How was swinging introduced in your relationship? Who was the first partner to bring up the topic?
Michael is guilty of luring Emily into the lifestyle.
He took her to wild, hedonistic dance parties in the first couple of days of our relationship. He knew it would be fun. We both loved hot and loud house music in dance clubs. So why not enjoy that in the middle of open-minded people, who also enjoy erotic games besides the dance floor?
We went to clubs like Kitkat in Berlin, Germany. The first time we didn’t even have real sex over there. We just aroused ourselves for the time when we went back to our room. In London, we visited the Night of the Senses. Again, it was hot. This time we made love to each other. Even though we were in a large play area, we just played with ourselves and did not touch others. We found that really hot. A few weeks later we finally met a lovely, open minded couple. It was the Kinky Beats Party in Cologne, Germany where we first swapped partners.
How long have you been in the swinging lifestyle?
We feel like absolute beginners, but we married 10 years ago. That means technically we have been swinging for 11 years. Maybe it’s because we both have busy schedules that do not leave much time for swinging. When we talk to other swingers, it always seems like they are much more experienced.
They all have tried out a gazillion different resorts and clubs. Everybody seems to have visited Desire and Hedo. Most seem to have done a cruise or two. All European swingers report about their great times in Cap D’Agde. Everyone knows a great swinger club somewhere near their home. And then there are the two of us, who would love to visit those locations but can’t find the time. So, essentially, we are new to the lifestyle. We are open-minded, but we are not in a hurry.
What has been your greatest hurdle to overcome in the lifestyle?
For Michael, it was overcoming his shyness. He is a typical introvert. He feels absolutely fine not talking to anybody for weeks.
In the lifestyle, it is all about meeting new people, connecting and flirting. Michael’s standard approach is to wait until the other side makes the first move. In general, particularly in the vanilla world, this is a hopeless approach.
But luckily, in the lifestyle things are different. People are social. They often make the first move. That made even Michael so comfortable that soon he was able to do the first step as well. Striking up a conversation is one thing, though; asking a person you just met 10 minutes ago for sex is another one. But in the lifestyle, it’s not uncommon.
When the two of us met for the first time, we took an approach that was more typical for the vanilla world. We went to a dance club. In the heat of the night, we started kissing and touching each other. We went to Emily’s home and had sex. There was no discussion needed. We just started and did it.
In the lifestyle, that’s often different. A lot of alignment might go on between two people before they start playing together.
“Would you like to play a bit?”
“Yes, what are you into?”
“I love oral and regular intercourse. I am not into anal. You?”
“Sounds great to me. Should we go to our room or do it right here in the play area?”
“Let’s do it in the play area.”
Next up, the conversation expands to their partners.
“Hey, partners, we would like to play here in the play area. How about you?”
Once the two of us got used to it, this kind of alignment turned out to be a great thing. It paves the way for wonderful sex. But for Michael, it was a hurdle in the beginning.
What has been the biggest benefit of being in the lifestyle?
The biggest benefit might be the deep feeling of trust it added to our relationship. We don’t have to hide anything from each other.
The standard narrative for monogamous relationships is a judgmental one.
Does your partner express her crushes on other people? Then there is something wrong with the relationship.
Does your partner go as far as having sex outside your monogamous relationship? Then the relationship is clearly broken.
But all those things will most certainly happen during a long-term relationship. It’s human nature. The partners just don’t talk about it. It silently poisons their love.
The two of us are often on business trips. We see so many people getting energized by engaging in flirting and sex. All that happens outside their relationships. It seems like business travel is mostly about sex more often than not. But do the travelers share their fun with their partners at home? Almost never.
Being in the lifestyle has given us permission to express all of these feelings openly to each other. It’s great when our partner finds somebody attractive to them. It’s wonderful when they enjoy sex with them.
What is your favorite form of play? Example: couple/couple, threesome, group setting…
We love sex at hot dance parties. We enjoy playing with a nice couple on a bed or sofa next to the dance floor. This kind of sex is lighthearted and playful. It’s also public. This is an extra factor that turns us on.
At our last dance party, we had sex on a big sofa next to the dance floor. One of the guests was a good friend of ours. She is an erotic photographer. She photographed us while we were playing. It was kind of a public porn shooting. With the big studio flashes going off next to our sofa, it drew almost too much attention. But we found that very hot. We have yet to upload her photos to our adult communities.
There’s only one little drawback that we found when having sex at loud dance parties: Michael’s voice is getting hoarse by prolonged sex at such an event! It seems as though in extremely loud environments we automatically moan much louder during sex. It’s kind of like making up for the noise so that the partners would still hear our moaning. Emily is used to moaning loudly, but Michael is not. It frequently kills his vocal cords. But that’s a small price to pay for so much fun.
Do you ever experience jealousy? If so, how do you handle this?
The two of us are not the jealous type. We are glad about this fact. But being in the lifestyle is kind of intense, at least for people from modern, prude societies like us. So, of course, we have to deal with challenging feelings that come along with it. The closest to jealousy is probably something that Emily experienced in the beginning. It was a feeling of disconnect, at moments, when we played with other people.
The first time we noticed it was at an adult party we held at our home. Michael got lucky. While Emily started giving head to him, he also started making out with another hot woman, Tina. She was crazy, passionate and smoking hot. Michael and Tina started kissing, while Emily continued going down on him. Michael was all immersed, but Emily started feeling completely ignored. Michael noticed that and a second later Tina noticed it, too. She politely excused herself to the bathroom. This gave us an opportunity to talk with each other about what just happened.
Talking openly about feelings is the best way for us to deal with them. We found out this kind of disconnect mostly happened to us when one of us was completely drawn into sex with another person. That’s when the sex was particularly intense or romantic, and that’s why we cultivated a bit of extra connection between the two of us in these kinds of situations. We started seeking more eye contact and physical contact with each other.
It seems to have wiped out this negative emotion. Nowadays, we don’t feel any kind of disconnect. It’s not even a problem for us to separate at a party. One of us might have sex in the room, while the other one stays on the dance floor. He might have not found the right counterpart at that party. Even in this situation, we feel perfectly fine and connected.
What advice would you give to those curious about the swinging lifestyle?
We encourage everybody to check out the lifestyle. For most people, it turns out to be the best thing they have ever tried. It changed their life by adding trust and freedom. Having said that, we believe that jumping in head first would be a huge mistake for most people. Instead, it’s better to take a series of baby steps.
How about you and your partner start by talking openly about a sexy fantasy? Can you take it to a level of honesty and trust so it feels fine for both of you?
The fantasy could be something like having sex with your personal trainer. Or it could be about the sexy waitress in your favorite restaurant. You don’t have to plan on doing anything in reality, but you can use the fantasy to establish that both of you are sexual human beings. You both have your own desires, and this is perfectly fine.
How about signing up for an adult community like SDC? This allows you to communicate with swingers online. You use a screen name to stay completely anonymous. You only start messaging with people you like and only for as long as you like. If the two of you do it together, then you can quickly find out how it feels for both of you to communicate with people in the lifestyle.
A next step could be that both of you try flirting a bit with other people when you attend a regular party. Do this at a party where sex is definitely not going to happen, like a friend’s birthday party, for example. It’s only about testing how it feels when your partner enjoys a bit more freedom.
Our favorite form of checking out the lifestyle is going to kinky dance parties. You can watch how lighthearted people handle sex in their swinging relationships. This is hot, fun and inspiring. It worked well for the two of us at the beginning of our relationship. Can you talk with your partner about who you would enjoy sex with? We human beings are excited by sex with new partners. Certainly, you would love sex with people that are attractive to you. And your partner knows that. So be honest. Because being honest is the key in whatever you do to dip your toes into the great benefits of the lifestyle.
What are some ways you can politely say no if you are not interested in playing?
This is so tough for us. We both dislike rejecting people. But in the lifestyle, we are approached much more often and much more directly than in the vanilla world. We had to train our rejection muscle. Michael usually tries saying “no” in diplomatic ways. “We are not an ideal match for you” is his favorite.
He phrases rejection in a way that the reason is something about us and not about the other person. He might say, “We already had too much sex today.” He avoids saying there is anything unattractive about the person approaching us. Attractiveness is subjective. There’s no need in pointing out what we don’t like about them. Another couple might find exactly that thing particularly attractive.
For Emily, the diplomatic approach seems not to work well. When she rejects in this gentle way, people tend to start discussing making sex happen anyway. “No, sorry, I’ve got my period.” “No problem. How about fellatio then?”
Being a woman, Emily learned to be much more firm when saying “no” to men. A polite, but also very clear, “No, I don’t want to,” is what works for her.
There’s one situation in which we say “no” in the same way. When somebody tries to join us in a play area at a party and we don’t want the person to join, we gently push this person away. This seems to work well regardless of which of us is doing it.
Do you have any special stories or experiences that you would like to share with our readers?
Maybe there is one experience that we have that many others don’t (yet). It is that there is nothing wrong with being open about the lifestyle.
A while ago we gave an interview about swinging to the Sunday Times, a popular British newspaper. They published our take on the lifestyle. Along with it, they featured full-page photos of us together with another couple nude in a lifestyle resort. Do people blame us for that? Do friends turn away from us? Doesn’t it affect our professional careers?
Turns out being open in the Sunday Times did not have any kind of negative effect on us whatsoever. Nobody blamed us. The next job interview for a consulting position at C-level in a huge company was successful. Working for a conservative Asian IT giant was no problem. Our careers are doing fine. None of our friends or relatives are bothered either. Even if there had been a friend that turned away, it would not have been a loss. Every false friend that leaves makes room for a real friend to come along.
In our society, we tend to think that the people around us closely watch and judge every move we make. The reality is that almost nobody gives a damn about what we do. People are busy with their own stuff. Besides, their heads are usually down, engrossed in social media on their cell phones.
If they are into social media, you might think they would rather pay attention to your lifestyle posts on Facebook than to your cover story in a major newspaper. Well, the two of us are testing this hypothesis. We post tips for swinging and the lifestyle on Facebook frequently. Yet almost nobody we meet in the real world seems to have ever seen one of our posts. The people we meet in our daily lives could not care less whether we are in the lifestyle or not. And that’s fine.
If there is one effect of being open, then it is that we find new friends who have a similar mindset to ours. People in the lifestyle tend to be fine with themselves and their lives. It’s the kind of positive people we enjoy talking to and hanging out with. We are grateful that something as simple as being open about our relationship is getting us in touch with great people. Doing the interview you are reading at the moment for the awesome John and Jackie Melfi is one more example of this effect.
Emily and Michael
If you would like to be featured in the next episode of “Real Life Open Relationship Couples” please contact us at https://openlove101.com/contact/
John and Jackie Melfi are married swingers and in an open relationship. They were featured in an ABC News Nightline special report “Getting ‘Naughty in N’Awlins’: Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention” and are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and Austin and the award-winning blog Openlove101.com with over 20 years of combined experience in open relationships and coaching thousands of couples.