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So, you finally realized everything you knew about being a swinger was a complete lie. You’re welcome. And maybe after reading that story, you and your partner were like: “Well, since it’s not all old people with robes, watching you with somebody else might be kind of exciting…”
Or maybe not. But either way, if you’re even remotely considering getting into it — with your spouse, a significant other, or just that really cool friend with benefits you met on Tinder — there are a few things you should know before you get started. We asked a group of swingers what those “things” are, and this is what they told us.
Make sure you’re both on the same page
You know how it’s kinda awkward when you both go to a cocktail party and YOU were planning on just “making an appearance,” but your significant other was planning to make a whole night out of it? Multiply that by, like, infinity plus one. Because fights about leaving a party early are one thing, fights about getting oral sex from a stranger when you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to are quite another.
Set the rules, but know they can change
Once you’ve made sure you’re going for the same reason, you need to make rules. Like scary-specific rules that include phrases you haven’t used since the eighth grade — like “kissing is okay, but handjobs aren’t.” And while the stakes are a lot higher now than they were during “7 Minutes in Heaven,” the rules here can also be changed depending on how comfortable you get.
Try a club or high-end party first
If you’re going to meet another couple for some maybe-possibly-we’re-not-really-sure-yet group sex, do you think it’s wiser to meet them in a large social setting complete with paid security, other people, and plenty of condoms? Or via an Internet chat room? If you’ve been in a relationship so long you forgot, the answer is never “in an Internet chat room.”
You need to be social
Many people go to swingers clubs and complain — much as they probably did in high school — that everybody there is “too cliquish.” But there are no Regina Georges in the swingers world, and nobody is going to sneer at you and say, “You can’t swing with us.” Yes, swingers gravitate towards their friends — like everybody else — but go up and say hello, and you’ll be surprised how fast people will welcome you.
Get there early
Showing up to a party sober when everyone else has been drinking is uncomfortable. Showing up to said party after everyone’s started having sex with each other? Mortifying. Show up early, chat with the bartenders or hosts, and get a feel for what the place is like. Many clubs will actually give you a tour if you ask, at which point you can talk with your partner about a plan of action.
Learn the lingo
When you hear the words “hard swap,” that’s not the swinging equivalent of “tic tac no trade backs.” It’s the term for couples who are down for full-on sex with another couple. Nor is a unicorn a mythical white horse; it’s a female who attends swingers events alone. Other useful terms include “soft swap” (couples who’ll play with other couples but won’t “go all the way”) and “the lifestyle,” which is a term swingers use to describe their, well, lifestyle.
Don’t overdo the alcohol
You know what’s a miserable feeling? Spending all week fantasizing about a threesome, getting to the point where it’ll actually happen, and then realizing you drank too much to do anything about it. Sure, you might need a drink or two to get used to the idea of swinging, but past that not only do you risk whiskey dick, you risk BEING a dick. And, much like in real life, nobody wants to have sex with an inebriated mess.
Set realistic expectations
Even if you and your partner agree to be down for “full swap,” don’t go into a swingers club with the unrealistic expectations of a pledge at his first frat party. Nobody’s guaranteeing an orgy, and sometimes you may go and not find any couples you like. Also, the action may not start until much later in the evening, so don’t get bored and leave because nobody’s getting it on by midnight.
Let the woman lead the way
Guys, if you have a woman who is even CONSIDERING participating in an activity that allows you to have sex with other women, you’ve already won. Don’t push the issue. Not only should you not pressure your lady into doing anything she doesn’t want to do, you should pretty much let her decide what YOU get to do as well. Also, let her make any and all introductions. In the swinging world, the women are the ones who give the green light, so be patient and allow her to call the shots.
Watch first, then decide
You can do all the Internet research you want, but you’re not going to really understand what it’s like to be in a swinging environment until you’ve been there. Your first time, it’s typically a good idea to just go and see how things unfold. Then, if it’s something you’re into, figure out how you fit in and go back. Make all your rules, and see where it goes from there.
You need to debrief
Kinda like those quarterly conference calls at the office where your entire team looks at what it’s accomplished, what worked, and what didn’t, do the same with your partner after EVERY time you swing; the conversation will allow you to discuss the experience and figure out if rules need to be changed or added, or if there are different things you’d both like to try next time.
Like everything in a relationship, swinging won’t work if you don’t communicate. And talking about what you did after the fact is the most important part in making the next experience just as mind blowing.