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The Swinging Lifestyle

I’ve had a request to share my view on the swinger lifestyle and also how to handle being propositioned.

I support love, enjoying life to the fullest, and having a healthy sex life. This looks different for all of us. I’ve “been there, done that” thoroughly throughout my 20’s. I’m now in a happy monogamous marriage with a man who insists he’s not interested in colouring outside the lines, which suits me just fine. My Mom and Stepdad were involved in “the lifestyle” for several years, they even wrote a book: Swing your Partner. They’ve since paused their “extracurriculars”. I’ve been a part of the Bare Oaks community for about 15 years, which doesn’t cater to swinging, and will even put a stop to a Leather and Lace party because it seems too sexy. There are people at Bare Oaks who are open minded to the spectrum of sexuality and relationship styles. As naturists, we know that nudity doesn’t equal sex. But the open-mindedness to be undressed in a world of textilers is the same that might consider outside the box relationships. All this to say: I’ve had some time to steep and consider the culture.

I’ll start with my Mom and Stepdad who started their exploration tentatively. Mom says it’s very important to ensure you’re checking out the lifestyle for the same reasons as your partner. She doesn’t recommend it for anyone who is going into it as a last-ditch effort to save their relationship. She’s seen many relationships end that way.

I saw my Mom take on a new vibe I’d never seen throughout this “lifestyle” phase. We had “special friends” over for Christmas morning once, the four adults exchanged naughty stocking stuffers while my brother and I tried to pretend we were elsewhere. They splashed out for dinners and hotels and new outfits. It seemed very thrilling for them. They were very open with us, maybe to a fault at times, but it gave me a peek into that world. The impression I gained was that there are: a) a lot of men who would like to cuddle and just have someone listen, b) a lot of women who are desperate to feel sexy and alive. This makes sense following the traditional make up of a household. Men out working hard, trying not to acknowledge their emotions, but feeling overwhelmed and not sure who to turn to unburden themselves. I’m sure unburdening with some release of semen and a good chat would be very rewarding. Women, if they’ve had kids especially, feeling like they’ve given all of themselves and maybe lost being in touch with who they once were. The easy clothes and hairstyle around the house making them feel undesirable every time they look in the mirror. The prospect of getting dressed up, of someone seeing her, desiring her, the exciting game of seduction is way more exciting than folding the laundry in front of the TV, again.

Even though I’ve seen it in action, I still have my doubts. I entirely understand wanting to spice things up in the bedroom and there are many aspects that seem thrilling. I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s fun until it’s not, and when it’s not, it might get ugly. So much communication and maturity necessary, and even then?

I once dated someone who didn’t seem interested in sex. Whenever we were intimate, I felt like he was doing me a solid. (Ha! Pun intended.) So, when another very sexual friend crossed my path, the thrill of cheating far outweighed the shame I felt, for a while.

A couple years later I dated someone who was rarely home, always on contract somewhere. I suggested an open relationship, which he agreed to. I was looking for closeness with others and the feeling of being desired throughout those long stretches without him home. We promised to tell all, and it seemed to be working, at first. The trouble arose when he felt that I was having “more success” with this endeavour than he was. He was really trying to hook up with other people, and I wasn’t, which bothered him further.

In college I dated someone I wanted to be monogamous with, but a year in he explained his desire to be open. Actually, I don’t think open is the right word. It was closer to abuse. He wanted me to arrange threesomes with other women as often as possible. It didn’t go the other way; I wasn’t to be with men. I did as he wished, but it was never enough to satisfy him. I started to feel like his broken hearted, homely roommate who organized fun times. It did a real number on me. He drilled into my head that no man ever wants to be with just one woman. If they say they do, they’re liars. I remember wishing I was more into women, perhaps it’d be easier on my heart.

I had a lot of fun being single. I learned what it was like to sleep with a friend, just because, and there was plenty of laughter involved. I somewhat accidentally took a guy on a second date to a sex club with a few friends. I was in way over my head, actually shaking I was so scared. Luckily, the group I was with was very chill and respectful. For anyone interested, I’d say sex clubs and fetish clubs typically are super safe and respectful places. As for the fetish places, you don’t need to be into anything in particular, you can just go and dance, as long as you’re open-minded to other things happening. I’ve struck up plenty of conversations with fun people tied in rope or wearing dog collars and leashes. A stripper spent time teaching me how to pole dance once. Experiences I’m glad I’ve had.

Now I’m married and even after 8 years, I’m obsessed with my husband. I get a nudge of jealousy when he mentions he had a meeting with his boss. She’s been to our house for lunch once and she’s super hot. It can be fun to fantasize about scenarios where I’m watching him with another woman, but I feel confident that I’d turn into an animal and rip them apart in real life.

As for propositioning at a naturist park, it can be upsetting. I love that Bare Oaks is meant to uphold pure family naturist values. It makes me feel safe.

I have heard of awkward moments where swingers break the rules and ask others to get involved. My best friend and her boyfriend, recent naturist enthusiasts, were having a great chat with people over drinks at the Bare Bistro. Her boyfriend left for a moment, and the man told my friend that he’d like to see his wife suck her boyfriend off. Does she mind? She was floored! That’s not why they’re there! A new-to-naturism couple were asked if they were in the lifestyle while they were in the hot tub. They left and were very upset as they were hoping Bare Oaks would be different. This is a real shame because it is usually wholesome.

I think of navigating swinger propositions a little like handling being offered drugs. If you’d like some, there you go. If you’ve already decided it’s not for you, it’s not so hard to say ‘no thank you’. But, again, if you went thinking it’s 100% family wholesomeness and you get asked, it can be disappointing. The bubble is popped.

There’s really a time and place and I suspect it’s a delicate balance. Especially if the couple is new to swinging and they’re excited to chat about it. What I know for certain, is that it’s against the rules at Bare Oaks to proposition anyone. You have the power in your hands based on your comfort level of the situation. If you’re good with a ‘no thanks’ and everything moves along smoothly, cool. If you’re upset and feel it was indecent, I’d encourage you to go to the office and mention it to a staff member. They will take matters into their own hands, possibly removing the people.

You have this one life to live and I hope you get to experience pleasure in all the ways you want to! If someone wants you to colour outside the lines with them and it’s not your cup of tea, you have ‘no thank you’ in your metaphorical back pocket. Your body is your safe space, use it how you want to. And your naturist joint should be a safe space too.

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