When Jack and I started talking seriously about moving forward with this swinging thing, one of our first conversations was about our motivations. So why do we want to do this?
I started dating Jack during my freshman year of college. My previous relationship had ended badly, and I was not at all sure that I wanted another serious relationship so soon. I soon found myself in one anyway, despite my misgivings. I didn't date much in high school–one real boyfriend, one dating relationship that didn't really get a chance to go anywhere, and a few failed or dead-end flirtations. I didn't get to date much in college, either, outside those two big relationships. The first one was short, but I was damned sure I was in love with him. I married the second one.
There were times, in college, when I chafed in the confines of my relationship with Jack. In particular, there were two male friends of mine to whom I was very attracted, both mentally and physically, and I really wanted to pursue those possibilities. Really very desperately wanted to. I'd always had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn't very good at monogamy, and I was quite sure I didn't much care about it as a moral concept. What I did care about was being honest with Jack. I did not cheat on him, but there were a few times when it took every ounce of my willpower not to do so.
So now I'm in my late 20s. I've never had sex with anyone but Jack. I love him, but every once in a while I wish I could just walk away and go do all the things I never did because I was with him. It's not a feeling that has anything do with him; it has everything to do with me, and a sense that I missed out on some things I really wanted. I've spent a long time trying to quash those feelings when they arise, but the more I dig into the idea of swinging, the more right it feels to me. Why would I want to walk away from Jack, who is not only my husband but my best friend, when I can enjoy those experiences I've wanted so badly with him at my side?
For his part, Jack also didn't do a great deal of dating, and the dating he did was mostly fueled by the desire to find the person with whom he could spend the rest of his life. He's a year older than me, and has had sex with a grand total of two people. Like me, he says that, looking back, he sees a lot of missed opportunities, chances he didn't take. And he is intrigued by the idea of seeing me with another person, as well as by the idea of being with somebody else himself.
We're both socially conscious people who take an interest in the way society orders itself. We both take pleasure in stepping outside the proscribed norms. We both feel that a relationship, or at least, our relationship, is not predicated on monogamy, but on friendship, love, trust, and understanding. I've always felt that monogamy was a social construct, and an overrated one at that. When we began dating, Jack, though he valued trust above monogamy, still felt that monogamy was important to him. But over the nearly ten years we've been together, he's come to agree with my position on that particular ideal.
So, once again, why do we want to do this? Because we're interested in it, and it seems to make sense for us. Because we want to keep our relationship fresh and exciting. Because neither of us want to look back on our life 60 years from now and discover that we're harboring resentments or regrets for the things (or people) we didn't get to do.
Hi there, me again.
Your relationship experiences sound eerily similar to my own; before I met my current partner I had one girlfriend; my only physical sexual experience. Early in my current relationship I definitely felt as though I had missed out on experiences. I certainly had a heap of regrets, which I used as justification for a fling that nearly tore us apart. My current girlfriend, by contrast, had been with many men before me and experienced many different sexual encounters (including non-monogamy). The catch? All of them were traumatic. So, while I have had no bad experiences (other than that one instance of cheating) to scare me away from trying new people, my girlfriend has constructed high barriers to protect herself from being hurt by them. This makes it difficult for us to see eye to eye on the personal benefits of non-monogamous relationships.
I am, therefore, very curious about how your husband came to agree on your position after feeling that monogamy was important to him. I recognize that missing out on experiences in general is far different from missing out on good experiences (in the latter case it is far easier to justify not taking the risk), but I would be interested to know the thought process the two of you worked through to reach this agreement.
Again, thanks for sharing your personal experiences—looking forward to learning more about you!
Hey Brian. I will field you question since it is about me.
Why did I change my mind? I am not sure that I ever did really. Monogamy wasn't so important to me so much, as I thought it was important to what I wanted. As Anne said in the blog I was really looking for a person to spend my life with and we are always taught that is to be expected. I will try to take you through my thought process though.
I suppose it all starts with trust and honesty. I set out at the beginning saying these things were important to me above all else. These were the things I believed were absolutely needed for a relationship to have a chance. This invariably led to the conversation about cheating. I always told Anne that if she did it wouldn't be the end of the relationship as long as she told me. After all everyone does silly things when they are drunk and in college.
On top of that we had many exciting adventures in the bedroom. We were always trying new things. At that point in time it was mostly BDSM related. Most of our college friends didn't get that when we talked to them about it.
These things combined with my natural position to question everything, especially related to society (I took more than a few cultural anthropology classes in college), led me to the conclusion that it wasn't necessary for her to only be with me and me only with her in order for us to journey through life together. I had always had fantasies of her with other people or both of us with other people anyways.
We have had a spoken, but untested, rule for a while now. That we could sleep with another person as long as we informed the other beforehand. I personally think we never tested that because we didn't want the other to feel left out. Swinging gets rid of that issue.
Thank you for the well-written answer, Jack. You've given me some great food for thought/discussion.
Your reasons sound very much like ours. We are both very flirty, highly sexed people who get an absolute thrill out of seeing each other enjoy our lives and our play times. I truly believe life is too short to live with regrets and I’m so glad I don’t have to.
When there is someone one or both of us are attracted to we can introduce that person to our life and see if they fit. It’s really fantastic. We have talked about an open marriage but have found that while we both enjoy seducing and eventually bedding people other than each other the joy of the act is sucked away when we do it separately so we choose swinging with people we develop friendships with.