Coming Out Swinging…

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We’re sorta out, Marilyn and I. In the sense that those important to us know not the details of what we do, but know what it means when we say “we have a date tonight.” And by those important to us, I mean those who we would have conversations about sex with. IE, our friends. I’ve never said no when someone asked me point blank “are you a swinger?” and I hope to never have to.

Bottom line is our parents don’t need to know what we get up to in the bedroom, and it’s just as unnecessary to tell them about it as it would be to tell them what position we used last night. Marilyn’s place of employment would likely not be so appreciative of her activities, so she isn’t out at work. I, on the other hand, am. My boss & coworkers know and support it. (With the caveat of course… “don’t fuck anyone in the office…”) I’m lucky that I work somewhere…let’s just say strange.

So why did we come out to our friends then? They also don’t need to know what position we used last night. Well, mainly it was so we didn’t feel we needed to hide our new friends from our old friends, or be concerned that there might be cross bleed from the two sides of our world. As it stands now, I can be perfectly comfortable when one of our swinger friends shows up to a vanilla party. (Though, understandably, it’s harder to convince our vanilla friends to give the swinger parties a try…hehe)

But the cork is certainly out of the bottle, and the smoke can never all be crammed back in, so we’re ostensibly out. Why the article? Well, because I just read an article from earlier this year that talked about a couple in our neck of the woods who was “outed” by a neighbor, who sent an email to seemingly their entire neighborhood, friends, family, PTA, local parents, staff at their children’s school, etc… This horrendous act isn’t horrendous just because I agree with the harmed party, it’s horrendous because it’s an instance of someone in no way affected by something making it their business. And that’s a little thing I call bullshit.

So this left me thinking about something I’ve grappled with a lot since starting this site. I’m sitting here under a pseudonym. One that in fact uses the last name of two of my favorite early nineties television heroes. So I am hiding. In plain sight. With my friends, I’m open, wanting to talk about it, etc. But one never knows who’ll go digging. So I’m reminded of something I read on Maymay’s blog late last year: The closet is not a binary. We don’t have to be “in” or “out.” We can straddle the line.

But as Kamela Dolinova said, “Coming out is a difficult process, but necessary.” This is why I may still be inside the closet, but the door is open, and I’m shaking hands with everybody willing to shake mine. Because if swinging is “normal,” because we see swingers around us, then it’s really hard to suggest that we’re seriously awful, going to burn in a fiery pit, etc. It is our duty as what Kidder Kaper calls “Non Vanilla Thinkers” to stand strong and admit to the world that we exist, that we like these things that we like, that we may be wearing a mask, but we’re still here.

I can tell you that being out amongst our friends is wonderful. We can truly be ourselves without having to worry about someone getting the wrong idea. It has hiccuped our relationships with a few people, and lost us one or two as well. But I said this to Marilyn the night we decided to tell the first person, fuck them if they don’t respect something we’re doing that has literally changed our lives and made us the happiest we’ve ever been. If you can’t respect that, I don’t want you in my life.

So I guess I’m just rambling. Am I telling you to come out? Maybe a little. Am I telling you to take care in doing so? Certainly. Am I as all over the map as to be expected at 1:38 on a Monday morning? Probably close, but slightly more coherent. Did I use any brackets? Not this time, baby! One thing I can tell you about coming out is at has allowed us to surround ourselves with people who support us. And there is no greater feeling in the world than having that community.

If you don’t, reach out, we’ll be there!

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About Author

Cooper S. Beckett is a relationship coach specializing in non-monogamy, author of  My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory & A Life Less Monogamous, and the co-founder of Life on the Swingset & host of its swinging & polyamory podcast. He speaks and teaches classes on pegging, swinging, polyamory, play parties, and non-monogamy. He is a graphic & web designer, photographer, and voice over artist, has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast, & is the announcer of Tristan Taormino's radio show Sex Out Loud. He is currently working on his next novel: Approaching The Swingularity.