Why I Wrote a Book on Swingers Lifestyle

Swingers Lifestyle Book

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.”
This quote by George Elliot hangs on a plaque in my backyard. I’ve had the sign for years. I can’t remember why I purchased the plaque in the first place, other than the words spoke to me. There was a yearning, I guess, deep within me to find out who I was, and this sign was a reminder that maybe someday I would. It reminded me to never give up hope…that it was never too late.

If you would’ve told me just a few years ago that I would find out who I was within the swinging community I would have thought you were crazy. If you would’ve told me I would find peace and contentment from a lifestyle so far outside anything I had ever been taught growing up I wouldn’t have believed you. I was struggling enough with the fact that I was divorced.

Attaching “swinger” to my identity would’ve seemed like just another one of those outside the box moves Jackie would make in life, another in a series of bad decisions, another regret to add to the list. Little did I know that my “outside the box attitude” that strove for my peace at all costs would give me the courage and fortitude to give this swinging thing a closer look. Little did I know this would be a move that would set me free from a life that had imprisoned my true self for so long.

But in order to free myself, I had to realize I was trapped. Not so much trapped in the sense of what I was doing, but trapped by an ideal; a belief that there was only one blueprint for life. When I look back I see a woman who struggled to fit into a life she had been taught, a life of monogamy.

I thought monogamy was the only option in a relationship, so I never thought about it in terms of right or wrong. The term consensual non-monogamy wasn’t even in my vocabulary. If I were to have sex with someone other than my partner I would’ve either been cheating or divorced. Anything else…well, there wasn’t anything else as far as I knew. Because I didn’t know about the swinging/poly/open relationships option, this world of consensual non-monogamy, I instead spent a large portion of my adult life believing there was simply something wrong with ME.

Instead of seeing options I just saw failure. I viewed my life as a splattering of scarcity. I wasn’t good enough. I must not love my partner enough. I didn’t know how to let go during sex. I was afraid of being judged. My life was a balance sheet that never balanced. My monogamous marriage was like watching someone trying to climb up a descending escalator. No matter how much energy I expelled I kept moving further and further away from my goal. Life and love weren’t supposed to be exhausting, yet in order for me to follow the guidelines I had been taught, in order for my marriage to work, I was going to forever be pushing against the tide of monogamy. What made it even worse was that I didn’t even know this was the reason it wasn’t working.

That is, until I was introduced to swinging!

I had gone through all the steps you’re supposed to take—marriage, kids, career—but I feel as though my life finally came into alignment when I met my husband John. He was the one who introduced me to the swinging lifestyle. He was the one who encouraged me to explore who I was without the constraining blinders. He was the one who motivated me to get honest about my desires and fantasies and reassured me that I was beautiful in these vulnerabilities. Each time we talked another layer of suppression was stripped away. I had never had this kind of gritty, down in the dirt honest communication, especially communication that involved the inclusion of others. I was fascinated by this. Was it really possible to have a relationship with someone AND be sexually involved with others. This concept was so foreign to me that I could barely comprehend any kind of positive outcome. But my curiosity was also piqued, and I found myself saying yes to things that I had been taught were supposed to be “no” areas. I was going to test the validity of what I had been taught my entire life. Was I willing to risk what I might find out as a result? Was I willing to concede?

What did I learn? I learned that I still have a lot to learn, but so much of the beauty in swinging comes from the constant learning and growing with your partner and yourself. For instance, I realized that each interaction I had with John and each interaction I had with others made me feel more and more at home in this swinging arena. I found the intimacy shared between others to be highly energizing. Now don’t get me wrong, when I say intimate, I’m not just talking from a sexual standpoint. I found the ability to hug or kiss or lightly caress someone else to be incredibly bonding. I came away from each interaction even more grateful for the love and connection with John.

Here I had gone my whole life being taught that if I showed even the slightest affection towards someone of the opposite sex it would be a deficit to my relationship, but I was living proof that this was not true! My relationship with John was growing stronger each and every day through swinging and I had never felt such a contentment in my life. My relationship was breaking every cardinal rule of what I had been told would create a successful relationship from a monogamous standpoint, yet here it was—a thriving, honest, trust laden, loving, communication filled union. Either our relationship was an anomaly or what society/religion/government was teaching us about the swinging/poly/open relationship model was wrong.

I knew there had to be other men and women out there who were also struggling to make themselves fit into a mold they were never designed to fill. I knew how life changing my introduction into the lifestyle had been and I wanted to share the truths I had discovered. I wanted women to know it was okay that they had sexual urges and fantasies. I wanted them to know it was okay if they wanted to have sex with someone other than their partner, that it didn’t mean that they didn’t love their partner but was a perfectly natural desire. I wanted everyone to know that you can breach that hidden line in the sand in your communication with your partner, that you CAN have those conversations about sex and fantasies and fetishes. There’s nothing wrong with you if you want to have a threesome, watch your wife have sex with another man or participate in play with another couple. Swinging is about just that. It’s about swinging wide open the doors of possibilities; a no holds barred mentality about how to design a relationship that works for both partners in the union. It’s a tailor- made marriage in the truest sense of the word.

This desire to share led to the inception of Openlove101.com. This was a massive undertaking, but I felt compelled to bring attention to the consensual non-monogamous lifestyle as a viable relationship option and educating those who, like me, spent their entire life believing what they had been fed by society/religion/government. I wanted those curious about swinging to know they weren’t alone. I wanted to share through my own experiences how I battled jealousy and fears and how I learned to stretch myself in order to try new things. I talked and wrote about going into a swingers club for the first time, learning to embrace my sexuality and talking to our adult kids about the relationship option we chose.

It wasn’t long before John and I began to see an undercurrent of interest. Slowly but surely the questions began to flow into our email from couples and singles grappling with their own issues of wanting a more open way of living. This was a growing community of people determined to own their relationships and not be swayed by stigma or myth. They were ready to hear the truth and they were ready to test the waters. We realized for every email we did receive, there could be countless others still teetering on the fence, still too shy to ask their questions. So we decided to share some of the questions and our answers.

We hope you’ll find, “Swingers’ Lifestyle: The Questions You are Afraid to Ask” to be a compilation of varied subjects that you yourself may be encountering on your own journey. This book is for you.


8 Comments

  • Lynn says:

    I ordered this book directly from Lulu.com, from the first email notice I received of it being published… and am anxiously awaiting its delivery.

    Congratulations on getting it written and published, and I look forward to reading it all.

    Take Care.
    Lynn

  • Di T says:

    Hi Jackie

    We, unfortunately, were a casualty of the lifestyle. We had a beautiful relationship and I was open to it but felt it should be more of the spice and occasional as we have very busy work schedules, and very limited personal time. My boyfriend did not agree with that , and his desire to push into the zones that I was uncomfortable would ultimately end something that we never planned on ending.

    For us the fact that I am a straight female, and only interested in Black males and interracial couples, was definitely a limit to what was available for us. He, on the other hand was open to just about everything. I couldn’t get past the feeling that he was always trying to find something he didn’t have, instead of enjoying what he did have. That and a bout of cheating on his side because he “assumed” i wouldn’t be in to something, and his search for women who weren’t my body type, ultimately pushed the trust out. There is more, and even people in the lifestyle that have become friends said they would have left him, also. Even though he is really a great guy. He has compersion completely, and I felt he had that because there was never any doubt how much I loved him, or that he knew that the person I wanted to be with the most with him. I had it for the most part, but not when I felt that he went from being a golden retriever in the dog world, to a Jack Russell Terrier in the lifestyle. It made me very uncomfortable

    I absolutely see the value in the lifestyle, as so many people cheat on their monogamous relationship, but how do you find a balance that works for both? How do you not feel the need have to take one for the team, so that your partner has what he wants. How do you have agreed upon guidelines to keep your relationship strong and the Comfort level good, and not have the other person start to feel like it’s a noose around their neck? If the joy was to experience this together, and enjoy each other’s pleasure together, when a hall pass wasn’t an option, how do you handle it when one person decides they want to change to what the other person has never been comfortable with? How do you not feel like the lifestyle has now become the most important part in one person’s life, at the expense of what otherwise was amazing?

    Not closing the door on the lifestyle to whatever possible new relationship may appear. But honestly, I’m afraid that the same thing will happen. Having a hard time overcoming a broken heart. But thank you for writing the book. I will probably still order it and read it. I’ve always enjoyed you’re down to earth honesty in your videos and blogs.

    Best wishes.
    D

    • Caliana says:

      D,

      I am very sorry for what you went through. I have been on the receiving end of a cheating spouse and it is very hard and hurts a lot. The lifestyle doesn’t push anything your ex was pushing. If he was cheating on you then he was breaking one of the core tenants of swinging. It sounds like he was just wanting what he wanted and was going to get it no matter what. It sounds like his focus wasn’t on you, but on what he wanted. That isn’t compersion, it is, in fact, the opposite of compersion. Compersion is selfless and altruistic. It gives rather than receives. As Jackie explains in her blogs and the book, we should never, ever force a spouse or partner into doing things they don’t want to do. We always go at the pace of the slower partner.

      Please try to remember that the lifestyle does not condone the way your ex behaved. In fact, you will find, just like Jackie said, that the majority of people in the lifestyle are very respectful of their relationship and it always comes first. Your ex was not placing you first. If he was cheating he would have done that regardless of whether or not you tried swinging. He may have started cheating after you began swinging, but it would have happened anyway and he was probably already contemplating it.

      You were not a casualty of the lifestyle, rather of an ex that didn’t respect you and your boundaries. I think you would have a hard time finding anyone in the lifestyle that would say what he did was right and good. Rather, you will find that person after person would disapprove of what he was doing. The lifestyle focuses on edifying the primary relationship. Does that mean that bad things don’t happen? Of course not, bad things happen in every lifestyle and in every part of life, but it is not the norm and typically the bad things that happened only highlight some kind of flaw that was already part of the relationship. The lifestyle tends to magnify your relationship, and sometimes that means magnifying bad things that are already present in the relationship. It brings everything out. That is why most people counsel that you shouldn’t swing unless you already have a strong relationship. While it sounds like you were happy before swinging in your relationship, he may not have been. You mentioned that you felt like he was looking for something he didn’t have with you. If that is the case, he would have looked regardless of whether or not you were swinging.

      Keep your chin up. I know the hurt you are feeling all too well. It will pass with time. Don’t judge the lifestyle because of a bad experience you had with your ex. He wasn’t in the right place and you were on different pages. The lifestyle also isn’t for everyone. While it has many great aspects that can have an amazing impact on relationships, it isn’t for every single person out there. Some people like football, others like basketball. We all have different likes, wants, and desires. Follow what is in your heart, but don’t be afraid to push your boundaries either as that is the only way we can grow.

      Listen to Jackie, she is deeply wise and seems to intuitively understand things. Remember that your worth is not tied to any other individual. What your ex did was wrong and does not reflect on you whatsoever. He made the choice to do the things he did. You didn’t push him in that direction or leave him with no other choice. He had the choice, and he made the incorrect ones.

      Good luck with everything. Stay positive and keep a smile on your face, even when you don’t feel like doing it.

      Caliana

      • Di T says:

        Caliana (beautiful name btw)

        Thank you so much for taking the time to express your views. I believe you are correct. To make the lifestyle work in a relationship is to be reading the same book at the same time, and the same speed. we obviously were not doing that.

        I will always love that man and hope he finds his true happy being a single in the lifestyle.

        I am going to order the book and read it. Hopefully someday I’ll find someone who our needs, wants, and desires matchup. Whether it’s with the lifestyle or not

        Thank you so much again.

        D

  • Lowell says:

    I believe that good things come to those who truly deserve/earn them; although, this may be true only on-average in life, its merit is worth mentioning here. Although, you describe your journey in recent years with a naive incredulity, when in actuality your reaching this latest milestone is more likely due to good decision-making, your writing & reasoning talent, your support from a loving partner, John, and your own strength of character.

    To an outside observer it may appear that you have simply had a run of good-fortune; but, to anyone who looks more closely, it’s can be discerned as something far more foundational. What I see, is a woman, with a very traditional upbringing, being faced with some very difficult decisions/choices later in her life that involved a mode of social engagement and way-of-life that was so foreign from anything you have ever known that your clarity of thought to accurately weigh & resolve these things, at that moment, is really quite noteworthy.

    Besides understanding and putting those early experiences in the LS into perspective, you have shown your love for John, an overwhelming willingness to learn new ways of looking at & thinking about things, a tenacity to stay the course long enough to assess what it was that you were actually experiencing in practice, and to determine whether this radically new lifestyle (ie., radical for you at the time) made sense for both you & John going forward.

    Congratulations on your first published-book Jackie!

  • Caliana says:

    I ordered the book from Lulu.com as well as getting the kindle version from Amazon. I have now finished the book and can say that it is a wonderful compilation of various questions that most people will have about the swinging lifestyle. Jackie answers the questions with honesty and forthrightness. Jackie, and John, both, are inspirations and excellent public personas for the swinger lifestyle. I love their candid and heartfelt approach to their life and willingness to share with the world. They have put themselves out there, trying to spread the truth about the swinging lifestyle. They have taken shots because of it. They have done what any true leader would and we are lucky to have them.

    I hope everyone who frequents this site will buy her book, read it, and share it with a friend. Working together we can help Jackie and John to remove the stigma associated with swinging and in doing so help countless others who feel just like Jackie felt before she learned for herself the truth of swinging and what it can do for a relationship and the individual.

    I love this post! It is raw, real, and heartfelt.

    Thank you again, Jackie, for your continued clarity and logic in your writing.

    Caliana

  • Sher says:

    Anxiously awaiting my copy!

    • Jackie Melfi says:

      Hi Sher,

      I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the book! Thanks so much for supporting the lifestyle.

      Jackie

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