How can you make the most of your swinging relationship? What can we learn from others in the swinging lifestyle? John and I have stumbled upon a wealth of information through interviews with real life couples in this ever growing swinging community. We’ve spoken to those new to swinging and to seasoned couples with decades of stories and experience with growing and deepening their marital bonds through a more sex positive way of life.
We wanted to share this vault of information we’ve tapped into, and couldn’t think of a better way to than to launch “Real Life Openlove,” a new and intriguing segment on Openlove101 in which couples in this incredible lifestyle talk about what’s worked (or in some cases what didn’t). John and I are extremely excited about “Real Life Openlove” and invite you to join us learn what impact this relationship option has had on real life couples in the lifestyle.
Our first interview (below) is with a young couple we met on our recent trip to Europe. I think you’ll find Jason and Lindsey as intriguing as we did! If you’re interested in being a featured couple (and yes, you can elect to be an anonymous contributor) in our “Real Life Openlove” segment, please provide your contact information on our Openlove101.com contact page, and make sure to specify your desire to be the next “Real Life Openlove” couple!
How was swinging introduced into your relationship? Who was the first partner to bring up the topic?
We eventually stumbled upon the topic through several conversations we had while dating. It started with us talking about our past sexual experiences, which led to the question of if we’d ever had a threesome. Lindsey had and I hadn’t, so I asked if it was something she was willing to try again. She said yes, and through a lot of online research and a few failed attempts at finding single women, we decided to try our first lifestyle club.
How long have you been in the swinging lifestyle?
What has been the greatest hurdle you had to overcome in the lifestyle?
We both have slightly different answers, but they’re both tied to Western social conditioning.
Jason: My biggest hurdle was unlearning everything that society had taught me about my wife being with other men. I was taught that if another guy was having sex with your wife it meant that you weren’t “man enough” for her. There’s also a bit of insecurity tied in there as well. For example, “What if she enjoys having sex with him more than she enjoys having sex with me?” Taking the initial step and watching her give someone else head for the first time was a big step for me.
Lindsey: Relationships are supposed to be just like the fairytales I grew up watching or the Hallmark movies my mom still watches. In those movies/fairytales, one man and one woman are made for each other and as soon as they fall in love, all other people magically fade away and the couple only has “eyes” for one another. If this isn’t the case, then the relationship is doomed and you’ll wind up old and alone. At least this is what I grew up thinking. It was so hard for me to overcome 30 years of this conditioning.
My mother is also a very jealous person and always told me that if my dad was ever with another woman she would leave him so fast… . It was really hard for me to think that a relationship could survive if other people were included in the bedroom, let alone thrive. I always thought I was a bad person for still lusting after other men (and women) when in a committed relationship, so getting past that self-shaming and cliché relationship ideology ingrained in my life was a large hurdle to overcome.
What has been the biggest benefit of being in the lifestyle?
Hands-down, communication. If we can talk about having sex with other people, we can talk about any subject.
How open are you about the swinging lifestyle? Do your family and friends know?
We can count on one hand how many people know. We’re very closed about it. Both sides of our family are very religious, and we feel that they don’t need to know about our bedroom activities anyway. Regarding our work friends, both of us have concerns about what would happen to our careers if our lifestyle became public knowledge.
How has the lifestyle affected any religious beliefs you have?
Neither of us is very religious despite our upbringings, so we’ve both naturally distanced ourselves from Christian teachings over time. The lifestyle has certainly made us reject the religious definition of monogamy and what it means to be faithful to your spouse.
What is your favorite form of play? Example: couple/couple, threesome, group setting, couple/couple(s) in a group setting.
We really love the atmosphere of large playrooms and seeing/hearing couples have sex in front of each other.
What does consent mean to you?
For us, consent means getting verbal agreement for play and then laying out what the rules (if any) are. That verbal approval to us means that anything goes besides what was stated in the rules.
However, once play starts, we don’t take a blanket consent at the beginning as a “anything goes” kind of agreement. Throughout play we rely on verbal cues, physical and verbal feedback, body language, eye contact, etc. in order to gauge whether or not the person we’re playing with and our partner are consenting to what’s happening to them and/or their partner.
For big changes in play (i.e. going from soft to full swap), we always stop to get verbal consent.
Do you ever experience jealousy? If so, how do you handle it?
To our surprise, we actually haven’t experienced much jealousy since we’ve been in the lifestyle. Outside of the lifestyle there were some jealous episodes, and at first we didn’t handle them well.
Lindsey would get angry and I would hide things, but we’ve learned that doesn’t work! We now handle jealousy through communication. We’re honest with each other and talk about it.
The one thing I think that helped us with that is realizing that one can’t take responsibility for the other’s feelings. “I feel the way I do because that’s how I feel and it’s OK for me to feel one way and for you to feel another.” Also, we must take ownership of those feelings and not blame the other person for them.
What advice would you give to those curious about the swinging lifestyle?
Talk, talk, talk! You can’t be open enough! To be specific, talk about your fantasies, fears, boundaries and know that it’s OK if there are differences between the two of you. Allow each other to be vulnerable and truly express your interests and anxieties.
And take it slow! You can always keep adding things as you go. It’s better to take baby steps and learn with each other. Some light research is always beneficial as well in order to find good advice, learn etiquette and get an idea of what to expect.
Also, most swingers are the most open, honest and sweetest people you’ll meet. If you’ve read about it, talked about it and are curious but still unsure, go to a local club to experience it first hand. You can talk to swingers about their experiences, watch others, play with each other or give it try! There’s never any pressure to play, you go at your own pace!
What are some ways you can politely say no if you’re not interested in playing?
We’re horrible at this!! We’re looking forward to all the great advice you’ll receive from this question because we need help. We’ve dabbled with just a polite, “No, thank you.”
Do you have any special stories or experiences that you would like to share with our readers?
If you’re sick or might be sick, please don’t play, or tell the people you’re about to play with that you’re sick so they can make the decision to take the risk! I know it sucks that you planned the vacation or night out and you really want to have fun, but we don’t want to come home and have to take sick time because you gave us something that we then give to our kids…please, please just say “I’m sick!!”
If you’re in the swinger industry or have a site or club you would recommend please do it here…
Recommendations: Couples Cruises (Bob & Tess) are amazing! Sea Mountain Inn is a lot of fun for a weekend getaway.
John and Jackie Melfi are in a consensually non monogamous marriage. They have been featured in ABC News Nightline Special Report “Getting Naughty In N’awlins”, Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention, and CNN “This Is Life” with Lisa Ling. The Melfis are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. With over 20 years of combined experience, this powerhouse couple coaches thousands of singles and couples through their award winning blog Openlove101.com.