Yes, that’s right, it is time for my annual post celebrating everything that I love about Stampede, from the sluts, to the men in tight jeans, and of course the ability to drink without shame at pretty much anytime of the day! If you are like many of my readers who have yet to experience the Calgary Stampede, I can honestly tell you that it would be worth checking out at least once in your life. From the rodeo, to the grandstand, rides, live music and parades, there is something for pretty much everyone. And did I mention the booze? Because, yes, there is a lot of it!
Now one of the first things you will notice is the daisy dukes and cowboy hats. Next, you will probably notice that the entire city transforms into a western wonderland, ripe with window painting of horses, chuckwagons and everything that can wear a cowboy hat. And if you want to sit down for a moment, why not try one of the hay bales found pretty much everywhere? While you take a seat, enjoy the street performers and more enticing to me is the incredible people watching. It’s basically one big party, where young and old celebrate this incredible 10 day festival. I actually tear up the first time I see the rides each year, and smell that intoxicating scent of mini donuts! Our community comes together, united by western pride, and it is freaking awesome.
Over the years I have written posts about stampede sluts, dress code, and one lamenting the first and only Stampede I have ever missed. And while I never tire of the Stampede, I have watched so many of my fellow Calgarians poo-poo the Stampede. They see the gross underbelly of our little festival. The extreme expense, the same ole thing year after year, and the infuriating influx of tourists on our roadways. I get it, it can be frustrating. But, as the eternal optimist, I see the power that the stampede has. And the incredible way that brings people together. For nearly a decade every time I went to the grounds I would run into my first childhood friend. It was never planned, and was equally exciting to both of us each and every time we saw each other. And if you consider that the grounds can get upwards of 100’000 people per day, it truly is serendipitous that something like that could happen.
I love watching my city transform for those few days. And I love the sense of pride in seeing my city rally together to celebrate this annual time of year. And of course, I love the freedom to dress as slutty as I want so long as I have added some sort of western flair. It’s an outdoor event! And it’s great… and I love it! So go, Woop it up! And give a little Yee Haw to your fellow cowboy or cowgirl. So, go hog wild, have some fun. And please, if you hook up with someone new, please practice safe sex, because I don’t want to have to keep writing posts about infidelity and STI’s in the aftermath of Stampede!
I have added a little Stampede fun on my Patreon page! There may be a cowboy hat… 😉
Saturday night my partner and I decided that we needed a night out, swing club style. And yes, it has been a while since we’ve attended a club. So, in direct contrast to this time last year when we were attending once a month, this actually felt like more of a treat or a special event if you will. One of the things that we are both very good at doing is going in with low expectations (which I do not mean negatively). And by that I mean, if we attend and get to talk to a few couples throughout the evening and finish the night with just the two of us having sex surrounded by people we call that a great night. And I know, for anyone who has never attended one that may come as a shock. So, I will re-iterate for clarity. If we are able to socialize and then just have sex the two of us, we go home meeting our expectations.
Now with that in mind, this last weekend, was a rush! And why? Because we not only chatted with one new couple, but we actually connected with a bunch of really rad people. There was laughter, mingling and just a general excitement that felt electric. I mean, we actually met a few couples that we want to see outside of the club. And that, is truly amazing for us. Imagine how hard it was for you to find someone when you were single. Now imagine that the dating pool is only 1% of that, being non-monogamous specifically. And now we are looking for not one, but two people we get along with! It’s a teeny tiny mathematical number that if we looked at the odds with a critical mindset, it would probably be better to just not even try.
Thankfully though, I am a near annoying optimist with an unwavering perseverance to keep trying. And for my partner, well, the rewards far outweigh any risk, by pretty much the positive power of whatever negative we are sitting in right now. And that is why I am jubilant right now, in knowing that we interacted with a few couples! I mean, it’s a damn near impossibility and yet, here I sit, trying to calm my mind from racing too far ahead with the fantasy of dating multiple couples at the same time. So, I am trying to snap myself into a logical, reality based frame. But, I cannot quite shake this smile. And to hear my partner daily say how much fun Saturday was, just brings a smile to my face. It was fun, and we have real opportunity in the future to continue the fun. And, well, I am just on a little bit of a swing club high right now.
The actual events of Saturday were fabulous, with playtime and touching of new people and the amazing visual stimulus that we keep coming back for. But, the reality is, I am far more excited for the future us, rather than where the two of us were in that moment just shortly around 1 AM. It’s easy to get laid in a swing club, especially when you bring your own partner. What’s tricky, is finding something fun outside of it. A couple with whom, you are trying to set up a date in the real world. And if everything lines up the way I am so hopeful for, maybe a few of them?
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What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the term swinger. Really think about it for a moment, and allow a picture to form in your mind. Good! Now chances are incredibly high that something negative or taboo, or cliché started to form. Perhaps a fishbowl full of keys, or shag carpets, or some seedy basement reeking of sweat and stale beer, or just a big orgy with lots of pubic hair! I for one, always picture a 60’s scene pool party with that one dude who is short, greasy, lots of chest hair and an inexplicable amount of scantily clad women hanging off of him. Now I know from personal experience that this is not the case, but swinging is just not a modern term, and thus it’s difficult to envision the term free of its rich history, it’s just not representative of the modern participant.
Now if you are one of the few who either didn’t have an immediate negative image form and instead something funny, or sexy popped into your mind congrats! But the reality is if you are part of the lifestyle or know people in it, it can be difficult to separate the stigma from the reality. Or even to look at people who have admitted to swinging without a bit of a skepticism. You know they look normal, but you may wonder what is wrong with them, or their marriage or just think they are clearly not typical swingers, because swinging is not normal and the word has a lot of visual stigma attached.
With all this taboo, and preconception in mind, you can well imagine why so many people who identify as swingers are looking to rebrand the name. It is human nature to want to be accepted in society, or at the very least not judged at every turn. And swingers, polyamory, open relationships, and all the other labels on the non-monogamous spectrum have taken their share of societal beatings over the years. No one group outside of monogamy holds a universally accepted relationship norm. And that is why, over the last few years we have seen an influx of people trying to break free of stigma and or prove the judgemental people wrong. And if you’re a regular reader, you know I am one of the many voices trying to promote acceptance and understanding with my own breaking free of monogamy.
So let’s take a look at what prompted this post, a little tweet from a friend whom we will call @HunterGash (who you can follow on Twitter): “It’s been my mission for 2 years on the show [Hunter Gash and Alley Cat on GTFO Radio] to find a term that doesn’t have the stigma attached like “swingers” does. #FWBLifestyle needs to begin…” In his eyes, the idea of merging friends with benefits and lifestyle is the closest fit for the modern swinger. It’s kind of catchy hashtag FWB Lifestyle. And really, I can see something like that catching on, especially from those who are in the know and want a re-invention of the word swingers.
So here is where I am struggling. I am in my mid 30’s and am experiencing social interaction with a bombardment of labels. Every group out there is trying to break free of stigma by creating new terminology, better suited labels, and just in general trying to fit into a more descriptive box. If you read my post about labels, I go into the idea that labels equals exclusionary boxes. And by using online dating in that post as the main example it does hit the heart of my issue, I don’t like labels. I like living free, fluid and with the ability to explore all new experiences without being tied down or branded so to speak. And so when this friend proudly proclaimed his new term for swingers I was immediately against it.
But then, being the balanced, person I am, I started questioning his motivations. And I agree with the why and the how, and the term is useful and accurate. However, that still leaves me with the predicament of a new label and term to now promote, use and explain. Is that easier or even the best idea? Do we fix the broken term or scratch it and start over? Have we learned enough about our selves and relationships to not screw up this new term too? Or will we end up in 30 years looking back on #FWBLifestyle going, those people were so weird, and were basically horny rabbits, who spent far too much time in hot tubs ignoring their families, and had absolutely no pubic hair anywhere… EWW!
After flip flopping on whether this new term is a good idea, necessary, or will one day replace swinging in our minds I say this. You do you, and let me do me. If using a new term helps you find your place, and gives you a defined sense of community then all the power to you. If labels and boxes give you certainty and comfort, then go for it. Breaking free of terms that have stigma attached and misrepresent a large community is a completely understandable cause. For me though? I prefer to break free of labels and move towards a more fluid existence. In the real world it seems like labels are less important than on social media. So perhaps it’s time to pool our resources towards more in depth conversations and explanations of what we already have and do away with trying to re-invent the wheel.
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This is not a post that I ever thought I would write, in fact, people may not even believe that this could actually happen inside the sexy walls of a sex club. But the story I am about to relate speaks to a rapidly growing dissociation that is going unchecked in our society. We have become immune to the realities around us, in essence our technology is desensitizing us. And I will be honest, seeing that first hand at a sex party of all places, brings into sharp relief just how widespread this problem is. And we have got to act now! Because it turns out even with rules and warnings in place, we cannot break free from our phones even with sex on the line.
Saturday night I went to a swinger’s club where there is a fantastic area that has an open door play room, that we shall call the red room. Meaning people can walk in and out, and there is almost always live action of some sort going on. And that night, was no exception. We found a spot on the farthest couch so we could start watching the show, and get playful ourselves. With a little whipping scene, to get the ball rolling the clothes started to fall off and the room was getting heated. Picture about 6 or 7 couples all on the peripheral couches and two sex loungers beginning to get a little action in the middle, plus spectators and the dominatrix show, just to set the stage.
My partner and I were starting to get very handsy beside a couple you may remember from my Foursome in the woods post. So, our night was ramping up fantastically. And on one of the sex couches, a guy was getting the royal treatment. Oh yes, 5 girls, one guy! The thing of myths right before our eyes. The room was exciting. Well, for everyone but the group of 5 guys who must have been the partners of the women giving the show. You see, those 5 guys, were standing right to my left, inside the room, shooting the shit. The conversation was something similar to what you might hear at a pub. Some goading, a little teasing and basically a general lack of interest to anything going on in the room. Did I mention there was a wait list to get in?
I mean come on! When sex becomes so common place that you don’t even care, find a new hobby. Not only is this incredibly insane, but you are taking away from the experience of those around you who are trying to lose themselves in the moment. But of course, your selfish needs take priority right? You don’t get to see your friends much, so by all means, just stand around in a very active dungeon, taking real estate that people are sexily eyeing up, to just stand around, chatting. And we are not talking a few brief moments. We are talking upwards of 20 minutes of trying not to listen to frat boy types talk about their lives and even a little shoving of each other in the most juvenile manor imaginable. “Well, my chicks busy, so I’m just going to stand around acting like a dumb punk, waiting till she’s done”.
This in of itself was annoying, however things were about to get a little ridiculous. My partner and I were really getting heated, having just acquired one of the coveted sex loungers. So naked, and excited we started getting really down and dirty. The man of the hour beside us, was now down to two chicks so the group of irritating men had thinned down. Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a guy who was wearing far too many clothes, and a silly hipster hat, had plunked down with his partner on the couch we had previously occupied. And I didn’t think too much of it, until it happened. The guy pulled out his phone and started texting someone! Not some hot looking sort of sext, but the whole, I’m bored so I’m going to pull out my phone mindlessly sort of move.
And to make matters worse, he seemed generally surprised when I asked him to put his phone away! Picture the scene. Me laying on my back, getting pounded, so blissfully happy. Then bam! Brought out of the happy red glow by some damn cell phone screen! And after I asked him to put it away, he just sat there, motionless. Like he didn’t know what to do next. You’re in a freaking swing club! Have some hot sex!!! Have we really become that dependent on phones that you cannot have one evening without it dictating your life? And further to this, a few minutes later his partner asked for her phone! Thankfully he told her no, it wasn’t allowed in the club. But do you know what her reaction was? Grabbed the phone out of his hand and stormed out of the room.
Ok, you might be saying right now, damn it! I would never in a million years do something like that. What is wrong with these people? Who could be distracted by their phone with all that sexy stimulation going on? Or forget that they were in a swing club, and start treating it like a pub? If you’ve been a regular reader you might even say, that I have some really bad luck and this must have been just a bad night. But the thing is, I watch everything going on around me and at the clubs, I just want to quiet that voice. I want to get lost in the moment. But how do you ignore, 7 ignorant and flat out rude individuals who selfishly cannot pause their habits for even one night. A few hours? To put this into perspective, 7 individuals out of 150 were in this room, acting like they were bored of being in a sex club. That’s almost 5 percent. That’s freaking huge! Can we not unplug from this silly device even in a swing club? You paid to be there, as did we. That doesn’t give you the right to detract from mine or anyone else’s enjoyment which is exactly what these people were doing. Now show some common courtesy for those around you who are actually enjoying themselves or get out! And please, if you see something like this happen, even in the real world, stand up and say something. We cannot keep ignoring ignorant and selfish behaviour because quite frankly it is getting out of hand!
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I have a certain look, a dancers walk, a sex appeal, and a quiet confidence. These are things I fought for a long time to accept as a part of me and in fact spent a great deal of time fighting. In my youth, I yearned for people to respect me because of my intelligence, my wit, and what I rationalized as real substance versus the superficial that I couldn’t control. I never wore make up, only dressed up for special occasions and aside from having a stellar shoe collection, I’m still just a jeans, flip flop and hoodie type of gal. I like being comfortable, understated and I could go on and on about just how much thought went into ensuring I consistently look and feel low maintenance.
Not using my looks or demeanor was always re-enforced with my friendships with both men and women. I really wanted to downplay being seen as a threat to keep the girlfriends from taking my male friends away. Or getting jealous that I was included in guys nights. If you’re a regular reader, you will know this is an ancient problem as I am no longer one of the guys. And with the women, I didn’t want to constantly talk about how cute I looked or how well I wore such and such an outfit. It made me feel like they were constantly comparing themselves to me, and I never wanted anyone to feel bad around me.
I fought my sex appeal for well over a decade. I buried my femininity as best I could. Being just “one of the guys”, or assuming I was on equal footing with my peers, these were all aspects I embraced about myself. I downplayed the visual cues I have little control over to be taken seriously. I’m sure a large part stemmed from hearing time and time again that the men in my family really wanted me to be a boy. As the first grandchild, I was born to be a leader, to go off the beaten path and create a new life, and new identity. This was drilled into me, and celebrated whenever I showed positive direction away from the norm. I got people thinking, to see new perspective. But I did it without the aid of my face, boobs, or thin figure. In essence, what I did was make things harder for myself, a lesson I have recently discovered.
Now I find myself coming to terms with the fact that using my looks to get my foot in the door, to open someone up to conversation or simply to give a warm smile that makes someone else feel good is more of the person that I want to be. I am starting to embrace a new norm, a new, and much more whole identity. And that is not without its own set of bumps. Why? Because I have now had to work on learning the balance game between flirting to get something and going too far with sex appeal without the comfort blanket of being young and dumb (so to speak). And it’s a game that has been difficult to teach myself and know where I actually want to take it. To embrace a whole identity that includes my outsides, in a meaningful, and ethical way.
So here I sit, finding balance between sex appeal, and an articulate, whole woman with a mission to educate and teach others. Understanding that sexy can exist without dismissing intelligence outright. It’s no longer my burden to worry about how other people perceive me. Instead it’s my prerogative to be complete, whole, and amazing both inside and out.
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