One of the most surprising things to me as I began exploring non-monogamy last year, particularly the swinger lifestyle, was the amount of rampant sexism flowing through the community. I’d expected that a group that had shrugged off the societal rules of marriage = monogamy would be far less willing to embrace the sexist gender roles and rules shoved down our throats at every turn.
I know. Feminism, such a fun topic. And believe me, I feel like a killjoy discussing that rather than my umpteenth threesome this month, or the hot young man who nailed me through the mattress earlier today, and I wish that sexism was so non-existent that I wouldn’t even have to bring it up. But other than the great job Life on the Swingset the website and podcast do to make progressive strides in swinging attitudes, misogyny is ubiquitous in swingtown.
One of the most obvious places I see it is in the theme nights at my local club (and at Desire Resort & Spa, so I’m exceptionally happy our Swingset crew is coming up with the themes this year) such as Bunnies and Millionaires. I get it. The bunny ears and little outfit with fishnets is cute & hot. But the whole power imbalance between men and women as the default in the theme is so frustrating and revolting.
I’m all for a lovely negotiated consensual power imbalance in playtime with nicknames, infantilism, roleplay whatever that two or more people want to do. But with a Bunnies & Millionaires theme, we’re harkening back to a time that Playboy bunnies had to go through regular measurements and weigh-ins, and would be fired if they didn’t stay within those strict guidelines, just to please the rich white men attending the Playboy club? Sickening, not sexy!
The next place I see it is the use of ‘girl’ for woman without the corresponding use of ‘boy’ for man. Again, it’s cute, and when a certain someone calls me a ‘sexy girl’, I feel all fluttery, and also incredibly conflicted, because it’s a throwback to a time when women weren’t considered to be adults the way men were. Women couldn’t make medical decisions for themselves such as getting their tubes tied without their husband’s permission. My mother-in-law (a grown-ass woman) couldn’t get a car loan at one point, despite having a job that would easily pay for it, without her father as co-sign, because she didn’t have a husband.
The weight of that historic oppression smothers the cuteness related to the word ‘girl’. So when I saw ‘girls only orgy’ on the schedule with ‘guys welcome to watch’ at Desire in November, I just couldn’t bring myself to participate, as much as I’d have loved to be in that wonderfully writhing pile of women.
The most insidious place I see it is when men in the lifestyle ask permission of other men to do things to their wives/partners, rather than asking the women directly, as if the women don’t have the agency to speak for themselves. I know that it is a holdover from monogamy, for fear that the partnered male might get violent with another guy approaching his woman. This is 100% related to the fact that women were once property and men will violently defend their ownership of said property. Any guy who has pulled that ‘I was just being courteous’ crap with us has been shut down immediately. By me. The patriarchy has no place in my pussy.
Maybe it seems like I’m overreacting, and if it were a single little thing, I would agree, but it isn’t. It’s so omnipresent that we don’t even see it most places. Every ‘Treat her like a princess, Fuck her like a whore’ meme just reinforces the desperate need to overreact until the new normal for memes reads:
‘Treat her like a person, Fuck her like a person’