In general, social groups are comprised of like minded individuals who come together for a commonality. There are those who create a generalized norm, follow the mean, and then we have the outliers. In the world of non-monogamy I have often felt like the later. Part of the reason of course is that I don’t particularly like rules or being told what to do, and the other part is that I constantly evolve my thinking based on new experiences and education. When it comes to the term swinger, I feel more like an outsider than in any other branch. And yet, I attend swingers parties once a month, frequent clubs, whereby I have an incredible time, and it should be said, have met the most like minded connections. However this may be an anomaly as I will soon point out due to the strict nature of the puritan swinger.
The following list of rules, is based on my own experiences, and those of current online forums. This is not a complete list of course, simply the ones that best express my views on feeling like an outlier.
1)Never make swingers out of friends.
2)If you develop feelings for any of your play partners you must end things immediately.
3)Leave all drama at the door.
4)Do not ever gossip about other swingers.
Rules are made to protect the society you are a part of, and swinging is no exception. There is a lot going on so hard and fast rules do more good than harm or do they. I am beginning to think that these rules were designed for a generation with whom have had their day in the sun and have actually run their course. A generation that was used to hiding, and keeping their sexual exploration in complete isolation of their day to day lives. Or had simply no network of support with which to embrace a swinging sexuality and a normal 9 – 5. We call it the swinging 60’s in retrospect, and yet, very few were public about their lifestyle. We assume “everyone did it” and yet we don’t know anyone who actually is brave enough to admit it.
Let’s assess these rules in reverse order for a little fun. Do not gossip about other swingers is fairly straight forward and seems reasonable. However if perchance you run into a couple who is belligerent or abusive towards you or your partner, guess what? You get shunned if you say anything or tell anyone. Why? Because anonymity is more paramount than safety. Yes, you heard right. If anything goes amuck your responsibility is to keep your mouth shut and quietly move onto someone else. I think we can all agree that mindset needs to change. We should be mature enough to make our own decisions based on all the information given to us. To give people chances where due, and to say no, whenever we feel that someone crossed a line. There are so many non-monogamous folks out there now, that this fear you will have no one to play with ever, should not take priority over warning your partners of someone who in your opinion is toxic. While the word gossip itself is bad, in umbrellas every single negative word you may voice over someone else in your community. We need to extend love and support if someone has been wronged and not ostracize as is the current model.
Next up, leave all drama at the door. Our members only house party has this rule. And within a house party, or club setting I have absolutely no issues with it. However this rule extends far beyond the social setting. If let’s say a couple is having issue with jealousy or any other emotion that may hinder their libido the first thing a swinger will say is “this is a drama free environment, so clearly you are not ready to swing if you cannot deal with this issue”. In my world, I strive to surround myself with a loving and supportive network. A place where I can discuss my issues, or tribulations within the lifestyle, and not have to hide it for fear of breaking the rules. While drama is not much fun in a public setting, why should couples have to put everything on hold and recluse until they figure things out? With all these amazing, well put together couples, you would think we would be more open to helping and sharing our successes rather than shutting out those that make poke holes in our obvious facade.
On a side note, it is interesting to me, that our (being swingers) resources are long lists of “read my mistakes and learn so you don’t have to”. Rather than providing help, advice and compassion to get over the rough stuff we dismiss the opportunity to share strengths alongside weaknesses. The reality of a drama free rule is simply that we are free of drama in the here and now, in the current moment and that seems to be all that is necessary to engage in group or partnered sex. And that seeking advice or help is dismissed as you are simply not in the right head space or emotional state to swing. Obviously I think we can do better.