* * *
Back in my hometown for the holidays, Anne and I were hanging out with some of my best and oldest friends that all live far away. We were traveling around to local wineries and breweries and pubs and whatnot. There were a few couples and other people along with us.
While traveling between stops we were talking about what was new in our lives. I simply said that Anne and I started sleeping with other people. The couple whose car we were in seemed to take the news well. They were not surprised, but were pretty sure they couldn’t do it. I said I planned on telling other people as well. The man said he wasn’t sure how our other friend would take it. In the end I chickened out on telling the other people. However, I did tell them later.
* * *
Anne and I had our close vanilla friends over for our newly founded monthly movie night. It was our turn to host. Things were ramping up. I had gotten out the wine, the cheeses, the bread, and the fruit while Anne prepared dinner in the kitchen. As the conversation tends to do when alcohol and I are involved, it was trending towards sex and things sex related.
The specific topic being discussed was podcasts. One of the two couples introduced me to Dan Savage a few years ago. The other just started listing to him. I had been trying to get them all to listen to Sex is Fun. The Desire podcast came up and I said, “I’ve heard the podcast about Desire but not on Sex is Fun.”
“Where did you here it?”, one of the other men responded.
“Well… this is all heading somewhere odd now”, I said and then paused.
“Now I need to know what you are talking about. It isn’t often you get tripped up talking about this stuff,” said one of the women. The other woman was in the kitchen with Anne at this point.
“I heard it on Life on the Swingset. We have started swinging. Non-monogamy.”
I don’t really remember what was said exactly at this point, but no one seemed surprised at all to find this out, which isn’t really surprising, given how well they know Anne and me.
Then I headed into the kitchen to tell the one remaining person that didn’t know. I ended up somehow making Anne tell her, to which she replied, “I would have guessed that.” Well that was done,and I felt better.
* * *
Anne and I had been trying to cheer up our friend all weekend. He had just been dumped by his boyfriend. We hadn’t planned on telling him, but over Chipotle burritos the topic of open relationships came up.
His old roommate (not the dumper) is a furry and apparently in an open relationship (which I am told is not uncommon in the furry community). He was very adamant that he couldn’t be in a relationship like that. Anne and I assured him that it isn’t that hard as long as there is enough trust and disclosure in the relationship. After all, it isn’t sex with others that breaks relationships. It is the deceit and lying.
Honestly, with all the things we said, I am not sure why he didn’t just ask us straight up. In the end Anne just said, “We are in an open relationship. We are swingers.” His response was a simple, “Wow, that’s cool.” From there we talked more about it. I even ended up telling him that I listed myself as bi-curious on the dating sites. Something most of the vanilla friends “in the know” still don’t know.
* * *
It was a breezy spring day out at the Three Floyd's brewery. It was Dark Lord Day. I was there with two of my very good and oldest friends and my brother. We were standing in line waiting for beer. My “in the know” friend was chatting with my brother. I was ahead of them speaking with my other friend, who is getting married soon. We were discussing relationships and whatnot, due to his upcoming marriage. I just said, “Anne and I are swingers. What do you think of that?”
After a slight pause he replied, “Well, first off I have a lot of questions.”
Then we had a conversation about mostly logistics of it all and why I do it. I explained that it honestly was a good thing for us and we had flirted with the idea for years. When we returned to my house I showed him Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. At that point my brother walked in the room and asked about the book. I showed it to him and he flipped through it. After a minute he set it down and let it alone. I would have told him had he asked, but for the time I chose to leave it be with him. Maybe I’ll tell my brother outright someday. I already half told him by showing him that book.
Honestly, my friend was much more accepting than I had expected. Of the people I would call a good friend he is farther down the conservative scale (at least politically) than most of them. He asked his questions and didn’t judge. We are still friends, and I am still standing up for him at his wedding.
* * *
Every Memorial Day one of our groups of friends all get together for a weekend long party. This year it was at our new house. I am not really sure what we were talking about exactly because at this point as we were at least half way through a keg of beer. Whatever it was it was definitely sex related. Then my last good friend I had not told said something like, “I don’t want to go to your swinger clubs.”
Taking the window he opened for me, with a drunken sly smile I said, “I have never been to a club per say, but we have started swinging.”
Again this was met with the standard comments: “not surprising” and “not for us”. This was a huge relief for me because this particular friend and his wife while very liberal are fairly conservative as far as bedroom fun or at least discussing it is concerned. I was legitimately the most concerned about tell him and his wife. In the end my fears were unfounded. They are my friends through and through. While they respect our life choices and didn’t judge us, they certainly didn’t want to talk about it.
I have to say it is a great feeling letting most the important people know. I needed to tell these people. They are our closest friends. It felt odd, like I was hiding something from them, even if I didn’t ever outright lie about it. Not one of them reacted negatively. Not that I expected them to, but it is good to know our friends are indeed as awesome as I assumed them to be.
And so I will leave you with this line from “The Perfect Space” by the Avett Brothers.
“I wanna have friends that I can trust, that love me for the man I've become and not the man that I was.”