monthly column from lifestyle author/activist
Since so many people have contacted this column with very similar e-mail questions, I though it might be wise to share a few of my e-mail answers. Just scan down the page to see if there's anything you find interesting and/or might want to share with a significant other. If you have a question I've not addressed, please feel free to forward the same to me via DrSBMason@aol.com.
What's the difference between Swinging & the Lifestyle exactly?
Swinging is often defined as the coming together of couples for the purpose of sexually sharing mates. It is said to have gotten its most recent impetus during WW II when fighter pilots (along with their wives) lived in close proximity and shared both an uncertain future and an intimate emotional bond.
Now the term Swinging has been replaced by Lifestyle. It includes couples who share spouses and couples who simply enjoy adult fun. The latter group reports the passion in their monogamous lives being rekindled when taking part in Lifestyle events that are said to be a combination of Mardi Gras, Halloween, and New Year's Eve rolled into one.
How long have you been in the "Swing" community?
In the 1970's, my wife and I (both University Professors) found that, although we were devoted and very much in love, our sex life had become stagnate. We agreed to try Swinging and discovered it to be a subculture of friendly, supportive, fun loving people... not unlike the factual and fictional Free Sex Utopias about which so much has been written. It solved the one problem in our otherwise full lives.
Why do happily married couples participate in these activities?
Mother Nature designed humans to have eyes only for each other for a period just long enough to have a child and participate in it's necessary, early nurturing
about 3-5 years. After that, the female is programmed to find a new (hopefully better) mate and the male is programmed to once again add his seed to the gene pool. Humans are also programmed not to indulge in incest (to keep recessive genes recessive) by making long term relationship sexually neutral. Normally developed individuals do not find their parents and siblings sexually attractive. Hence the terms family and friends are meant to denote a lack of sexual intimacy. When this altogether natural development occurs in couples (married for 5 or more years) they typically deny their sexual needs. They forgo anything beyond passionless, cursory coupling, indulge in masturbation, sexual fantasy, role playing, cheating or as most do -- divorce and remarry in a kind of emotionally and financially devastating serial monogamy.
Why does Swinging seem to be getting more popular?
Probably for Three reasons: One is that the media has once again become interested in the topic -- it builds ratings and sells soap. Two is that the Internet has made it remarkably easy to meet other couples with the same interests. Three is that young people are growing up with earlier, healthier, more realistic sexual attitudes.
What do you say to those who feel Swinging is morally wrong?
Pick a different god! When it was realized that controlling a normal need was akin to controlling a person, different religions picked different needs to make taboo. Some selected food, others drugs and still others sex... noticed that no one ever made sucking lemons taboo because that would have defeated the purpose. The flock would simply have avoided lemons and ceased to be a flock. Make sex taboo, however, and you've created a host of "sinners" who feel guilty and are thus that much easier to control.
What's the most adventurous Swing party you've ever attended?
Here, I have to disappoint you. People love hearing stories of erotic, sensual, sexual orgies that they can then live vicariously or sanctimoniously condemn. Actually, they usually wind up combining the two. But you must keep in mind that for Swingers, sex is seen as an altogether normal, wholesome, taken for granted activity. So the "adventurous" part may turn out to be something like the Swing party's location. A party might be on a luxury yacht or in a DC-3 flying a mile high or in a rented bowling alley or out at a forest campsite... all of which I've enjoyed, by the way.
Describe the various combinations that occur at Swing parties.
This depends upon the group. You might have closed Swinging with couples in different rooms or open Swinging with couples in the same room or a rootin tootin flesh heap orgy. Female bisexual displays are common and you may also find lookie loos who come just to watch and be aroused. Then too, there are special interest groups who gather to dress in leather or animal costumes, share sex toys, engage in B/D, S/M and so forth.
I've heard Swinging women have all the power. Why?
Most societies are male dominated so it's the females who must tow the line. They can't show their lust (which, in truth, is at least equal to that of a man) and they must deny their sexual needs and they are the responsible ones. In cases of rape, you will often hear: She was askin for it! and/or She shouldn't be allowed to abort even a violent criminal's fetus! and/or What was she doin in that place at that hour? No wonder 43% of American women are now defined as sexually dysfunctional. So when a woman finally goes to a Lifestyles' event (usually at the urging of her mate) she becomes enthralled. Suddenly, she can behave in a purely sexual fashion and not be considered a slut. She can wear a see-through blouse and be admired and appreciated rather than insulted and abused. And best of all, she need no longer deny her normal needs and desires. This is why it's the women who usually combine and control events. The men, all sexually satisfied, never see this as a threat to their gender. Indeed, they have no reason whatever to worry about their masculinity.
Doesn't it bother you to see your wife with another man?
Never! We share sex with others -- not love and devotion. Besides, I'm completely confident in our relationship and I truly love and adore my wife. Nothing makes me happier than to see her happy. And she feels the same way toward me. Jealously is the emotion an infant feels when it fears being abandoned. It's certainly nothing about which a mature adult should be proud. I have to smile when I hear men say "Here's a fur coat because I love to see you happy. And here's a diamond ring because I love to see you happy but, if I ever see you happy with another man, I'll kill you." Talk about insecurity! If my wife found another man who made her happier and she decided to leave me, how could I possible stand in her way and/or not support her decision? A spouse may clearly want to move on to a new relationship but no way Jose. You're mine and so you must sacrifice the rest of your life because I can't see getting along on my own. I don't care that it's Prince Charles who invited you to join him at Windsor. Now really -- I have to ask -- might you not be tempted even a little bit if asked to move in with Royalty?
What about committed monogamy?
What about it? It doesn't work. More than half of monogamous relationships end and more that half of the remainder would like to end. About the best that can happen is agreeing to give up sexual passion, building a nest for your kids and deciding to be best friends. On one radio interview I was asked if I ever have sex with my former wife. Good heavens! How perverse! She's my best friend now!
Why do you say Swinging is a positive alternative to cheating?
Because it's the honest alternative. Your sexual needs and passionate desires are understood and acknowledged by your partner. Cheating is something I would avoid at all cost. It creates suspicion, guilt, anger and deception. If anything can drive a wedge between two people, cheating can. If anything can lead to a loss of love and devotion, cheating can. If anything can result in the loss of trust and the destruction of a bond, cheating can. And yet the majority of husbands and wives report having cheated on one or more occasions.
What screening do clubs do before admitting new couples?
At The Lifestyles Organization (located in Anaheim CA or on the web at www.LIFESTYLES.org) all first-timers are interviewed by CareTeam couples. At other clubs (such as Anakosha in Naples FL) newbies are often invited to come early, allowing time for a question and answer session. There are also many clubs that host dance/socials where no Swinging is permitted. Couples can then meet other couples in convivial surroundings and decide if they would like to take the next step.
What about the threat of AIDS?
The misdirection and misinformation regarding AIDS has been exposed many times. However, the Puritan belief that Sex-Is-Dirty remains rampant in our society and continues to foster the notion that anything so good has just got to be bad. Actually, sex is a gift, like lobster only cheaper. I would recommend that anyone who is interested in learning more about the topic, read books such as: What if everything you thought you knew about AIDS Was Wrong? by Christine Maggiore and The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS by Michael Fumento. Indeed the May 1, 1996 Wall Street Journal did a front-page piece on the virtual impossibility of men and women infecting each other with AIDS through sexual activity. Even Reader's Digest, middle America's long time unquestioned source of truth, has reported on the AIDS Sex Scare. And, as if that were not enough, the North American Swing Club Association (NASCA) publishes an annual Directory of affiliates both domestic and international. In talking with hundreds of clubs at least once a year -- to update new editions -- don't you think they would have noticed their members toppling like dominos? In fact, there has never been a confirmed case of heterosexual AIDS in any club! If you don't want to catch it, it seems you might be wise to consider Swinging!
How do you respond to those who say Swingers are pervets?
Curiously, this charge of perversion seems to be confined mostly to the middle class. As investigative reporter Terry Gould points out in his new book THE LIFESTYLE: A Look At the Erotic Rites of Swingers, the sexual follies of the upper & celebrity classes are ogled and aped at every turn. It's the average folk that are condemned and harangued for having more fun than their neighbors. I suspect it has to do with that definition of Puritan Hell -- A place where everybody minds their own business. It struck me as unbelievably hypocritical when I recently read, in the same magazine, a feature that extolled the sexy ways of "swinger" Tony Curtis. And then, half a dozen pages away, ran a piece ridiculing the perverted plumbers and their equally perverted, polyester clad wives in search of a good time.