|Editorial: Man to Man - Publication: Mens Health Magazine
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Threeways and couple swapping are pretty common
male sexual fantasies, and as a regular guy, subjects Iíve experimented
with over the years. For my partner Marci and I, the notion of introducing
a third and maybe fourth person into our sexlife began with mutually
confided fantasies. After much discussion, we both agreed that girl
on girl was the scenario we both felt most exciting, and most comfortable
As a person having had a series of emasculating
experiences with women my own age (35) Marci is redemption personified.
Wholesome, liberal, twenty five year old and refreshingly void of
neuroses, she is totally unlike my previous partners and yes the
sex is pretty good too.
To my surprise, I found Marci disarmingly enthusiastic
about the prospect of introducing another woman into our sexlives.
Sheíd vividly describe imaginary scenarios while we had sex, read
me erotic stories, show me pictures from magazines that portrayed
multiples and even comment on sexy women she saw when we were out
in public together.
Like any red-blooded male, I loved Marciís enthusiasm.
She almost seemed a dream partner come true. Still, despite initially
feeling like a five year old at Christmas time, I couldnít help
but sense a nagging twinge of discomfort about the situation.
Something about Marci, or at least the scenario
induced a cold, hard lump in my throat. I felt strangely uncomfortable
with her willingness, yet couldnít quite fathom why I was thrown.
Was it nervousness? hypocrisy? perhaps a fear that our adventurous
partnering wasnít exclusive to me, and that maybe I too could be
simply a sex object, a mere vehicle to broaden life experience with..
Was I, like any guy, guilty of some form of double
standard? NaÔve in the blurred assumption that Marci is a pure and
wholesome girl who calls her mom daily, rather than a brazen creature
filled with animal desires, craving to enrich her sexual horizons
as much as I? Thankfully, my temporary bout of discomfort passed,
rapidly dissolved by the prospect of seeing Marci strut her stuff
with another chick.
When it comes to my own sexual experience, I try
not to compare myself to others, yet underneath it seems, like Marci,
Iíve always had a sneaking suspicion Iíve got some catching up to
do to. Iíve fuelled my unbridled (and perhaps over compensatory)
enthusiasm to broaden my horizons by various introspective arguments;
from having been denied liberal minded fun by unimaginative partners
to my attending a catholic single sex boarding school. Thereís also
been the notion about my awkward twenties, peppered with more drugs
and rock and roll than sex, or of course the sad reality that I
too have had a restrictive middle class background and am riddled
with catholic guilt.
I again asked Marci is she had any reservations
and received a curt "absolutely none" in response. Was she trying
to match me in the bravado stakes? Prove she could be as brazen
A few weeks went by and Marci confronted me with
a specialist online advertisement, "We're a happily married, adventurous,
outgoing couple with a strong sexual appetite. We seek fit, attractive
women, couples, and select single males to share safe, sexy fun
and fulfill fantasies. If this sounds like you, please contact us!
"Weíre meeting this Saturday," Marci commanded, it was Wednesday
"Cool" was my calculated response, or at least thatís how I found
myself responding to her uncharacteristically assertive tone.
Neither of us were particularly nervous about the
situation. We had exchanged several emails, photographs and phone
calls in advance so everything seemed fine. We also had clear boundaries
as to what we wanted beforehand which was reassuring. Besides, there
was a vast stock of alcohol on hand to balance things out. .
Phillipa and Bill weíre pretty much like their
ad description, but there was a twist. Phillipa was a 26-year-old
Betty Paige look-alike, nice figure, white skin and dark features.
Her husband Bill was about a foot shorter. Despite being two years
my junior at 33, Bill was balding and surprisingly overweight, in
fact he reminded me of my Dad, which was a little disconcerting
under the circumstances. Apparently his career as a film director
was his compensatory trait, and Phillipa seemed to adore him, pandering
to his barked commands like a submissive pet.
Both couples previously agreed it was mainly a
girl on girl thing; the girls were to get it on, while the guys
had to touch their own partners only. If things developed from there
it would be a situation of asking one another what was the best
route to take.
As Bill and I sat back and watched, Phillipa and
Marci indulged in oral, toys, and mutual masturbation. I followed
the bald guyís lead, coaxing and commenting in my best porn drawl,
yet with far less authenticity, it seemed the right thing to do,
and if it wasnít, disagreeing at that point would surely cut the
mood.. The girls seemed o like it anyway. After they were done,
both couples got it on in the same room, which for me at least was
a first time experience.
While I still have visions of Billís ample belly
and bald cranium hovering in my unconscious, both Marci and I were
pretty happy with our first couple swap encounter. Marci confessed
to having experienced thundering orgasms with Phillipa and myself
during the encounter. And though we arenít intent on hurrying into
our next experience, recounting the first has fuelled much fantasy
and raunchy sex since, and there seems to be no lingering problems
or hang-ups from either of us.
Admittedly, the notion of full blown swapping in
the context of Bill with Marci definately irks me Ė am I a hypocrite?
Should I have offered to grope Bill in order to counter any accusations
of double standards? I donít think so, and I donít think Marci does
either, the experience was good overall, now time to move on.
Looking back, ever since I became aware of my own
sexuality, Iíve always been curious about "couple swapping" otherwise
known as swinging or more recently, "the lifestyle". Maybe I can
attribute my sinful preoccupation to bad parenting.
My first insight into whole concept harked back
to primary school. Like many suburban kids my own age, the rudiments
of my sex education came from fumbling with my dadís porn magazines.
With no apparent cataloguing method for the twenty or so journals
of sin lumped under his bed, I tapped a veritable library from the
ages of 12 to 16, and went totally unnoticed
Stylistically back then, the concept of "swinging"
as it was then known seemed entrenched in an eternal vision of Bob
& Carol & Ted & Alice. Through a haze of potsmoke and
incense, hairy men with handle bar moustaches and voluptuous women
with long hair and natural breasts got down on beanbags while The
Grateful Dead throbbed in the background.
Apparently these people werenít just kinked out
couples getting their kicks, but sexual revolutionaries fuelled
by the spirit of defiance and a thirst for enlightenment. Theyíre
philosophical quest also seemed strangely oblivious to the prospect
of HIV or a plethora of STDís.
According to Bob McGinley, head of the US Lifestyles
Association, the lifestyle is as old as sex itself, " it started
with Adam and Eve," he says. Early documented evidence harks back
to earlier times, with various erotic stories and magazine articles
devoted to the subject, including a magazine from the 1950ís called
MR, which featured pieces about the phenomenon of wife swapping.
Author Bill Reedlove also created a buzz about swinging with a book
in the 60ís titled Swap Close.
Fast-forward twenty years and the term swinging
has since given way to "the lifestyle. Any traces of leftist idealism
have long been severed. Rather than dabble in pseudo hippie love
ins, like-minded people now converge via a complex network of heavily
marketed websites, specialist newspapers and magazines, holiday
resorts, clubs and travel destinations.
In addition to an underground network of budget
level gatherings held in private homes, many of todayís private
member swing clubs are up market and elitist. House music pumps
and horsderves are served. Coupleís pay around $100 for entry and
singles about double that.
According to Tony Lanzaratta, Executive director
of North Americas couple swapping association, NASCA, "playcouples"
can come from all economic levels. "Every job classification, all
races and nationalities are represented, though the majority are
Caucasian, middle to upper middle socio-economic class, and married.
Lanzanatta claims NASCA has around 3 million members
nationally with over 500 clubs registered in the US an thousands
of non NASCA official clubs any given weekend will see an additional
3000 NASCA members attend the various NASCA club network throughout
"Itís safer for people to meet via these clubs
than picking up a person at a bar," Tony says, "and there is more
variety. There are threesomes foursomes and moresomes. Most who
attend are more interested in couples and they donít want an influx
of singles. Generally there is an interest in single women, with
couples often into the notion of girl on girl action, though there
is a growing tolerance for single males and its now seemingly less
taboo for a couple to introduce a single man into their relationship".
Yet, apparently todayís "playcouples" arenít just
motivated by the prospect of hardcore sex. "People can do what they
like via these social forums, there are some who attend and do little
more than sip a few drinks and chat," Tony says.
Sharing bodily fluids with a bunch of strangers
also makes the issue of safe sex a contentious issue, with many
"playcouples" known to dabble in unprotected sex. Tony claims that
many swapclubs donít endorse a safe sex policy, as playcouples are
highly aware of health issues.
"These people are often in monogamous relationships
and only have sex with a close knit group of regular partners, hence
they are generally low risk and gamble with unprotected sex." Another
reason why clubs often donít issue condoms Lanzaratta says is that
they may be held liable for the consequences of a condom breaking.
Asked what is the best technique to convince a
hesitant partner to dabble in the lifestyle, Tony says he is unaware
of any secret method. "If I had a sure fire formula, Id be a millionaire
Iíve obviously not yet fully immersed myself in"
the lifestyle" though Iíve given it a good shot. My first encounter
occurred in my late twenties while in a relationship with a woman
ten years my senior. This was a classic older woman scenario based
heavily on sex. Lyn was a lecturer at artschool, fickle, sexy and
feminine with a penchant for adventure, she disliked being labeled
bisexual, but enjoyed women as much as men.
Lyn needed no organized group or ad network to
pursue her outlet. She would take me to art galleries, clubs, and
parties and often pick up women who would join us. I enjoyed the
pleasures of three-way sex with Lyn and her pals for over two years,
then made the mistake of moving in with her, which ended in disaster.
Lyn definitely piqued my curiosity for more. Feeling
a little tragic in a raincoat wearing kind of way. I scrutinized
ads, and actually attended some underground swing parties publicized
via email. Mostly held in hotel rooms, these gatherings were hardly
the erotic utopia I expected.
The two "parties" I attended were basically the
same. A male dominated gathering where guys clad in towels sipped
beers and chatted, occasionally adjourning to a nearby bedroom to
have sex with one of the surprisingly overweight and unattractive
Call me choosey, but watching a group of mullet
haired overweight guys masturbating in unison around a couple having
sex seemed the antithesis of anything remotely titillating. I suppose
for the guys in the group it was, but for me it did nothing.
According to government statistics, the median
marriage duration at divorce is between 8 and 13 years. These figures
might bolster the views of those who see sexual fidelity as harmful
and responsible for breeding jealousy and a feeling of ownership
between partners. According to them swapping or additional partners
does away with jealousy and helps each mate see the other as an
Times change but values donít, or so it seems.
For some of us less liberally minded, the most obvious and basic
argument against "the lifestyle" is that weird old-fashioned notion
that itís immoral. Others might find the mere suggestion of involving
others in a coupleís sex life as signaling the end of a relationship.
Those in favor of the lifestyle claim it actually keeps relationships
healthy by keeping everything out in the open, and preventing cloak
and dagger infidelities.
Looking at the deeper psychological reasons for
couple swapping it is believed that men may need to translate early
sexual fantasies into reality and that women may be fulfilling social-romantic
Some believe that because of the marginality of
the new middle class, playcouples seek experiences with others in
order to feel they belong. They yearn to develop social ties and
to satisfy the need for sexual fulfillment that is a result of their
restrictive middle-class backgrounds. Swinging gives them an opportunity
to do both without disrupting their general lifestyle.
Mary Hot Vedt a privately practicing marriage counselor,
psychologist and President of the AAMFT (American Association for
Marriage and Family Therapy) believes the lifestyle "isnít the free
for all that people imagine".
"I believe that couples who do dabble in this form
of activity need to be very in tune with one another, they have
to be very close and communicative and approve one anotherís choices
in order for it to work properly. It can be potentially damaging
if one person has made a choice another has not. In that situation
one partner is simply on a power trip."
Dr Lillian Glass, psychologist, relationship counselor
and author of the Idiots Guide To Men And Women, believes the whole
phenomenon of the lifestyle is a disaster waiting to happen. "Its
playing Russian roulette with the emotions," she says." People assume
they are spicing up their marriage, but they are actually instilling
On the flipside, LA based sex therapist Jenny Friend
says "The swapping process generally makes sex between a couple
better and provides them with the opportunity to share things. They
can share their excitement, which will generally improve their sex
Friend says experimentation with another woman
is the most frequent pursuit of most play couples. "This scenario
is actually the most common heterosexual fantasy. Its popular as
men donít feel threatened and women are usually less inclined to
feel odd experimenting with another woman. Of course itís a bit
of a double standard, as men generally donít reciprocate for their
Anita Baker, a sex therapist and associate of ASEC,
The American Association Of Sex educators (asec.org) believes poor
planning can be the root of all evil when it comes to the swap game..
"The worst mistake a couple can make when they indulge in the lifestyle
is not having a set of ground rules to abide by. They have to set
limits and stick to them for things to work in a balanced way. Ultimately
its about people having a good relationship before they go ahead,
then you simply have two consenting adults who want to experiment
which can be a good thing for both parties".
Written by Craig
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