Note - this is part four of an ongoing series of guest posts by Nicole, one half of one of the couples I discussed in my sex and relationship book No Bone Zone (it's good, buy it.) The other parts can be found here:
I was eating dinner with some girlfriends a few weeks ago, all of which have been married for at least five years. The topic eventually gravitated to sex and how each of us kept the spark alive. We had a few drinks and half of the girls already knew my husband and I were swingers, so I started talking about our trip to a swingers club the previous week.
We've found people generally don't ask too many questions when we "out" ourselves, but my friends proved to be quite the exception. The Long Island iced teas probably helped. Once they got past the "But you seem so normal" exclamations, they asked a ton of questions (which I hope to eventually address here in Jason's blog), but started with a very simple one: How do you meet other couples?
It's an excellent question because swinging is an almost completely underground activity. We usually go to great lengths to keep our secret. We're like superheroes that way. Many do it to avoid the negative social stigma of engaging in extramarital sex; some keep it on the down-low to add to the excitement. Either way, finding swingers can be a lot like finding real breasts in Los Angeles. Most swingers will use a combination of the following to find other swingers:
- Websites. The Internet is an amazing invention that has revolutionized our lives and given us access to virtually unlimited information (and porn), and the swinger world is no exception. Niche websites are the most common means of meeting other swingers. Quite a few exist and vary greatly on quality and number of members. Many have a regional following, so do a Google search for "most popular swinger website in <your city>." We currently belong to three, but only use one regularly. The websites work like most dating sites. You make a profile, upload some pictures, maybe list preferences. You search for members and they can search for you, then communicate via the site's messaging. Contact information is rarely (and wisely) shared. Since there's no guarantee of authenticity, basic Internet safety rules should always be followed. Many couples post racy pictures, but few will post their faces. Websites are often used to set up the following.
- Meet and greets. These events are casual parties that allow couples to socialize and meet other couples. They're often held at a bar or club that is closed off to the general public to help assure anonymity. Many people enjoy meet and greets because they can meet many couples and there's no pressure to do anything too sexual (besides dancing and occasional kissing and minor groping.) In our experience, the swingers that attend meet and greets tend are usually interested in developing a degree of friendship before taking things farther. Since my husband and I are sort of slutty, we don't usually waste time at meet and greets.
- Clubs. Swinger clubs usually come in two varieties - on-premises and off-premises. "On" means sexual activity is allowed in the club, usually in a designated area. "Off" means sexual activity beyond what you'd see in a typical bar is off-limits. My girlfriends were really interested in exactly how the clubs work, so that will probably be one of my next posts. Visiting clubs is the primary way we meet other couples.
- Resorts and cruises. These two vacation destinations basically take the idea of a club and extend it for a longer period of time in a bigger area. Swinger resorts and cruises serve swingers exclusively, so there's no danger of being "outed" by people that aren't swingers.
- House parties. House parties are almost always like on-premises clubs set in... you guessed it - a house! Some house parties have an open invitation, others are organized as a gathering of friends. Since many swinger communities tend to be a little cliquish, this can be a difficult place to meet new people because you see the same faces all the time.
- Craigslist. You know how you'd be really skeptical about buying a recliner off Craigslist? Now imagine you were having sex with the person selling the recliner. Anyone that chooses the cheapest route possible to get some action probably isn't especially desirable. I do not recommend using Craigslist, but some couples use it.
- Singles sites. We don't do this ourselves, but again, we know couples that create profiles (featuring both of them) on dating sites designed for singles. The idea is to find a male or female that would be interested in a threesome (or, if they're into the poly lifestyle, more people to add to the current relationship.)
- Adultery websites. Again, this is another thing we do not do, but some couples will find threesome partners on "cheater" websites like Ashley Madison. We are not a fan of this because a) it feels wrong to do something behind the back of their spouse, and b) it invites the potential for a lot of drama. When we first started swinging a few years ago, we met an apparently single male. We hooked up. As it turns out, he was married and his wife found the texts he exchanged with my husband. The fallout wasn't pretty. Needless to say we learned our lesson.
- Vanilla bars. [Jason's note - the term "vanilla" refers to people that are not part of the swinging world] Some swinger couples (us included) will pick up single males or single females for threesomes in vanilla bars or clubs. Since the atmosphere is significantly different, the "success rate" of this strategy is usually lower than a swinger-specific club or event. Having said that, we've had a few great experiences with single people that had threesome fantasies.
- Friend of friend introductions. The swinging world has a default "don't kiss and tell" unspoken rule where couples don't talk about their experiences with other couples. The purpose is to preserve anonymity and respect privacy. However, it's not uncommon for couples to introduce friends to each other to expand their social circles.
These are ten of the most common ways swinger couples meet other swinger couples. Most couples we know use three or four different strategies. We've tried most of these, but mostly settle on websites and on-premises clubs.
Have any questions? Jason has asked me to write more posts, but it's much easier to have guiding questions. Otherwise I just ramble. If you have a question, post it in the comments field!