In order to further our understanding of the greater sex-positive community in the Seattle area, Harold and I went on a research expedition to a lifestyle party put on by Eros Events last night. By lifestyle, I mean the swinger’s lifestyle – partner swapping! I went into the experience with some trepidation and a handful of assumptions, but I ended up having a good time.
I’ll examine my biases in a moment, but first let me just say that it was a good date. Sort of like going to a fun party, but with more sex. There was a potluck dinner, lots of non-alcoholic beverages, friendly and interesting people to talk to, a dance floor and a DJ, a hot tub, a swimming pool, lots of naked or lingerie clad people, a massage therapist, and a Sybian machine. The Sybian is a super vibrator/fucking machine that the women at the event reviewed quite favorably. Of course, I had to try it for myself! While it wasn’t the best orgasm I’ve ever had, it was mechanically intense and I did get a round of applause from the 30 or so people watching. Like I said, it was a good date!
I expected that everyone there would be image conscious, middle class, middle aged, married yuppie suburbanites who were unhappy in their relationships and controlling of their partners. I’m not sure where those assumptions came from, but I’m happy to say that I was wrong. While I don’t think that I am likely to attend their events regularly, I think that some of our values and ideas overlap…
It is important for me to feel comfortable and safe in a sexual context. This was a very comfortable and welcoming environment. I was nervous about being there, but I really quickly relaxed and felt at home. People were friendly, which is good because I’m not always the best at striking up a conversation. We got a tour before things really got started and they held an orientation for new folks.
I like diversity and Eros certainly had that! I was surprised to see people of all ages and races, shapes and sizes. I was at that place where everyone looks beautiful and sexy to me, but truthfully, there were many people there that I wouldn’t look twice at on the street. And not everyone there was married. I understand that there are usually a few single women attending, but Eros was hosting a singles night so there were quite a few single people.
I’m polyamorous – I am in love with and live part time with, two men, with full knowledge and consent of everyone involved. For most of my adult life I have managed multiple relationships at the same time. I value being able to maintain my relationships and still have sex with someone new. Several of the people that I talked to share that value, only for swingers, sex stays sex – not a relationship. I overheard several relationship discussions where one person was negotiating with their partner around sexual interactions with someone else. Every relationship has it’s own agreements.
I love feeling sexy and at home in my body. I don’t want to feel like I am being judged on my appearances. One of the biggest shocks for me was how body UNconscious this group of people are. There were people walking around in street clothes, dressed up, in lingerie, in robes, or fully naked. All states of dress or undress were given appreciation. I am currently 30 pounds overweight, but I had many people mention to me in passing that I looked hot in my lingerie. That goes a long way. Seriously, I didn’t see any posing or sucking it in. Just people being themselves and sexy.
I enjoy having sex with my partners. I’m not really in a place right now to have sex with anyone else. While I did get chatted up a couple of times (a plus for my ego!), I felt zero pressure to have sex with anyone. I was surprised to see that many people did have sex with their partner at this event. Sometimes with a third person added, but very little actual partner swapping. I did choose to have sex with Harold rather publicly and that was totally okay.
I think sex is wonderful and sacred. Swingers do too, but here is where I feel like there is some difference in philosophy. I think Harold put it best: I don’t have sex to get off, I can do that by jerking off. I have sex to feel deeply connected to another person. My perception of the lifestyle, based on my limited contact, is that the focus is on sex as an activity rather than a means to intimacy. While that might be a fabulous place to live out some fantasies, I’ll take the deep connection any time.