading and podcast consumption), they dove in and she almost can't imagine they ever lived any other way. Labels never give a totally clear picture, but she considers herself non-monogamous and polyamorous, though she occasionally swings. She's also a podcaster and audiobook narrator. onthewetcoast.com @WetcoastKat on Twitter.