Tuesday, September 13, 2016

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.

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