Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Couples’ Evolving Expectations in the Swinger Lifestyle

Soft Swap vs. Full Swap


Some couples start off with female bi-sexual play only and later decide to expand their soft swap definition to male/female. For some, penetration is thought of as more “intimate” than oral sex and they want to reserve that for their relationship only. Some soft swap couples may progress to full swap if they become more comfortable; others are not open to ever full swapping. Others are more situational and will list their status as soft swap because they do not like the full swap expectation. However, they are open to it if they feel comfortable with the other couple. For some, starting off as soft swap gives more time for foreplay and building of chemistry with another couple before the expectation of anything more. Some couples are full swap from the outset, without the progression from soft swap. It all depends on the couple and their comfort level. It’s important to communicate about these comfort levels with your partner and have agreements regarding how far you will go. Be mindful of how alcohol can loosen your inhibitions. In order to avoid next day regrets, it’s important that all agreements and changes to them are made while sober, or least relatively sober.

Same Room vs. Different Room

Claire and I also wonder how many couples change their swing status from same room to different room and whether this is linked to the time they have been in the LS and their comfort-level with the LS. Both of us have different room preferences. We are not bothered by same room, but simply find it distracting. Some couples prefer same room because they are turned on by watching their partner with others. One woman preferred same room because seeing her partner with someone else eased her anxiety. She found that her imagination could get the best of her with separate rooms, fostering some insecurity. In contrast, another couple may prefer different rooms because seeing their partner with someone else might actually cause some anxiety, and they would rather not see this. It all depends on the individual. Another couple disliked separate rooms because they felt it was too much like going out and “dating” other people. Same room increased feelings of togetherness and gave them a boundary they were comfortable with.



Rules about Communication

Couples may also change their rules regarding communication as they progress in the LS. Some may begin swinging by placing certain limits on communication with the other couple, such as restricting text messages to same sex partners only, communicating only within a group text or chat group, and/or limiting frequency of communication. As a couple grows more comfortable with the LS or even with a particular couple, they may decide to loosen or change these rules. On the other hand, we have heard a few stories of couples who restricted their communication rules even further after being “burned” by another couple or single who pushed against their boundaries or became what they perceived as “too close” to one or both of them. It is our experience that most swingers are respectful of each other’s boundaries, regarding communication or otherwise, and that this prompts most couples to relax their rules, over time.

Social LS vs. “Sport Fuckers”

One of the biggest differences in swing styles is what Claire and I call, for lack of a better definition, the dichotomy between Social LS’ers and Sport Fuckers. Keep in mind that these are two extremes and most people may find themselves somewhere between the two; or, as a couple, or individual, they may evolve in one direction or the other. The Social LS is comprised of people for whom the LS is their primary social life. They feel an affinity with the fun-loving, socially outgoing and open-minded personalities this culture often attracts.

Social LS does not mean the people are not interested in sex, it simply means that sex is not the primary reason for being in this friend group. The Social LS approach to sex is that if it happens, it happens, and that is great, but they are not going to judge or exclude you based on whether or not you have had sex. These people are typically just as happy going to a bar with you and hanging out, attending concerts, music festivals, going to dinner, camping, motorcycle riding, as they are having sex. Social LS people also often wind up supporting each other in their personal lives. In other words, they form true friendship bonds in the LS, and engage in regular outings with LS people that are very much vanilla and invisible to the outside world.

While some people use Social LS as a somewhat derogatory term for people who never have sex, Claire and I find that this is not really an accurate distinction. There are social LS people who rarely have LS sex and there are social LS people who are quite DTF (down to fuck), and those who cover the range in between. Social LS simply means you have some real friendships in the LS and the LS is an important part of your vanilla social life.

At the opposite end of the extreme from the Social LS, are the Sport Fuckers. These are the people who tend to fuck once and move on and notches on a bedpost count more for them than long-lasting relationships. The “Sport Fucker” can also comprise different styles. Some people may be turned on by anonymous sex with people they do not know and will never see again. They often travel for the LS or limit their interaction with the local LS to going to a club or party once in a blue moon. For others, the LS may be so divergent from their more conservative vanilla life that they have to compartmentalize the two and prefer no overlap.

The other category of “Sport Fuckers” would not attend a “vanilla” LS outing like bowling or a concert; however, they frequently attend parties and clubs and may be well known by others in the scene. Their concept of “friendship” in the LS does not expand beyond a half hour of small talk before heading to the playroom or a bit of female/female stripper pole antics on the dance floor. They may know many people in the scene and engage in your standard pleasantries, but are not very interested in non-sexual interactions or repeat play. They are very much “one and done.” In order to successfully interact with this couple, you have to accept that this is the way they are and that not take their lack of desire for further connection personally. Their reason for being in the LS is purely sex. They may be into novelty and they may be uncomfortable or simply uninterested in connecting with other people on a deeper level.



Challenge of 4 - Way Match, Moving to “Full Open”

Finding two people that hit it off enough in order to have sex is challenging enough. Now imagine trying to find a match among four people, which is the case for couple swaps in the LS. The difficulty of finding a true four-way connection, in which opposite sex partners are both attracted to and comfortable with each other, prompts many LS couples who start off limiting themselves to couple-couple swap offs, to move to a full open status. How couples define “full open” may differ, but generally speaking, this term means that you do not limit your swinger play experiences to four way couple swaps. You could limit full open to only playing at the same time and venue. Some couples may feel that anything else is too much like dating as a single; while others are comfortable going out on separate LS “dates.”

Conclusion

These are simply some of the main areas in which Claire and I have noticed couples evolve or diverge in their LS expectations. The caveat is that we are discussing expectations AS a couple, as opposed to different expectations that may exist between the two individuals within the couple.  As always, we welcome any comments or feedback from our audience.

Single in the Swinger Lifestyle Survey

Claire and I created this survey for single males and females in the Lifestyle. The survey covers topics such as stereotypes about singles in the LS, experiences as a single versus a couple, and the reality of the experiences available versus what is being sought.

The manicorn in his natural habitat!

If you're a single male or female in the Lifestyle, please click HERE to take the survey. The survey is anonymous, but we will be sharing the feedback in a future post.

Your input is appreciated!

Audrey & Claire

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Traveling Swinger: Hedo 2, 3 and Young Swinger’s Week, Negril, Jamaica

Hedonism Resort Tagline: “Your Pleasure is Our Passion”

****Note Hedo 3 closed in 2010, There was never a Hedonism 1. It never existed!
Supposedly Hedo 3 was the newer, nicer resort, so we don’t know why it closed, as opposed to Hedo 2. 


After reading the reviews and because we had some questions, Claire and I decided to take a look at Trip Advisor Hedonism reviews from 2015 and more recent. Many of the reviewers had been multiple times  -- one as many as nine times.  One reviewer even commented that “a piece of his soul” seemed to be missing, the one year he missed the trip to Hedo.

Reviews tended to be very positive on food, not so much on room quality, but that is not why people go. Overall, most people seemed pleased with their experience.

Some Facts

The resort seems to have been under different management at different times, with varying results, with the biggest decline having taken place during the Superclubs management period. People comment that the latest management represents an improvement over Superclubs.

There is a nude side and prude side. We can’t imagine why you would go there and stay on the prude side, given the reviews of the accommodations....

Apparently it is cheaper to book through a group, than directly through the resort. One reviewer recommended booking through Cocktails International, stating that “Cocktails takes away any issues or concerns...taking care of the booking, transportation, and making sure your trip is the way you want it.”

Accommodations: The rooms have supposedly been renovated, but one reviewer from March 2016 says that only 20 out of 200 rooms have been redone. When multiple people comment that you don’t go for the rooms, it is safe to assume they are probably pretty dated.  A reviewer who went as a couple in March 2016 stated: “I asked for decent working air conditioning and decent working plumbing, neither of which I got here.” One couple that went in Oct 2015 for YSW (Young Swinger’s Week) got sick and blamed it on AC unit. Hedo veterans recommended they douse the unit with can of Lysol. This quote seemed to summarize many reviewers’ thoughts on Hedo: “Bottom line, if you want 5 stars and you only care about a luxurious resort then don't come here. If you want to have a wild time and don't care where you spend your 4 hours a morning sleeping then this is place for you.”

                                                                                A "classic room" at Hedonism II

Reading the reviews, Claire and I concluded that, not just for price, but for activities and a younger, more playful crowd, it seems that if you were to try Hedo for the first time, going during one of the Young Swinger’s Week events would be the time to try it. Per one couple:

“YSW put together a schedule of fun and sexy activities for the week which was listed on their official webpage so we knew what theme nights, etc. to prepare for in advance and they handed us nice brochures with the same schedule on it when we arrived, which made it easy to know what was going on while we were there.  We loved getting involved in the fun and risqué games that went on throughout the week.  Highlights for us included the fetish night pole dancing competition in the club, whipped cream bikini eating contest, goat racing, nude Twister, couples speed dating, and the sexy itty bitty bikini/ugly Hawaiian shirt contests.

Our favorite thing that this group brings that is hard to find elsewhere is the sexy lifestyle crowd that that is close to our age. We're in our late 20's/early 30's and this was finally where we felt that we weren't the youngest ones around.  We can and do hang out with crowds that can average 30+ years our senior and we will still have fun, but this was refreshing and meant there were a lot more opportunities to have 4-way chemistry with a lot of other couples.”

Bottom line: The people who like Hedo seem to really love it, despite complaints about the sub-par accommodations and lack of air conditioning in some of the public venues, like the nightclub. If you are into Spring Break, all you can eat buffets, and making the “best friends you have ever made in your life” on a one week swinger vacation, this may be the venue for you.

The responses from our own survey pool tended to be more varied, on how well the respondents related to the other people at the resort, how much they played and whether their expectations were met. However, all three respondents, despite the varying level of enthusiasm in their responses to some of the questions, said they would recommend this resort.


Note: Q1 is omitted because that was the question where respondents listed which swinger travel destination they were reviewing. In this case, all respondents below were reviewing Hedonism II, III, or both. One specifically reviewed Young Swinger’s Weekend. After reviewing the responses, we edited our survey to ask when the respondents went, and to specify the cost per number of days they stayed.

Q2: What influenced you to pick this destination?
#10 Website
#8 Won the 1st trip in a wet t-shirt contest and loved it so I went back.
#2  Young swingers week march 2016 and we like the nudist resort

Q3: What was the overall cost? Be sure to include cost of any extras or upgrades. If this is a destination vacation, specify whether or not this included the cost of flights.
#10 $5000 including flights
#8 I want to say close to 3000 with flights.
#2 $3800

***Wondering if price varies based on number of days or time of year, or how long ago the couple went.

Q4: How would you describe the ambiance and accommodations?
#10 Ambiance was great accommodations were so so
#8 Hedo 3 was brand new and fabulous at the time. Had a great room overlooking 1 of the 3 pools.  Hedo 2 was still nice but far more worn in. Still great restaurants and entertainment.
#2 Wild spring break party

Q5: How would you describe the crowd (average age, appearance, background)?
#10 Crowd spanned the range from mid 20's to 70's. Slim &sexy to heavy and BBW and all backgrounds
#8 Hedo 3 seemed to have a larger crowd of 30 somethings, a younger crowd than I was used to. Hedo 2 had more seasoned vets, still some young and attractive but also the 70 year old couple still having a good time.
#2 Mostly 30s. Attraction on a scale of 1-10 averaged about a 6-8. Swinger background, business lifestyle. Very active.

Q6: Did you relate well to the other people there? Why or why not?
#10 Sort of
#8 I believe so, we made friends wherever we went and had a good time. The only big disparity was the hardcore drug crowd seems pretty predominant at Hedo 2 so the b parties could be intense.
#2 Yes and no. Some were a bit too much into partying and having sex with as many people as possible. Met a number of laid back couples who were amazing

Q7: Did you play? If so, how did the experience compare with what you are used to back home?
#10 No
#8 I (woman) did the 1st time at Hedo 3 with an attractive couple. It was fun but a bit rushed since it was a vacation so we didn't get to know them very well. I don't recall playing at 2 but I did get a $300 box of Cigars for a $2 pair of panties.
#2 Yes. It was exciting meeting new people. Experimented more and have a few more firsts because it seems to get out of the box people back home have put us in based on what was normal in the beginning.

Q8: What were your expectations going to this place? Were those expectations met? Why or why not?
#10 Respondent skipped the question
#8 I didn't know what to expect the 1st time and it blew me away. The 2nd I was a bit more jaded and my marriage wasn't doing well so the experience was tainted for me.
#2 Really, no expectations. Expectations seem to add undue stress to an environment like a lifestyle event... We were pleased and surprised with what we experimented in. Lots of firsts

Q9: Would you go to this place again and would you recommend it to other people? Why or why not?
#10 Yes and yes. Hard to find any place that's quite like it
#8 Hedo 3 is no longer there but 2 is. I would recommend it and hope they have a better experience.
#2 Yes. Would upgrade the rooms because the rooms were not great. Everything else was wonderful.

Q10: Is there any advice, specific to this destination, that you would like to offer other swingers? For example: “Bring lots of costume changes,” or “Be prepared, this club is mostly soft swap”?
#10 Respondent skipped this question
#8 In my experience Hedo 2 is a serious party crowd. Party doesn't start until 1am so sleep late if you wish to keep up.
#2 Only bring costumes and more costumes...maybe a few things for meals. Clothes are otherwise useless. If rooms are important to you, upgrade! Bring 3 spray sunscreens per day... Get that butt covered...every crevice...OR ELSE. Bring your own travel mugs. Come open minded. Few expectations. And make sure you communicate!

If any readers have additional comments about Hedo or any other Lifestyle destinations, please submit them through the survey HERE or directly in the comments below.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bisexuality in the Swinger Lifestyle

Bi-curious, bi-comfortable, bi-selective, heteroflexible, bi-tolerant, barsexual, pansexual, bi-furious, bi-sexual, soft swap (girl/girl only)...these are all labels that we’ve seen women in the Lifestyle use to describe their sexual preferences. Men in the scene tend to be more cagey with responses, ranging from “Hell no!” to “straight but not homophobic.” Rarely, but on occasion, you do see the “whatever happens in the moment” description for a man’s bi-sexuality.

Whatever your sexual orientation, bisexuality is a hot topic both in and out of the Lifestyle. Sexologist Alfred Kinsey theorized that sexual orientation was on a spectrum, with each person’s sexuality landing somewhere on his scale, which is now called the Kinsey Scale.


Not all labels describing sexual orientation are as specific as Kinsey’s designations. Below, Claire and I list some ones commonly used in Lifestyle dating profiles, along with our thoughts as to what each one means:

Bi-curious: She doesn’t have much experience, but is interested in exploring.
Bi-comfortable: Not something she seeks out, but she is ok with this.
Heteroflexible: She’s mostly straight but will have the rare same-sex attraction and may or may not act on it.
Bi-tolerant: She’s not really ok with this, but she’ll put up with it for show.
Pansexual: This has as sort of Dionysian Greek orgy ring to it. This person sounds educated, in tune with their identity, and open minded. Official definitions of pansexuality include attractions to male, female, transgender, intersex, or a-gendered/genderqueer identities.
Barsexal: “I’ll make out with women at the bar to get male attention, but don’t ask me to do more.” This does tend to be a Millenial stereotype. Young girls at bars putting on a “show” for guys and then reacting with disgust when approached by a woman who is interested in more.
Bi-furious: She’s probably on the swinger dating website, mostly looking for women. She’s passionately bi-sexual.
Soft-swap, girl-girl only: She ONLY wants to play with other women. Careful, if her husband wants to play with the other woman, that he makes it clear on their profile that they are not full-swap, as other males can get offended by what they may view as a bait and switch profile or tactic.
Bi-selective: We’re devoting a whole paragraph below to this one!

Male response to bisexual women in the Lifestyle may depend on their age demographic and how experienced they are in the LS and with non-traditional sex, in general. It ranges from the teen-boy, porn fantasy of two women playing together, to men who are very happy for their wives to experience this, to those who frankly get a little bored if the bisexual girl play takes too long or doesn’t involve them at all. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the man who really only wants two women if they are both into him, as opposed to being into each other. This would be like the classic “double blow-job fantasy” - not so much about the women enjoying each other, but mostly about having two women pleasuring him.

More on “Barsexual” Women: Genuinely bi-women also complain about women who are “faux bi” for the show, wishing they would just be honest about their lack of true interest. The faux bi woman may feel pressure to “put on a show” for her man, but her lack of enthusiasm is a turn-off for the other woman. This leaves the genuinely bi woman feeling a bit like a human sex toy. Few people enjoy having sex with someone who isn’t truly into them. The bi-act can come off as a bit staged, like really jaded strippers, yawning while flexing a glute. Audrey: It’s a huge turn-off to imagine the other woman has to “close her eyes and think of England” in order to get through a sexual experience with you.

When you identify as heterosexual, we assume that you are not attracted to every single member of your preferred gender, just because they have the right appendage or orifice. Bisexuality is the same! What’s weird is that many women feel that they have to specify that they are “bi-selective.” We suspect that they do this to make it clear that they will not play with any woman just for the show. Like heterosexual attraction, there has to be a mutual connection and desire either on a physical or mental level, or both.

There are many women in the Lifestyle who predominantly identify as heterosexual but do enjoy bisexual experiences. They might be classified as a 2 on the Kinsey spectrum. These women typically view sexual activity with other women as an “appetizer,” “side dish,” or “dessert,” but consider heterosexual sex to be the “main course.” 



Back to teen-boy, or inexperienced (in the LS) adult male fantasyland: the unicorn experience (FMF) ranks high. Claire has heard an experienced LS male tell newbies that the single male “is at the bottom of the LS hierarchy, while the attractive single female is at the top.” This can a bit alienating to women if they feel that the male’s reason for doing this is more about getting the envious reaction from other men, than about the connection between the three individuals. The FMF experience can also be awkward for both women if a husband insists his straight wife is actually bi-curious or bi-sexual when she clearly is not. This doesn’t mean he’s actively lying; he may be engaging in wishful thinking!

Experienced Lifestyle participants will often say that the generic unicorn experience is over-rated if the two women are not both bisexual, or even if they are bisexual, but don’t feel a particular connection to each other. This can be frustrating to the man, because he feels like he is stretched thin, trying to take care of two women at the same time; meanwhile one or both of the women basically feels the equivalent of “blue balls” if she is not getting enough attention from the male or other female. Feeling like a third wheel in FMF, leaves the odd-one out feeling like a sex prop in somebody else’s show -- not very validating, mentally or physically.

There are more men in the Lifestyle that are open to bi-sexual experiences than one would think based on online profiles. Men expressing interest in bi experiences is still largely taboo, prompting men who are open to it, to avoid explicitly stating this in their profiles.  As for male bisexuality in the Lifestyle, there is definitely a double-standard. In Lifestyle etiquette, a woman who touches another woman (in a non-aggressive manner) will generally be accepted or tolerated; a male who touches another woman has to be careful about gauging the receptivity of the woman and her male partner; meanwhile, a man who sexually comes on to another man, would have to be VERY careful about who he picked. The general assumption, in the LS, is that most men will not be ok with this. The initiator would probably have to be sure of the other man’s status or have gotten some very solid clues from his interaction with the other man, to not risk a negative reaction.

Claire has only witnessed public male bisexual play once at a club, and that was in Europe. In this incident, two couples starting playing in a typical soft-swap manner, then one of the men switched to oral sex with the other man. In this case, it was favorably received by both the receiving man and his female partner. This took place in Spain between a Swedish and Spanish couple. Audrey also has also only witnessed public male bisexual play one time. It was at a swinger hotel takeover in Las Vegas and one of the male participants was Norwegian, the other from San Francisco! We do note that our regular swinger home-base is the Southeast, which is a more socially conservative region of the US.

Swinger Lifestyle Vacation & Destination Survey

Hello friends,

We would be grateful if those of you who have experienced the swinger lifestyle outside of your current home city or traveled to swinger destinations, visited swinger nightclubs while visiting other cities, gone to swinger-specific national or international parties or events, or on swinger destination-vacations would fill out our survey. We welcome your feedback and the ability to post your reviews to our blog, to share with the rest of the community.

You can find our survey HERE.

Thank you,
Audrey & Claire