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What It’s Like to Be A Poly Unicorn At a Swinger Convention

By September 2, 2019 October 5th, 2019 Swing Lifestyle Articles

When John and Jackie Melfi invited me to be their guest at this year’s Naughty In N’awlins, an annual swingers’ convention that happens every summer in New Orleans, I was really excited and grateful. For one thing, I’d finally get to meet John and Jackie, this awesome couple who brought me on as an essayist here at OpenLove101 and have been giving me so much support and love ever since. I’d get to return to New Orleans for the first time in eight years, and if you’ve ever been, you know how magical, romantic, mysterious, and wild that city is. Plus, I freaking love swingers—it’s so much fun getting to know people who’ve managed to question societal conventions and rise above the restrictions of our sex-negative culture.

I told them I’d be delighted to attend. I’d meet tons of cool new people, eat all the soul food, listen to all the jazz, and drink all the Bloody Marys.

And then it occurred to me that I’d be a single, bisexual woman—known as a unicorn in swinger circles, due to our rarity—attending the convention alone.

Hmmm. This made me a little anxious for a few reasons. I love sex-positivity and the swinger community, but I don’t typically enjoy group play unless I have a long-standing, well-developed emotional relationship with all parties involved. It usually takes some time to get me sexually excited about anyone, and three-way chemistry between me and a couple is extraordinarily rare. What if everywhere I went, people just saw me as a piece of meat, a golden opportunity to grab a unicorn for the night? What if I had to constantly reject people, something that’s always been uncomfortable for me? Was I going to have to walk around with resting bitch face? My resting bitch face is TERRIBLE! I HAVE NATURAL RESTING FLIRTY FACE. Oh no, I thought. Everyone at this thing was gonna think I was open to having sex with them! And I’m historically the worst at saying no, because I have this complex about not letting people down.


I scrambled to see if one of my boyfriends could make the trip with me last minute. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a little muscle on my arm, kind of like a sexy human shield. But alas, while all of them were excited about the idea, none were actually available.

Okay, I thought, cool, I’m a strong woman who knows how to set boundaries. I can handle this alone. I can say no when I want to say no. I can kindly turn down propositions. These are things in my power, even if I’ve struggled for years with feelings of guilt for rejecting people sexually. I mean, working through that guilt has led to some progress, and this could actually be a great little test of my ability to be true to my own desires.

You see, I wasn’t really afraid that anyone would try to pressure me or make me feel uncomfortable—I was afraid of the pressure I would put on myself to not let anyone down. And I don’t believe this is unique to me. Have you ever thought about attending a play party, for example, and then didn’t go because you were afraid you wouldn’t be interested in anyone and didn’t think you could stand the pressure to participate?

Here I am, 36 years old, still reminding myself that I have every right to say no, and that’s okay. I’m not doing anything wrong or letting anyone down by not compromising myself.

I gathered my strength and courage, packed my bags, focused on my excitement at whatever craziness this experience had in store for me, and headed down to NOLA.

As soon as I arrived, I started to see I never had any reason to worry. John and Jackie picked me up at the airport and took me to the most delicious vegan soul food restaurant. I had no idea such a thing existed! (I love all the animals, and I make an effort to eat plant-based food the majority of the time.) You might have picked this up from their videos, but John and Jackie are a delight to be around. Both are elegant, kind, and passionate about helping other couples have better sex and love in their lives. I was so happy that their energy in person was just as warm and open as the image they project online.

After lunch, John dropped me at my hotel for a quick break, and then we all met up again on Bourbon Street to march in the Sexual Freedom Parade.


John and Jackie were the King and Queen of last year’s convention, so they got to ride on a float waving and wearing crowns — so fancy! — while I flitted around like a fairy sprite trying to meet as many people and see as many things as possible. There were people from every walk of life, some in fantastical outfits, some in casual clothes, but almost everyone wore white—a cleverly subversive way to call out the cultural convention of fetishizing sexual “purity.” Lots of people held signs with messages like, “My body, my choices,” “Make love not war,” “Swingers have more fun!” and “I love my wife AND her best friend!” (See photos here: https://www.naughty-events.com/freedom-parade/).

The best part of the parade was seeing normal, vanilla people, even families with kids, on the sidewalks taking great pleasure in the sex-positive spectacle we were creating. There wasn’t a hint of judgement coming from any direction. Everyone felt free, everyone was smiling. The energy in the air was so positive and alive! I loved every second, and it was the perfect way to start a fantastic convention experience.

From there, things just got better. Every new person I met was warm and welcoming, and I never once had an issue with consent. The convention staff were outfitted with T-shirts that read “ASK FIRST” in large letters, and the theme of consent and communication was highly visible throughout the week. There were a few moments where I had to make it clear that my interest in someone was platonic only, but these were handled with grace and kindness by all parties involved. I never felt undue pressure from anyone, and I never once felt like a piece of meat. This is just not that kind of party, babies.

P.S. If you want to start booking ahead now for next year’s Naughty events, CLICK HERE!

I met so many smart, beautiful people, like Bob and Tess, the patriarch and matriarch of Naughty Events, whose love for the swinger community is palpable in every word they speak; Taara and James of the Sex Uninterrupted podcast, who were crowned this year’s King and Queen, and who impressed me endlessly with their incredible insights on all kinds of nonmonogamy; Dragonfly, who runs PureOrgasmicLove.com and who teaches workshops that fuse spirituality and sexuality and radiates a serene self-love and love for others; and Riley Reyes, an adult film star who teaches people how to have better, braver, more adventurous sex, while being the sauciest minx around wherever she goes. Everyone I met was passionate about helping others have better sex and relationships, and everyone had put countless hours of thought into how they view the world and how they conduct their own relationships. It was a glorious atmosphere to fly through for a few days.

I’m endlessly grateful to be a part of the Openlove101 team, to John and Jackie for having me and treating me to such a wonderful visit to New Orleans, and to all of you — this gorgeous, unorthodox community that’s slowly building and finding more like-minded souls to join our movement. We were born to be free, to have as much love and sex and pleasure and joy in our lives as possible, and I feel so fortunate to have stumbled onto an entire world of people who see that and want to help create a new way of having relationships that doesn’t involve restriction or deception. Our guiding principles are compassionate, radical honesty, respect for others, always asking for consent, and loving those around us and ourselves as best we can. It doesn’t get better than that.

If you’ve never been to a Naughty event, I highly recommend you check out their upcoming schedule! You can learn more and buy tickets HERE.


  • Lynn says:

    Hi Samia,

    As always, thanks for sharing, because you painted a vivid picture of what you experienced, and joy of your experience came through clearly in your post.

    Lynn M

  • Kevin Hardesty says:

    Hopefully this is not offensive, but your free spirit reminds me of the gals on the show Broad City on Comedy Central. It’s great you can feel comfortable and open around lifestyle couples, generally we try not to be pushy. Another fun time is Fantasy Fest in the Keys it’s not an exclusively swinging event but there are some there.

    • Samia Mounts says:

      Oh man, I LOVE Ilana and Abby!!! One of my favorite shows of all time! That is not offensive at all – it’s the best compliment ever, thank you!!!

  • Ron havens says:

    It was so wonderful meeting you and the brief conversation We shared in the “toy” store. We look forward to following more of your writings.
    Ron & Bren


    people like this are intriguing, people like this want all things all the time, BUT really are they in Love, I love my wife so much,, I would NOT want her to get pleasure that I didn’t provide, sexually I would Love to make my self a better lover, BUT polyamourousness is just splitting the love we are able to create, in too many directions, many Poly people use it as a shield against true loneliness, feeling that NOT being committed is protection against pain. I want to give My lover pleasure BUT I want to be the exclusive giver of that pleasure, and to that end, I work very hard at being a better lover

    • Samia Mounts says:

      Hi Sean!

      I understand where you’re coming from, and I’m glad you are committed to being the best love to your spouse that you can be! Buuuuut true polyamory has nothing to do with “splitting” your love. If you have more than one child, are you “splitting” your love between them? Does each child get less love because you had more than one? What about your friends? If you have three close friends, does that mean that each friend is getting less love than if you only had one friend?

      I’m in a committed relationship with my fiance, and we prioritize our relationship. We are deeply, completely, head-over-heels in love with each other. That doesn’t stop us from falling in love with other people now and then, when the connections are organic. It doesn’t mean we are giving less love to each other, nor does it mean we spend less time with each other. Just like everyone can manage to love more than one child, more than one family member, or more than one friend at a time, we simply manage our time well and love as is most natural to us.

      I don’t need to be the exclusive giver of pleasure to my fiance, because I want him to have as much pleasure in his life as possible, and there are certainly pleasures I can’t provide! I can’t, for example, provide the same pleasure as any other woman in the world would be able to, simply because we are different people and we give different experiences of connection. If my fiance wants to experience another connection, and it makes him happy, I want him to have that happiness! 🙂 It brings me joy to see him receiving pleasure no matter where it comes from. That’s called compersion, and it will be the subject of my next essay.

      I hope you’ll stick around and continue to think on these issues! 🙂

  • You are right, the pressure we put on ourselves is often more than what others put on us

  • That really sounds awesome to be able to be a part of, I’ve been trying to be an open mind to try new things, and at least try things once, but then not many people want a 58 yr. Woman who is thick

    • Samia Mounts says:

      Hi Dawn!

      I can relate to being insecure about one’s age and body type, but you do NOT need to worry! I saw lots and lots of deliciously sexy 50- and 60-something thick-AF ladies at the convention, and they were decked out in strappy-sexy little outfits and getting it on like there was no tomorrow! It’s all about confidence and loving yourself as you are now – anybody can do that. 🙂 I hope you’ll come out and join us for an event at some point! You will be so welcomed – and WANTED! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Henry says:

    Can a single man go to and enjoy the party also?

    • Samia Mounts says:

      Hi Henry!

      It depends on the party! Many parties and clubs welcome a certain number of single men, although strict standards for appropriate behavior are set in advance. For example, no touching without consent – that’s a BIG one. You should look around at what’s available in your area and inquire. 🙂 Have fun!

  • Shelby Barrett says:

    Hi I’ve recently discovered that I’m bi and I came across Colette in Dallas and would love to go, but I would most likely have to go by myself. Is it weird for a single girl to go by herself? Is it safe? I’m not good at talking to people first. Any advice?

    Thank you.

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