John and I were at one of our swinger clubs recently when we were approached by a couple who recognized us and wanted to thank us for our Openlove101 site. This couple had been married for over 20 years, had recently graduated into the “empty nesters” club and were ready to rekindle the flame and focus their attention on each other now that it was just the two of them.
This was their first time in a swingers club AND their first experience with anything swinging! They had joined one of the adult social sites in an attempt to educate and familiarize themselves with the whole swinging world (which they realized was quite a turn on for them!). They also consulted our Openlove101 page as a guide to help them “walk” through the process of embracing a more open lifestyle into their marriage.
This couple, although excited about their new endeavor into the world of swinging, wanted to make sure the leap was safeguarded. They knew enough to know that while new and exciting, swinging also comes with an enormous amount of responsibility—a responsibility on both their parts. If they were going to take this step forward, they wanted to ensure they would go into it hand-in-hand and not leave anything to chance. This was about enhancing their relationship, deepening their bonds and breaking through barriers. This was about love and compersion and honesty and acceptance. It was also about facing fears and breaking away from traditions and old thought patterns. They were going to own their relationship…whatever that ended up being.
What struck me about this couple was their obvious excitement. I’m forever telling those who visit a swingers club for the first time to enter without any expectations so that they’ll never be disappointed with the outcome. There can be a lot of preconceived notions about entering a swingers club that may have an affect on what a couple thinks is supposed to happen. Yes, you could walk in and immediately find the perfect couple to connect with, or you could walk away sorely disappointed if you don’t “score!” But this wasn’t the case with this couple; they were just happy to be at the club and excited to be there together, experiencing the newness, the ambiance, the vibe and the plethora of other couples. They had done it! They had crossed the line in the sand and liked the feel of the topography on the other side. The night was already a success because they had braved the waters together.
I came away from my interaction with this couple with a renewed vigor for what we do here at Openlove101. The site had opened a door of exploration for this couple. They had the opportunity to say YES to an alternative lifestyle and to challenge those ideals set by society. They could not only broaden the boundaries of their union, but also see what would happen if they took down the fences. This couple had done it right. They entered into this lifestyle connected and with every intention of keeping it that way. This wasn’t about trying to add something that was missing from their marriage, but about spreading the roots beneath the surface in order to reinforce the stability of where they had planted themselves.
This couple shared with John and I their conversations about preparing for this night. During their talks they had pushed through fears in order to get to the marrow of their emotions. Revealing those fears to each other had, to their surprise, actually brought them closer. It was a vulnerability that made them want to protect each other, to reassure each other of the commitment they had made all those years ago. They had learned through our site the importance of communication and boundaries. They shared with each other what they hoped to come away with by being in the swinging lifestyle, discussed what they felt would be important boundaries and made a pact to honor those guidelines. They encouraged openness through this communication—no topic was off limits, no emotion too small or too great, every point had value.
I’m more assured than ever about the importance of a firm foundation when opening a relationship to swinging or to any “outside the norm” relationship model. It’s so crucial to have the courage and forethought to be prepared, to take the time to sit down with your partner and talk and to get down to the nitty gritty of what it is you’re hoping to gain as a couple regardless of the relationship path you choose. It’s about honoring your partner and yourself enough to be honest… to show your partner they’re worth the truth so that when the time comes to walk into a swingers club, you’ll have confidence in knowing you’re in this together!