This article originally appeared at anexistentialkeekah.com, reprinted here with express permission.
The promise of new and exciting sex is what would send a committed couple into exploring the swinging lifestyle. “The lifestyle,” as it is affectionately referred to within its own sacred and hallowed halls. For John and Jean, married 18 years, this was how they viewed their initial foray into swinging two years ago. They both always had a traditional outlook on marriage itself and didn’t feel the need for emotional commitments with other people. However, they did think being sexually involved with others could add to their marriage.
They joke that it probably started with the movie, Summer Lovers, which Jean watched with fascination as a young girl. Or maybe it was when John read Stranger in a Strange Land, which contains a theme of spiritual importance of sexuality. Or perhaps it was during college, when Jean and John experimented in threesomes with two of John’s good friends, one of which became his best man. In fact, their best man joined them for some fun sexual play after their wedding.
Whatever was truly the beginning, it was a vacation to Florida on their 15th anniversary that opened up the discussions once again. During this trip, they went to a strip club for fun and ended up getting private dances from a stripper they both found attractive. They enjoyed the dances and went back the following evening. After dropping several hundred dollars on the same dancer, they discussed inviting her back to their room for sex but chickened out.
About four months later, they hired a painter for their new house. Jean found him very attractive and enjoyed a mild flirtation with him. It wasn’t until she made plans to have drinks with him without telling John that she started to feel guilty and confessed it all to John. John realized he didn’t have an issue with Jean pursuing the painter, though nothing came of the mild flirtation. After much discussion and an initial online search by John, Jean took over the research into swinging.
However, from the beginning, John made it clear to Jean that he took his commitment to their marriage seriously. “Divorce was never an option,” he states clearly from the couch where his girlfriend, Byllie, is twirling her fingers through his hair. From across the room, his wife nods her head in agreement, sitting comfortably next to her boyfriend, Jerry. “We always said we would do whatever it took,” Jean says. “We made a commitment that, no matter what, we would make [our marriage] work,” John adds, “We didn’t anticipate having emotional connections. It was just a fun play thing for us to go to do together…”
* * *
For Jerry and Byllie, their own explorations into swinging were different. “It was always about making friends first.” Byllie remarks. An emotional connection was a must before sex as far as she was concerned. She wasn’t interested in meaningless sex, not even in the name of fun.
Jerry and Byllie have been married for 10 years. They met in Las Vegas, where Byllie was a stripper. Jerry was a married man of 16 years at the time, but his marriage was faltering. “We had sex once in 7 years, and we both rolled over afterward and went, ‘why did we do that’?” Jerry comments wryly. When he met Byllie, he knew there was something about Byllie he had to pursue. Over the course of the next year, Jerry followed his intuition and visited Byllie at work. Byllie finally agreed to go out with Jerry. Jerry eventually left his wife and married Byllie.
The two were married for seven years when their life hit a rut. It was a great life but sex was infrequent. They had single female friends, strictly platonic, and no married couple friends. When they hung out with their friends, Jerry and Byllie didn’t want to be affectionate with each other for fear of making anyone feel like a third wheel. This lack of affection between the two of them in front of their single friends “kind of drew us apart sexually,” Byllie added.
They both agree a turning point in their marriage at that time was a visit to Amsterdam. They smoked hash for the first time, which was followed by amazing sex. “We had sex like rabbits for three days.” Jerry gets out, laughingly. “We pretty much had sex the entire time we were there. Then we got back home and we were like, ‘wow, that’s what was missing.’” Byllie chimes in. This sexual revival prompted further discussion, which led to the realization they needed couple friends and people who weren’t all “caught up in being paranoid about expressing their sexuality.” So began the research to find people who were open and that led Jerry to swinging.
Jerry created several profiles on some of the popular swinging websites and groups available. Jerry created these profiles to facilitate the learning process because only a member can have full access. It took Jerry a week to tell Byllie. “I went, ‘Um Byllie, by the way’…” he laughs. “And I was like ‘Whaaat?’” Byllie adds, “Because I had previous swinging experience with my ex.”
“This was actually one of the reasons why we did it,” they say almost simultaneously.
“I have to digress a bit,” Byllie calmly states, her emotions showing on her face. “So my ex and I… he says to me (about five years into their marriage), ‘Let’s go to this house party. It’s a swinger’s party… because I don’t want us to get bored in our relationship.’ And I say, ‘Okay.’”
Byllie recalls the nervousness they felt about not knowing what to do and how to act. Eventually, the two of them encountered a single male and invited him to a room for some play. Byllie’s ex-husband suggested Byllie allow the man to “just lick your pussy.” At this point, Byllie was quite inebriated. “I was three sheets to the wind,” she reminisces. One thing lead to another and the two of them had sex.
Her ex then left the room on the pretext of having a cigarette but left the party without Byllie, effectively stranding her at a house party with people she barely knew. Understandably, this first swinging experience caused feelings of trepidation in Byllie once Jerry brought up the possibility of swinging. “But we also knew [because] we talked about it at length… that that was a demon she needed to face, “ Jerry comments.
Byllie counters, “Well if I’d never swung again, I wouldn’t have been haunted by it.” Jerry reiterates, “There was still part of that anger you held over.” Byllie concedes his point, “Well, looking back I get angry. At this point in my life I’m not angry anymore… because I guess it was a necessary step in my life.”
To be continued next week…