Choosing to begin swinging was a life changing event, for me it gave me a new perspective on myself my love and my family. It gave me the courage to put down drinking, and gave me reasons to live that I could not see as clearly before. As I read some of my writing from that beginning, I love the joy, the paradigm shift newly experienced. It is hard not to become jaded. It is very hard not to think of swinging as an additional attribute of our daily lives, like Cooper’s knitting or Dylan’s musical interests. I fuck other people but I also play music, ride motorcycles and hope to one day ride horses. It is easy to write when experience is coming at you a mile a minute and you don’t know what to do next. It is harder to write when those experiences happen less frequently. Not because you don’t want them but because life gets in the way.
I find myself in two minds regarding my path and how I chronicle it. I began swinging to try and make myself a better more sensitive person, and to fuck other people.I began writing to share my experiences, to ease their path perhaps, if other people would listen, also to learn from others as to their experiences. I then regaled the internets with my playtime experiences, things done and left undone. I also share my own feelings, my own lessons learned. But there have not been quite so many experiences nor as many lessons lately. And I am left with the question, “And now what do I do?” The fire that burned bright within me has flickered, but not gone out. And the starry eyed optimistic man trying to confidently put himself forward in parties and munches, has fallen back a little. The changes swinging has brought to my life remain, I am still sober, I exercise almost every day, I try and look at the world with more sex positive eyes, and for the moment, my own depression is kept at bay. I read posts by the Swingset’s other hosts and listen to the podcasts and recognize my own struggles in their words.
How do I maintain the momentum?
The answer that comes to me echoes from a memory, “We must become the change we want to see.” When it seems hard to get out and meet people, try to anyway. Many times we can find our way is in the stories we share, speaking and writing and listening to others. I stole wholesale Cooper’s line about being a recovering introvert (I find it hilarious people at parties do not always believe this, apparently my introversion may be weakening). To continue my recovery, I need to learn to try and draw strength from the people around me. The lifestyle we share does bring us together. We share our bodies and our stories, our hopes and ourselves. We share a seemingly endless social anxiety even as we meet. Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough, am I too old, too fat, too common, what if I am not good enough? Some of these doubts have been fairly constant companions all my life. My best and brightest victories over them have only come when these doubts are faced; when I admit I am only a man, but a more than halfway decent one. I haven’t quite learned how to love myself…like myself maybe but not love, not yet. Maybe we need to get to know one another better (that’s a joke).
I am meeting with a party group that I have been trying to play with since November. We are finally on track to meet this weekend. I am hopeful that these winter doldrums can be shaken off, and I can find my way again.
Postscript: The party went very, very, well. I did not get a lot of playtime, (lots of reasons, but not really important) but the sharing and the connections with new people really recharged my batteries. I now have three pending dates with partners newly met, with the possibility of (gasp) at least one relationship. This is new territory for me. All of my swinging experience has been in the club/party/ group scene, and I haven’t been on a date with anyone other than my wife in a long, long time. I appear to be catching the polyamorous bug going around. Wish me luck.
This is a very interesting article and I would love to hear about how you came out of your introverted ways. This is something I am fighting currently.
I know that Cooper had talked about this on the podcast, but I think a whole episode on this topic would be great. I could have miss it if it was done in the past.
Thank you Gnosis for the feedback. It has recently been pointed out to me that shyness and introversion are not the same thing at all. The introvert has to spend energy when in a group jus to keep up, the extrovert gains energy from the group. My love speculates that I may have always been an extrovert, but did not have the social tools needed to function.
Shyness on the other hand, according to Wikipedia, is apprehension or awkwardness when dealing with new people. It may seem counterintuitive that as swingers we can have shy extroverts, but just because we might play outside our main relationship, doesn’t mean we do not grapple with shyness, worrying about what people think about us, and crowdophobia (I made that last term up).
As an extrovert, I come back from my monthly Magic the gathering game pumped, having drawn energy from the group. As a shy person, I frequently have to mentally prep myself for a club night or house party where I don’t know the players. It’s hard, one of the hardest things I have ever done, and my posts here have tried to be painfully honest about my own failings and struggles. It is also, very fulfilling. There are few better feelings in the world than going back to work on Monday morning, having had fun sexy times, alive and awake, even if you cannot share why life is so good at 8am on Monday morning.
I highly recommend the confidence podcast, as well as the creepiness one (ep 104 and 115). Both of these episodes turned around my attitudes and expectations in the swinging world.
My other articles detail more about my own journey within the last year.