Why I Didn’t Go To That Romanian Swingers Club (And Why I Will Join An Adult Dating Site)

 

I try to live my life in such a way that if everything I did and said were to become public knowledge, I’d still be able to walk down the street with my head held high.

This philosophy of mine was twice put to the test about a month ago in Romania.

Invitation To Swing

I was frequenting one particular night spot in Bucharest and got to know a fellow frequenter. We hit it off pretty well and talked openly about sex several times. One night this girl was there with her boyfriend. She told me they were planning to go to a swingers club the following week, and asked if I’d like to join.

After thinking about it for a while, I concluded that I wouldn’t be comfortable with the whole world knowing that I’d gone along to a swingers club. Justified or not, it seems I have some hang ups about experiencing such a place. I’m probably just worried what other people would think of me for going, but I see that as a sign that I’m not fully comfortable with the idea myself, at least not yet. If I was, the opinions of others wouldn’t faze me.

And so with all that in mind, I politely declined the invitation.

Hook-ups 2.0

A few days later I’m chatting with a buddy on Skype and he tells me he’s considering signing up to one of those adult dating sites. And I’m not talking eHarmony here, where old-fashioned romantics quest for their one true love. No, the site we were discussing was all about getting jiggy. You browse the profiles of people in your area, message a few that you like, and then, if the feeling is mutual, meet up and hook up.

I began thinking about giving this a go myself. After all, I do quite enjoy the whole sex thing, and having more opportunities to meet nice, like-minded ladies as I travel sounds good to me.

But before I got too far ahead of myself, I went through that same line of self-questioning: If the whole world were to know that I use such a site, would I still be able to walk down the street with my head held high?

After sitting with it for a while, I settled on yes.

After all, I see no significant difference between a traditional one-night stand and hooking up via a website. If I’m comfortable with one, I should be comfortable with the other.

Growing Comfort

Six months ago, I don’t think I would have been at ease writing or speaking aloud about any of this. That flirting experiment in Amsterdam was the start of me breaking out of my prudish shell, and I’ve been growing ever more comfortable with my sexuality since.

That’s not to say that I crave empty sex with random strangers. I still put a high value on real connection and intimacy. If I can’t find those things via an adult dating site, I won’t be hanging around there for long.

All the above to say… don’t be surprised if you see a subscription to Adult Friend Finder in my next finance report ;-)

Over To You

Feel free to share your thoughts on my decision to join an adult dating site, but what I’d really like your take on here is this whole philosophy of living life as if all your words and deeds were to become public knowledge.

Are there things you say and do that you’d be ashamed to admit publicly? Is that a sign that you’re not fully at ease with the words and actions you choose, or is it more that you’d rather save yourself from small-minded ridicule?

Let me know in the comments. Imaginary bonus points for using your real name, doubled if you go ahead and share this post afterwards ;-)

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56 Comments

  1. You know, after watching back over the video for this one, I’ve noticed a disconnect in my thinking. I say that I’m cool with using an adult dating site because it should help me find and connect with more women who are sexually open. But surely attending a swingers club would provide the same opportunity, right?

    For some reason though, I’m still not comfortable with the idea of going along to a swingers club. Perhaps a big reason I turned down that invitation in Romania was because of the cost. It would have had to pay something like €50 for entry, and that feels too much like paying for sex, which I’m not comfortable with at all.

    But then, AFF isn’t exactly free. And yet I feel okay forking out for membership there. Logically, I don’t think there’s much difference, but something about the swingers club still makes me feel uneasy.

    A lot of thoughts and feelings I still need to examine with regard to all this.

    • Great topic Niall,

      I’ve been struggling with this a little bit myself. Recently my wife and I with a couple we’re friends with ended up at a strip club one night.

      I’m not ashamed to say that I went, but it was certainly an eye opening experience, and at first I felt a bit like the vegan at the bullfight, since I’m not a fan of the body ideal that society pounds into us.

      That being said, I was happy to see many different body types in the women that were dancing at the club, and I found them all to be beautiful, each in their own stunning way.

      There is still the issue of the stip club itself, which brings up some of the same kinds of issues you brought up regarding the swingers club.

      Are strip clubs okay? Are they not okay? I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand it feels wrong to have a woman use her body and sexuality to earn money, and on the other hand, why is that wrong and bad? If it’s a choice they make willingly, if it’s something they choose to do, who am I to say that it’s wrong for women to do this?

      I’m still chewing on it.

    • Reading through that last comment, the first thing that strikes me is that you may be personally opposed to prostitution and swinger clubs (in the sense that you don’t mind others doing it but it isn’t your thing) because of the guarantee of sex. By engaging in either, you are essentially paying money for a service that you know you’ll receive, which maybe seems to make you feel sleazy. I don’t know what your view is on gambling, but the adult dating site seems like more of a gamble to me. You pay money and you may or may not receive what you’re looking for depending on how you go about it. I think it may be the risk factor that allows you to rationalize it; you pay money but it’s still down to you to make that experience successful, whereas it doesn’t take as much effort to engage a prostitute or swinger.

  2. There is nothing I do right now that I would be ashamed to admit, that maybe happened in the past and I realized that if I was ashamed was because I reproved it. There is not much I do that I would save to myself even if I know it’s gonna be criticized as long as I’m fine with it, I think there is a controversial rebel inside me… :D

    I can’t stand the secrecy, so I try to live my life in a way that if it were public I wouldn’t feel ashamed, although I guess all of us we have dark moments you’d rather don’t talk about… at least I have.

  3. Hey man, I feel the same way about strip clubs. Never been and I don’t really resonate with the energy. I think you are courageous for being so open about things, and I think that is what counts. You are wrapping your head around a large topic and depending on how you look at it, or how you structure the whole “if my life details were public, would be I okay with” sentence, the answer is different. It is contradictory only because there are so many ways to phrase it, and to look at the situation. I think more deeply there lies the question ‘do I accept…?’ – The blank can almost be filled in with anything. Shit man, I’m even having difficulty writing this comment lol. Either way, keeping exploring yourself, your surroundings, your desires, and your beliefs… and feel free to change your mind and contradict yourself as much as you want ;) Flexibility is important in that sense.

    p.s. That field of beautiful trees is awesome!

  4. Love it! I explore things I feel like exploring, and if my own biases come up while I’m doing it, or my fear of embarrassment or of the biases of others come up while I’m doing it, I let that feeling come up, feel it, and if it’s too strong, I don’t(can’t) do it.

    I have ego issues with dating sites, but not so strong that I don’t use them. I have an ego issue with prostitutes (to wit: If I have to pay for sex, I must not be worthy of receiving it for free…) which I haven’t overcome yet, but I’d like to, so I could hire prostitutes to make some fantasies come true :-)

    • Interesting. I’m not sure I’ll ever be willing to hire a prostitute. The fact that she wouldn’t be hooking up with me if not for the money would eat away at me. I’m pretty sure I need to feel that there’s genuine mutual respect and connection before I can enjoy any sexual experience.

      But that’s just me. I have friends who’ve hired prostitutes before and I don’t think any less of them for it.

  5. hey Niall,

    i’m a new subscriber to your blog, & only watched one of your videos for the first time with this post, so apologies if i’m not quite on your wavelength (yet) :-)

    i think you’ve correctly identified the two major influences over decisions like this: one’s own comfort level and limits, and the (usually) stifling influence of ‘Society’.

    everyone has limits, including under what circumstances they’ll get jiggy with someone else (or yourself!), from prudish or even celibate & ‘vanilla’ to totally ‘out there’ uninhibited &/or into extreme kink – and an enormous multi-dimensional spectrum between those extremes.

    And there’s the chilling effect born of concern for what other people will think of us for engaging in certain activities, and when it comes to sex most cultures &/or religions come jam packed with all sorts of rules, limits, taboos, etc.

    but those are two sides of the same coin. if you were brought up – as some are – that having multiple wives is not merely Normal, but is encouraged & ‘the more the better’, then living in a society where monogamy is the norm might feel rather constrictive! or maybe your natural instinct is to have just one wife, but your society keeps telling you you’re a lesser person for having such humble spousal aspirations! that’s just one example from the ‘other side’ to this question.

    ultimately everyone must find their own balance between what they’re comfortable with, and what they’re comfortable with the general public knowing about them. the two are most often not the same! secrecy is the common tool for breaking past societal norms – including sexual norms – for our own gratification and growth. it’s not until later that some arbitrary critical mass of “norm transgressors” is reached that society’s norms are openly shifted further forward, where yesterday’s deviants are today’s mediocrity.

    that level of secrecy is different for everyone, of course, and usually determined by the consequences of people of the wrong narrowmindedness finding out you like to be chained and whipped – would there be judgement and recrimination from friends or family, or employers, or blog supporters, if they found out you had a threesome/moresome with strangers in a strange land? would it matter? depends on the individual circumstances.

    but one thing’s for sure: pushing your boundaries in public as you are here helps others push theirs, too :)

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Anthony. You make some great points there. I think you’re absolutely right about how our upbringing shapes us. As I mentioned in the video, for instance, kissing in public is forbidden here in U.A.E., which seems utterly ridiculous to me, but not so to the people I’ve met who’ve been here a long time. To them, it’s just the way it is, no big deal.

      Also, thanks for that last remark. That’s what I’m aiming for ;-)

  6. Fair enough and I see your larger point (also am a fan of your blog), but I can come pretty close to giving you a 100% guarantee that you won’t find real connections or intimacy on a hook-up site. Actually, I think that even traditional dating sites like eHarmomy which claim to be for people looking for true love or whatever tend to attract a high proportion of emotionally unavailable people, because hiding behind a computer screen and trying to take all the work out of the process of meeting people is exactly what emotionally unavailable people like to do.

    Don’t mean to offend you and this is particularly a pet topic of mine that you were probably not intending to get into this much, but just wanted to share my thoughts. :)

    • I totally agree on this one!!

      That’s the main reason I won’t use a dating site – of what kind so ever- any more. Because, you need to search for the chemistry..

      I wanna see and feel the person in real, and then decide if there something hidden underneath, in stead of making an illusionairy picture in my head and then see that there’s nothing between us -even if there 100% like-mind-match and the last person on the earth..

      But maybe that’s a female point of view :-)

    • Thanks for sharing, Jennie. Definitely no offense taken.

      I’m sure that there are lots of emotionally unavailable people signed up to those dating sites, but I wonder if more of them are men than women?

      I suspect most guys sign up for such a thing because it’s a lot less scary to IM an attractive woman than it is to go try strike up a conversation with her in real life.

      For women though, I suspect the motivation is more that they don’t want to risk being considered slutty. An adult dating site allows them to broadcast their sexual desires without fear of judgement.

      That’s just a guess though. I may have a completely different take on it a few months from now!

  7. I joined one of those adult dating sites a couple of years ago. Would I admit this to the world? NO! I’m not ashamed of it but people judge girls who sleep with lots of guys. There is that huge double standard. I have told very few people how many lovers I have had because most would look down on me.

    The sex dating didn’t work out how I thought it would. I met up with a couple of guys but didn’t have sex with either of them. One had used a very old photo and had since gained a significant amount of weight. The other was cool, but it felt more like real dating, he wanted us to get to know each other first, we talked on the phone a lot before meeting etc… My friend who joined a traditional dating site had the opposite experience, most of those guys just wanted to sleep with her!

    Pick whatever site you use well… The one I used had hardly any females on it in comparison to the huge number of men. So I would literally get 40-50 emails a day (and that was with a very sparsely filled profile without a photo….).

  8. I don’t know about one thing. Yes, I feel free, also about sex.

    I make jokes about collecting nationalities that I “did” (don’t worry, I can still count the guys on two hands) in stead of the countries that I’ve been to (those, I can’t count on two hands).

    What happened to me 4 weeks ago; I came back from Rome and I met a guy on the plane. 3 hours later we were kissing, 5 hours later… well…he left next day. He was a free traveler aswell.

    He was the kind that I would like as a actual boyfriend, I realised. Because I’m not sure if I rather have a big list of nationalities, or I want a boyfriend to share everything with that I see ones every two or three months, as long as we leave each other free and respect the travel dreams. Because, I want to travel by myself.

    On the other hand. What will happen if I see one of the guys from my collection again? I am very weak in these things and probably I can’t say no to this guy.

    This thing is on my mind since a few months. I don’t know what to do with it.

    Oh and btw, in this comment I really don’t care to talk about it. I would put my mobile phone nr next to it. My close friends also know about these things, but that’s about how far I go! I’m blogging about it. And I am Dutch… ;-)

    • oh and i did blog on the most beautiful encounter I had -EVER-. Which this one was.
      I didn’t use the sex word, but I guess people can read it easily between the line.

  9. You know, you don’t have to report every single part of your life. Going to the swingers club and not telling the whole world about it (especially as it would be disrespectful to the couple that invited you) was a viable option. But hey – it was only an experience that you’d have remembered forever. Those are easy to come by, am I right?

    • I guess you missed the part I bolded: “I’m probably just worried what other people would think of me for going, but I see that as a sign that I’m not fully comfortable with the idea myself.”

      It’s not that I feel I have to report every single part of my life. It’s that I feel I should be willing to report every single part of it.

  10. Hey, Niall. Love the post. Both the fun and serious entwined beautifully. As a married father of four, I’m not going to go to the adult date site thing. Feel free to do so, if you want, however. I will, however, talk about the idea of the whole world knowing your every move.
    That for me is a wonderful way to gauge where you are at morally with an issue. Oh and in today’s world we frown on that moral stuff don’t we? Look I’m not talking about God, or the church. I’m talking about your soul – the thing that is at the very core of every individual (no matter what they believe). It’s the soul that guides us, so listening to that is always good. Go with it.
    And you are right about what would the world think. I read a book a few years ago that discussed that idea. The author suggested that if all we did – including what we earned – was open to everyone, then the world would be a better place. And I agree. That’s not to say people couldn’t join…oh I don’t know…an adult dating site or, jeepers creepers, go to a swing club, but it would certainly, in my view, alleviate the idea of folk being forced to follow paths they weren’t comfortable with.
    Now I know some reading this will think that’s invasive. Or what about privacy laws. Can I say that type of thinking is a result of the brainwashing we are all treated to in school and by society. This author (wish I could remember his name) is pushing us outside our comfort zone (a topic you’ve discussed many a time Niall) and asking to imagine.
    And in the end, that’s all I’m asking folk to do by sharing this with you.
    Best of luck with the adult date site (and the swinging, if you cahnge your mind)
    Stay safe man
    Stan

  11. I find it very cool that you are being very open and public about the thought process.

    While you might not actually be comfortable going to the swingers club, you certainly seem very comfortable communicating about the thought process, as well as open about the fact that you are / were considering it.

    A process with consistency and integrity is far more important than any individual outcome.

  12. Your honesty is quite inspiring!
    On the idea of living “publicly”: I’ve heard a similar idea before and have since mentally toyed with it on random occasions, however, I’ve never truly involved it my decision making processes as you have done. This is a step I’d like to take as well!
    I have found that it is important to be sure that one is asking the right question. For example, it’s easier to convince yourself that something isn’t wrong (“Is this wrong?”) than it is to convince yourself that something is right (“Is this the right thing to do?”). So perhaps the question I should ask myself is first, “Am I doing what is right?” and secondly, to check the honesty of my first answer, “Would I be ashamed if all the world knew?” The goal is not to feel justified by public opinion, but to do what You truly believe to be right.

    On the whole sex thing: You say that you don’t know why people put sex up on a pedestal or consider casual sex taboo, however, isn’t it worth considering that it could have been for an important reason? Of course, there is a chance that this rule was first made by old fuddy-duddies with no sex lives or sense of modernity – absolutely! But there is also an equal chance that it was to protect people from what casual sex will lead to. For your own sake, it would be wise to look into Both possibilites.

    • “The goal is not to feel justified by public opinion, but to do what You truly believe to be right.”

      Exactly, and I think how we feel about all our words and actions becoming public knowledge is a good indication of what we truly believe to be right.

      As for the second half of your comment…

      Definitely worth looking into both, I agree. I don’t think I have it all figured out here, not by a long shot. I intend to keep questioning my beliefs and testing my assumptions.

  13. Hey Niall – interesting point of view and brave to share. I agree with a previous comment about how sites like eharmony are also hot beds for sexual encounters. Sites in general are tricky because more often than not, there is no chemistry there and I think part of it is the lack of “surprise” and built in expectation.

    Maybe the thought of a swingers club bothers you because a lot of the patrons are in relationships (although purposefully pushing beyond the boundaries of that relationship).

    I also picture the environment in there to be sensory overload and potentially overwhelming as opposed to a one on one interaction. And there is also the added expectation that you will get busy right then and there. As opposed to meeting up for a coffee with someone from online and assessing the situation before diving in.

    I purposely waited a long time between sexual partners because I wanted to find meaning in the interaction (I get emotionally attached). That being said, I complained every day that the whole world was having more sex than me lol. And joked that I’d rather pay for sex where I felt I controlled the interaction, then get used by someone I actually had feelings for (I never did it though).

    Since you are travelling it is difficult to be monogamous. I guess try whatever out pressure free. Who knows? You may not even like the adult friend finder option, but if you are looking for casual sex, better to go to a place where you know the women are after the same thing than pushing for it in person and coming across as a d**che.

    PS it makes sense that someone with a non conventional life style would bring up less conventional sex exploits.

    • Thanks for the comment, Vanessa.

      “As opposed to meeting up for a coffee with someone from online and assessing the situation before diving in.”

      I think you’re spot on about that. Even with AFF, I wouldn’t want to just dive right into having sex with someone after only seeing their profile and exchanging a few emails. I’d need to at least have coffee or something with them first and make sure there was some real chemistry.

      “if you are looking for casual sex, better to go to a place where you know the women are after the same thing than pushing for it in person and coming across as a d**che.”

      My thoughts exactly!

  14. In my youth I was exploring and doing whatever I wanted to do – and yes, one-night stands and swinging were a part of my life. Looking back on my life, I’m very grateful to have been given the ability to see how shallow and personally unfulfilling the sexual flings and the encounters were.

    I have come to see great wisdom in honoring myself and my needs instead of giving into wants and desires. I now live and model my life deeply respectful of my body, mind, and spirit. I value deep connections and relationships with others based on mutual love and respect of self and other, for we are one.

  15. Still curious Niall as to why it’s the worlds business what you do with your own time? If you’re not causing harm to yourself or detriment to others, why should you be accountable to the wide world?

    • If I’m concerned about other people finding out about something I did or said, I take it as a telltale sign that I’m not fully comfortable with saying or doing that thing.

      So that question I ask isn’t to hold myself accountable to the world, but a way to make sure I’m staying true to myself.

  16. Hey Niall,

    It’s none of your business what other people think of you.

    Provided you like you and you are happy with yourself and can look yourself square in the eyes in the morning mirror then you’re doing just fine.

    As soon as you put other peoples opinions of you first or let them direct your decision making process at all then you have stopped being you and started being what you think they think you should be.

    Do what you want, if its fun, enjoy it, if its not then stop and let the rest of the world think whatever the hell it likes about it. It’s you life, not theirs and its not really anyone else’s business.

    • Hey.. lots of comments! Nice! :-)

      Are there things i do and say that i’d be ‘ashamed’ to admit publicly? No, not ashamed, but it’s just not anyone’s frakking business is all! I do NOT live my life by what other people think. Or at least i TRY not to! I live to please myself and live the way *i* want to live (as long as nobody is ever hurt.. that’s the foundation rule).. not the way close-minded people would have me live. Which is why, i suppose, i don’t bother admitting all and subjecting myself to small-minded ridicule (as you said). I just don’t feel the need to justify my life choices to these people. I’ve got much better things to do. Simple as that.

      I admire the fact that you DO want to live a life that you can share completely with us all though. Not what i could do (at this point in my life at least), but if that’s your way (at least for now.. we are ever changing)… all’s good! We have to be who we are!

      As for the Romanian Swingers Club… Geez… i’m the kind of person who wants to experience EVERYTHING there is in life to experience, at least ONCE (if i’m physically capable)! So hell yeah, i would have gone to the club, just to be able to say that i went to a Romanian Swingers Club! Lol. I’ve been a member at AFF for many years, so that’s just par for the course for me.

      And i agree with what commenter Andy Hawkins says. It’s none of ‘my’ business what others think of me…

      Well… so much for not admitting to the ‘private’ aspects of my life… just by commenting here! :-P Anyway, power to you, Niall!

      Amber.. the GypsyKat

      And i expect those bonus points for using my real name, deposited into my ‘cookie’ account…

  17. Oh, I like this last comment: “It’s none of your business what other people think of you.” (why would you pry into their thoughts, really :-) )
    Actually, I agree with this principle of integrity, Niall, but not exactly as you define it. It’s just one thing I have done things I’m still not completely comfortable with, i could at least try to change that, both the not-being-comfortable-with-the-past part and doing things differently in the future. Still, there are many things I am comfortable with, tat are no secrets at all, but i would definitely mind if all the world knew. It’s simply none of their business.

  18. First of all kudos on living your life publicly! I personally don’t live with regret and make choices based on my own inner barometer rather than focusing on approval-that being said I don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing everything with everyone. I suppose it’s more that one action can paint you in a light that isn’t accurate- and I hate being misunderstood. Some of it is also fear-a lot is actually. That you could be judged based on one action is frustrating to me and I would rather share with people who know me well enough to know I am more than just a choice or interaction. I admire your ability truly and it is something I am working towards. (oh and I think the dating site is awesome-not that you need to hear that ;)

  19. I love this topic :D

    I am actually probably (at least viewed as) the small minded one. So I actually tend to be the opposite… ashamed to be seen as a “goody two shoes”, which I don’t want to be either. I have some rather old fashioned, complicated views about sex yet am still “open”. Since I know I’m bisexual (..but haven’t explored it at all).. I have only been with three people! I don’t like modern day dating and hook up culture. But I’m not puritanical or religious either.. so its hard to peg me, and I don’t want to be viewed as someone backwards, not liberated, religious, super Christian (FAR from the truth), etc etc..

    I like how you gauge your comfort levels and always try to stay true to yourself though. That’s been a struggle for me for sure in the modern world :D

  20. Hey Niall,

    First off, wonderful post! It definitely pushes boundaries and so I enjoyed reading it. Forget about the ones who comment about not wanted to read about this topic. They can push the red “X” in the corner above.

    Secondly, I read an insightful article, about ashleymadison.com. It’s not the same as AFF, as it promotes having affairs, but it’s in the same realm. Also, you may find the same pricing structure at AFF when it comes to contacting another member — I don’t know.

    http://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/content/11_08/b4216060281516.htm

    • Wow, hadn’t heard about that site before. I’m in two minds about it. I do believe that if people are going to cheat, they’ll usually find a way. Like if someone wants to eat unhealthy, it doesn’t matter much if their local fast food restaurant gets shut down.

      I wouldn’t use a site like that myself though because I’d rather not connect with people who are going behind their partner’s backs, especially when it’s so premeditated.

  21. Niall, it’s cool that you’re the creator of the Courage Course, because you keep giving courage a good name.

    I’m definitely not at the level of self-comfort that I want to be. If all of my words/deeds became public knowledge, I would definitely soldier on (albeit uncomfortably). It’s funny because 99.99% of the people feel the same way. It takes a lot of courage to bridge that communication gap, and be more authentic when communicating.

    The next level of development is this: Would you be comfortable if the public knew about all of your thoughts on a daily basis? It’s creepy, but I have to throw it out there. That’s an ideal..100% self-assertion.

    • Just like Brad Blanton, right?

      :-)

      I wouldn’t be comfortable with everyone knowing all my thoughts, because I often think about some messed up stuff, and I figure it would be unfair to be judged on every little thing that popped into my head.

      I think ;-)

      Thanks for the comment, man.

  22. Hey Niall,

    What great synchronicity! I saw a great TED talk today on vulnerability and shame:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html

    What I found interesting was that Brené Brown clarified the difference between guilt and shame: Guilt is “I made a mistake”. Shame is “I am a mistake”. So would you have felt guilty or ashamed going to the Romanian Swingers Club?

    You’ve broken many personal barriers (yours and others’) by allowing yourself to be publicly vulnerable with virtually every post to your blog. Very impressive and inspiring. It’s a quality I admire greatly, though struggle with incorporating into my own life… because yes, shame is a barrier.

    AFF sounds like an interesting plan. If you try it and don’t like it, then no big deal. Personally I’d worry about the safety aspect of the whole deal, i.e., just be on the lookout for fake profiles or Nigerian Princes(ses) wanting your love, then your money (or vice versa). ;-)

    • Damn, Ilya. I had three emails from three different Nigerian Princesses on AFF and was feeling like a stud. Now you’ve gone and made me question their intentions :-P

      Great question about guilt vs. shame. I like to think I would have felt only guilt at the swingers club, but I’m not sure.

      Thanks for sharing that.

  23. Hi, Niall,
    I didn’t post here originally because I’m not willing to use my real name, but when I read about your low counts for March, I thought I’d help out.
    I actually came across your blog from a post on fetlife.com. It was in a feminism forum, and the poster was taking you to task for your post about the woman who presented herself as invulnerable. The poster saw it as sexist that you would expect a woman to open up immediately, but I didn’t read your post that way at all. I subscribed to your blog and have really enjoyed reading it.
    About sex, my husband and I, after over 14 years of monogamy, opened our marriage a few months ago. It hasn’t been the orgy/porn-fest one might assume, but we’ve each had a few experiences of very different kinds, with different lessons learned, and it’s actually brought us closer. For me, it’s been a real journey of discovering who I am sexually if I’m not constrained by society’s values, or really, what I project as society’s values. Even the kink “society.” While I’m obviously outside the norm, “outside the norm” is a broad spectrum, and I’ve had to resist trying to prove I’m _super_ sexually adventurous. I still have interests and limits that make up my own sexual “fingerprint” and are not completely in sync even with most people on fetlife, or swingers, or [insert monolithic group label here].
    I choose not to disclose this journey to anyone, even my friends, because there is a lot of prejudice against and misunderstanding about swinging (even reflected in some comments here), open relationships, polyamory, kink and just human sexuality in general, especially in the US. As Dan Savage says, Canada got the French, Australia got the prisoners and the US got the Puritans. At the same time, it’s not like sites like fetlife are banned in the US. No one’s storming the closet, yanking us out and stoning us to death. If Rick Santorum is elected president that might change, but that’s a whole other post.
    Everyone negotiates their own sexuality, sexual values and sexual expression and does it within the context of their culture and social circles. For me, I just want to do it consciously. I always keep in mind the anarchists’ saying “You’re not as free as you think,” and I try to evaluate whether my actions are truly my own choice or shaped by forces I either haven’t thought about or am trying to ignore out of laziness or fear.
    If you’re really ready to challenge your own sexual beliefs, read “Sex At Dawn.” I don’t recommend that book lightly. For me it was incredibly disruptive. It made me realize that women are often the staunchest defenders of monogamy (and I included myself in that group), but the concept of monogamy was actually created thousands of years ago to keep female sexuality in check. Ultimately, it’s been a good thing to be freed of that thinking, but ask yourself if you’re really prepared to disrupt your beliefs, especially if you’re committed to monogamy, because it isn’t an easy journey. Then again, if you’re reading this blog (…or writing it…), you might welcome disruption. Either way, I wish an enjoyable and constructive sexual journey to everyone.

    • Wow. Fantastic comment. I love hearing from people who’ve actually had experience with this stuff, so thanks a mil for sharing that.

      The book you mention sounds interesting. I’m actually not sold on monogamy by any means, so I welcome other takes on romantic relationships.

      And I had no idea that I was being labeled sexist over at that other site you mention. As I alluded to in the comments of the original post, I changed the sex of the person I wrote about to help conceal his/her identity. The point I was trying to make had nothing at all to do with gender, but it seems some folks read too far into it.

      I’m glad for the controversy though, since it brought you here :-)

      • I probably emphasized the sexist part too much. It was one person in a small forum and I think she even commented later on that she had re-read your post and changed her mind. My point was more that I had found you through fetlife, which means that people who are on fetlife are reading you.

        As Andy Warhol said, “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.” Even “bad” publicity can get you a loyal following!

  24. Hi Niall!

    I loved this post, which is becoming a norm ;)

    I too have to conceal my identity here, not because of social pressure, but because my wife and I used to be on this lifestyle and now that we’re not, she doesn’t want anybody to know we were. I don’t really care, but I have to respect her privacy.

    That being said, I really miss that lifestyle.
    Just as shygrrl above mentions, opening your sexuality is a self-discovering journey and I would have thought that you of all people would be willing to try it. Then again, you have to be sure that you’re comfortable with the idea, so it was better that you didn’t :)

    And what I miss most is the honesty, the respectful environment, being able to speak your mind, and be sure nobody was judging you.
    Imagine an environment where everything is open, where all the barriers are down, where there’s no point on faking yourself because you’re already accepted. An environment where your fantasies can actually become true.

    That, and of course the highly sexually charged environment. I loved it. Everybody teases, and everybody loves being teased. It was hedonistic.

    I actually got to fulfill one of my wildest fantasies once, where I did things I never imagined I would do, and others I didn’t think possible.

    Now, sexuality aside, I have to say that for some reason putting myself public has never been an issue. Early in my teenage years, I used to hear a psychiatrist on the radio, who was himself very different. Very different and very wise.
    He once said to one of his callers “Hey man, if you can’t accept yourself as you are, who will?… You’re gay?, great! you’re not? great! you like older women? great! you have a foot fetish? great! we all have our things, just accept the way you are, and you’ll be happier”
    This simple statement made a huge difference in my life. I used to believe something was wrong with me because I liked weird stuff…. I loved (and still do) masturbation, love porn, love nightlife, love women, love thinking, love reading…. All together made a over-sexed-nerd. That was me, and I used to hate that guy.
    Right after I heard him, I looked back at myself and say “hey! its the way you are, you’re unique, not weird”.

    So, that’s why ever since I didn’t have a problem with being public. If somebody points something weird on me, it actually like it! I take it as a compliment, because it makes me who I am, and I love myself.
    They may point a integrity failure. I also thank that, because gives me the chance to analyze it and correct it if needed.
    It’s like you say: It’s OK not to know. It’s OK to be mistaken. Its all part of the process, right?

    Now, shygrrl mentioned Polyamory, which is something I’ve been looking into, and I’ve had the curiosity, but haven’t really had the chance to try it. I might :D

    I don’t like the discounted points for not speaking on my own name, but I have to be respectful of my wife ;)

    And just by the way I write, you might suspect who I am ;)

    I’m open to questions and comments, if you have them. And sorry for taking so much of your precious time with my long comment!

    Cheers!

    • Comment much appreciated! I love that message of accepting all your quirks, while at the same time being open to examining any inconsistencies in your thoughts and actions.

      I’m interested in hearing more about the “respectful environment” you mention. So I take it there weren’t a lot of people there just trying to get their rocks off with any random piece of flesh, but lots of emotionally mature people looking to connect sexually without having to worry about negative labels. Am I close?

  25. Hi Niall!

    Yes, accepting myself with flaws and all, was one of my most transcendent realizations ever.

    And yeah, most people were always very respectful. Its implicit that everybody is there by choice, and to do what they please, but there’s a cardinal rule: NO means NO. No explanation needed, no harsh feelings. Worked really well most of the time, but as with everything, there’s always a few rotten apples. They would be noticed fast, and pointed in the right direction (attitude).

    Every event we attended was in nice places, and you’re prompted to “dress to impress” so people looked always good, tasty, elegant, not sleazy as one might think.

    So yes, you’re right, most people are there to be able to be honest about sex. They are there to connect sexually not just to actually have sex. Sure, if the mood was right and the couple was nice, there’s always that chance, but lets say that you’ll have sex 20% of the times you attend such events.

    Mostly was just the freedom to be able to say stuff like “You’re wife is fuckin hot man” (said by wifes and husbands alike), and being surrounded by a sexually charged environment. Every once in a while a girl or group of girls offered a pole dance just for the viewers enjoyment, or dance in the bar, or just flashing her boobs…. Even the girl that loved to change clothes there and be as sexy as she wanted to be, with no worry of anyone labeling or trying something improper. In there, you could be as naughty as you wanted, and you were part of the same society, one with no judgment, with no labels, with acceptance of our sexual desires.

    It was a very close guess, and you were very lucky I must say. Single guys are never invited to swinger clubs, parties, events, nothing. A single guy is a lonely guy, and the very VERY few that actually are in the lifestyle, know some of the couples and have proven himself worthy of the invitation.

    I hope next time you have that chance (I sense it probably won’t happen any time soon) you actually go, and experience by yourself. You would be able to confirm how respectful really is. And how fun!.

    By the way, there’s a LOT of people in the lifestyle. You’d be surprised how many people is involved in that sexual freedom. When I was there, I calculated 30% of the population was inclined to that lifestyle, even if they weren’t in the same circles than me.

    Let me know if its the answer you wanted or if you want more :)

    Cheers!

  26. Just a note here for the women: Dan Savage writes (in his column and in his book “Skipping Towards Gomorrah”) and speaks (in his podcast) about the swinger lifestyle, as he observed it, being a matriarchy. (Straight) Swinging won’t work if women aren’t comfortable, because if they aren’t comfortable they won’t show up, and they’re a key part of the equation! As a woman, safety and the ability to say no are important to me. We haven’t gone to an event yet, but it’s on our “to do” list, and I’m looking forward to it.

    I write this because a woman commented above what she assumed swinging would be like. It’s a common assumption, by both men and women, and I admit that I do had that misconception. Swingers are well aware of their negative image in the mainstream, which is probably why FormerSw’s wife doesn’t want to be public about it. Kudos to him for respecting her wishes.

    BTW, Savage, who is a gay man, says of the closet that most swingers stay in: relationships are public, which is why gay people need to come out of the closet, but sex is private, and people have a right _not_ to know what you do on your own time. I have little to no interest in the details of my friends’ and co-workers’ sex lives, kinky or vanilla, normative or alternative.

    Polyamory, since it’s more focused on relationships, might be a tough call, closet-wise. It would depend on whether you wanted to bring all your partners to the family reunion. Not many people out there with the courage or desire to do that, but for those polyamorists that do want to come out of the closet, more power to them. They’re currently very poorly represented by a few criminal religious sect leaders who are polygamists, not polyamorists. The law-abiding, non-child-molesting, hard-working folk out there who also happen to be polyamorists could use some better press.

  27. Hi Niall, how about a post summing up your experience (not necessarily going into too much detail) and what you think now of an adult dating site?

    • Hey JB,

      I think they’re fine if you’re mostly looking for sex and would rather not get it via a business transaction. I don’t use them anymore. Didn’t have much success on there while in India/Nepal, and then I haven’t really had need here in Thailand since the dating scene is a lot easier.

      Also, I worry that using a site like that lets me off the hook. That is, if I want sex and I’m using an adult dating site, I don’t have to go flirt with girls in real life and exercise my courage muscles to do so. I might get laid more, but at the expense of not developing my social skills.