The Swinging Lifestyle and Discrimination

swinger lifestyle discrimination

We’ve all heard of instances in which a business takes a moral or political stand and refuses to conduct business with another company or individual because of the “nature” of that business or ideology. This happens all the time, sure, in the big business world of powerful corporations and politically driven organizations, not to regular folks trying to make a living.

Well, to my utter surprise, this scenario actually happened to my husband and I not long ago. We were having some “electronic world” issues at one of our clubs and requested some online assistance from our service provider. After placing the request and going through the routine of providing our business information, John received a message stating that due to the nature of our business (our swingers clubs), their company did not feel comfortable providing service to us.

I couldn’t believe it! This kind of stuff really happens?! Refused us service?! When John returned the call, he spoke with the gentleman who had left the message and it was then that we learned the refusal was based on the owner’s personal beliefs. You’ve got to be kidding me! I was in shock! I mean I know this happens, I’ve seen it happen, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

My mind was a swirling tornado of haughty comebacks and negativity. This company and its response had really crawled up under my skin or as my dad used to say, “That really chaps my hide!” Their response had chapped my hide for sure!

But I knew being angry wasn’t going to change anything or get me anywhere. I knew ranting and raving and pacing back and forth waving my arms in the air and wallowing in feeling mistreated was only going to keep me stagnant. I learned long ago during my life coach training that when I come up against this kind of roadblock, there’s a lesson to be learned. This man and his beliefs were my teacher. What was the lesson? How was I going to take this situation and come out more empowered?

The first thing I had to do was take a deep breath. I needed to calm down and relax. Turning inward towards my feelings of mistreatment was keeping me from seeing the bigger picture. I couldn’t see past the nose on my own face, and I needed to see the panoramic view, no matter how much I wanted to feel justified in wearing my blinders.

I know my own belief system growing up was incredibly myopic. I was taught that there was only one relationship model and any deviation from that was, well it was considered a sin. So I can sympathize with this business owner’s need to live life within the confines and protection of his beliefs. Yeah, I get it, and I understand (and can even appreciate) staying true to your beliefs and morals.

I’m not, however, a fan of excluding those who don’t walk the same path. After all, everyone you come in contact with views life through their own kaleidoscope—a multifaceted spectrum of thoughts, beliefs and perceptions with no two completely identical. And this is part of the beauty of individuality, which we can miss when we’re leery of those differences. Why put our attitudes and beliefs side by side in comparison to someone else’s and focus on what’s keeping us at arm’s length instead of acknowledging our common attributes and goals: happiness, love and peace.

So what was my lesson? Acceptance. This was a reminder to make sure I don’t fall into the well of exclusion thinking that my way is the only way. I need to be open enough to appreciate the individuality of the world around me. I never want to only associate with those who are in 100% agreement with me. How will I ever expand my own belief system if I never allow myself the chance to hear a different opinion? No, I want to learn, even if learning means I might end up changing how I’ve seen the world my entire life.

Did we ever get the issue resolved? Absolutely! After contacting another company about our problem, they took our information, scheduled an appointment and fixed the issue. Did we voice our concerns about being refused service? Damn straight!

While the lesson in acceptance was powerful and helps me stay focused on being the best I can be, it’s also a reminder to speak up for myself. Others may not accept me and the lifestyle I’ve chosen, but that doesn’t mean I have to retreat into the shadows and let them make me feel like I’m anything other than a strong, hard working, loving wife and mother who just happens to be a happy and healthy swinger.


  • Elizabeth says:

    What company refused you service? I don’t want to do business with them.

  • KH says:

    I was worried you were going to politicize this after your first paragraph, which would have forever turned me off of your blog. We are in the LS community, but are conservative republicans. Just as your article states…folks in LS circles come with their own backgrounds, thoughts, and desires…and one box does not fit all.

    • Jackie Melfi says:

      Hello KH,

      Yes, the last thing I wanted to do was make any kind of political statement one way or the other. I appreciate you taking the time to read the entire article and for taking the time to share your thoughts.


  • Valerie says:

    I really enjoyed this article, it’s funny because a few weeks ago when John wrote about surprising you with a Sunday delight & going on Craigslist I was at first horrified. Thinking stranger danger, yikes. Then I thought your judging. For days I struggled with the different emotions I was having & I didn’t get it. I think I am open minded & accepting so why was what John planned for you as a fun exciting afternoon bothering me so. I realized it was more about my inability to trust & had nothing to do with your lifestyle. I am not a swinger but I am now a friend of a swinger &; with each article you write I grow & learn.

    • Jackie Melfi says:

      Hi Valerie,

      My beautiful friend! Thank you so much for reading and responding to my blog. Your note made me smile and is a perfect example of loving others… differences and all!


  • Art says:

    “This scenario actually happened to my husband and ME”, not I. Would you say “it happened to I”? Sorry to be a grammar nazi, but it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. Rant over. Thanks.

  • ben says:

    very well done, jackie. you set a fine example.
    we can accept opposing points of view. that is simply going with the diverse nature of living in a society. and, if we feel we are being unfairly treated for our own point of view, then speaking up for ourselves is really the healthy path to take. we can verbalize our feelings while still being respectful of those from whom we may take offense.

  • Greg says:

    I used to own several adult novelty stores and ran into that problem all the time. Frustrating. It was really bad when one day my merchant account services were cut off with no notice on a 3 day holiday weekend. When I called the card processor the rep told me that the underwriting bank (Deutcshe Bank) did not want our type of business. It was related to Operation Chokepoint, a government program to have regulators pressure banks into not doing business with “undesirable” industries such as pawn shops, payday lenders, adult stores, gun dealers, etc.

  • Derek says:

    Our recent experience with a motel in southern Maine. I emailed the manager and stated that we would like to rent a block of 30 rooms for a swingers lifestyle event. The manager replied that they would love to host our group and reduced the rate on the rooms for us. I was really excited to have a contact for lodging for our events. We spoke over the phone a few time about the room I wanted for a meet and greet and I wanted reassurance that she was ok with a group of 30 plus couples staying and partying at her motel. She said she was excited to have us and understood that we would be partying late….. seems perfect right?

    Following the event I called to confirm a date in the future that we had set up for a second event using this motel. I spoke with the manager and asked how everything went. She said “everything was surprising good” and her staff had no complaints but she is not willing to rent us the rooms again. When I asked her to explain what had happened she stated that she did not know what a lifestyle event for swingers was and after learning what it meant she no longer wanted to work with us. I asked if she could give me a reason and she just said “its not right!”

    My final idea on this is we are now seeing what the lgbt faced for years or at least a similar stigma.

    • Jackie Melfi says:

      Hi Derek,

      So sorry to hear about your own issue with discrimination. I remember hearing one time that the people we have the biggest issues with are more often than not our greatest teachers. I try to remember this whenever I am up against a situation like the one I was in for this blog. If a persons response towards me causes me pause, and I don’t like the way the response made me feel, than I can and should decide to change the narrative and not respond this same way to someone else. Your example and ours and countless others are perfect examples of why John and I talk openly about this lifestyle. Not only do we want to educate those who are curious about the lifestyle, confirm the power of those who have made swinging work in their marriages for years, but to also educate society. To bring the swinging lifestyle out of the shadows and into the light. To show the world that this is a viable and highly successful marriage option. Like you note in your comment, swingers definitely are not the first to deal with discrimination nor will we be the last, but as long as we can continue to speak up and educate and stand strong in our conviction than we will begin to see change take place.
      Stay strong!

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