Moving a bit like the some of the Duval Street denizens I spotted during Halloween weekend, my mind is weaving through a variety of post-Fantasy Fest reflections. I keep coming back to this one: swingers don't meet the stereotypes.
When spied from distant Vanilla-Ville, the greater Swingtown area loses its nuances. Outsiders can see only the largest landmarks while gossiping about the most salacious rumored activities. Fantasy Fest is supposed to be one of them, a veritable buffet of sexual and alcoholic depravity catering to swingers.
Meh. We're talking about Key West – a place almost as chilled attitude-wise as the Caribbean, despite still being tethered to the U.S. True excess takes some effort and much more of it at Fantasy Fest seems to go into the costumes than anything else.
Yes, there were probably hundreds of people whose costumes consisted almost entirely of body paint, and dildos were popular costume accessories, but the event had an atmosphere of good-natured over indulgence rather than aggressive debauchery.
Again, I'm surprised at finding myself surprised about another broken stereotype related to swinging. I'm new to the Lifestyle so I'm still discovering the terrain. I wasn't sure what to expect when I jumped into this as a single girl, but based on my own reactions it apparently wasn't that so much of it would so quickly feel normal. I think that means that at a sub-conscious level I was prepared to be shocked or maybe even offended by some aspects of the Lifestyle.
Knowing something intellectually and experiencing it emotionally can be two separate things. Now that I'm in the Lifestyle, what's hitting me at that deeper personal level is how very uninformed people are about swinging – even when they're open-minded about it. But I guess that's to be expected, considering that I was unaware of it myself until less than a year ago.
I was recently sharing the tale of an evening at a Lifestyle club. The male half of a couple I met a few months ago hasn't been to a club before and they are both also new to swinging. It caught me completely off guard when he interrupted me to ask, “How many guys entered you that night?”
“It's not a free-for-all,” I said.
I think that exchange sums up what people from outside of the Lifestyle assume about it – that swinging is strictly an exercise in frequent, random hook-ups. There are people in the Lifestyle who meet that description, and I don't fault them for it, but that's only one end of a spectrum.
Most of the swingers I've met prefer to play in small circles of long-time friends, but also keep their eyes open for opportunities to form new friendships. I spent Fantasy Fest weekend packed into a condo with four great couples. I saw just about everyone in and out of their costumes as we dressed in the evenings, but I didn't have sex with any of them.
If we stay in touch, maybe we'll get a chance to play one day. It's all in the nuances.