In the three months since I found myself standing at the door of a swinger’s club, I’ve had a series of unusual firsts, some frustrating episodes and more surreal moments than I ever expected. As a single woman in the Lifestyle – a unicorn – I’ve also never been happier sexually.
I’m a professional writer by day and what I’ve been doing lately with my nights presented me with material that was too entertaining to pass up. I couldn’t resist the idea of writing a column about my Lifestyle adventures.
Despite having a lifelong curiosity about all things sexual, I had never given swinging much thought. Even six months ago I would have laughed and said, “That’s an urban myth,” if someone told me that large numbers of swingers are living quietly in mainstream America.
But I was confronted by reality when I landed on the home page of a Lifestyle club while surfing the web one night. I read everything there then started following links to other sites during what turned into a two-day research project.
The information I found was surprisingly consistent. It just seemed so unlikely that I wondered if I was reading it correctly. I asked myself is there a culture where it’s acceptable for men and women to explore their fantasies without shame? Is it possible for people to swap partners or have threesomes or foursomes without endangering their existing relationships, and maybe even find great friends in the process? Is this telling me that a 40-something single woman with an off-the-charts libido is considered a prize rather than an embarrassment?
I immediately realized that the Lifestyle could fulfill my sexual and social needs if the theory actually worked in practice. Traditional two-person, monogamous relationships have never worked for me. I have three divorces to prove it. Realizing that there’s another option was a revelation.
I was already primed for a perspective shift. I think it began months earlier when I told a lover that I would be seeing someone else. His simple response, “I can share,” was shocking at first. But it planted in my mind the possibility of it being okay to have a romantic relationship that’s not exclusive.
We also confided in each other our fantasies of having sex with a third partner. I surprised myself by realizing that I wasn’t jealous. Instead, I wanted to see him enjoy that experience. I just didn’t know that the feeling had a name – compersion.
It still amazes me that the last clue I needed to find a new way of looking at relationships turned up accidentally. Society’s notion that one person could ever fulfill all of another’s inter-personal or sexual needs now seems strange to me.
Three days after learning it existed, I fought one of the worst cases of nervous anxiety I’ve ever experienced and walked into that club on my own. I left it a few hours later knowing that I was at the beginning of what promised to be a very interesting journey.