Coming Out Swinging…


We’re sorta out, Marilyn and I. In the sense that those important to us know not the details of what we do, but know what it means when we say “we have a date tonight.” And by those important to us, I mean those who we would have conversations about sex with. IE, our friends. I’ve never said no when someone asked me point blank “are you a swinger?” and I hope to never have to.

Bottom line is our parents don’t need to know what we get up to in the bedroom, and it’s just as unnecessary to tell them about it as it would be to tell them what position we used last night. Marilyn’s place of employment would likely not be so appreciative of her activities, so she isn’t out at work. I, on the other hand, am. My boss & coworkers know and support it. (With the caveat of course… “don’t fuck anyone in the office…”) I’m lucky that I work somewhere…let’s just say strange.

So why did we come out to our friends then? They also don’t need to know what position we used last night. Well, mainly it was so we didn’t feel we needed to hide our new friends from our old friends, or be concerned that there might be cross bleed from the two sides of our world. As it stands now, I can be perfectly comfortable when one of our swinger friends shows up to a vanilla party. (Though, understandably, it’s harder to convince our vanilla friends to give the swinger parties a try…hehe)

But the cork is certainly out of the bottle, and the smoke can never all be crammed back in, so we’re ostensibly out. Why the article? Well, because I just read an article from earlier this year that talked about a couple in our neck of the woods who was “outed” by a neighbor, who sent an email to seemingly their entire neighborhood, friends, family, PTA, local parents, staff at their children’s school, etc… This horrendous act isn’t horrendous just because I agree with the harmed party, it’s horrendous because it’s an instance of someone in no way affected by something making it their business. And that’s a little thing I call bullshit.

So this left me thinking about something I’ve grappled with a lot since starting this site. I’m sitting here under a pseudonym. One that in fact uses the last name of two of my favorite early nineties television heroes. So I am hiding. In plain sight. With my friends, I’m open, wanting to talk about it, etc. But one never knows who’ll go digging. So I’m reminded of something I read on Maymay’s blog late last year: The closet is not a binary. We don’t have to be “in” or “out.” We can straddle the line.

But as Kamela Dolinova said, “Coming out is a difficult process, but necessary.” This is why I may still be inside the closet, but the door is open, and I’m shaking hands with everybody willing to shake mine. Because if swinging is “normal,” because we see swingers around us, then it’s really hard to suggest that we’re seriously awful, going to burn in a fiery pit, etc. It is our duty as what Kidder Kaper calls “Non Vanilla Thinkers” to stand strong and admit to the world that we exist, that we like these things that we like, that we may be wearing a mask, but we’re still here.

I can tell you that being out amongst our friends is wonderful. We can truly be ourselves without having to worry about someone getting the wrong idea. It has hiccuped our relationships with a few people, and lost us one or two as well. But I said this to Marilyn the night we decided to tell the first person, fuck them if they don’t respect something we’re doing that has literally changed our lives and made us the happiest we’ve ever been. If you can’t respect that, I don’t want you in my life.

So I guess I’m just rambling. Am I telling you to come out? Maybe a little. Am I telling you to take care in doing so? Certainly. Am I as all over the map as to be expected at 1:38 on a Monday morning? Probably close, but slightly more coherent. Did I use any brackets? Not this time, baby! One thing I can tell you about coming out is at has allowed us to surround ourselves with people who support us. And there is no greater feeling in the world than having that community.

If you don’t, reach out, we’ll be there!


About Author

About Cooper
Cooper S. Beckett is the co-founder and host of Life on the Swingset: The Podcast since 2010, author of swinging & polyamory novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching The Swingularity, and memoir My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory. He teaches and speaks on swinging, polyamory, pegging, play parties, and coloring outside the boundaries of your sexuality. 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 two instructional non-fiction books, one about beginning non-monogamy, and another about pegging.


  1. Cooper, you are doing an excellent job of straddling the in/out fence. You proclaim yourself to be an evangelical swinger, but you have not once demonstrated the annoying in-your-face beat-you-over-the-head-with-a-symbol-of-faith approach that makes religious evangelists so… evangelical. Instead, you've been happily sharing wisdom, ideas, and experiences to the curious from within your walk-in-with-no-doors closet.

    I wanted to take a moment to not only stroke your ego, but also thank you for being a down-to-earth resource for Dawn and I. Just a couple nights ago I recalled our first swinging attempt (this is several years back, and obviously something I had stricken from my consciousness), which aborted before an in-person meeting because the prospective couple scared us off. Having a nonthreatening, humorous, and cool swinger to pick the brain of has made a huge difference to us. You've helped us discuss difficult subjects and become familiar with something that doesn't get a lot of positive press. So yeah, thanks!

    (Yeah, I'm a bit hyphen-happy tonight.)

    I'm also in the strange non-binary world of not being out, but not being in either. On one hand, I don't feel the need to hide anything from anyone. On the other hand, if I jump up and down and cry, "look at me, look at what I am," then I'm just being an attention whore.

    So here I am at work, visiting family, or just out and about while wearing a symbol that obviously outs me as polyamorous—but nobody seems to notice or even care, if they even recognize what a poly heart is. Here I am on Facebook, with friends and likes that obviously put me in the NVT category, and none of my vanilla peeps have so much as batted an eyelash.

    I kind of like it that way. The people who don't want to know probably won't talk to me about it, and that's fine (better for my sanity if they stay away). The people who are curious and ask? Well, I don't mind showing them how deep the rabbit hole really goes.

    • The people who don’t want to know probably won’t talk to me about it, and that’s fine (better for my sanity if they stay away). The people who are curious and ask? Well, I don’t mind showing them how deep the rabbit hole really goes.  <<<<< i totally agree lol. that's almost exactly how we are! 

  2. Brian, I'm so glad that this site has helped you. My only goal in creating this was to give NVT folks a place to tell them "it's okay to be like you are" and it seems like it's working a lot.

  3. Excellent article, yet again. We are out to those who have been open enough during conversations about vanilla sex lives that we felt they would be supportive and understanding of a more adventurous  one. Most of our friends know. Only very few of our family do. 

    We too use fake names in our online life and we are in the same type of closet you are in, door’s open and hands out, stories to tell for anyone who will listen without judgement. 

    We were outed in the last small town we lived in by a member of our church who proclaimed to be one of my best friends. She heard a rumor about us and instead of coming to us and asking us directly she instead went to everyone we knew, completely disregarding the fact that they may not know about that part of our lives and opened our closet door and yanked us violently from it. All the while telling us we were possessed by demons to have these desires and that our children would be cursed for it. It was a very rough, very hard time to be us. But we lived through it and the people who were waiting on the other side for us when the smoke cleared are the ones we are proud today to call friends.

    I only recently started blogging and found twitter, which led me to many many wonderful and supportive resources for the sexually diverse communities – such as this one. I’ve never felt more like I’ve belonged so rightly to any other group of people as I do within this community. The support for each other and the encouragement to live your life and create your own relationship model is amazing.

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