Disclaimer: These days, I don’t do much swinging. It’s probably been over a year but less than two since I’ve had group sex. The other day I was listening to Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino and she said, “I’m not monogamous, I’m just lazy.” I would say that’s kind of the place I’m at with the group sex thing. That and one of my partners is called The Monogamist. Side note: if you don’t already listen to that podcast, you should. Seriously, I have no idea how I lived without it. It’s like oxygen. Or a Hitachi. So while I am not the go to girl for current swinging trends, I was a hardcore swinger about 7 or 8 years ago. I’ve had swinging on the brain – I’ve been trying to convince The Monogamist that he can’t definitively say he doesn’t like it if he hasn’t tried it lol – so that’s where this content is coming from. Enjoy. =)
When I was swinging, I was SERIOUSLY swinging. I came to swinging through poly…my girlfriend, A and boyfriend, J (who were an existing dyad and engaged) we’re involved in the swinging community. I’d had group sex but my experience with swapping was limited. Since swinging is a community all its own with rules, customs, and etiquette that are different than the poly community I considered myself a newbie.
My partners – A and J – brought me to pre-party dinner. In my memory, we were to be vetted there and then given the location of the party. The group we were dining with were so used to couples, that they had neglected to include me in the reservation. When they realized we were a triad, great pains were made so that we could sit together but there was also a status that everyone regarded A and J with. They had found the elusive unicorn. I felt like a stuffed head on a wall. People talked about my place in A and J’s relationship but not about our relationship. I was a decoration…fuckable decoration…but decoration nonetheless.
Later that night we went to swinger’s club…it was in an industrial area of the city where the neighborhood was questionable at night but the rent was cheap. The owners ran the finances and the managers ran the operations. This was the first night that I met Mr. (and later Mrs.) Manager. Our tour ended in the “Jungle Room” aka the orgy room. A and I joined some women we met at dinner on a couch and before I knew it, I’m sandwiched between two gorgeous women, thoroughly enjoying myself. Mr. Manager comes up behind me and slid a finger inside me…uninvited. I turned playfully over my shoulder and said “No boys allowed” in an attempt to tread carefully between setting boundaries and controlling the situation in an unfamiliar setting. He sulked away but complied. However, his poor consent model was such a turn off, I avoided interacting with him any more than necessary for several weeks.
Mrs. Manager was an awesome chick…and eventually, I ended up getting to know Mr. Manager through her. He was far better behaved when she was around. That friendship led to some very sexy group (10-15 people) activities. In fact, my favorite orgy story of all time includes Mr. Manager waving to me like a rodeo cowboy from across a sea of flesh…lol.
After that experience, we became better friends. Good friends, even. Good enough friends that one night, I went home with just the two of them. We had awesome sexy times…everything was on the up and up…no questions about barriers or consent issues. We were having such a good time, we realized it was 3am and Mrs. Manager had to work in the morning. She offered me and extra toothbrush and crash space. I gladly accepted, assuming I’d crash in the spare room we all used for their private parties. Side note: Save the freebie toothbrushes from the dentist for unexpected overnight guests. It makes you the coolest and most unicorn-friendly hosts ever. Anyway, I brush me teeth in their guest bathroom and leave my brush on the counter. I walk back into their room to say goodnights and that’s when they drop a huge bomb on me.
“We want you to stay with us, not just in our house but in our bed.”
“Okay. I don’t have a preference on side…”
“And not just here in our bed but in the middle. We’ve never let someone else sleep between us but we feel very close to you.”
Honestly, I was overwhelmed and unsure the etiquette other than “thank you” so I graciously accepted. I slept in the middle; we get up in the morning. As I am brushing my teeth before I leave, Mr. Manager came up to me in the bathroom to tell me he wanted to keep the toothbrush for the next time I came over.
“You want to keep my toothbrush? Well, how are you going to tell it from all the other toothbrushes in the cup?” He tossed the toothbrushes in the cup in the trash. To which I flirtatiously replied, “How will you know that’s my toothbrush when you add new ones?” With more preparation that I was expecting, he pulled out a permanent marker and wrote my name on the toothbrush. I was speechless.
Around that same time, I found the public kink community and a few months later, my beloved swinging club closed. I fell off the face of the earth as far as most of my swinging friends were concerned. About a year later, my leather sister and I were free for the evening and looking to blow off some steam. I’d heard through the grape vine that Mr. and Mrs. Manager were having a private fundraising party at their house in preparation to start hotel takeover parties. On a whim, we go. I see old friends and wonder why I ever lost touch with these people.
I’m in the guest bathroom washing my hands and there it is – my lone toothbrush in the cup. Its unclear to me if the toothbrush had been the only one in that cup for 18 months or was placed there for effect because they knew I’d be in their home for sexy time at this party. I consider this briefly as I dry my hands. When I open the door to the bathroom, there’s Mr. Manager. He looks at me and then we both look at the toothbrush. That’s when I see the tears in his eyes. “I’m pretending to stand in line for the bathroom so I could talk to you privately.” I’m speechless. He continues, “That toothbrush has been there since that night and it was heartbreaking to have our girlfriend disappear off the face of the earth. I don’t think you have any idea how much pain you caused us.”
Now, I hear him. It is painful to have someone in your life disappear. And I hear him…that it is painful to have your girlfriend disappear. However, that’s not actually what happened to them. At no point had we negotiated any level of commitment. There was one sleepover and a handful or two of group encounters. That does not a girlfriend make. I would say my consent in the situation, or lack of consent in this particular situation does. And when I think about it, it brings me back to the poor consent model Mr. Manager used the first night we met. Slipping the girlfriend label on me just like that finger in my pussy. If he stealthily staked his claim, would I notice? The answer is in fact, yes, I noticed.
Ultimately, it was a valuable lesson in avoiding predatory behavior. I don’t think he knew he was being predatory…I don’t think unicorn hunters ever think they are being predatory – but they are, just like he was. This is one of the reasons I think it is monumentally important to be a part of your community. We are responsible for conversations about consent, acknowledging dyad privilege, and honoring each individual’s right to participate in relationships they choose vs. the relationships that choose them.