“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
I must not fear…
Fear is the little-death…
I will face my fear…
― Frank Herbert, Dune (Bene-gesserit litany against fear)
You may remember from our last post that our journey in the lifestyle began with a 5 hour regret filled ride home from Atlantic City. We balked at going to a swing club with a dungeon while in Atlantic City for a weekend getaway. That regret led to a desire to see what was available to us locally. It also led to our first rule:
- 1. We will not be fear bound
Now, there are some perfectly good fears like the fear that keeps one from walking into traffic. The ones we are talking about here are the fears of the unknown, of trying the new, of looking silly or feeling uncomfortable, of what might be behind the door to a new experience or situation. We will not be fear bound by those. As part of that rule, we also agreed to the ‘get out of jail free card’ we heard about on one of the podcasts. If something goes wrong we agreed to put it aside, not cast blame, release any negative emotions and chalk it up to experience. Also, if something does not go well, we realize that almost everyone sucks at almost everything they try the first time they try it. We need to decide if we did not enjoy the new experience because it just was not for us or because that particular time or that particular partner or that particular situation just did not work out. This led to our second rule:
- 2. For this adventure to work, we must communicate completely, openly and with brutal honesty
Now, we already did a pretty good job of communicating. After 30+ years together, however, we have also learned shortcuts, sensitive areas to tread carefully around and the correct answer to ‘do these jeans make my ass look fat’ type questions (the correct answer is never just ‘yes’). This new communication had to be no holds barred. We agreed to give and receive communication even if that might be a bit hurtful to the other. We needed to be able to say that even though you looked great and were having a good time going down on our playmate, it really bothered me to see you do it (luckily neither of us ever had to say that). One thing we did need to say was that Mrs. Duncan was loading a relationship with a new friend with emotional baggage. She was giving him what I called ‘magic’. A new experience was fun and to her classically trained feelings based monogamous mindset (she is a feeler, I am a thinker), it must be because there was some emotion attached. It turned out after extended, and often contentious discussion, it just felt really good. However, this potential playmate was off limits until we could figure out a way to diffuse the minefield he represented. This is an example of our third, but to us our most important, rule:
- 3. If something is a threat to us, we don’t do it
This reaches as far as leaving the lifestyle completely behind if necessary. We are in this to enrich our relationship. ‘Us’ is far too precious to put in jeopardy. We are lucky enough to have forged a true loving partnership, friendship and unity over the past 30+ years. We completely understand other’s points of view on the permanence of relationships, but for us, ‘we’ are the solid center of our existence, where our home lies, and nothing will be allowed to harm that. ‘We’ were forged in some pretty strong fires of adversity and we are among the lucky few who have come out the other end knowing who ‘we’ are and what that means to us.
One of the great things swinging and kink clubs, play and other relationships has brought to our relationship is new challenges. As you might imagine, after our years together we have settled all the big issues and most of the small ones. I put down the toilet seat, she doesn’t just dump all the mail on my desk (including stuff she needs to see). We know our strengths, weaknesses and roles pretty well. As a team we operate automatically as we fill each other’s gaps. The annoying habits we could not correct, we just overlook or work around (she just throws the socks in the hamper if I miss and I throw the science experiments away when I find them in the back corner of the fridge). New never before encountered experiences and challenges give us problems to attack and overcome. Having conquered them gives a new sense of accomplishment. The harder and more difficult the challenge is, the more rewarding the victory.
Some fears we overcame were the fears around jealousy. We had no idea how we would react to seeing the other naked and playing with someone else. With the get out of jail free card firmly in hand and communicating completely on what and who was on the menu, we proceeded to our first soft swap experience. That went great and we both enjoyed ourselves and watching each other enjoy. We also fed on the reconnecting and general excitement sex and closeness for days. We also had something new to talk deeply about for weeks. Never mind the fantasy fodder about the future. We faced much the same situation with our first full swap experience, used the same preparation and reaped even better results. Each new adventure brings new joy.