Once we returned home from Hedonism, Tyler and I decided that we no longer wanted to be just vacation Swingers. One of the things we noticed right away was that we weren't really a no-strings-attached couple. I felt a little sad leaving Hedonism knowing that our new friends were from towns hundreds of miles away. There wasn't going to be a repeat of our adventure, at least not with those couples. So we decided we wanted to find real people near us to create real relationships.
The first site we ran across was a commercial site that in hindsight was more about pornography than real people. The website itself was buggy, and there were rules in place to keep you from contacting people via phone or personal email until you had each sent two emails, in the same email chain. If you violated that rule, the site would literally discard your emails if they contained anything that looked like a phone number or an email address, even though you were paying for the service. I shouldn't be too hard on the commercial site as we did eventually meet two couples that we are still very close to five years later.
In the beginning we emailed a lot of people, cold calling as it were. “Hi, we saw your profile and thought you might like ours. Take a look and see if you'd be interested in meeting sometime.” or a variation on that theme. We wanted to connect over chat first, followed by a phone call, and then in person. Most people never made it to the phone stage, let alone the meeting stage. We tried to be careful, tried to make sure we talked to the woman (to make sure there WAS a woman), but still ended up getting burned quite a few times. Perhaps our greenness was apparent. Perhaps the fact that we were still soft swap lowered our chances. Perhaps people were genuinely uninterested in us. Or perhaps most of them weren't real swingers. It's hard to say.
As we stumbled along the site, we really didn't make much progress. So when a couple finally did agree to meet up with us in person, we let a lot of things slide that we wouldn't now. For example, the couple had no pictures posted. That's important because although we need to be attracted to our playmates, not having pictures really indicates either a lack of confidence or is evidence that the couple just isn't ready for or serious about swinging quite yet. Unfortunately, while not a complete disaster, the date was certainly not a success.
Luckily, after some months of frustration and dead ends, we did meet two wonderful, real, couples. They pointed us away from the large commercial site to a smaller local site. Not only was it much better managed, but most importantly, anyone who joined had to be vouched for by another couple. It was with one of these couples that we had our first real date and made our first real connection. Finally we were on our way.