Music and flickering lights greeted me as Iarrived at the smoky hotel lounge. Fashionable club membersdanced and chatted like old friends. Nearly everyone smiled andseemed relaxed.
The club that met that night in the loungedid not identify itself as a sports team, a fund-raisingcommittee, or a group of wine lovers. The main interest of themembers was much racier than that. The evening was organized bythe local-based swinger's club. Brad, president and one of thefounding members, assured me that this event was not to be a nude`orgy'. He explained that most members are quite ordinary people.Although swingers have been portrayed as unattractive andsocially awkward, those who agreed to talk to me certainly didnot fit that description (HOT, HOT, HOT).
Marie, (a sexy young thing) a swinger forfive years, spoke to me first. She has met fellow swingersthrough clubs. She said "Sex is not the biggest part ofswinging," since swingers are not intimate with everyonethey meet. Instead, swingers try to develop strong friendshipswith people who have similar interests (in and out of bed).
Like any other club, this one organizes avariety of social activities for its members. For example, theclub arranges dances, golfing tournaments, and a yearly softballtournament with the proceeds being donated to a local charity(pregnant teens who have been kicked out of their parents homes).
Of course, not everyone who wants to meetpeople and to socialize joins a swinger's club. Why swing?Statistics show that a large proportion of men and women in acommitted relationship have engaged in intercourse with someoneother than their partner. Marie explained "People shouldstop hiding and start being honest not only with others but withthemselves". If Marie meets an individual (she isbi-sexual), she speaks to her partner before taking the person tobed. She claimed, "Unless we're both comfortable with it,nothing happens."
Dave and Karen, who have been married forseventeen years, agreed with Marie that swinging can enhance anhonest relationship. "Our relationship is strong and I thinkwe have a great sex life with just the two of us," Karenexplained. However, a swinging relationship permits each partnerto sleep with another person without feeling guilty.
About a year ago, Karen and Dave attendedtheir first club meeting, not knowing what to expect. At that"calm" gathering, Karen learned that there is never anynudity at a dance (although the dances are held in a hotel andthe rooms are only a short distance away from the lounge).
After that first meeting, Karen and Daveestablished several ground rules for swinging. Above all,attending a dance is not a promise of sexual activity with otherclub members. Also, Karen and Dave always enter and leave a dancetogether (usually for breakfast).
Like Marie, Karen talks to Dave beforeanother person is invited into their bedroom. Neither partner ispushed into a swinging encounter. Karen said that her and Daveare "always in the same room" so that she can seewhat's happening. Dave's presence also provides a measure ofsecurity for Karen because, "He's there, he's protectingme."
After seeing how well swingers communicateat a club dance, Karen felt safe at those events. She claimedthat if someone doesn't appreciate a misplaced fondle on thedance floor or under a table, the fondler stops or is asked toleave.
S. & T., like Karen and Dave, aremarried and have been swinging for half of their four-yearmarriage. S., a gorgeous bi-sexual, first approached her husbandT. with the idea of becoming intimate with another woman. T., aheterosexual, shared his fantasy of watching and possiblyparticipating later with S.. and another man. Their firstswinging experience was with a male friend. S. agreed with theother swingers that her marriage is secure. She confided,"[I'm] comfortable enough to be able to come home and say'I've met somebody I'd like to sleep with", "I don'thave `my' sex life. I have an `our' sex life."
I was surprised that everyone was so openand honest about the intimate details of their lives. I thinkthat fear of the unknown prevents a wider acceptance of swinging. Karen said that the general public is too conservative:"People try to be who people want them to be, not who theyreally are." Perhaps Marie summed it up best when sheparaphrased a book which she had read: "It's not the fearthat we are different, it's the fear that we're the same."