I’ve never considered myself a swinger. I like to call myself a ‘people person.’To me, swinging is old school ’70s porn where everybody puts their car keys into a fish bowl. I just like going to parties and playing with people who don’t have hang-ups about sex, sexuality or their bodies. Some of my friends ask me when am I going to grow up, they think it’s a phase I’m going through. People who do it regularly call it the lifestyle, because that’s what it is. I started swinging in my mid twenties when a girlfriend and I had a threesome and then another threesome and then another and then it became pretty common to have a threesome every few months. Then I graduated to erotic dance parties like the Sensual Ball, where we would go, meet other couples and then take them back to our hotel room. The next level was going to swinger’s clubs like Our Secret Spot, Killing Kittens and private parties, where anywhere from 20-50 couples play. One New Year’s Eve I remember seeing about 100 people naked and spread across three floors of a terrace house. It didn’t matter where you looked, there were people everywhere, undressed and engaging in sexual encounters. When I’m sitting at work on a Monday morning and everybody is talking about their kids’ weekend sport or family barbecues, I just sit and grin, knowing that I had sex with random strangers, most whose names I will never know and will probably never see again. It’s my own naughty little secret that I can replay over and over in my mind. Traditional marriage was never for me. I have friends whose routine every Saturday night is eat take away Chinese, drink a few beers, and then get into the missionary position. I could never do that for 20-plus years. It’s an anathema for me. I’ve learnt a lot about relationships being in the lifestyle. Everybody likes sex, you can have sex with someone while being in love with another person. If you think you can’t, that’s just your insecurities speaking. Sex and love are two completely different things and they shouldn’t be confused. I’ve also learnt of the hypocrisy within so many relationships. The number of affairs that go on is mind boggling. If you think that your partner is never attracted to or looks at another person you’re kidding yourself. I’ve seen so many people cheating on their partners outside of the lifestyle. Affairs hurt people, trust has been broken, lies have been told. The real hypocrisy is society’s attitude. We read about affairs every day in trashy magazines, there’s even websites set up to allow you to have an affair, but swinging or the lifestyle is frowned upon. Which one is worse? Two people lying to their spouses and having a secret rendezvous in a cheap motel, or a room full of consenting adults giving each other pleasure? In the swingers lifestyle there are no lies. People in the lifestyle don’t need to cheat or lie. If we want to have sex with another person we do it in front of our spouse. It’s promiscuity with permission. It’s not cheating if their husband watches. Some of the strongest relationships I have seen are couples in the lifestyle. If you can really talk to your partner about what you want in the bedroom or what another person did to you, then telling them that you don’t like that dress/suit/movie is no big deal. The word ‘compersion’ is the opposite of jealousy. It means getting joy from your partner’s joy; watching your partner enjoy having sex with another person and being happy that they’re happy. Once you’ve chased away the ghosts of relationships past you can get over your insecurities and jealousies and start to experience compersion. Even though it sounds very debauched and hedonistic (and it can be), there are still rules within the lifestyle: No means no. If someone says no thanks, you had better respect it. If you try again, you’ll be getting on everyone’s nerves, if you try a third time you will be asked to leave. No single males. Most parties, clubs and venues don’t allow single males, only couples and single women. This allows the women to chat and get to know each other before giving the nod for their men to play or swap with each other. Women call the shots. It’s usually the women who will break the ice and start chatting to each other first or they will approach the man first. I’ve had many women come up and ask my partner if they can kiss/fondle/blow me etc. Never the other way around. Safe sex always. Swingers are probably the safest people when it comes to sex. Most of my female friends don’t practice safe sex when they pick up a random at the pub, either because they are drunk, can’t be bothered or are in a rush. If you’re about to sleep with another woman and her husband’s watching, you bet he’s going to want you wearing a condom. Each club and party has their own specific rules – like couples must stay in the same room when playing, when one half leaves they both must leave together, etc. but it all depends on the hosts on the night. The only negative I have with the lifestyle is how addictive it becomes. After a few threesomes you move onto foursomes, then moresomes, and then just like a drug you want your next experience to be bigger and hotter than your last. You just want to keep pushing the envelope to get the next rush. I’m not sure if it’s adrenaline, dopamine or prolactin, but it feels amazing.