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.

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