Not unlike a lot of people I grew up with, my dating life ended when I was 20. I monogamously dated a man I met while in college, finished my degree, and got married. I don't know if it was our age or our individual temperaments, but early on he established that he was jealous and controlling, and I, for whatever reason, accepted it. Unfortunately, since I'd confided my bisexuality, he was equally jealous of both the women and the men in my life.
The end result of this jealousy was a cycle of un-sexiness. My relationship was easier to maintain if I didn't flirt or invite flirting, which led to not dressing sexy in any way, which eventually led to not feeling sexy in any way. He had also helped convince me that I would never be taken seriously working in a man's field if I was the least bit attractive. To make matters worse, I found myself surrounded by people like myself, who had given up their sexiness, either out of stress, boredom, obligation, or practicality. After a while, I just stopped thinking of myself as attractive.
For a whole series of reasons I won't get into here, after many years, my marriage dissolved. Once single again, I was lucky enough to meet Tyler, who made me feel more beautiful than I ever had. Seeing myself through his eyes was the first step to recapturing something I'd given away so easily.
But it was when we decided to start swinging that things really began to take off. When we were still in the discussion phase, we both took a hard look at what we really thought of ourselves, what kind of people we were attracted to, and whether or not we had what it took to pick up another couple. Without being too superficial, it became clear that while we liked who were were, we were a little pudgier than we wanted to be, and maybe needed a bit of a wardrobe refresher. This didn't hold us back, but it did get us thinking.
Dating couples became a constant catalyst to living healthier and feeling sexy. Sure, we're not supermodels, but we're at a place where we feel good about ourselves. Is that solely because of swinging? Of course not…but knowing someone besides your partner will see you naked next weekend sure keeps you wanting to feel your best.
That's the great thing about swinging, you never stop dating. Every date night is another opportunity to dress up, get out, and feel sexy. And as an added bonus, I get to dress sexy not just for Tyler, but for other people as well, without any of the guilt that I felt in my previous marriage. Even shopping is that much more fun. I find myself lingering in the lingerie departments, looking for shirts that show just a little more cleavage, skirts that are just a little bit shorter, and heels that are just a little bit higher.
Years later, the first-date feeling has never ended. Swinging has made me work harder at maintaining the things I like about myself, and improving the things I don't. Since Tyler loves me fat or thin, in overalls or mini-skirts, mussed up or made up, it would be easy not to pay as much attention as I did when we first started dating. However, since we are still dating, even if it is as a couple, that little drive to attract has never died.