Douchebagopolis. Population: Him (or “When Communication Fails In Swinging”)

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Perhaps that title gives away the fact that this story does not center on a happy tale. Unlike most of our other posts, this is not a generally upbeat story. But we post on this blog for your entertainment and education. And perhaps as a bit of cathartic, therapeutic disclosure of our adventures whether happy or horrific.

This story will be co-written by Mrs. Said (with her words in green). Here we go.

Back in the summer, we went to a swinger meet-and-greet in a private area of a bar. We planned to meet a couple we had ‘met’ on SDC and decided to go a little earlier than they told us they’d be there. We had a great time at the previous event put on by this group so our hopes were high.

We grabbed drinks and started to mill around a bit. Shortly, we fell into our habit of standing off to the side, chatting between ourselves, people-watching. After a bit, a nice gentleman (let’s call him Jack) excused himself from the conversation with his wife and another couple and introduced himself to us. We chatted, laughed, chatted more, then he dragged a couple chairs over to where his wife and the other couple were.

The lady of the other couple, despite being 25 and having a nice rack (attributes that usually warrant a brief conversation at least), may have been the most tiresome conversationalist on the planet. After she and her equal partner bade us farewell, we got to focus on Jack and his wife. I could tell Mrs. Said was digging Jack. He is attractive, down to earth, and was obviously attracted to her – both in mental and physical terms. His wife was cute, but quiet. They were a little on the high side of our preferred age range, but he and Mrs. Said were quickly forming a mutual admiration society. I was trying hard to engage the wife. Some say ‘never take one for the team’, but I think hooking up with someone who falls short of your ideal is a nice thing to do when your mate is really digging on their mate.

After a little while, the other folks we planned to meet showed up so we bid adieu to Jack and his wife. When Mrs. Said later filled me in on her conversation, she told me that Jack has permission to play without his wife. Knowing that Mrs. Said has always fantasized about a MFM threesome, Jack became the lead candidate. Since there was absolutely no spark between his wife and me, it made a lot of sense.

They struck up quite a robust email and text relationship – all completely visible to me. They helped each other with some work stuff. He was clearly smitten with her, which I understood because she is – if I do say so myself – quite an attractive, intelligent, fun catch of a woman.

Through his emails with Mrs. Said, we learned more about his background in swinging, which revealed something that concerned us. He met a woman while swinging and continued a relationship with her one-on-one after her husband thought they weren’t swinging any more. They had developed what he described as a deep emotional connection – a real romance.

While I expressed concern, Mrs. Said and I decided to proceed cautiously because he seemed to have learned that type of relationship wouldn’t work in the swing world. We told him we would only play together and he said he understood. At one point, I was rethinking whether I wanted to be part of a threesome with him. I offered a hall pass if Mrs. Said wanted. She said no, that she wanted this to be something we did together.

Fast forward a couple months and we are finally getting to see him and his wife at a New Years Eve party. We had no plans to play, no pressure. Jack and Mrs. Said knew fully that there was no spark between Mrs. Jack and me.

A little context here: For those couple of months this guy had been telling me how spectacular I was, and how deep his desire to be with us in a threesome was (okay, really it was about him having a chance to be with me – Mr. Said and I were under no illusions about what motivated him). As Holly described very well in a couple of recent posts that completely resonated for me here and here, I too had been out of the dating game and in a committed, monogamous relationship for so long that I would find myself quite surprised when people we met in this world found me sexy/attractive/smart/funny/enticing. Oh, I knew Mr. Said did, but I always thought it in his best interest to tell me how great he thought I was, and he never failed to do so. But along came this hot guy who was pegging the red zone of my physical attraction meter all while telling me how amazing he thought I was. It was a massive ego boost to say the least, and it was very intoxicating.

On NYE, we showed up at the skimpy-outfit-themed party in our street clothes and proceeded to mix and mingle. Jack and wife showed up a little later and the flirting began. I tried again to engage Mrs. Jack, but I couldn’t get a good read on her. She is smiling and laughing politely, but there’s no real two-way conversation going on. But I am optimistic that we can develop enough rapport to make a rocking night possible for Mrs. Said and Jack. After a while, I went out to the car to get our sex kit (condoms, lube, vibe, etc.) to put in our friend’s room when he offered to let Mrs. Said change into her skimpy outfit there. I handed the kit to her and said “Take this upstairs in case we need it later.”

They went upstairs and I figured they would probably play grab-ass in the elevator, maybe grope a little in the room. As the minutes ticked off, I tried to stay cool and wasn’t really worried because I trust Mrs. Said.

As it turns out, what Mrs. Said thought she heard me say was “Take this upstairs in case you need it later.”

In short, I was thinking with my vagina. I allowed it to seriously cloud my judgment in a crucial moment. Between me mis-hearing what Mr. Said said, my strong physical attraction to Jack, and the fact that I’d had a couple of inhibition-lowering drinks, I allowed myself to walk into a precarious situation. I, too, figured Jack and I would kiss and grope a bit then return downstairs.

After a little too long, they came back down. I asked what had happened…

Here’s what happened. When I went up to the room with him to change into my skimpy party outfit, he and I had already kissed a couple of times in the party room. I expected a hot, within-bounds, quick make-out session. After all, we had stated to him numerous times that Mr. Said and I played together as a couple and we wanted him to join into that. Numerous times in response to our setting that out very clearly, he acknowledged that he understood and respected what we were about as a couple.

Unbeknownst to Jack, Mr. Said and I had had this conversation about my getting a one-time Hall Pass to be with him. I had turned down that generous offer from my husband thinking it not a good idea in general – or where this guy in particular was concerned. But it was in the back of my mind.

when communication fails at a swinger partyAnd again, what I heard Mr. Said say to me about taking the sex kit upstairs to the room – in addition to a couple of other things that had passed between Mr. Said and myself prior to the party that night – lodged in my mind as implicit permission. Add to the fact that I’d had a few drinks (I’m not making an excuse here, just giving the context of the situation) and well, let’s just say it would have been better if Mr. Said had accompanied us to the room. Jack no doubt would have been respectful of the boundaries and I wouldn’t have allowed things to get out of hand, which they did – swiftly!

As soon as we got to Jack’s room, I took off my dress to reveal the lingerie underneath. He immediately grabbed me, picked me up, kissed me and threw me on the bed. Literally. Then he stripped my lingerie and panties from my body in one motion that was so fast I was kind of amazed they remained intact. The encounter had this hungry, animal quality to it – and who doesn’t want to be desired that deeply? It was rather thrilling. While that quality was to be expected due to the long build-up, the fact that the entire encounter remained that way threw me off a bit. It sounds naive even writing this, but here goes: I knew he had the propensity to push boundaries. I had no idea he would simply obliterate them.

The potion of attraction, alcohol, surprise and sexual desire prevented me from saying no when I should have. Despite having discussed our boundaries about separate play, I thought Mr. Said had green lighted a little tryst. So even though I was hesitant, I put up no defense when Jack went down on me. His whole demeanor once we entered the room was very ‘take charge’. While that usually is quite appealing to me, this time it just kind of threw me off. I wanted it, but didn’t. I thought I had permission, but it still felt wrong. But I didn’t stop him.

He came up to face me and reached down to enter me – without a condom. I told him ‘no way’ and he found a condom to use. After a few minutes of rather rough, not very satisfying pounding, it was over.

I didn’t stop him. And that is completely my failure. When Jack and I returned to the party, I quickly disclosed to Mr. Said what had happened…

…and she told me they had sex. I managed to stay calm outside but I was losing my mind. I went for a walk outside the hotel. I tried to stay cool. I was apoplectic…

… and was met with a reaction that surprised me a little – and then sent a chill through my veins and my stomach plummeting through the floor when I realized how royally I had messed up and how badly I had misinterpreted some of Mr. Said’s and my communications. I began to wonder just how deep and possibly irreparable the damage was that I had just done to my primary relationship.

I didn’t want to make a scene at the party. I continued to small-talk with a couple people. After two or three offers, I took Mrs. Said up on her suggestion that we leave. She got in the car and asked “Do you want to talk?” I have learned to keep my mouth closed when I am that mad. The potential for damage is too great. We didn’t speak a word on the 20 minute ride home. I slept in another room. Well, I tried to sleep. I was madder than I have ever been. I ended up leaving the house in the middle of the night and walking to an all night diner. Back home, I slept fitfully for a couple hours then left before anyone was awake to go for a drive. Fast. With loud music.

That was mildly therapeutic. All the while I was trying to figure out how I had contributed to this event. Why the fuck did I give her the sex kit? Why did I trust him? What actually happened?

God, what a horrible few days we’ve just had. What started out as excitement for a night where I was going to see this guy – whom I was beyond hot for – derailed so quickly and completely that I was astonished at both how it derailed, and the role I played in the derailment.

When Mr. Said and I finally talked, I tried to explain myself to some degree. But I have to admit that in the end, it came down to REALLY bad judgment on my part.

The red flags about Jack were raised early. His disrespecting boundaries with his swing-partner-turned-affair. His frequent, emotionally entwining communication with me. Mr. Said and I both went against that gnawing little feeling in our guts and instead gave Jack opportunities to explain these things away. With 20/20 hindsight I know we should have just walked away from the situation. But I allowed my hardcore physical attraction and strong desire to experience sexual fun with this guy to cloud what is typically otherwise pretty solid judgment.

I too spent the night not sleeping, heart racing, brain working overtime presenting the worst case scenario for what Mr. Said might say to me when he actually started speaking to me again.

He came home from his drive and again said nothing to me. He went straight to our bedroom, shut the door and went to sleep.

After another fitful couple hours of sleep, I felt less on the edge of doing or saying something incredibly damaging. Not quite ready to talk, but getting there.

By mid-day, I was calm enough to not say mean, nasty things I could never take back. I wanted her to hurt as much as I was hurting but I needed to mend things more than I needed to drag out her pain.

Hearing my wife ask if I wanted to divorce her over this incident showed me how seriously she took it. I don’t want a divorce – and won’t. But it has shaken my confidence in our communication. I thought we had clearly decided that there would be no hall pass activities. A silver lining is that we clarified that going forward there won’t be any hall passes for either of us! The symmetry of coupling with another couple is what brought us to swinging and it still feels most comfortable and rewarding.

This may be a rationalization necessary to preserve my sanity and marriage, but I am putting the lion’s share of responsibility for this awful episode on him. He was stone cold sober. He had been told we only play together. We never told him of our conversations to the contrary. He invited Mrs. Said upstairs to change – nothing more was hinted at, said or requested. He manipulated the situation to get her alone and took advantage of his opportunity. In my opinion, he is a big, juicy turd in the punch bowl of swinging.

After a long, tearful discussion with her describing what had happened, I knew I could forgive her this transgression. She forgave me for my unclear signal of giving her the sex kit to stow in their room.

As difficult as the concept had seemed mere hours before, we decided to have a reclamation love-making session the night after the incident. I knew it was risking bringing up unpleasant mental images I had stored from my imagination, but it turned out to be the right thing. It turns out that we are a much better fit than she and he. He is a much better physical specimen than I am (I lost my six-pack some years back) and her fantasies about him REALLY turned her on. I was the recipient of some hot sessions on days after their text-flirting, after all. Luckily for my sanity, he turned out to not be particularly talented or satisfying.

As I sit here just days after the incident, I have forgiven. I have been forgiven.

Following New Year’s Eve’s SNAFU, Mr. Said and I have spent hours talking through what transpired and the roles we each played leading up to it. One of the many things I am examining in the cold, hard light of the aftermath of my actions – and inactions in key moments – is that I MUST get a handle on the part of me that hates being perceived as the ‘bad guy’ who just pulled the rip cord on an exciting free-fall. But if we are going to be in this world, I absolutely need to be able to say “no” when necessary, even if I’m going to be perceived as a giant buzzkill in the process. What I know for certain is that I don’t ever want to get myself anywhere close to a situation like that again. A new rule (no one-on-one time with swing partners for either of us) makes sense in light of what happened.

We have been lucky to have met and played with a number of truly nice people in the lifestyle. He was not one of them. I refuse to let him poison this fun thing we share.

As I told Mrs. Said, if you ride enough roller coasters eventually you’re gonna throw up.

We are still shaken from this episode but agree with each other that swinging has brought us together and has provided great fun and new friends who have proven themselves to be respectful beyond any doubt. Swinging is not without risks. But even in the shadow of this botched episode we are comfortable with those risks. Most importantly, we have learned a few things through this difficult experience that we both think will greatly mitigate those risks going forward.

But as they say, if your primary relationship is not rock solid this stuff will tear it apart.

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About Author

He Said and She Said (not their given names) are 40-somethings married for 20-something years living in a large Southern US city. Spurred into action by their landscaper's tales of consensual non-monogamy, they have enjoyed swinging - and blogging about it - since 2010.

12 Comments

  1. Hello, and thank you for posting this!

    Your disclosure brought back the distant memory of a situation that nearly destroyed my current relationship with my girlfriend. Without communication skills and with all sorts of problems already in the relationship at that time, the event was a catalyst that transformed it into a failed relationship for eight years. (Why we stayed together is a bit of a mystery, but in hindsight it was the correct choice.)

    Although what happened to us is only superficially similar to your story, it does involve the precipitous and sometimes dangerous excess of NRE that occurs when someone finds you attractive. In this case, I fell for it and went out of my way to create a toxic environment of lies and deception in order to be with a woman who was attracted to me. Although I pursued the relationship with full disclosure to my girlfriend, it was not something that she was comfortable with at all. I did not even have the luxury of thinking that my girlfriend approved (I knew she did not). I was certainly not in my right mind, drugged on NRE, and all of my judgement calls at the time were very poor.

    In retrospect, the incident helped us identify the potholes of polyamory (because I fell into EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!) and the difficulties of nonmonogamy in general. We can talk about it rather easily these days, and identify where things went wrong, and use those mistakes to create rules and guidelines to help us solve current issues as we muddle through our mutual journey in the realm of nonmonogamy.

    Rather than a day of trouble, however, that one incident caused years of misery and almost destroyed the relationship (many times). That is the difference between a relationship that has open lines of communication, understanding, honesty, and trust, and one that does not. We are a little better now than we used to be, and improving every day, but we have a long way to go before we can handle situations as explosive as the one you encountered and still walk away relatively unscathed.

  2. We are new to the lifestyle and have learned the hard way in a couple instances of not saying no when we should have. I think when you first start out there is this pressure we put on ourselves to do things that might press the boundaries or bend them. We find out during or after that things we didn't do we were likely going to be fine with, and others we didn't feel good about that helped us establish where we are at as a couple.

    We still find new situations arise that we don't expect that we hadn't had a chance to talk about before. Being the buzzkill or bad guy is always sucks, but I felt better doing that than the alternative. The main thing is us communicating before an event or meeting or party. Even so, there's always the unknown we don't know about until it happens.

  3. An excellent, instructive post. Having the patience to seek to understand the situation and learn from it demonstrate fulfilling personal growth, that in the end makes for a stronger relationship. This sort of lifestyle has such a mystique attached to it, lots of people seem to rush the sex part without considering the consequences. For couples who prefer to play together, it can be very hard, but the rewards are worth it.

    Jay

  4. An excellent, instructive post. Having the patience to seek to understand the situation and learn from it demonstrate fulfilling personal growth, that in the end makes for a stronger relationship. This sort of lifestyle has such a mystique attached to it, lots of people seem to rush the sex part without considering the consequences. For couples who prefer to play together, it can be very hard, but the rewards are worth it.

  5. What a horrible, horrible story. But like many, absolutely instructive and educational, especially for us as relative newbies.

    Curious HeSaid – The whole time I was reading, alarm bells were ringing. It just seemed to me that the stage was set for a "cuckolding" from the very beginning: 1) You were excluded from the process of creating the heat – that existed only between SheSaid and Jack. Plus, 2) you did "offer" the hall pass – why did you do this if the experience was going to be so traumatic for you? And 3) With all of that going on, why were you OK with SheSaid going to Jack's room with him, knowing there was going to be at least grubbing and groping? Part of me wonders how you could not see this coming? I do not mean this to be critical at all, so I apologize if it comes across that way. And maybe it's a measure of my newbieness that I would ever raise these issues – I think one of my challenges is trying to control too much.

    That said, Jack was a prick. I hope you found him later and pissed on his leg.

    • Thanks for your comment. In writing about the events leading up to New Year’s Eve, we tried to put ourselves back in the mindset we had at the time. Obviously, when viewed in hindsight the events take on a much more sinister tone.

      All I can really say is that at the time I had two emotions battling: jealousy of the “heat” that was being created and joy at the boost She Said was getting from the adoration. Unfortunately, I let the joy – and my desire to let her be adored – overwhelm my uneasy feelings.

      At the time I offered the hall pass, I had no idea that their having sex without me would cause such a negative reaction in my heart and mind. If I had known that, It never would have been on the table. She Said and I have had a policy since before we took the first step into this lifestyle: Anything negative that happens will be treated as water over the dam. Since we won’t always be able to predict our own reactions, we have to be able to experiment then take things back off the table if the experiment didn’t go well. That is what we have done in this case. Whether a threesome is off the table permanently or just for a while remains to be seen.

      Regarding the “grubbing and groping”, we have discussed this incident with vanilla friends and they have a hard time understanding the delineation between that and intercourse. I don’t claim that it makes any rational sense, but for me there is a big step from soft swap to full swap. When they went to the room, I thought they might have a little fun together – as a prelude to fun we would all have together later. I did not expect him to blow through the boundaries. Naive? Yes. But that was my actual mindset at the time.

      I don’t yet know if it is positive or negative (probably both) but this incident has made me much less naively trusting of people in the lifestyle. If someone told me that she only plays with her husband present, I wouldn’t in a million years push her to do anything separately. I projected that level of respect on someone who didn’t deserve it.

      I trusted a person who was not trustworthy. It has been a valuable, albeit painful, lesson learned.

      • Wow – well said. Major, major kudos to you for taking such a prodigious amount of time and thought and self-examination to help all of us benefit from your experience, as painful as it was. This post obviously wasn't easy, and we really respect you for writing it anyway.

        When my wife and I read it initially, we both felt a little nauseated. I think the scary thing for us that we saw a little of the possibility that it could have happened to us (on both sides). I think it's safe to say we have talked about it enough now to make sure that this, at least, will not happen now.

        So, thanks. You've helped us, and many others I'm sure.

  6. [This a copy of an email I sent Cooper that I wanted to share here.]

    Dear Cooper and the Gang:

    I have spent the past few weeks listening to all of your podcasts. Now that I am “all caught up”, I write to convey some thoughts and sentiment that have been developing since my very first Swingset episode.

    Thank you from the bottom of my once-sex-negative-now-becoming-sex-positive-heart. What you folks do is supporting, caring, humane, AND human. It is also courageous and a rare act of true giving in times when such acts are increasingly rare. Obviously motivated by nothing more complicated than to make life for all of us better through the sharing of yourselves, you help who knows how many people find joy and enlightenment in parts of living and loving that were once places of apprehension and even fear.

    Please continue your work and know how we appreciate is your effort all the good, healing, and pleasure it helps to make possible. I and many others support you and wish you success and happiness.

    Sincerely,

    An unassuming divorced jock entering his second prime

    May I offer one suggestion? I find that one aspect of the podcasts that makes them so effective and such powerful forms of communicating is the natural intimacy and immediacy created by the conversational and relaxed atmosphere of the discussions. Unfortunately, however, when it comes to a participant elaborating on a specific incident or giving a personal example of a topic or issue on the table, that immediacy is almost always cut short. The panel members seem never to be either willing or allowed to give details of their experiences, and those details often, I find, enable that last level of understanding that makes other peoples’ experiences real and accessible to others.

    For example, the Swingset web site currently features a piece by HE SAID, SHE SAID on the couples’ recent unfortunate experience with Jim the Douchebag and “rule breaking.” They recounted the details and events of the situation in a way that completely put me there in that moment and made not just understanding but EMPATHY—real heartrending empathy–possible. Without the “gory”—and I concede likely painful—details I simply would not have garnered from their experience all the wisdom, perspective, and power it had the potential to convey. Without the specific details of how that night played out, without hearing directly from them how HE and SHE felt, AND without knowing the resolution they achieved, I can tell I would have been left to jump to all sorts of conclusions that are inaccurate and unfair.

    On the other hand, I’ve heard countless references to the few “hammer and tongs” fallouts Cooper and Marilyn have had over “rule breaking” but I’ve no idea to what is being referenced specifically. Without more information, just knowing that something happened but not WHAT happened, is the difference between “cold,” inorganic information and “warm” useful information.

    I understand that even within the context of your podcasts and web site, you want to observe boundaries and some level of privacy, and I hope I do not come off as a frustrated voyeur (Hey, I know what to expect from a quarter!) However, having enjoyed and benefitted from your work so much in the past few months, I could not resist the impulse to offer up these thoughts on how what you do—especially the podcasts—might become even better.

    Wishing you continued success and joy, I remain

    Yours,
    Kyle

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