Ask The Swingset: Habits and Compromise


Cooper here with a question that has actually come up for Marilyn and I in the past.

We have been in the lifestyle for several years and are a nonsmoking couple. We have met a very nice couple and enjoyed some fun play time with them but have one issue that we are not sure how to broach-both of these people smoke and while we don’t mind playing with people who smoke we find their habit to be a bit too much-they even take turns smoking while we are playing! We leave an evening with them headachy and feeling congested for days after. How do we tell them a little is ok but too much is just that-too much- and will cause us to not spend time with them in the confines of a bedroom anymore? We don’t want to insult or come across as condemning of their choice to smoke.

I am actually allergic to cigarette smoke. It’s a mild allergy, yes, but it’s one that will linger with me for days after an encounter with a hardcore smoker. I cannot even spend much time in a house that’s smoked in too frequently. So I feel your pain.

We’ve only been very close to one couple that smoked, and luckily, both of them were quite agreeable and considerate about it. They went out of their way to not smoke too much around us, chewed gum or mints immediately after their smokes. This is one of those things where, like everything else over here on the Swingset, communication is key. If you don’t say anything, and they continue to smoke “too much” you will likely start regarding them poorly and begin to drift away anyway. And assuming your concern is losing them as friends and playmates, this is not an option.

Let them know that you really like them, but the smoking thing is getting to you, and you want to continue seeing them. If they feel the same feelings for you, they will likely adapt and amend their habits to suit yours a bit more, as long as you’re willing to amend your feelings a bit for them. The give and take of compromise is essential to any long-term ongoing swinging relationship, just as it is in ANY relationship.

Don’t be afraid to say something. They may not even realize they’re being excessive.

Now, should you say something and they throw a fit and storm out with teeth gnashing…well, do you really want to be close to a couple that would choose their habit over you?

Just my two cents.


photo by The Dream Sky


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.