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.

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