People in open relationships get a bad rap. We’re accused of being crazy. Swingers force people out of their homes. We can’t be trusted at your local drinking establishment. Hell, even a reality TV show about swinging is controversial, as if Snooki and The Real Housewives are great role models.
If all of that wasn’t enough, in an older episode of “Law and Order,” one character alleges that another, the wife of a swinging couple, will try to steal her husband. Naturally, people in open relationships stalk those who are not and seduce them, using any means necessary.
The “open” in “open relationships” should clue in those not in the community. Our relationships thrive on openness and honesty. Good lines of communications are crucial. Any reasonable advice on swinging includes, in some variation, the sentiment that for this to work, people are going to have to talk to each other a lot. And I mean a LOT. Stock up on tea and throat lozenges.
We discuss our openness with our partners. Many couples only engage in “extra-relationship” sex with one another. We have rules – rules that we have talked to death and discussed in detail. Rules that forbid cheating and deceit (unless you’re doing it wrong).
I don’t know any members of the community who would condone being the “other” in a closed relationship. Most communities frown pretty heavily on members who reflect badly on the group. Those of us in open relationships have a bad enough reputation without harassing a bunch of vanilla-ites.
Since the keystone of an open relationship is being “open,” it’s a bit absurd to worry about someone in an open relationship trying to sleep with your spouse in lieu of, say, every other person they interact with. It’s a lot more likely that your wife or husband is sleeping with a co-worker or the pool boy than some random swinger.
And, ya know, something like half of all marriages experience infidelity. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Quite a long time ago, in the prehisoric times of mIRC, I accidentally went to a swingers convention, honestly, really accidentally. I frequented an IRC quiz chatroom and the members organised a weekend away, as it was in to be held in Daresbury in the UK, where Lewis Carroll was born, I thought it’d be nice to have a weekend away and see the church that has a Lewis Carroll window.
Being net junkies we all needed our internet connection, but it just wouldn’t work, so I threw myself into the cables like the alpha nerd I am and set to work fixing it. This is the point at which I found out that my quiz chatroom wasn’t just a quiz chatroom, but the quiz portion of it was to give the members something to do while they organised swinging between themselves.
I was young, a technerd, and woefully ignorant of the world around me and when two of the ladies present became extremely amourous with each other next to the table where I hip deep in cables and screwdrivers I realised, finally, how I’d misunderstood the situation. The two ladies in question were less than impressed with my shy, nerdish attempts to focus on the computer infront of me while I tried to, good naturedly, ignore their erotic display beside me. My confusion and embarassment were obvious (I was a very, very naive young man) and they left shortly after with a laugh about ‘men and their toys’. They never expected me to become involved in a sexual relationship with them, nor did they belittle me, nor attempt to make me feel uncomfortable.
This is why I have a great deal of respect for swingers, and their ‘open’ lifestyle. No-one there forced themselves on me, nor did they expect anything of me that I wasn’t willing, because of my rampant naivite, to do and while I’m still not a swinger, I have nothing but respect for people who are so honest.