As we write this, we mark the end of the first week home from our most recent trip to Desire Resort and Spa with the Life on the Swingset crew. Family and work obligations have sucked us violently back into our vanilla routines, and the events of that week’s trip are now fading into the warm glow of memory. Not all is lost though, that warmth is thankfully helping us fend off the cold and dreariness of the onrushing Canadian winter.
Looking back, we are always amazed at how remarkable our trips to Desire are. They are a combination of the blissful, the erotic, the languid, and the sensual, combined with a hotbed of self growth and learning. When we began our exploration of the Lifestyle, we never imagined the lessons it would teach us, or the number and diversity of amazing people it would throw us in contact with.
Every trip, we come away with new insights into our selves. Surprising spurts of personal growth and unexpected “A-ha” realizations. The crucible that is Desire has yet to fail us in this respect.
Styles of Communication
This year, our big Eureka (Damien is the Sheriff Carter in this relationship) moment came from the realization that people communicate in different ways. Just as there are musicians, authors and poets, painters, and sculptures; artists who use different mediums to get their thoughts and ideas across. There are different communication mediums, different ways people use to interact with one another when face to face (or in this case in the hot tub).
We’ve noticed that there appears to be two major modes. There are those of us who communicate primarily with our words, and those who communicate primarily with touch. Note: Sure, sure, the world is not just made up of the extremes, there are lots of folks who communicate with their words AND their touch. But heck, those folks don’t need this blog post, they’ve got it going on!
We’re going to label these two polarities the Talkers and the Huggers. To simplify to the extreme, Talkers talk, Huggers do.
Before moving on though, we need to take a brief diversion here to talk about escalation.
In our experience, We’ve found that the hardest parts of making connections in the Lifestyle are:
- Recognizing there is attraction.
- Making that attraction (and your desire to do something about it) known.
The gap between these two points requires some active step to close it. You can spend hours with a couple you find very hot, yet if you don’t say or do something to close the gap, to escalate, you can end up running out the clock, and not doing anything. Another note: OK, technically, you are doing something but it’s not the something you really want to be doing.
In our observation, huggers win at this. A touch on the arm, leads to a brief hug, leads to a request for a kiss, leads to…
Huggers are already naturals at using touch, it’s fluid for them and flows effortlessly. Put two huggers together, and if there is mutual attraction, they can recognize the cues, and sparks can fly pretty quickly.
Combine a talker with a hugger, again with mutual attraction, and after chitchatting for a while, the hugger will have crossed the gap, and made physical contact. “That joke was hilarious” – touch on the arm. “I like the way you’re flirting with me” – lean in for the kiss. Third note: We love flirting with huggers.
Two talkers, as we’ve discovered, have a harder time. Their comfort zone is in verbal communication. They can spend hours telling stories, laughing, flirting, and telling jokes. For escalation to occur, it requires one of the parties to either put the attraction into words, or ovary up, wade out of their comfort zone into the realm of the physical, and make the first move.
Facing the possibility of rejection that escalation brings can be doubly difficult for the talker too, as it means the delightful conversation they are having (which they are enjoying immensely) may end or turn awkward.
So, in case you hadn’t figured it out, we are without a doubt, talkers. We communicate almost exclusively with words. In fact, we are woefully inept at recognizing nonverbal cues. Anything less than a “Hey, I/we think you are hot as hell, wanna…” tends to go right over our heads. This, we’ve realized, combined with our inherent shyness, can provide a significant roadblock.
Our past successes, we now realize, have come when we’ve been paired with either huggers, or smart talkers who’ve already figured this out: “So, enough talk, wanna play?”
We’ve also realized that the very things that attracts us to others, their being smart, nerdy, and verbally erudite, are the same traits that may be prime indicators that they are talkers too. In other words, we end up being oh so compatible in one way, but predisposed to having a hard time doing anything about it in the other. To be blunt, we end up cock-blocking ourselves.
Ok, now what?
They say that the first step on recovery is admitting that you have a problem, so in that vein, we admit we are talkers. If we want to make something happen, we need to take ownership of that fact and implement strategies to compensate for it.
We aren’t trying to be prescriptive here, this is still far too much of a journey for us to say we have the answers, and you are likely facing a whole raft of your own issues that don’t match ours (for instance, we exclusively seek other couples for play). But these are some of the things we played with this trip:
- Make space to communicate between the two of us.
Yep, even between us, our default mode of communication is verbal. That means that we need to make room for quick periodic reconnects where we can touch base and share our thoughts. Even if it’s just:
A: “I think they’re hot, how about you?”
D: “Yes, me too.”
A: “Think we should tell them?”
D: “Yes, definitely!”
- Communicate the attraction early.
Once we identify a couple we’re attracted to, we’re trying to let them know early. Because, waiting ’til the last moment does no one any good, and if you really are enjoying that conversation, layering it with unrequited desires is just going to make it awkward. In addition, the longer you wait, and the more you emotionally invest, the less chance you’ll be able to brush off any rejection (if it occurs) and return to the conversation you were enjoying.
- Be honest.
“We are horribly inept at this, please be gentle.” Honesty really is the magic dust that can make any awkward we are stretching outside our comfort zone moments easier.
- Use your words
Since we are talkers we need to use our words to express our interest. “OK, we always find this bit awkward, but…”
- Focus on identifying nonverbal cues.
This one is very much a work in progress for us. How do you recognize nonverbal cues? By getting them wrong. Over and over again. See Be Honest above. It’ll come in handy.
So, there you go, welcome to our work in progress. Desire RM with the Swingset crew truly is a delightful place to play with this kind of personal growth. We hope you’ve enjoyed a peek behind the curtain of our process, and we hope it resonates with some of you.
Damien & Anjelica (Mr & Ms Oblivious)