“Don’t catch the feels” is a term that I see time and time again within the swinging community and if this is your first time hearing it, no, it is not something that swingers use in a positive light. Avoiding catching the feels really separates swingers from the rest of the non-monogamous spectrum. Because one of the main attractions to partner swapping and sharing is the ability to isolate sex from emotions. You in essence can sleep with a multitude of people, get to know them, be social and do all these exciting and amazing things in the bedroom, but remain emotionally monogamous with your spouse. For you see, if you develop any sort of feelings you must stop seeing these outside partners immediately. That is a breach of trust within your relationship and basically violating the golden swinger rule; Thou shalt not catch the feels!
I hear this term frequently, within forums and any discussion about how to approach swinging for the first time, especially from the older generations. These couples have negotiated the ideal that they can have sex outside their relationship with the clear understanding that it is only sex. They can play together multiple times with the same couple, sometimes even for years at a time but there is no emotional bond beyond the sex and friendship. There is a line strongly drawn in the sand here. Your emotional connection is reserved for your spouse/partner and only for them. With the acknowledgement that sex with other people is a lot of fun and encouraged so by all means embrace the physical. But if you blur those two ideals, then your very relationship could be in jeopardy and your swingers card is basically revoked.
Ok, I’m over stepping a wee bit on the that last one, because there isn’t actually a swingers card, although that would be really fun. A card where you have to basically sign that you agree to consent, take responsibility for your own sexual safety and you agree to abide by the house rules, whatever those may be. But I have digressed there. Let’s get back on track, those icky feelings.
I have explored so many wondrous relationship norms on the non monogamous spectrum, and if you’re a regular reader you know that I struggle with rules. I struggle with being told that any relationship I embark on has limitations. I am so much more flexible and open minded about these things. I want to be able to explore without limits, other than safe sex of course. So, in essence I feel like I am living a taboo within a taboo. A non-monogamous open mindedness for relationships within the parameters of swinging or at times vice versa. It’s a strange feeling.
If you read my post Next Generation Swingers, you may have noticed that I see a whole new generation of swingers entering into the lifestyle and club scene. And with that I see the potential to re-imagine or re-invent the term swinging, because the reality is it is already happening with the 20 somethings whether we like it or not. They are groups of friends who go to clubs, host parties and have a much less restrained view on swingers and relationships. It’s a new fresh community, which of course will create all new issues. And the main one that I see, and dread being a part of, is the word drama. When you eliminate relationships from forming beyond sexual contact with other couples, you do lessen the public drama. Realistically there is still drama going on behind closed doors, and in private bathroom stalls (we’ve all been witness to those sobbing sounds). But it is removed from clubs almost immediately, because bad vibes kill boners, it’s a fact.
So, with the influx of the young, and more relationship flexible people we are opening up to more drama. Because relationships are very, VERY complicated. So maybe that’s what the earliest swingers had in mind with the whole keep feelings out of swinging mantra. And I have to admit, that they also created a very enticing idea of maintaining a constant adrenaline high of butterflies with new partners without ever having the heartache or breakup in the end. But truly, don’t you think having the lows makes the highs so much more meaningful and valuable? I know the argument that the lows are for marriage and that swinging is just a bonus for many. So then my full disclosure here, is that I cannot separate sex from feelings if I want to get off in a way that really makes my knees shake, and nor would I want to learn how. I adore the intensity of sex with people I care deeply about, so much more than just the fleeting excitement of newness. The emotional connection has a staying power with me and that is where my physical attraction comes from. So here I sit, a swinger outlier, yet again. But I ask you, is there a single swinger out there who hasn’t yet discovered that you cannot ride the highs forever, no matter how much you try to avoid catching the feels? Is this whole idea of sex without feelings simply a myth, an ideal that can never actually be achieved in the long term? I would love to hear your thoughts…
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