Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Swinger Advice Column: Ask Audrey & Claire #1

[Q] How should we handle a couple who we think are really great people and whom we have played with, but are time vampires at LS events?  We want to socialize with others, but they follow us and interrupt every conversation we have with anyone else.  We don't want to hurt their feelings.

Sorry to hear this, but I am sure you are not the only ones with this challenge. You probably don’t want to be too direct as this would, no doubt, hurt their feelings. For couples like this one, and also situations where you want to let your partner know the other couple is a “pass,” we suggest you come up with a code word, phrase, or gesture. We know one couple who would refer to one another as Mr. and Mrs. “Smith” in situations like these to cue each other that they wanted to beat a hasty retreat. After that, the old bathroom, smoking break, drink refresh are usually handy stand-bys. Most people will eventually get the idea and not take it too personally. The important thing is to be polite. If people are in the LS and cannot pick up signals and handle rejection, they have other issues and are not your problem.

[Q] How do you let your guard down and not let your social anxiety interfere with swinging?

The old adage is that you should imagine everyone with their clothes off. The irony here is that if you’re a swinger, chances are, you will see a good number of these people naked at some point. On a more serious note, I would give the same advice in vanilla social situations. That is that most people have the same anxieties and insecurities you do. Everyone is taking a risk by putting themselves out here, with the risk of being accepted or rejected. Take it slowly. It’s usually a good idea to just talk to people the way you would at an ordinary vanilla event, with no “expectations” first. It’s only if you feel the the four of you are hitting it off, that we would recommend a more direct question about whether or not the the other couple is up for playing with you.

[Q] What if you make too many good friends in the LS and are then afraid to be intimate with them sexually because you do not want to mess up the friendship?

The longer you are in the Lifestyle, the easier it gets to navigate friendship and play. The most comfortable swingers, enjoy play, but do not always expect it. Also, if they play with their friends, they treat this the way they would all play - a respectful, and hopefully, mutually gratifying experience between the participants. Even if the the sex is not earth-shattering and just kind of average, that is part of what we sign on for as swingers, the ability to not take the sex overly seriously. If you enjoyed it and are picking up signals that the other couple did as well, you can always become “friends with benefits.”

[Q] What happens if you see a college sorority sister, a client, a neighbor, your child's soccer coach, lawyer, high school classmate, or even your child's kindergarten teacher at the club, meet and greet, or party? How do you deal with the situation? Having rules and boundaries and sexually blending the two worlds, LS and personal, can be quite sticky.

This happens all the time, in most of the situations you describe above. The easiest way to think about this is that you all have “skin in the game.” There is no way the other person or couple can pretend they accidentally wandered into a swinger party on the way to their annual church retreat. They have as little interest in outing you, as you do them. To avoid the awkwardness, it’s probably best to go up to them and say hello, but not hang around too long if they seem very uncomfortable. On the other hand, they may be relieved to find other people from their vanilla life, who swing as well, and this may give you something in common you did not have before. When contemplating play, consider the frequency with which you will see these people and the context in which you interact in the vanilla world. Probably not a great idea to sleep with your boss, whether you’re a swinger or not, for example! On the other hand, we know of two couples who had swinger/vanilla life overlap that wound up playing together and becoming good friends. Trust your gut and proceed with caution, discretion and respect for their privacy, as you would wish them to do with yours.

[Q] How do you get a date “started” in terms of play when the foursome includes parties that are all very shy about initiating?

Relax and wait an appropriate amount of time to make sure that all four of you are hitting it off. When it feels like the “witching hour” is approaching, try some light physical contact. Start slow and gauge their response. If you put a hand around their waist and they pull away, it is probably not the moment to start kissing them. If the women are bisexual, it is often easier to start off with some girl on girl making out. If you dance, some couples find flirty/dirty dancing to be a good warmup. Sometimes a more “transactional” approach can break the ice and shift the mood. Rather than saying, “Are you interested in playing with us?” which could lead to awkward rejection for both couples, ask them if they have any rules about play. Their response will often give you a clue as to how receptive they are to you and your partner. Pay close attention to the couple’s interaction with each other when you ask them that question. Do they backpedal and put in a lot of conditions? Do they suddenly require a six month courtship or seem to be scanning for the bathroom? 

[Q] How do swingers handle a situation where one partner is very attracted to another partner of a couple but the spouse is not? For example, what do we do if we are a full swap, same room only couple and my husband is attracted to the wife of another full swap, same room only couple, and he would love to have sex with that female; yet I have no attraction or desire to engage with her husband.

First, save yourself some awkwardness and find out, from their profile or by asking, what their swing status is. If the profile says they are tit-for-tat, four-way swap-off only, and you suspect they might be situational, you can show them you took the time to read their profile and remember it when you ask to clarify. It can be annoying when a couple takes the time to write their swing status to have to answer questions they have already answered in their profile.

A note of caution: you don’t want to be mislead anybody here. That will lead to allegations of bait and switch, which is a far more difficult reputation to overcome than simply rejecting somebody’s spouse. If your husband really wants to play with the other woman, you will have to be comfortable tactfully making it known that you are not interested in the other woman’s husband. Since your husband is the one who wants to play, it is probably better if he brings this up with the other woman and her husband.

Second, it wasn’t clear from the question: are you asking if you should take one for the team? That answer depends on you and your degree of attraction or lack thereof to the male half of the couple. Absolutely do not do this if you are going to feel bad and be resentful afterwards. On the other hand, some couples occasionally do this with the understanding that your partner will do the same in the reverse situation.

Third, if the other couple is full open and you are willing to allow your husband a hall pass, you will have to negotiate the conditions with which you are comfortable.

[Q] You and your spouse play with another couple often, but the couple split up and now each individual or only one now wants to play, what is the best way to handle this?

First of all, you need to take into consideration whether you and your spouse are still vanilla friends with each half of the now split couple, and whether it will hurt your friendship for one of you to continue playing with their ex. If you are purely lifestyle friends/play partners, this is mainly between you and your spouse. The two of you will need to decide if you are comfortable playing full open with each member of the former couple.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Advice for Male Swingers: Improving Your Game

When my husband and I (Audrey speaking) were relatively new to swinging, we were fortunate enough to receive some wise advice from a man whom we came to call “the Godfather.” The Godfather was in his late 40’s, a straight-talking and charming former musician, who was appropriately of Italian heritage. His girlfriend was of a similar personality, a New Yorker who had no fear of telling it like it is.

The Godfather was extremely successful at picking up women, whether it was in Lifestyle venues or vanilla bars or clubs. He had average, attractive looks, but he, himself, attributed his success to a pick-up strategy that he called CIA. This stands for “Compliments, Interest, and Attention.” 

The first thing he would do was to pay attention to the woman and notice something specifically flattering about her.  He would formulate a compliment that was related to something she did, as opposed to what she looked like. For example, instead of complimenting her on her lovely set of breasts or firm backside, he might comment on her fashion sense: “Wow, you have a really killer sense of style. I like the way you paired those boots with that dress.” His idea was to focus on something she chose or did, as opposed to what she was born with. If he did focus on something she was born with, he would veer away from the more obvious and generic, perhaps complimenting her on the curve of her neck. The idea behind this is that you spent actual time observing the woman and noticed something about her, as opposed to resorting to a generic “plug n play” compliment that could be applied to fifty percent of the women in the room.

The more he talked with her, the more specific things he would observe about her personality. If she told him a story about something she did or something she was interested in, he would find a way to be enthusiastic about this and compliment some aspect about it. For example, if she told him a story about how she went sky diving, he would say something like “Wow, that’s so cool that you are so fearless and adventurous.” This sounds cheesy in abstract, but in practice, when the man spends the time to observe the woman and tailor his compliments specifically to her, this comes across as a lot more sincere and authentic. If he were to amp up his flirting with a more “sexy” compliment, he would deliver it gracefully. Instead of saying, “Nice tits” he might say something like, “Your confidence is really sexy.”

From our perspective (Audrey and Claire), many women swingers are not just in this for the sex, they are in it for the flirting. Remember that a lot of foreplay takes place in our minds. To get to the stage where we are willing to entertain sex with you, we prefer to feel a “connection” with you. For instance, Claire attended a women’s college. In talking with one man, he talked about his college girlfriend who attended a similar college and how much he respected this girlfriend and her friends. She immediately started to find this man more attractive and relatable. Audrey has found that even if she has little in common with the man, rapport can be built if they can share in witty interchanges. Both of us find a man who doesn’t take himself so seriously and is able to make fun of himself (but not in a “poor me,” pathetic way) very sexy.

Exposing vulnerability, for an otherwise very together person, actually makes you sexier. Perfection is not something most of us can relate to. Admitting to a vulnerability or weakness makes you “relatable.” It takes us out of whatever stereotype or snap judgment we may have made about you, based on first appearance - “suburban dad,” “biker,” “nerdy professional,” or “overly suave player” and starts to make us think about you as a real person. Claire completely fell for a Hugh Grant-look alike Englishman who mentioned that he had no idea how to talk to women because he spent too much time in his teenage and college years reading fantasy literature. They subsequently bonded over their favorite characters from “The Lord of the Rings.”

While some of this may sound calculated, the entire CIA approach can and should be undertaken with authenticity and sincerity. If it isn’t, it will be obvious and this may work against you. All people have something worthy of complimenting and taking interest in, so it should not be difficult to find those qualities.

It’s Not Just For the Men
We both want to make a point that CIA is not something that just women are looking for. Since traditional dating makes the men the pursuer and the women the object, women may actually have less experience in this department than men. Those women who master this technique will also “up their game.”

We know many men who will bypass very attractive women (especially those with an attitude), for women who make a point of noticing them (the man) and seeming genuinely interested in them.

Sex is a two-way street. It’s about how two people respond to each other. In swinging, as in vanilla life, there are “Barbie” and “Ken” types who, rightly or wrongly, give other people the impression that their very presence and good looks are all they need to bring to the table. While good looks certainly are a source of lifelong validation and advantages, sex is not a catwalk. It’s about taking your clothes off and being willing to give as well as receive, and physically interact with another human being. Men want to be wanted and, to some degree, “pursued” as well. Sophia Loren once said sex appeal is 50% what you’ve got and 50% what people think you’ve got. When a woman projects sexual and personal self-confidence, the very fact that she has “options,” and has decided to notice and focus on the man to whom she is talking, can be very sexy.

The second aspect of C.I.A. is showing interest. The Godfather’s advice was to ask questions to determine what the woman was passionate about or, at the very least, interested in. This might include something as basic as her hobbies or something more in-depth like her hopes for the future. It might include her values or philosophy towards life. As opposed to asking a person what they do for a living, ask them what they do for fun. Most of us do not define ourselves by our jobs. People are the biggest experts in one thing: themselves. If you find that her responses are short and to the point, leaving you little to go on, she may be uninterested or just shy. In any case, try asking more open-ended questions, as opposed to “yes” ” or “no” questions. An example would be: “Have you read a book lately or seen a movie that you really enjoyed?” You should be able to quickly determine, based on her body language and responses, whether her quietness was shyness or lack of interest. Whether you share her passions or not, show genuine interest in them. Your interest in things that mean something to her will make her more interested in you.

Taking an interest in someone else’s interests can also be a way to dig deeper. Why is she interested in hiking? Or perhaps how did she become interested? Her answers may be a forum to recall an interesting story or an opportunity to learn something more about her. Maybe it’s for the exercise. Maybe she enjoys fostering a connection with nature. If you do find that you share in some of the same interests, better yet. From there, you can build further rapport by sharing your perspective on the topic.

While politics and religion are tempting topics, tread carefully. If you are on opposite sides of the political or social spectrum, you may find yourselves in a debate that drains away the energy of the interaction. Instead of building rapport, you may simply be associating yourself with what are, for the other person, negative values. Then again, if a fiery debate is a turn-on, have at it! Once again, you should be able to observe by the woman’s body language whether talking about hot topics is a turn-on or turn-off.

According to the Godfather, showing interest meant finding out other things about her, beyond her hobbies or passions. Ask questions to learn more about her background: education, profession, and family life. You might find out that you were both high school band geeks, misfits, or basketball players or that you share the same cultural heritage or that you both were only children.

PRO TIP: If you share only one thing in common with her, it’s your involvement in the Lifestyle. If all else fails, find out more about how her and her partner became swingers and what she likes about it.  Swinging is a great topic of conversation, because it opens the door to exchange stories about your experiences, including likes and dislikes. Sharing funny stories, while changing names to protect identities of course, can also be a fun way to build rapport.

The third aspect of the CIA approach is attention. According to the Godfather, the most important aspects of attention are eye contact and focus. Eye contact is not only a great way to show that you are paying attention, it’s also an opportunity to flirt. Audrey has found that eye contact is one of the most sexy ways to seduce a woman, a much greater turn on than a drive-by ass grab. Try to match her, to a degree, because if she seems more shy about it, your eye contact may be perceived as too intense. In any case, your focus should be on her, not on people walking by or other conversations that you are overhearing. This can be difficult at a loud party when there is a lot of activity and many cross-conversations. If so, you may want to find a quieter spot to sit while you talk. If you are constantly glancing at other people in the room, she may perceive this as a lack of interest.

By definition, swinging is not about monogamy; however, most of us would like to feel like the special object of attention for at least one night, or at least the significant part of one night. Nothing is more annoying than the man who talks to us, but constantly has a roving eye, focused on the other women in the room. We call this “yellow ball syndrome” after the labrador retriever who loses focus because there are too many balls in the air and he doesn’t know which one to chase. No woman wants to feel like she’s the second or third choice for the night and that the man is constantly evaluating the room to see if better options are available. Being a “notcher” is ok, if you are the notch for that night. It’s less cool if you are one of six “notches” for the night and you are aware that the “gentleman” in question has allocated exactly 30 minutes to playing with you before moving on to his next conquest.

PRO TIP: The Godfather also emphasized the importance of letting one’s own partner know of your interest. If you have informed your partner, then she can determine if she’s interested in your target’s significant other. Ask her first if she has any interest before engaging in CIA with another person. As part of the “game,” he would also make sure to engage his target’s partner in conversation. If anyone is not cool with anyone else, a foursome cannot occur. Making sure that there is both four way interest and comfort among all parties is essential.

Moving to Physical Contact
This was not in the Godfather’s original manifesto but is an add-on from Audrey and Claire. Some women are receptive to physical contact from a man they have not spent time talking to or do not know well. Some women are not. The problem is that if you don’t know the woman, you don’t know which category she falls into and may risk offending her and her partner.

It’s a safer approach to get to know a woman first through conversation and CIA, before making an overtly physical, sexual move. Before advancing to the physical stage, use some EQ (emotional intelligence) to figure out if the woman is sending receptive signals. Is she looking back at you? Is she smiling at you? Is she laughing at your jokes? Is she leaning towards you? Does she seem genuinely interested in you or does she look bored, like she can’t wait for her partner to rescue her or she’s one step away from stepping out to smoke a cigarette, get a drink, or visit the ladies room? When in doubt, ask! Also, when you move to physical contact, it is better to err on the side of subtlety. A hand on the small of the back or an arm around her affectionately may be better received than an ass grab or boob squeeze. If anything, being subtle shows that you respect her and are not just treating her like a piece of ass. If you know her well already and know she likes this or the two of you have had a previous sexual relationship, then you do not need to be as cautious about an overly sexual move being perceived as a turn-off.

Women are in the LS (or at least they should be in the LS) because they enjoy sex. This is not about being anti-sex, this is simply about progression and the fact that many of us like the build-up of interest and expectations that CIA provides, as opposed to going from zero to sixty miles an hour in five seconds flat on the physical front. CIA is about establishing a rapport with the other person so the two of you can have better sex.

All is Not Lost
If you have spent a good portion of the night lavishing CIA on a woman and you feel that you haven’t gotten anywhere, do not despair. Women and men too (if this is a woman who has applied CIA) are not “always on.” We may really like you and just not be in the mood to play that night. This may have nothing to do with you. It may be that time of month for her. He or she may be out of sorts because they had a bad day at work or with the kids, or their partner may be out of sorts and want to leave early. Both Audrey and Claire have had situations that we call the “one-two punch.” We may simply not be 100% sure we like a guy enough to play with him the first time we meet him. However, after the party, we find ourselves thinking about him quite a bit and and hoping that we see him at the next event. In this case, all your effort was not in vain, because you have laid a groundwork of goodwill that will benefit you the next time you see this person. Sometimes an online message, telling them how much you enjoyed spending time with them and how you hope to see them again, can be a good way to follow-up. This also works if you spot someone at a party that you find attractive but didn’t get a chance to talk to.

And even if your CIA truly was unsuccessful, that’s life. Without risk comes no reward and in a community like the Lifestyle, in which many people are just friends and do not play together, you can find value in the connection, regardless of sex. Who knows, maybe you will have learned something from talking to that other person that may help you later in life, whether in swinging or in your vanilla world.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Response to “How to Get Your Wife Into Swinging”

We (Audrey and Claire) are going to make the assumption that the blog entry "How to Get Your Wife Into Swinging" was written by a man for men. As a woman, this reads like “How to manipulate your wife to do something she would not consider doing on her own.”

The entire blog is written from the point of view of the man, weighing the pros and cons of trying to convince his wife to swing. The pros: surprise, surprise, your penis gets some new pussy. The cons: your wife may be pissed off at you for bringing up the subject; you, the man, may be jealous, seeing her with other men; and, finally, she may leave you for another man.

So our first question, as the woman (or the person you want to convince), is what are the pros and cons of your proposition for ME, not you, or, alternatively, for us as a couple?

In light of the limitations of this blog, we thought we would discuss some more effective strategies for broaching the subject with your partner. First, we’d like to question this article’s assumption that women are universally resistant to swinging and men are universally receptive. Sometimes the reverse is the case.


Before you broach the subject, you may want to consider your partner and what their concerns might be. Are you trying to fit a square peg in a round hole (no pun intended)? Take a look at your partner and evaluate your relationship. Are the two of you very sexual together? How frequently do you have sex? Do you watch a variety of porn? Are you creative in your sex life? Is swinging inconsistent with your partner’s religious, social, and/or political views? Are you looking at this as something to enrich your sex life or “fix” it? Are there other pressures on your relationship--children, trust issues, financial, work-related, etc? Are you in a very secure relationship? And most importantly, how good is your communication as a couple?

If you answered “no” to either of the last two questions, STOP right here. Swinging will not end your relationship, nor will it “fix” it. However, if you have challenges in your relationship stability or communication, it can exacerbate these issues. Swinging can be a positive thing for couples, but it is not right for everybody.  Also, it is not right for every couple at every moment in their life. If only one of you wants to do it, and you have to manipulate or pressure the other person into doing this, it may backfire on you. BOTH partners have to be able to process consensual non-monogamy. Most veteran swingers will admit that jealousy has come up. They have to be able to work through any jealousy issues that arise. Swinging can most definitely enrich your life as a couple, but make sure it is the right thing for both of you, and it is the right thing for you at this point in your relationship.

What are the Benefits?

If someone tries to convince me of something, my first question is what’s in it for me? I already know there is something in it for you, since you are the one trying to convince me. It is in your interest, then, as the persuasive partner to present a case for the benefits of swinging. A few obvious advantages stand out:

-Variety and Honesty: You can experience a variety of sex with a variety of people, without lying to, cheating on, or deceiving your partner.

-Bonding: This can be a bonding activity for you as a couple. Instead of playing golf together like your vanilla neighbors, you swing.

-Community/New Friends: It allows you to become part of a community and meet new friends that you might not otherwise interact with. It gets out of your suburban funk of doing the same old, same old.

-Relationship Supplement: Should one partner be expected to satisfy all your desires? Should you really be expected to give up the spark that novelty provides? When you know a partner for a time, it’s easy to settle into a routine. On the plus side, this means that your partner knows you and what gets you off. On the con side, this means that your partner knows you and what gets you off. For many swingers, the dance of flirting and wondering if someone you like is interested in you is a big part of the turn-on. It is the excitement of the unknown. Other people have different body types, personalities, turn ons, sexual styles. All of that can be exciting.

A word of advice on how to proceed

The persuading partner needs to make sure they don’t expect things to progress from zero to sixty in five seconds flat. They may hope to go to a swinger club and immediately live out their Skinamax fantasy. Be prepared that this journey may take time. The reality of swinging is that the “speed” is determined by the person with the slower tempo. Do not become impatient or blame them for not being able to play at your speed. Take the time for them to become comfortable with this idea and this environment. Be sensitive to their reactions and concerns. This may mean going to swinger outings and being voyeurs and/or exhibitionists for a time. For some women, bisexual play may be a stepping stone. 

Also, do not be impatient if the first time you attend a club or event, your partner is turned off. It may be that a meet-and-greet is a better first-time than attending a club. Many people, the authors included, started off with a lot of stereotypes about swinging. Laugh if you want, but the first thing your partner may need to be convinced of is that swingers are not flesh-eating vampires!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

If the Presidential Primary Candidates Were Swingers…

We (Audrey and Claire) found ourselves contemplating what the presidential primary candidates would be like if they were in the Swinger Lifestyle. Which stereotypes might they fulfill? What would be their approach to swinging? How would they fare outside the political arena and inside the bedrooms of others?

 Donald Trump would be the classic rich older guy with hot younger wife: Beauty and the Crypt Keeper. He’s 69 and Melania is 45. He’s hoping to “trade-in” his Lamborghini for a Maserati. His target: another rich older guy with hot younger wife. 

Bernie Sanders would be Grandpa Swinger. He began his Lifestyle career in the 1960’s as a hippie, spreading the message of free love, much like he’d spread free education, in a Vermont commune. Today, along with wife Jane, he’s mostly “retired” from actual swinging with the exception of the occasional foursome at the local nudist colony.

 Marco Rubio would be the hot closet bi guy in the LIfestyle. He has a triple life. Married, socially and politically conservative father of four to the public. No stranger to Miami’s gay spas, he has found in swinging a way to reconcile his other two worlds. While he can be satisfied with women, what he ultimately is looking for in the LS is a MFM  that can turn into a MMF. 

Ted Cruz would be the Bible-thumping, anti-sex crusader who orgies every weekend at the club and then goes to church the next morning and acts holier than thou. His far-right social views are a reaction to his conflicting religious ideals and sinful sexual desires. He’s against gay marriage, but his wife loves girl-on-girl swinging, which he equally enjoys watching.

Hillary Clinton would be the brainy, no-nonsense female swinger who is in it for the ladies. Of course, husband Bill doesn’t see it that way. When it comes to women, he loves them all. This charismatic pussyhound from Little Rock thinks that full swap foursomes are the way to go, while Hillary pushes for girl/girl only.

John Kasich would be the stereotypical horny man who doesn’t have time for conversation or making “friends with benefits.” Known for his smugness, he thinks he can get any woman he wants. With his arrogant brashness, this former Ohio governor lacks the charisma to charm the ladies. His ever so unsophisticated pick up line: “Want to hop on it?”