Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Facing Your Fears & Personal Growth: The Lifestyle as a Life-Altering Experience

Recently a friend of mine who is into yoga and life-coaching told me about a seminar called The Max at Esalen, a personal development institute in Big Sur, California that has been attracting people who want to explore deeper spiritual possibilities since the 1960s. In The Max, participants explore the sources of their emotional limitations. With strong guidance and exercises that use raw emotion, role-playing, and dress-up assignments, people move through and hopefully address lifelong fears. The objective is to emerge into greater authenticity and enhanced “presence.” 


One example of a fear that a participant chose to face in The Max was a woman who was just coming out of a series of bad relationships with men. She no longer felt comfortable with men or her sexuality. She was was extremely shy, avoided them and wore very modest clothing. In The Max, the facilitators had her dress like a prostitute and engage in sexually suggestive conversation and behavior with men (but not actual sex). Another example was a man who always wanted to be a photographer. However, he became an architect, instead, because he was afraid he would never earn enough money and would be destitute as an artist. At The Max, he had to live as a homeless man and panhandle for two weeks.

I (Claire) always laugh at the idea of rich people paying to do things that poor people do for free. Take yoga for instance, with the cliche of the well-to-do Lululemon-clad housewife who seeks an oasis of tranquility and inner connection, in between pumpkin spice lattes and the kids’ carpool. Meanwhile, yoga was developed in India, much of it practiced by humble people in less than ideal conditions, where the challenge was holding a pose and remaining mindful, while being eaten alive by mosquitoes and ants, not to mention the necessity of retreating to the yoga shala (really just a makeshift barn) super early in the morning to avoid the distracting heat and noise. Meanwhile, wealthy Westerners lap up books like “Eat, Pray, Love,” where the author, or Julia Roberts, if you watched the movie, pays a lot of money to journey to poor countries (not counting Italy) to seek Enlightenment.

Depending on your desired length of stay and accommodations, The Max, will run you between $650.00 – $3,835.00 with the low end accommodations being sharing a room with a bunch of other people, where you sleep in a sleeping bag that you provide. Poor people have long known this option as youth hostels or YMCA lodging, also providing free entertainment and interaction with people they might not otherwise choose to encounter. Not to mention that when you’re poor, “The Max” is not some fear you pay a guru to help you face and “overcome” - it’s known as Life.

This made me wonder if the LS was not some sort of unwitting and mostly free (unless you count the cost of club fees, party contributions, costumes or slut wear) way to achieve “The Max.” The LS is a unique subculture, sort of like “Fight Club,” where otherwise ordinary people take a pause from their everyday life and covertly meet each other and interact, in what mainstream society would consider to be an extreme way. Claire and I often hear LS people describe the side benefit their LS participation brings to their lives as a feeling of power and having “an edge.” LS women hear their friends or co-workers talking about having one too many cocktails and getting a little crazy on girls’ nights out or LS men listen to their male colleagues talking about the thrill of going to strip clubs. Vanilla people talk about their wild days in their twenties or their fantasies, wondering if there really is a secret portal to another world, like “Eyes Wide Shut,” and what the secret password is to get there. LS people hold their tongue and think: “If they only knew.” As anybody who is already in the LS knows, the secret password is the Internet. Yet, most people never go beyond some covert surfing and occasional fantasy pillow talk to spice up their sex lives. For most of them, the reason they do not go further is that they are afraid -- afraid of what their partners would say, afraid that the people in the LS world will be freaks, afraid that participating in this world will make them a freak, afraid this will mess up their marriage, or that word of their adventures will get out and complicate their vanilla social life or career.

For many people, the LS is The Max. It is a secret world we retreat to that allows us to face our insecurities and expand our boundaries, and the benefits of what we do and learn in the LS often transfer to the vanilla world. Here are some examples:

Some people may be pathologically shy, or insecure about their bodies. In the LS, they have to confront this fear. They have to approach and interact with people they don’t know and deal with their bodies and other people’s, on a relatively informal basis. Who did not grow up hearing the cliche, when intimidated by other people or situations to “Just imagine everybody naked”? This literally happens in the LS. Not only are they naked, you are too. Talk about vulnerability. Since their teen years, women are taught that everything about them is wrong -- they are too tall, too short, their face isn't pretty enough, too voluptuous, too skinny, the list goes on, convinced that ten pounds will make the difference in men finding them sexually attractive. In reality, they may not be giving men credit for being attracted to more than just their body or a diversity of body types; or, on the other hand; in the words of Amy Schumer: they may be “underestimating the extent to which most men are just looking for a wet hole.” We are also made to feel insecure for being sexual beings. We are called sluts if we have a healthy sexual appetite and enjoy expressing our sexuality in unconventional and non-monogamous ways. In traditional hook-ups, the man proposes and the woman disposes. Many vanilla women are insecure about coming on to a man and being open about their sexual attraction to him, for fear of being rejected. The LS gives them a theater to work on those issues.


Meanwhile middle-aged male insecurity tends to be more focused on hair loss, six pack or Dad bod, penis size and functionality, especially compared with the porn paradigm of endless erections and giant dicks. Through socialization, men are more comfortable approaching women and risking rejection; however, many men struggle with how they will feel watching their spouse or partner have sex with another man. They are insecure that another man will satisfy their partner in a way they cannot and that their partner will secretly prefer the other person. Many women struggle with that last issue as well.

Curious about what benefits or insights people felt they had gained from the LS, Claire and I surveyed the Community with the following question: “What has the LS taught you about yourself, other people, and society as a whole?”

Here are some of the answers:

“Personally, the LS has given me a lot of self-confidence that has spilled over into my vanilla life. As somebody who married young and is naturally shy, I was never sure if men were attracted to me. I was also terrified of, and generally incapable of, openly flirting with men, due to the fear of rejection. I also never got to explore my attraction to women because I grew up in the 80’s, when ‘lesbian’ had a very negative connotation and female bisexuality wasn’t openly accepted. Now, I am at a stage where it’s about enjoying men and women’s presence and sexuality, regardless of whether or not it leads to sex.”  

“I wish the LS had more traditional flirting sometimes. I have no interest in bending over while some male passerby make comments about how good my ass looks. I am turned on by more subtle flirtation...eyes locking across the room, verbal back and forth, and the tension that builds with desire that is known, but not yet spoken.”

“For me it has shown that it is normal to desire other women, besides my wife. In my previous marriage and before getting into the LS, I felt some guilt as to why I was not happy to be just with my then spouse. In terms of other people, it shows that some people in the LS are just as cliquey at different LS events as they are in the vanilla world. Feelings get hurt and you wonder why some of your so-called friends don't invite you to different events. You are then trying to navigate your or your spouse’s feelings of inadequacy. Regarding society as a whole, I think the concept of only having one partner is flawed, as our true primal instincts tell us it’s okay to have more than one sexual partner.”

“The LS has given me a better understanding of what I want and don’t want. It has taught me to develop better boundaries and not be such a people pleaser. I am not really comfortable with the dynamic where both parties are supposed to be ‘ready’ to go based on mutual physical attraction, without time allowed for a connection to build. For the LS to work for me, there has to be something beyond the physical, and I’ve found that sometimes the hook-up aspect is so rushed that there is no opportunity to explore this.”

“This has helped me in my vanilla life and professional life. I love interacting with successful and self-confident men. I love to tease and flirt with them, and let them wonder what’s behind my wicked smile and provocative innuendo. I know most of them secretly dream of doing what my husband and I do. They drown their libido in adventure sports, travel or work. It’s all about their new vacation house or their new boat or the hot new company they are invested in. But...sex is the great leveler. I smile and laugh when they get all flirtatious or start bragging about how successful they are. Meanwhile, I am thinking: ‘That’s all well and good, Honey. But what I really wish is that you would stop talking right now, because I’d really like to see you with your clothes off. And all I really care about is: Can you get hard? Can you stay hard? Can you use that mouth of yours for things other than talking about yourself?  Can you give me what I want? And can you do that with your sweet wife and all these onlookers standing by? Can you shut everything out and focus on me, and let me focus on you?’”

“Like turning a light on in a dimly-lit room, the LS has illuminated all the dark/muted spots in our personalities and relationship. It's also highlighted the interplay between these differences. Fortunately, these have been minor differences, and allow us to connect more intimately as we navigate them. That's also why couples with serious problems will degrade in the LS. As my wife is a shy introvert and I'm an extrovert, it never mattered much - we have each other. However, in the LS, when meeting a new couple, she comes off as cold and disinterested, and I could potentially come off a little ambitious - a very counter-productive quality in the LS. Thus, it's harder to attract a couple (especially 4-way), and frustration ensues. Meanwhile, in couples where the wife is an outgoing extrovert and the husband is an introvert, the wife can be completely free and open, as the husband serves as a cool sentry - both very appealing qualities. Couples where both are extroverts are usually a lot of fun, but I've seen these husbands be off-putting to women. Thus, my take-away is that I really need to be extra chill...and my wife needs to be less shy. And now that I'm deferring to her lead, I have to be extremely patient. In other words, we're growing individually with new social skills.”

“Being in the LS has increased my self-confidence. I feel more capable than ever at engaging in conversations with strangers, since that’s such a big part of the scene, meeting new people. I’ve also come to appreciate people for different reasons, whether they’re a potential sexual partner or just a new friend. It’s easy to get into black and white thinking-- this group v. that group. I am better able to find the commonalities with people who, on the face of it, I wouldn’t have anything in common with and would likely not seek out in another social environment.”

“That I'm not a freak or sick because of my sexual desires. That people CAN like you for ALL of you, not just the socially acceptable parts. That it's okay to be honest about your desires and not feel like a slut. We are raised with a social mindset of what is "normal" and how people should act and live their lives. Not all of us want to be monogamous and live the stereotypical happily ever after. There are many ways to be happy. It's a shame we have to hide the side of ourselves we express in the LS. I worry that my Ex will find out and use it against me in court to take my kids away. The vanilla friends of mine who know about my participation in the LS are curious, but afraid to step out of the norm. They tell me how brave I am. My worry is that because I’m a unicorn and because of my LS proclivity, I will grow old alone. And that needs to stop being a bad thing in my mind. I may never find a man who is LS friendly. But I'll never settle for vanilla again. To do so would be shutting down a huge part of me; one that I've just embraced and am acting on. I am afraid vanilla men will think I'm a slut. Eventually I would like to be in a relationship with a man, but am afraid that may not happen due to me being in the LS. So I'll grow old with the amazing friends I've made in this environment, and be happy with me.”

“It has taught me about how to appreciate all body types and that all people are beautiful. That anyone can be sexy with only a smile and confidence. I realized that everyone has insecurities and it does not matter who you are. I realized that people in LS like to hook up after midnight (wish was earlier as I am more horny earlier, plus tired after partying for hours). Realized the community is very caring, friendly, and supportive. Positive attitudes and happiness are a huge common variable in the LS community. People in LS party harder than high schoolers and college kids. The LS has made vacations and date nights more exciting. While being LS, I realized I am not a sexual pervert and others are more sexually charged than I. Realized there are a lot of bi women. Communication and solid relationship is key. Monogamy is not easy or natural. Vanilla people can be judgmental or envious when they find out our LS secret. Realized that there are lots of cliques in our LS community and have more friendships with like minded people, even if we never sexually hooked up with. Lastly, rejection hurts but I’ve learned that it's not always personal. Chemistry, connection, and great conversation is key for me to hook-up. I learned that if I don't want to swallow, someone one else will gladly do so with a smile. I call it outsourcing at its finest!”


“I don’t get off on being an object for men. Some women seem to get off on this, but I don’t. I think a lot of this objectification comes from porn, where sex and desire take place in a vacuum, devoid of personality, society, psychology, and economics. Basically any penis wants any vagina; any orifice wants any appendage. As for myself, looking and feeling sexy are are part of who I am, as a whole person; not just as a body or body part, divorced from my greater identity. I wonder if the LS is a mirror of the greater culture or whether it’s entirely different from the mainstream culture? I think it’s a little bit of both.”

“I wish the LS were less ‘transactional’ - tit for tat trading, no pun intended. It’s a negotiation but it’s almost always awkward. Ironically BDSM stresses the negotiation process and doesn’t pretend to be organic. It has even more defined rules, including no drugs or alcohol. I suppose this is because those substances alter consciousness and lead to people overstepping boundaries or allowing others to overstep our boundaries. At LS cocktails, meet and greet, clubs or parties, you stand there with cocktail in hand, not always knowing what to say to the other couple. Sometimes I feel like you go from small talk with perfect strangers, to hooking up too quickly. What’s the rush? Are people really that horny all the time?”

And finally, an amalgam of the shorter testimonials

“Variety is the spice of life and as we get older all we have is our health, friendships, relationships, and our experiences with others...That we are not all perverts, just normal open minded people....Constant amazement. I like fellow reprobates...The Lifestyle has taught me that people are attracted to confidence and honesty. Through the Lifestyle I have found the most amazing, genuine and authentic individuals who love themselves and others and are open minded, not just about sex but about so many things! I feel people in the lifestyle are so accustomed to breaking barriers that it continues in other areas of life and makes them pretty badass individuals to be friends with. We are having the time of our life...It has taught us that LS people are accepting and care about each other. Society is becoming more accepting of people in the Lifestyle...The world is a cold and evil place, where people are backstabbers and villainous...Relationships are what you make them. Literally. You can make a designer relationship...I am more outgoing than I ever knew...The LS has given me more empathy for people, more opportunities to interact with people who are very different from me, and more self-confidence...That there are a LOT of different versions of the LS. That my wife and I started with good communication and it STILL got better. And that there are a lot of people that should not be in it.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What I've Learned in the LS Survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RTBV6BG


Claire and I would love if you would respond to the following survey question:

What has the LS taught you about yourself, other people, and society as a whole?

Click HERE to take the survey. If you do answer it, please avoid giving information that is too self-identifying. For an example of how to navigate this challenge, take a look at our survey results for Singles in the LS.

Single in the LS Survey Results

When people think swinger, they immediately think couple-swapping. However, single males and females do form part of the culture that is often overlooked by outsiders or misunderstood by insiders. Wanting to know more about what the single experience was like in the LS, for men and women, we created a survey and collected thirteen responses over the period of time from 8/30/16 to 9/6/16.


Women

Background
Six women responded. Their time span in the LS ranged from “on and off for about ten years” to four months. As far as having been part of a couple, the responses were split. Some women had entered the LS as part of a couple and had been in long-term couple relationships. Others have always beens unicorns in the LS, and if they had relationships, they were outside the LS. All of the women were looking for couples or single guys. Some of the women were looking for couples, singles, or groups (sometimes there was an enthusiastic “all of the above” answer to that question). Some women were only looking for couples and singles. One woman specified, that she was interested in all of the above--couples, singles or groups--with the exception of one on one interaction with just a girl. All but one woman were looking for both social and play interaction with others in the LS. One woman was only interested in play. Significantly, one woman mentioned that safety was her primary concern in LS interactions.





Stereotypes and Reality
Stereotype: “Single males are a dime a dozen, there are so many. They want to get in where they can't typically go because they need a date.”
Reality Check: One woman noted that while she has not played with many single guys, the ones she has been with are nothing like the stereotype.

Stereotype: Single women in the LS “cannot find a man of their own.”
Reality Check: “There is this odd assumption that I cannot find someone of my own, which is completely inaccurate. I just like to have a good time.”

Stereotype: It’s easy to find play partners in the LS as a single female.
Reality Check: “Chatting and texting often stays at chatting and texting. People like the idea, but often stop short of the follow-through;“ “Everyone says they want a bi-female or unicorn but I've found that not to be the case.”

Stereotype: Single women in the LS are “husband stealers,” who are interested in other women’s men, outside of play. Single women are there to break up somebody’s marriage.
Reality Check: She is not in the LS to look for a boyfriend. She respects the relationship others have with their husband or wife. She is a swinger, but she has standards and morals too!

Stereotype: Being an unicorn must mean she is not selective.
Reality Check: Unicorns are just as selective as everybody else. “Some seem to have the opinion that because I am single I will be okay with anyone and everyone, when I'm actually quite picky.”

Challenges
“No one to watch your back while out, and it's scary being a single female and trying to navigate everything alone.”

She says the hardest thing about being a single female is sometimes feeling lonely and not always feeling comfortable attending events alone.

“I feel like I have to work twice as hard to ‘win over’ the female counterpart in the relationship even though I'm bisexual too.”

The jealousy factor from other women and the intimidation factor from other men: “The women are convinced you're out to steal their husband and a lot of times the men have erection issues because they are intimidated by you or afraid of what their wives are thinking about seeing them with a single female vs another couple being involved.”

“Yes I've been ignored by the women if the men pay me attention. I don't even make eye contact with men anymore. I start with the woman of the couple to see if she is friendly towards me.”

“Too many wives have a predisposition that I am going to try and steal away their husband. Some think I am doing this because I am desperate and can't find playmates. Many wives or partners are not willing to share their partner with a single female who they feel looks better than them or is in better physical shape.”

“Walking in alone! Not having a safety zone to return to. I've been lucky to establish friends who are my safety zone at events.” 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/175112059/unicorn-art-print-8-x-10-i-believe-in?utm_campaign=Share&utm_medium=PageTools&utm_source=Pinterest
Art by Fringe Pop Prints

Best thing about being a single female in the LS
“Everyone wants you because you are that fabled unicorn.”

Being a single woman in the LS “can lead to the most erotic experiences.”

Aside from jealousy and intimidation issues, “...the world is your oyster and that if you can make the right connection with the right singles or couples it's amazing!”

“I don't have to worry about the other couple not being interested in my man and discounting any involvement with me due to that.”

Being a single female in the LS is the freedom to do as she wishes in an environment in which she feels safe.

What they wish people knew
She wishes people would keep in mind is that she is still a girl and doesn’t want to be treated like a piece of meat or a notch on somebody’s bedpost.

“Be sincere. Honesty and communication are what makes any situation or relationship work.”

She wishes she could tell people is that she is not in the LS to break up marriages. Her reason for being in this world is to make make friends and explore her sexuality in a safe place.

She would like to tell people that as a single female she is purely in the LS for social and sexual experience with like minded, drama-free couples and singles. She feels the Lifestyle is a safer environment all around.

There’s this idea that single women in the LS are this highly prized commodity that loves to be passed around. In reality some of them hardly have sex with anyone. She can't stand being labeled a "unicorn" because that doesn't really tell anything about who she is. She feels that for single guys, they are mercilessly labeled and many times with no good reason. She know several who are good looking and respectful - sometimes more so than the married guys. She doesn’t want to be treated like a “unicorn,” but simply as a person who happens to be unattached. The same rules of conduct and respect should apply.

Men

Background
Seven single men responded. Their time in the LS ranged from “17 years, starting off in it as part of a couple,” to one and a half years. As far as having been part of a couple, responses were varied but the majority of them (5) started off in the LS as single. The men who had previously been part of a couple indicated that it was easier to be in the LS with couple status, and one said that he felt more respected. All of the single males who responded desired both socialization and play with couples, groups, and single females. Another said he enjoyed playing with wives who could play separately. One mentioned a preference for groups but found that they were difficult to pull off.

Stereotypes and Reality
The single men surveyed acknowledged that some of the stereotypes about single men had shades of truth. One man wrote that, “Singles males sometimes don't know how to act. I've seen it many times.” Another wrote that, “At clubs you can definitely see guys who make the dreaded SM storyline a reality - by hovering, stalking, etc. Usually I end up interacting almost exclusively with people I've known/met outside the club.” A third respondent wrote that he believes, “LS people think single men have no manners,, which is why we're not welcome in group or party settings.” Another wrote that, “SM are a dime a dozen and generally do not know their place in the LS.”

But the men also questioned the stereotypes as well.

Stereotype: Single males are over-eager, panting horn dogs, who only care about sex.
Reality Check: There is diversity among the single male population, just as there is among couples and single females. Some may be panting horn dogs, while others are more laidback. Not all of them “just want to get their rocks off” or are “just horny.” All the single males surveyed appreciated the social LS as well as play and one stated that he “...started out for play, but today I would say that is not the focus.”

Stereotype: Single males should feel “honored” to be “chosen” for play.
Reality Check: Having another person treat you like you are lucky to be graced with their presence is insulting and dehumanizing.

Stereotype: Single males will sleep with anyone with a vagina.
Reality Check: Single males sometimes decline play. One single male described getting the cold shoulder when explaining to couples that he didn’t like to play with people he just met. Many single males have personal taste and preferences, just like couples and single females. One man complained of couples assuming that he wanted to hook-up just because he struck up a conversation with them.

Stereotype: Single males are disrespectful, with behaviors ranging from being gropey to being pushy about play.
Reality Check: Some single males fit this stereotype; however, others are polite, respectful, and not pushy. One man went out of his way to give couples an “easy way to decline” by excusing himself and telling them he’d be around if they wanted to chat later.

Stereotype: Single males are a threat to the primary relationship. Single males are there to steal the wife’s affection.  
Reality Check: One respondent wrote that husbands have asked their wives to see him less. When he played as part of a threesome, the wives were anxious about getting the same level of attention as when it had been just the two of them. In reality, the single males surveyed were happy being single and had no intent to disrupt anyone’s relationship. One man humorously wrote that the best thing about being single was “leaving the toilet seat up.”

Stereotype: Single males don’t have enough “game” to bring a woman to the LS.
Reality Check: It seems that the single males surveyed truly enjoyed their autonomy and may not want the personal relationship expectations that come with having a regular LS partner. We speculate that they are drawn more to the LS than to dating sites like Tinder because women on those sites may be less comfortable with true NSA (no strings attached) arrangements. In a culture where women are routinely slut shamed, this is not a surprise; or it could be that women follow the stereotype of being more relationship-focused than men. We also speculate that not being able to find a date in the LS may be less about game and more about a limited pool of women willing to explore this non-mainstream subculture, especially in the Bible Belt, where we got our survey responses.

Image from 1914...swingers before their time?

Biggest Challenges
“I am a male. Most parties require being part of a couple ”

“How to meet others.”

“I've met couples in a meet-up environment. When I was talking to a woman they thought she was my partner and were super friendly. Saw them a month later in same environment alone and was treated as a leper.”

“Being treated like shit. Not welcome at LS parties, resorts, cruises. Of course single women are always welcome. NO SINGLE MEN in people's profiles.”’

“Exclusion from the clubs.”

“Not having a date to bring.”

“Single male means ‘pariah.’ It is stupid. Take people on a case by case basis and, by all means, remove ‘straight male’ from your preferences if you don't want to be contacted by them (single males). They're one and the same doofus.”

Best Things
“I can play with many women anytime.”

“Getting to meet sexually open people.”

“NSA sex.”

“Not having to wonder if it was me, or my spouse the other cpl didn't click with.”

“No one gets jealous.”

“For me the whole experience is pretty good. But perhaps my maturity (in the LS) not my age, and having been part of a committed cpl for 10+ years, shows?”

“I don’t have to be part of a group decision.”

What You Wish People Knew
“I would like them [people in the LS] to treat me as an individual. To be allowed to attend functions and maybe find a partner in the LS.”

“I would like to be treated with respect.”

“Help. I’m shy.”

“To each his own.”

“At LS events I would like to be treated the same way I would be at a business networking event or happy hour -- talk, introduce yourself, I don't bite (unless asked to of course!)”

Conclusion
Claire once listened to a male LS veteran tell a female newcomer how single females and single males represented the “top” and “bottom” of the LS pyramid. What we found out, in actual feedback from single males and females, and also, from our own experience interacting with them, is that the single female experience, aka the mythical, rare and presumed to be universally desired “unicorn,” tends to be overly idealized. Meanwhile, single males find themselves with the opposite problem. They are pigeon-holed and often viewed or treated as pariahs in the LS. Confronting the negative stereotypes (spouse-stealer or jealousy from partners) is one challenge both the single males and females faced. However, once you removed the complexity of having to “sell a partner” to the other half of a couple, which is the main advantage they shared, or having the other half of their own couple to accommodate; the issues single males and females face did not seem so different from the issues the individuals who are part of couples face, in the LS. These issues typically had to with the challenges of figuring out mutual personal attraction with the LS people they interact with and communicating with others in the LS.

The challenge of finding women who are interested in and comfortable with no-strings attached sex, when the LS is part of a broader culture which slut shames sexually non-monogamous women, may explain a lot of the connection between the single female and “unicorn” stereotype. With single males, Claire and I theorize (note that this may be influenced by our experience in the Bible Belt), that there may be some residual “wife-swapper” cultural baggage, where men feel like there is a limited pool of women and that the only men who should be allowed at the table (LS clubs and parties) are those who come with an asset to trade (aka their wife or female partner). They see other men as competition and fear being the proverbial odd man out in a game of musical chairs, standing there “with their dick in their hand,” while another man plays with their wife. Universally, in macho culture, the positive association of compersion, or pleasure in your partner’s pleasure, is less common than the negatively-associated cuckold stereotype.

Single women have universal entrance into the LS and single men do not: this means that more people in the LS will be exposed to and interact with single women, than single men. When people think of single women in the LS, they often think positively about the ones they know on an individual basis. Meanwhile, unless single men have a single female friend or LS couple friends who can get them into private parties, they are much more likely to be outsiders, interacting with women and couples purely through swinger dating portals. The respectful single males, with a history of successfully navigating the LS and understanding its rules, thus get lumped into the stereotypes on display on single male nights at clubs -- “towel sharks,” aggressive, pushy, disrespectful, stalkers, creepers. The reality is that there is a large gap between those men and the bottom feeder, opportunistic men, who aren’t even really part of LS culture.

Back to the women, Claire and I are not aware of any clear data indicating a higher degree of bisexuality in the female population vs. the male population. Conflicting studies have reached different conclusions; the jury is still out. However, in the LS, many men use female bisexuality to justify the fact that they are very pro FMF (female-male-female) threesomes and happy to watch their wives play with another woman; yet do not feel so positively about MFM (male-female-male) threesomes or their wife playing with a single male. This is not to say that ANY of the women we have observed in the LS are being coerced into FMF or denied MFM, it is simply questioning whether the LS has a double standard in its treatment and perception of single males and females. As for the single males and females, themselves, Claire and I respect the desire they expressed to be treated as individuals, as opposed to being judged based on a stereotype, whether it be positive or negative.