Cheating is Still a Gender Biased Issue

A few years ago I wrote a post aimed at women who cheat and how they give non-monogamy a bad name.  It’s something that over the years has come up time and time again, and the reason I wrote it pointing the finger at women specifically is that I feel there is a huge discrepancy between how we treat men who cheat, versus women.  And thus, I want to address this point again, but from a different angle now that I have grown a little older, wiser, and if I’m honest a little bolder with my recent life experiences.

Firstly, whenever I hear the sad news that a friend of mine has experienced cheating, the first thing I do is calmly remove myself from the situation and slowly gather information before forming any opinion.  I have learned that being Switzerland is a far more valuable place to sit than just picking sides and quickly reaching out to both parties in a quest to plant my flag on the winning side.  I am always available to listen, and provide any insights when asked, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, I do not go out of my way to seek out drama anymore.  I would rather be approached than provide my unsolicited opinions into someone else’s very complex relationship.

The next step I take, and the most important one to this post and my current gender blogging trend, is to pretend that the opposite gender is telling me the story and gauge how my reaction changes to the information (yes this is valuable in same sex couples too).   And why do I feel this is so important?  Because throughout my childhood and formative years, I bore witness to at least a dozen acts of indiscretions either through my mother, or hearing her talk with her friends about them.  And one clear thing always resulted, a witch hunt, and it was almost exclusively towards the male.  Whether the man did the cheating or not, he always seemed to deserve it somehow.  He either treated the woman badly and thus drove her away, or he was lying man-whore who should have never gotten married in the first place, or the ever common drunken mistake with the whole forgive and forget or divorce the so-and-so etc.

Growing up with this constant narrative, I began to ask myself why cheating was always exclusively blamed on the man.  And further to this, why the women always escaped unscathed even when they were the ones who very often cheated.  And this line of questioning started to expand further after having experiences of my own in the this very dicey place.  Every single time that I have come close to cheating it has been my own doing, and I would say 80 percent of the time, the man has been the one to put the brakes on.  Yes, this is full disclosure.  I was very unhappy in the latter part of my last long term relationship and I came increasingly close to cheating on numerous occasions.  And again, I repeat, I was the one who was in the drivers seat.  And what’s more, I was the one who consciously drank excessively in order to have something to blame if I got caught or needed an out.

Perhaps I am just more self aware than many people out there.  Or perhaps I just have reached a point in my life whereby I would rather be honest with myself and others than sugar coat a damn thing.  Whatever the case may be, I have not actually participated in this male witch hunt.  And that is definitely against the grain.  Yes, it takes two people to cheat.  And yes, relationships are incredibly complicated, and that only supports my theory that always blaming one side, especially the men is just wasted time, energy and makes everyone involved look even more like the assholes.  So I guess where I am at right now is that cheating is an issue for the couples themselves.  If you are going to form an opinion on someone else’ relationship, I don’t think it is too much to ask that you try and look at it from both sides first.  Cheating is a gender stereotyped issue and thus we need to ensure that we flip the narrative and judgement every once in a while, if for nothing else, than to give hope to the future generations that cheating will be discussed more fairly and judged on individual merit and not just gender sway.

I would love to hear your opinions on this, or lessons that you have learned when it comes to helping friends through indiscretions, so please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter.

So Naïve! The Couples Quest

I’m sure I have touched on this topic before, but in light of a recent conversation on the Hunter Gash and Alley Cat show (Which you should check out at GTFO if you’re 18 or older) I feel it deserves another look.  When E and I decided to look for couples to date together, I went into it with rose coloured glasses.  In short, I was optimistic and naive.  I honestly thought that amazing people would attract each other and that finding couples would be easier than finding new singles as a result.  I thought that all you would need to do was vet one person, and then naturally they would bring to the table their equally amazing partner, just as I was doing.  We would all get together for drinks, and laugh, share stories, and sexy times would inevitably be the result.

Yes, I went into this whole thing believing that finding couples would be simple.  I never considered opposites attract.  Nor did I ponder just how one sided many relationships are when it comes to entering into non monogamy.  I foolishly assumed that if two people were ready to head out on a date, that they would have put the same level of work into their relationship that my partner and I had.  That they would be confident (after the nerves of the first meeting wore off), and sure of what they wanted.  Oh, and I thought that as couples this would eliminate all the ghosting, bread-crumbing and they would be serious, AKA not time wasters.  It after all takes work to schedule 4 people, and that investment alone should mean that we are all willing and able.  Hence, when we finally meet, everyone would have the same goal, which is to have fun, and see if we all get along to determine if we would become friends or something more.  Oh my poor little naive and optimistic heart…

I also, very foolishly thought that because I already have a partner, and was not looking for perfection, that the couples we interacted with would be on that same wavelength too.  You know, looking for fun, willing to overlook a thing or two, and just enjoy the experience of meeting new people.  But oh no!  That has not been the case at all.  In fact, just recently I was chatting to a couple that I thought would be a lot of fun, and was just about to start scheduling a meeting between the four of us, when they dropped the bombshell.  They wanted to find a couple to help them raise their family.  I replied that we weren’t quite at that point yet in our lives with family, but why don’t we meet to see if we even click and go from there.  Not only did they not respond but I got deleted and blocked!  I mean I get that we weren’t quite on the same page, however, what’s the harm in meeting or at least getting to know a couple before you start a family with them?

And did I mention that we are looking for a stable couple?  And by stable, I do mean a couple who love each other, and have a good solid foundation.  A couple that leaves the majority of their drama at the door.  Yes, we all have issues in our primary relationships, but we have come across two couples in particular who used opening up to try and save their troubled relationships.  And guess what, it didn’t work!  And it really sucked for us, as the couple coming into it.  For you see, I begin to care about the people I’m dating, and then when the relationship deteriorates I get upset too, and there are tears and then pretty much everyone breaks up!  It’s a crappy feeling!

So now I go into these first meetings a little guarded and I make a point of asking how long the couple has been together to potentially avoid that particular pain.  And while I can weed out the FWB or new partners very quickly it’s still time consuming business.  I tend to gravitate towards couples who have been together 5 plus years.  I find couples who are in love and stable to be much more attractive than just a couple of hot FWB who only have amazing sex together and no real intimacy.  Why?  Because I am not looking for one time hookups.  Scheduling is tough.  My life is very busy.  Finding partners who are in the same boat makes life much more relaxed and easy going, as you can accept everyone’s priorities and really value the moments the four get together.  For me, it is more intimate and special.

I hope in the next few years, I can lower my guard a little and go with the flow again.  But right now I feel stuck in this weird zone of too many red flags from everyone I talk to.  And I suppose part of the reason is in that open relationships, swinging, etc are becoming a little less taboo.  So the pool is getting a little fuller around the edges.  Many couples are dipping a toe in here and there.  Or testing the water, so to speak.  While exciting, it’s a little tricky when your ready to start swimming laps, and leave the water wings behind.  But hey, at least a few of those toe dippers will stick around to experience the full pool soon right?

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Swingers Rules and Why I am an Outlier Part II

Welcome back to Swingers Rules and Why I am an Outlier.  And if you missed Part I and need a list of rules I am discussing, here is a handy little link.

In the swinger community not only is drama bad, but all emotions are frowned upon.  If you develop any sort of feelings you must end things with that partner and move on.  To me, this reads like immature men created a rule so that they could ensure their wives wouldn’t leave them.  Or to hide behind this mantra and fake ignorance if they were ever caught having sex outside of a club setting.  “I swear baby, she meant nothing, it was just sex”.  I don’t buy it, and I hope no one in my community plays into this antiquated way of thinking either.  Feelings are natural, and to end things because you cannot control or compartmentalize or simple enjoy them in the moments and beyond is close minded.  It is a mentality of the swinger world I want nothing to do with.

Are swingers really still this close minded you may ask?  Only 2 weeks ago I saw a person ask on a popular swingers forum about the protocol with this rule, because she was getting butterflies for a new play partner, and thinking about them outside of the club.  The unanimous response from our swinging overlords was that the “feelings be immediately shut down.  There are NO feelings allowed in swinging.  If you have feelings then end things, move on to someone else.  This is a place for the physical only.  We are not whole human beings when it comes to play time. We are objects of pleasure and only pleasure.”  Ok, so I started paraphrasing towards the end there, but it was based off of nearly 25 respondents.  All shouting wildy that she was breaking a cardinal rule and needed to re-evaluate her wants and needs.  This was supposed to be a safe place for sex, not a breeding ground for feelings or emotions.  Yeah, see, this just will never be my bag baby.  I am much more sexual and expressive with someone I get to know, than I ever could be with a stranger.  I cannot just turn things off in order to turn things on. And I don’t feel alone here.  Things are changing.  Feelings aren’t bad and shouldn’t make me an outsider or a bad swinger.  But in this pretentious world of rules, they do.

And the last bone of contention is the never make swingers out of friends rule.  Obviously vanilla people (as the term goes) would most likely be uncomfortable with getting hit on by swingers with no warning.  I get that.  However, I have had success with making partners out of friends.  And I believe that I surround myself with people who have an emotional IQ that would allow them to be flattered and politely reject my advances rather than blow the friendship up right there and then.  Now I am not saying I have ever approached a vanilla couple with my partner, but the taboo exists.  I think if we met the right couple I would have no issue with at least playing with the idea.  Are we not all adults who can handle a little flirtation and fantasy now and then?  Or is the goal to have strict division between all your social interactions?  Boring!  Make friends out of swingers, not swingers out of friends the forums shout, again and again and again.

I know I am outlier because I do not believe that rules of swingers have ethical non-monogamy at heart.  They were created in a time and place where anonymity was more important than the consent and safety of its members.  If the rules were made to keep people anonymous and safe, why then do so many feel like outsiders looking in.  Or fear the public shaming and pain if they break any of these cardinal laws.  The rules do not work for me or my lifestyle or even my core beliefs of how to interact with my current and potential partners.  These rules currently in place need to be left behind.  To become relics of the swinging past they were created for.  They create boundaries and hinder the natural course of getting to know people and do nothing to promote the fun and safety that I seek.  But I believe I am part of a growing number of couples, dissatisfied with the current standard and ready to breath new life into a community that has so much potential.  Stay tuned for the Next Generation of Swingers…

 

Swingers Rules and Why I am an Outlier Part I

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.

 So with those first two (or last two as it were) addressed please stay tuned for part II.