Race in the Swinging Lifestyle – The Elephant In The Room

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Race in the Swinging Lifestyle“BBC wanted.”
“No BBCs.”
“We prefer to play with those of our same race.”
“No Chocolate, please.”

Seeing phrases like this has become par for the course in our Lifestyle journey. However, as an African-American couple, it never fails to strike a small chord with us. Sometimes we laugh it off, while other times we wonder why it is necessary for others to state a racial preference so overtly as part of their profiles. Now, we understand, it is the Lifestyle, and people should feel comfortable stating their likes, dislikes, wants, and desires. But should racial preferences be included? We didn’t feel the need to say that we preferred exotic looking brunettes or that we preferred not to play with people with kids, although I guess we’d thought about both of those things from time to time. I guess because while both of those things may be true to an extent, they weren’t necessarily deal breakers for us. We’d certainly be happy to play with a blonde with five kids if the chemistry, timing, and vibe were right. Or were we being overly sensitive about the whole thing? Should this even be a topic of discussion, or should we just deal with it amongst ourselves?

As educated, upwardly mobile, physically fit African-Americans, we’d both dealt with racial insensitivity throughout our lives. As the Lifestyle is generally just a microcosm of society in general, we weren’t necessarily surprised when those same types of experiences carried over to our Lifestyle lives as well. Don’t get me wrong, most of the comments we’d heard were relatively innocuous, not stated with any malice, and often spoken with the intent to pay a compliment. We’d heard it all, from the surprised “wow, you are so articulate for a Black person!” to “You guys are just different from other Black people” to “You’re the hottest Black woman I’ve ever met”. Somehow it just seemed to carry more weight coming from someone in the Lifestyle. I don’t know whether that was because the thought was that Lifestyle people should be more open and accepting people, or because we were usually either very scantily clad (or not clad at all) when we heard these comments. Maybe we just felt more vulnerable. We wondered why race ever had to play a part in things at all, though. Couldn’t I just be a “hot woman” and not a “hot Black woman”? Did I not deserve to be categorized with the other hot girls at the party?

Besides that, we’d often notice that we were usually one of very few African-American couples at the various Lifestyle events (although there were more interracial couples). Many times, we’d be the only African American couple there, and get that feeling of being on display, like animals at a zoo. Again, it was something we’d gotten used to, mainly because of the demographics of our city and the Lifestyle crowd here, but we’d sometimes joke that we were the “token Blacks” again as we drove home from a party.

All of this to say, as much as we hate to admit it or confront it, just like in other aspects of our lives, race does matter in the Lifestyle too. I think that we should treat it just as we do other aspects of the Lifestyle; respectfully address it, communicate about it, ask questions. However, I do stand fast in my belief that no one should throw a blanket exclusion over others, even potential play partners, based on race. You could be missing out on something amazing, something that you might not have initially considered sexy at the outset. And hey, I’d rather be called a “hot Black girl,” than not considered hot at all.

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Devin has navigated her way through the lifestyle as both a married and single woman. She seeks to quiet the slut-shaming voices in her head, be present in the moment, and push her boundaries, all in the throes of friendship, community, relationships, and love... With a little submission for good measure.

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    As the Black girl in a mixed race union, testing the waters of swinging, I am starting to feel like race is an issue. Interestingly enough with white couples, the male half seems interested enough but the female half is not…funny I read this today because I was just trying to broach the subject with my hubby.

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    I would love to see more variety.  Yogurt isn’t any good without the fruit on the bottom, mix it up for perfection. 😉

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    Of all the profiles we’ve read, We cant remember ever having seen any of them stating that they did not want to play with any particular race. We have seen a lot of HWP only statements. My wife and I specifically state that race is not an issue with us and that we appreciate and are attracted to all races. We are a mixed race couple with her being from India and me being caucasian. So far as we know its not been a problem for us. She has beautiful brown skin and black hair but most people who dont know her are not sure of her ethnicity, probably because English was her first language. Its unfortunate that you’ve run into people who state limits on their profiles for race. Their loss. We’d be delighted to play with you!  

    • Avatar

      My wife and I were active swingers back in our late 30’s to early-mid 40’s. We started participating in the lifestyle through my wife’s friends from high school. At first, I noticed that there were no blacks nor Latinos. Which I felt as odd since most of the members in our group worked for the federal government. Since we were new we kept quiet. Then someone suggested that they wanted to bring a black couple into our little cabal. Our leader at the time suggested a vote on it which I and another guy objected to. If you do not want to sleep with him or her just say no. No big deal. Well the couple joined and they became our best friends in the lifestyle. They are still our friends even though they are out of the group. Jason and I often play golf now and we take our wives out together. By the way my wife has had sex with him over 25 times through the years. And I have slept with his wife many times. If people have hangups over penis envy or anything else. I feel sorry for them.

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    It made us smile and nod in agreement with you about what you go though. In a Elephant in the Room kind of way, we have run into similar close mindedness. I am in a wheelchair. I am mobile and can walk but because of some terrible balance from Muscular Dystophy I have to use a wheelchair. Being feminine and sexy is a challenge but the chair doesn’t define me. Being new to the lifestyle it is very apparent the minute I come into a room with my husband that people don’t really know how to react. It seems like they always have to ask why or start the talk about how their grandma is in a wheelchair and that just is such a turn off for me. We have our certain tastes in people and are more attracted to some people more than others, but it’s not because they are a certain color or shape or have big feet or even a third nipple. It’s because we have a good time with them and there is a connection. Some people can be so narrow minded and live in a bubble. 
    I am not on some crusade for the handicapped though. Actually, I just want people to treat people equally and think before they talk. Thank you for posting this article. 
    If you are inclined please check out our little blog we started this last spring.
    http://walkroll.blogspot.com

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    We are a white/asian couple and we prefer playing with black males.  Part of the excitement for us, as well as for our exclusive playmate, is the fact that we push the boundaries of political correctedness while we are engaged in the act, but engage as we do with all friends before and after play.  Does it make us racists because I get off being used like an asian slut by a BBC, or that my husband loves to watch and participate then clean me out after I’ve been fucked silly?  Does it make our third racist because he likes to verbalize what he’s doing to the white husband’s asian wife in front of him?  We think not!  People do what people like to do and as George Kastanza might say “not that there’s anything wrong with that”.  If people dont’ want to have sex with non HWP people no one seems to raise an eyebrow.  Similarly, if someone wants to have sex with a fatty that seems to be fine as well.  So if some IS or IS NOT attracted to people of other races then why should that be a problem for anyone? 

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      But it’s not just “pushing the boundaries of political correctness” because the whole “BBC” thing is based in racial stereotypes that yeah, can be called racist.  The BBC phenomenon is about fetishizing and stereotyping Black men as sexual animals, less “civilized” than men of other races, with bigger dicks.  It’s inherently dehumanizing.  

      This doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong – there’s lots of kinds of play that takes it’s cues from real world problems like misogyny and homophobia.  But let’s not pretend that the BBC fetish isn’t rooted in racial stereotypes, either.  I think couples who are at least willing to engage critically with the cultural source of their fetishes are more likely to be able to separate play time from “reality” and not treat Black men or Black couples as the author describes above, as curiosities or “a credit to their race” or any horseshit like that.

      I think people who have biases against HWP people are rooted in societal fatphobia, too.  It’s just more socially acceptable than a race-based fetish.  That doesn’t mean everyone has to pity fuck “the fatties” but again, let’s not pretend like we’re not told in our culture from day one that fat people are lazy, unattractive, and gross, and that a lot of us internalize those messages.  Reality check, people.

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    Great article!  This is an issue that definitely needs to be addressed by non-monogamists and kinksters.  I think people tend to get very defensive over their kinks and attractions and there’s a tendency to say “I like what I like, and I can’t change that.”  I don’t think people should necessarily force themselves to try to be attracted to more people (although, really, can it hurt?) but at least recognize that there are a lot of societal factors and messages we’re brought up with that affect our attractions and kinks.  More critical thinking on this subject is definitely a good thing!

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    colleenandroger on

    We have crossed that bridge several years ago and we are so glad we did.  As a female, I really enjoy being with black men.  Roger also enjoys being with black females, and watching me with black men.  We have been to several swinger conventions and we always gravitate to the chocolate room to satisfy our chocolate cravings, for me its actually an addicktion!

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    We grew up in an area where the thought of mixing races was taboo. (Aren’t we all part of the human race?) We recognized the ignorance of such thinking and in reaction to the old taboos found that being with couples from other racial and ethnic groups to be stimulating and erotically exciting. The more we shared with other couples, the more we found what we all have in common. My wife is especially fond of african american men that are very dark and very well endowed. It was a subject that she fantasized about for years, and was incredibly turned on when I gave her the green light to give it a try. She has enjoyed private meetings with such men, as well as having me come along to watch. I have joined in some of her encounters for DP sessions that have been incredible. Through this exchange I believe we have become even more tolerant and understanding while having a hell of a good time.

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    Have you considered the fact that, in some cases, the aversion to interracial sex is not merely an aesthetic preference, but a reflection of deeply held personal views favouring endogamy and therefore exclusivity in such matters?

    Just as there are men, and women, who fetishize “BBCs,” there are also women who would rather die than be subjected to such degradation, and men who would echo this sentiment.

    If you think I’m a nutcase sitting in a bunker somewhere, you’re off your trolley. I’ve had a few drinks and I’m willing to tell you how it really is. Egalitarianism is not a universal value.

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    My husband and I were swingers from the mid 1980s until a few years ago and though we never really thought about it until towards the end, we never included any black couples in our meetings. Was it a racist thing to do? Only if you think that it’s racist to want to marry someone of your own race. Sexual preference in your sexual partners is totally up to you. I don’t think it’s racist at all. Remember, you are going to have this person inside your body in the most intimate fashion, don’t you get a say in the matter? If I only want a white male, then so be it. That being said, I have no issues with meeting up with a black couple and would probably consider it today if we were still swinging.

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