So, yes, I shut down the site, rather entirely, for almost three weeks. Newer readers probably didn't notice because the site was cycling through some of our old content, but there was certainly no NEW content being posted. It's not that I was out of content, mind you, it's that I was out of enthusiasm. You see, when I began Swingset it was intended to function not only as a resource for swingers, but a home to my personal swinging blog. A way I could write about the experiences and questions I'm having; a way I could get these thoughts out into the world. It WAS that for a time as well.
But not lately.
Lately Cooper S. Beckett has pretty much become the editor of this now rather large site called The Swingset. Approving or rejecting stories, articles, bloggers, maintaining the databases, updating the look, cycling through the content. All absolutely necessary stuff, but certainly not what I'd had in mind when I started. “So,” you ask, perhaps remembering how much your old friend Coop likes to ask himself questions in the third person, and YOUR voice, “is this just a bitch session? Your last manifesto was MUCH better!”
I agree, it was. And I urge you to read it, because it's all still very true. And no, this isn't just a bitch session. I'm actually done bitching.
I was just worn out. And tired of the whole thing. It had lost its purpose for me. But then I dug through some of our emails, the tweets we've received, the iTunes reviews (please write one) and I realized that my feelings were all rather selfish. My DRIVING force at the beginning was to create the website I wish I'd had when Marilyn and I started this crazy adventure called non-monogamy. A resource. A guidebook. A road map. An open hand to help you on up to The Swingset. I think we did that, pretty damned well in fact.
So with all this, then, here comes the question, the big ‘un. Why, if I was ready to pack it all in, and we'd accomplished our goal, do I continue to do what I do?
Because it matters.
Every single person reading this would be better off in a world where the non-monogamous aren't this tiny fringe group, existing in the margins of society, a joke in the media, a gossip target behind backs at school PTA meetings. “Did you hear about Bob and Carol?” And how does that happen?
Once you know someone in a non-monogamous relationship that isn't a skeevy perv, (or at least, is a skeevy perv you quite enjoy spending time with) it's that much harder to be judgemental about the Lifestyle as a whole. Because really there is no “The Lifestyle,” just millions of variants on the simple truth that for many of us variety truly IS the spice of life, that simple truth that sharing is caring, that simple truth that, well, one is okay, two is better, and three's a fuckin' party. In the last few months I've seen non-monogamy from so many different points of view, from people where all they need to add that spice is to be allowed to flirt without fear of retribution, all the way down to people who take vacations with secondary partners, and everybody is happy as can be.
There's drama, yes, there are issues, sure. And if you haven't encountered them yet, you will. And there'll be days where fucking non-monogamy sucks so bad you want to just curl up into a ball and scream into the darkness that it's NOT FUCKING FAIR, things were SUPPOSED to be better! In June of this year, Marilyn and I broke up with a girl who meant a tremendous deal to us, and we felt the depth of the valleys one can encounter in non-monogamy. Whether one considers our relationship with her to be swinging, or polyamory, or some variant in between, it fucking sucked, and we went down hard.
But having The Swingset, having the friends and lovers that surround us, made it so much easier. So much so that we grew up, and we grew out, and we learned to love again as it were.
“But still not a Manifesto, really, Cooper, more like a blog post.”
For me, moving from monogamy to non-monogamy was like having grown up in a world of black and white and suddenly discovering color, everywhere, and not just a little bit, brilliant growing pools of blues and reds and purple and yellow. You can't keep that to yourself, can you? You have to tell the whole world about how amazing it is, and that if they want to, they can see it too.
Life on the Swingset began its life as a podcast about swinging. But going forward I want it to be so much more. Because in my time I've learned that not only are the boundaries between swinging and poly fuzzy, they're rather inconsequential. Under the SOP umbrella, the Swinger the Open the Polyamorous are all variations on a single theme. Meaningful human connection. Even those swingers who are staunchly anti relationship and would prefer to go quietly into the good night and forget their partners completely cannot deny that in that moment, whether you call it the fuck, or making love, you're experiencing meaningful human connection.
So while it may not have been clear in the past, I want to make it DAMN clear now. The Swingset isn't about swinging; it's the SOP revolution. Every facet of the human condition that applies to positive sexuality, and shrugging off the shackles of old and evil, the ones hell bent on telling us who we are, what we can want. It's omnisexual and pansexual. It's polyamorous and non-monogamous. Gay, bi, straight, asexual, somewhere in between, come and grab a swing and let's talk, and hang out, and try to understand where each other's coming from.
Because that's what it's really all about, isn't it? And why I couldn't possibly leave.
It's not about me, after all. It's about you. And as we round our second lap, closing up our second year on the Swingset, we have big plans to expand our focus. To be more inclusive to all facets of this crazy lifestyle, which really does encompass us all. Now here I sit, a man who's learned a great deal about himself from you all, from my amazing co-hosts, and from my time on The Swingset, and I say thank you, and ask what can I do for you going forward?