Consent: Why is it Not Getting Through?

Last night I could not shut off my brain.  An exciting idea struck me that I would be doing my part for Online Dating by creating a PSA to talk about getting consent before having sexual conversation or sending nudity to a stranger.  I worked it all out, and fell into a restless sleep, where I edited it throughout the night in my head.  This morning I was fueled with motivation to film it, edit and publish it for the world.  Yes I thought, this would be a positive contribution, this video would make a difference in someones life.

And then, shortly after publishing it and sharing, I sobered up.  Reality struck me, and it struck me hard.  People do not want to listen, or change their behavior.  We are all stuck it this very weird place whereby we know sending an unsolicited dick pic is bad but we don’t do anything about it.  Just today I saw a Tweet of a guy who received a dick pic over facebook and he wasn’t outraged or offended, just rather surprised by it.  And I admit, that the first time I received a dick pic, I felt exactly the same.  It wasn’t a violation the first time, instead it was a curiosity and I remember showing it to my girlfriend and laughing about it over some wine.  But by the second and third time it happened, I got angry and wrote my piece called Dear Random Penis.  And are you ready for this crazy fact?  The guy who was the last straw with sending me dick pics, and inspired the writing of that post, to this day used Dear Random Penis in his searches to keep tabs on my blog.  And sometimes late at night he even comments lewd and harassing messages.  The point was not taken, in fact, it gave him a point of pride that I wrote a piece about him.  Are you starting to see my issue here?

When we receive a nude picture or a sexually driven message on an online dating site, what do we do?  Block?  Ignore?  Start a Twitter account aimed at outing all these uneducated souls?  For my part, I felt great relief when I wrote my post about dick pics.  And all it did was get agreement from people who already knew that, and created an abusive situation for me from the guy who inspired it.  My choice to discuss, and educate fell on deaf ears.

And here I sit, after posting my video about consent and online dating, worried that I have just created the same situation for myself.  That by speaking out and trying to educate people, I will instead be putting myself in harms way.  Or even more depressing, that I will be completely ignored.  That my words will fall yet again onto deaf ears.  And this makes me very sad.

Consent is not difficult to obtain.  Asking permission before you start sexting can even be fun, interesting or at the very least a great way to practice your communication skills.  There are blogs dedicated to teaching people fun and new ways to obtain consent.  But rather than educate ourselves, we prefer the push boundaries method and seek permission after the violation.  This way of thinking needs to end.  We don’t need apps, like Legal Fling (Use caution if you google this as it might send you into blind rage) to obtain permission or consent.  We need to grow the fuck up and start talking to each other.  To communicate and to stop looking for elaborate solutions to a very simple problem.  You want to kiss someone for the first time?  Ask!  You want to sleep with someone?  Ask!  You want to flirt and send sexy messages?  Ask!

I won’t stop trying to fight the good fight.  But today, I am tired.  I am worn out.  And I am saddened to read each new article about some woman who is speaking out for the first time about her experience with harassment.  I’m tired of feeling that #MeToo feeling.  I’m tired of all the memories of abuse, and sexual harassment that are a part of my past.  I’m ready for a world where consent is the expectation rather than a difficult burden.  Please don’t let this plea go unheard…

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Swing Clubs, Singles, and Consent: My New Years Eve Tale

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me question if writing this post was even worth it, because I felt incredibly dissolution and let down after my New Years Eve swing club adventure.  Now that I have a bit of clarity and less emotion, I believe this post needs to be written and a few of my views openly discussed for the good of our non-monogamous/swinging community.  And if you’re outside of the lifestyle looking in, let this be an eye opener, that consent is mandatory and anything less will not be tolerated.  So let me begin my tale.

My partner and I have attended the same New Years Eve Swingers party for 3 years in a row in sunny California (our Christmas vacation destination).  We are familiar with the venue, the rules and in general the vibe.  We specifically seek out this particular club because it has the largest crowd of people, which boosts our chances significantly of finding like minded couples, great conversation and the hope of sexy times.  This New Years Eve however, was different.  Firstly, when we walked into the club, they were turning away a single guy at the door.  As luck would have it, this New Years Eve coincides with the usual single male welcome night.  While unfortunate for the guy not checking the website first, I was not too concerned being that our first time at this club single men were allowed and we didn’t have much of a problem.  To protect couples and keep active membership, there is a couples only play area that single men are never allowed into.  It even has security guarding it, or has every time we have gone previously.

For whatever reason, this New Years Eve the club was quieter.  I would say maybe there were 150 couples, whereas in years past there have been upwards 270 couples.  This actually had its very sexy benefits for us, because after midnight, we didn’t have to wait in line for the sex swing in the couples play area.  I could go on and on about how much I love that thing, the open corner its in, how hot I feel in it, etc.  However, I could not enjoy my time in the swing for long because within a few minutes we had a lonely male start to lurk completely unaccompanied by any female.  After my partner asked him to move on, we both decided that we would be much better off doing some exhibitionist exploration as the venue was so empty.  So, after a few quick sexy strokes in the hallway, we made our way to an upstairs balcony with a mattress and railings and the sexy sounds of a few couples playing.  There are 4 mattresses on various levels that overlook a mirrored hallway, with a white railing for the safety of the upstairs couples.  It’s a very hot little area, with couples on each bed and little cubbies below us, that you can see from the mirror.  The visual cues are beyond hot, really the stuff that has kept us coming back.  It’s an absolute playground for sexy times!

So here we found ourselves, getting hot and heavy with my partner overlooking the hallway of the couples only area with not a care in the world until we saw him.  A fully clothed single male who had wandered down the unmonitored hallway, alone.  And he wanted to watch our show.  My partner told him no and to move on.  I tried to get into the groove and switched from a passive on my back to a more in control doggy style, and knew that a big O was getting incredibly close.  The guy got closer and I glared at him, and turned my face.  He did not get the clear memo of no from my partner, and did not take the hint of my very angry face.  And as luck would have it I lost control, and reached for the railing as I started to cum.  And that stupid, single male, reached up and grabbed my hand as I was orgasming.  A fucking stranger, with no consent, grabbed my hand in my most intimate of moments.  I slapped his hand, but honestly, I was so consumed with pleasure and now the tinge of anger it was difficult to really process anything.  I felt a little uneasy, but thankfully also so safe with my partner that I was able to enjoy the rest of the night including another trip to the swing.

But in the morning, I felt violated.  I felt gross, and hurt that this guy was allowed back in a couples only area and was able to grab me and get away with it.  No, did not matter to him, body language meaningless and consent didn’t cross his mind.  When I reached out to the club a few days later, they were less than helpful.  They seemed more focused on me making a false claim that singles were allowed than the fact that there was no security around and that I felt uncomfortable.  They advised me that I should have stopped what I was doing, and immediately gone to their office to report the guy.  Are you freaking kidding me?  I was in no condition to stop mid orgasm to go and tattle on this guy.  And further more, why was a guy allowed in the club who was not aware of the rules of consent?  Or the rules of being part of the lifestyle?  Or basic human decency that you don’t touch another person without permission EVER?

I’ve written multiple times on why I don’t think the majority of single men should be allowed into clubs, and incidents like this only confirm my belief.  This isn’t an unwarranted stereotype or stigma. Men, when alone in clubs are usually stupid and make poor decisions.  They think with the wrong head.

Now I want to say a few words to the men in the lifestyle who are single, respectful and follow the rules.  I appreciate that there are a few gems in the swinging community.  And I wish that there were more of you because I love cock.  But I need to ask a serious question.  What are you doing to improve things for your acceptance in the community?  Do you tell your male friends about the work it takes to get into the lifestyle?  The hours upon hours of communication, self confidence building, and research to understand the rules and the core value of consent?  Are you a proactive member of the community who would educate someone, tell even a friend that he was out of line or if necessary call someone out who crossed a line?  Do you sit on the sidelines, keeping to yourself, staying out of trouble or are you active and proactive?

I ask these questions because I want to know the motivations for being single in the lifestyle.  I want to know what drives you, because then we can work towards finding a great and sex positive way to include you.  It’s obvious that the current standard isn’t working for single men, or for couples.  Men are not satisfied being excluded and couples are beyond frustrated with situations like I described happening or much worse.  We are not playing together in a positive way.  I almost feel like when men are finally allowed into a club, they figure that they have to try everything because they may not get the chance to be in there again.  That thinking scares me.  That mentality makes things unsafe and is part of the reason I wrote the post about not just trying the lifestyle for curiosity.  Men, if you want to be accepted, learn the rules and preach the rules.  Do not brag to your buddies about the hot live show you watched without mentioning just how many hoops it takes to actually get there.  Contribute positively.  It is not enough to just be one of the good guys.  You have a responsibility to do more, to be more, because quite frankly this experience was a deal breaker for me in ever going back to this particular club and they are one of the few that allow single.  Correlation or causation at this point make little difference to me.  The club was quiet, there was no security and members we’re not complying with the rules.  This is unacceptable.  We can all work to do better.

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The Game: I Finally Read It! Here Are My Thoughts and a Question For You [Book Review]

After years of putting it off, I finally sat down and read The Game, by Neil Strauss( Which you can purchase through Amazon.ca, and let me just say it was not what I was expecting, well not entirely.  Being a full time dating and relationship coach by trade, I had read so many synopsis’ and references to the book, that at first I felt I didn’t need to sit and read it.  And for the actual rules, the Pick Up Artist (PUA) information and the way that men are directed to treat or rather not treat, woman to get their digits my suspicions were correct.  I had no idea though, the depth or research that went into Pick Up (PU).  I can see how it so easily becomes a full time job, based on all the books, seminars, online forums and real world weekend sessions that go into it.  So, my hat is tipped to anyone who has put that much effort into the quest to crack the female code.  And here I was expecting to be disgusted and ashamed of anyone that had read the book and tried to implement its theories.

What was also incredibly surprising was just how depressing the book was.  How soulless it made PUA look and the depth with which these often young men were removed from interacting with people normally, after being properly educated in the mystic arts of getting laid.  I almost felt sorry for a few of the guys who got into PU because they were so insecure or bad with women, and ended up simply having notches on their belts, rather than fulfilling relationships or real knowledge about the opposite sex.  Again, this was not what I was expecting going in.  I anticipated some male blustering and many pats on the back, look at how amazing pick up artists are.  It seemed that it was titled accurately, it’s a game, it’s The Game.

As a female reading this book, I admit that I was absolutely and completely enraptured with it from beginning to end.  It was a complete mindfuck to me that men, thought they had figured out how to seduce women with a few simple tricks, routines and props.  And much more, that the stats proved it was successful the majority of the time.  We know there are exceptions to every rule, but without a doubt, these tactics worked and probably still work, who knows, they have probably even worked on me a time or two.  What was even more interesting though, is that even with this formula, this magic way of opening up a female, it couldn’t get you past sex.  It didn’t teach you how to interact long term, or create a lasting bond that is a core desire for almost every human on the planet.  In the end, it was still a bunch of dudes, circle jerking and coming up with new and more creative ways to out do the masters, or to become masters themselves.  The power play became more important than finding happiness with a partner.

The takeaway I felt after reading was that all this effort and education would have been better spent on self improvement and the money on prostitutes or escorts.  The long term value of that combination seems a much safer investment and more productive overall.  Winning at a game is great for bragging with the guys, but if that’s all you end up with, an ego boost and a sock drawer full of contact information have you really used your time wisely?  Because that was the major flaw with this game, that there was no definitive end point.  It’s not like monopoly where the game ends once someone flips over the table. The skills aren’t transferable into a relationship, or meaningful commitments so there is no happily ever after.  And if you’re looking to rise to the top or collect the most numbers, well there is a flaw in that too… the game would never be over.  So you would be left miserable and lonely, simply objectifying every women you meet, and screwing over every guru who shared their knowledge in the futile quest for dominance.  So then, I am left wondering if the title is ironic.  As “The Game” has no clear ending, is it really a game?  Can you really crack the code to universally get into someone’s pants?  Obviously, you can’t, but desperation and the desire to get laid is a remarkable motivator to try isn’t it?

So I ask you, men, who have read The Game, what is your take away?  Did you pick and choose some valuable tidbits and dismiss the rest?  Did you perhaps become so involved in it that is became your world for a while, like many of the characters?  Or did you put it down and dismiss it outright?  Or something entirely different?  What impact did this book or the teaching of PUA have on you?  Comment below 🙂

Escorts at Swinger or Lifestyle Clubs

So apparently there is a term called “tickets” used for escorts that are invited/paid for by single men to get into lifestyle clubs.  And yes, if you’re a regular reader the timing of this post in relation to my last one is not lost on me.  Overall, I am an incredibly open-minded person, however I keep running into ideas and concepts that make me question just how accepting I really am.  I guess that’s why I blog, and keep questioning everything right?  So back to paying someone to get you into a club!

I have used the term pay for play quite frequently throughout my writing career and general advice to my clients whenever the need arises.  And I mean no disrespect to anyone, it just feels all encompassing and to me has little emotion or stigma attached.  I wish that sex workers were legally allowed to practice their trades for safety, and economic reasons.  Sex work is the oldest profession and it should be taxable and all its members protected under the law.

Now, with that said, I will come right out and say, just like single men, I do not believe that escorts or anyone who gets paid for sex should be welcome in the swinger community.  There are a number of reasons.  First and foremost, swinging requires work, communication and a solid foundation.  As well, trust and disclosure.  These are things inherently missing in sex work.  Even if legalized, there is more to gain for a working guy or gal from non-disclosure than from disclosing.  Livelihood is on the line, and it is unrealistic to think a person will stop working while waiting for a test result, etc.  We have to be practical about this.  Even a sex worker who is incredibly safe, and gets tested regularly still has to endure a slow health care system, with even slower results.  So in such a tight knit community that unfortunately relies on many assumptions about safe sex, and disclosure, these economic and physical demands unnecessarily increase risk.

The next point is in regards to consent.  In what way does that even work?  A male is most likely paying for a woman’s services for the evening.  Is he also paying for her to sleep with anyone else?  Who gets the bill in the wake of a foursome or swap?  There are finances on the line.  And legal issues to boot.  Within most swing clubs there can be no cash exchange in return for services.  Whatever my views on a future of legalized prostitution we are just not there yet.  So paying for sex is illegal.  Imagine not knowing someone was paid for sex and having that come out in the wake of a bust or exposure?  Again, unnecessary drama and decrease in fun overall.

Now lets get into motivation.  Is the man simply a single, who has always wanted to see the inner workings of a swing club?  Does he think he just found the golden “ticket” to get him inside?  If so, please refer to my previous post about why single men at swing clubs suck.  As much as exhibitionism exists, I may or may not know that first hand, I do not want outsiders thinking they can pay for the privilege of watching someone get their rocks off.  That’s what porn is for.  You are confusing live, non-consenting adults with paid professionals and that is never cool.  I don’t attend clubs for the public’s consumption.  I attend because I love being around like minded, non-monogamous, open and amazing people, who not to repeat myself, but have put in the work to be there.  They didn’t find this little loophole, a sneaky entrance, and the ultimate manipulation.

So in summary, if you think bringing a sex worker to the club is clever it’s not.  Swingers can tell!  You will not be invited back, regardless of how well behaved you are, or how much research you feel you have done.  Strong, stable, secure couples are hot.  A single man with his paid escort is not.  You put us physically, financially and emotionally at risk.  So don’t be that ass hole!  Consent in a swing club encompasses much more than just sex.  There is enough for us to have to trust in, do add to the burden for your selfish motives.  Besides, if you do it, you still won’t be able to brag to your friends afterwards so really, what’s the point?

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A Casual Swing Club Encounter: My Internal Plight

Sigh, that coveted casual swing club encounter.  That hot steamy night that you fantasize would just spontaneously occur.  You stack the deck in your favour of course.  Slow hot bath, sipping wine as you scrub yourself squeaky clean and do all the necessary personal grooming.  Then you dress to the nines with your partner, or in our case, pick the most elaborate costume you can.  You arrive at a packed swing club with that pre-screened and amazing looking guest list, tonight is going to be hot.  You pour yourselves a drink and begin the mingling and flirting dance.  And then you find a couple.  The small talk begins and you find some common ground.  Let’s go somewhere quieter they say.  You laugh, stroke your partners thigh and discover that it is smiles all around.  This night is going perfectly.  That fantasy is looking very promising.

And then, you remember, your rules, and you are snapped back into reality.  No full swapping the first time you meet.  Why?  Quite simply it’s a little matter of safety and sexual compatibility.  As hot as that anonymous first time swap would be, for you it will remain nothing more than a fantasy.  When it comes to sexual health and safety we never compromise.

At a club, in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to have a clear and completely honest conversation about disclosure.  I don’t subscribe to the idea that everyone lies, however, in a sexually charged environment, there can be a tendency by some parties to say whatever they can to sway the cards in their sexual favor.  And even if every one is telling the truth, it is an often loud environment.  It is easy to not be heard, or clearly understand what someone has said.  So, we err on the side of caution.  Touching, soft swap, all good things.  But no kissing or fluid exchange with strangers, period.

For my personal comfort and sanity, I cannot stand waking up the next morning wondering if the person we kissed was clean (I use the term loosely and for simplicity, no judgement intended).  It turns a really hot memory into one of suspicion and uncertainty.  I prefer guilt free fantasies.  Especially with my writers over active imagination.  In fact, I had situation just a few months ago, where we were soft swapping with a bunch of people, touching and getting a little intense when all of a sudden a woman stuck her tongue down my throat.  No permission was obtained and while I wanted to get lost in the sexiness of the situation, as there were hands everywhere, the reality was not hot.  It felt instead, obtrusive, invasive and all manor of inappropriate and all that separated her behaviour from everyone else’s, was the fluid exchange.  I was angry that I didn’t even have the chance to say no, or have the safe sex talk.  And as a result of how I felt the next morning and a very short conversation with my partner, we made a rule that from here on in, we tell people that we do not swap the first time we meet.

The other aspect I mentioned is sexual compatibility.  I don’t know about you, but history tells me that first time sex with a person is average to bad.  Every sexual encounter is unique, the sights, sounds and smells of a person.  So having no clue what to expect personality wise or sexually can be a bit of a hurdle.  I even heard of a few swingers who stopped going to clubs in general because the anonymous sex was actually getting boring.  It was constantly mediocre or bad and the thrill of newness was starting to wane.  Sex really ramps up, when you get to know a person.  When you can read their body language and get into the situation without having to stop every 30 seconds to ask permission (a slight exaggeration there, but you get the idea). I for one, want a much more sustainable sex life.  I enjoy good to great sex.  I love the butterflies and after glow, and I get that from a specific memory or touch from a person I care a bit about.  Strangers just don’t have any staying power in my mental spank bank.  I don’t want objects, I yearn for flesh and blood, emotional beings.

And for us the advantages of playing this way far outweigh the lost fantasy.  Especially for us, as we love a little chase and the excitement of getting to know someone.  Building that sexually charged suspense.  We don’t always get the payoff for postponing a swap, but man, when we do!  That keeps us going for weeks!  So the trade-off of an amazing novelty encounter, versus more of the getting to know a couple sex is definitely up our alley.

Now you can call me a tease or a dirty vanilla or a no touchie if it makes you feel better, but the truth of the matter is I would love to play the first time.  I just don’t want to waste my time hoping the sex will be good or to put myself in a situation where I do not feel safe. I’m in this for the long haul, not to just try out a few new people for curiosities sake.  Maybe I’m not a true swinger in that I don’t actually engage in anonymous sex with strangers.  I have written about already feeling like an outlier.  I know there is an argument for your valuable time.  You have the night off, a babysitter booked and you are looking for some strange.  And I respect your fantasy, just as I hope you respect my reasoning for not doing a full swap when we meet.  We try to disclose this information sooner rather than later, however we have screwed up few times and left it until we were already in the same room taking off our clothes.  For that, I humbly ask your forgiveness and I hope that you will want to get some strange with us in the future, only, not when it’s 100 percent strange.

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