Cyber Swing/Polyamory Resource Center
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
“Steve and Betty’s further adventures”
Summary: Wonderful true story of couple opening up and wife's fear of being bisexual and fear of first time going to a swing club, her panic attack in the parking lot, overcoming the fear and having a wonderful time. This continues their story shared publicly in the hopes of helping other couples. The first part from September 2005 was "How Level 1 saved my marriage and my life" referring to HAI workshops at http://www.libchrist.com/background/ExperienceSept05.html
So my wife and I had previously completed HAI level 1 and 2, and had a whole
new toolset for relating to each other. You can find out more about that in a
different article on this site http://www.libchrist.com/background/ExperienceSept05.html
Still, something wasn’t clicking. Don’t get me wrong here, HAI made a huge improvement in our lives; it’s just that something was still missing somehow.
We talked, argued some, and explored a bit. I came to realize that my wife was at least a little bit bisexual. The thing that surprised me the most was that this didn’t bother me.
At level 2, the possibility of her having sex, and even falling in love with a man that she met at the workshop had already come up, and I’d gotten through that ok. It wasn’t anything that I was afraid of, or jealous about, in fact I was happy for her, and actively encouraged it. When I looked at this situation, I saw that it was really the same thing, she was looking for something new, or something different, and it sure wasn’t going to be something that I could provide for her. Wrong plumbing..
We went through a long period of uncertainty, where she would deny being bisexual, and then say something like how worried she was that someone might find out. So I knew that she had been thinking about it, and that in her heart, she knew she was bisexual.
The question for me became how to allow her to realize that. Writing this here has just led me to another realization, that I never once had the thought in either case, NOT to allow these other relationships. I know that other people wouldn’t feel this way, but I just can’t think that way. After thinking it through, I knew that I didn’t have a problem with it, whether it meant casual relationships for fun, or a serious long term relationship. I have found in myself, due to the event at L2, the openness to a polyamorous relationship. If another man in our lives didn’t bother me, then why should another woman bother me? I thought about it a lot, and I find that it just doesn’t bother me. Now I do make some assumptions here, that we would all be equal partners, and that we are all reasonably attracted to each other. Getting the mechanics of living together that way might be interesting, but I’m treating that as a separate problem.
Her revelations faced me with a couple of problems at this point. First, that she was still in denial with herself. I’ve lived with this woman for 29 years, and I know her well enough to see a “yes” hiding behind a “no”. She went through a lot of conflict, thinking that being attracted to other women was “wrong”, “bad”, etc etc etc. In order for her to get past this, I’d have to let her see for herself that bisexuality is actually not uncommon, and that there’s really nothing wrong with it.
The second problem was that she is by nature, a worrier, and rather timid. Left to her own devices, she would likely never find the courage to get over her fears. HAI teaches that there is no gain without risk, but sometimes the risks can seem far larger than they really are. As her friend, lover, and husband, I could see that this was the case for her.
The third one was more interesting. I had told her that I was ok with her being bisexual, and that it was ok with me if she wanted to pursue other relationships, I love her, and I want her to be happy. Surprisingly to me, this led her to think for a while, that I didn’t care about her. She saw the willingness to let her play or have other relationships as not wanting her. Nothing could be further from the truth, but that’s how she saw it.
A year ago, more or less, about the time that I ran into HAI on the web, I also became aware of the existence of a swinger’s club in our town. As it turns out, it’s only a few blocks away! I’d been on the local newspaper’s discussion forum when they broke an article about it that astonishingly made international news! We live in a small town, and I wouldn’t have thought it was THAT big a deal, but I saw it in papers as far out as New Delhi and Australia. This of course ignited a firestorm in the forums. For my part, I was holding a tolerant line. I have never understood how people can be so judgmental, and demand that everyone else make exactly the same choices in life that they do. The debate became extremely polarized and heated, with one self-proclaimed “Christian” saying to the club members, “I hope you all catch aids and die”… WWJD indeed. Other people were more polite, but on the whole, the declared “Christians” displayed what in my opinion were very un-Christian attitudes, rank ignorance, and bigotry. On the other side of the debate, I saw one rather brave lady in particular speak up as a member of the club. Her posts were always well spoken, well reasoned, and tolerant, even of those who had expressed such intolerance toward her. We discussed things there on the board, and in private chat. Eventually, I joined the swing club’s yahoo group, and found that everyone I talked to was of the same caliber. Some not as eloquent, but I knew instinctively which group I wanted to hang out with.
On getting to know some of the folks from the club, I realized that some of the women were openly bisexual, and that there was some experience here that I could learn from. Over time, I started talking online with a few of these ladies. Their advice was all generally the same, that I should be supportive, not to push too hard, and that time would be required for her to get in touch with this side of herself. I also realized that a swing club might be a very good opportunity for her to meet other bi women, and explore that side of herself, with no emotional expectations.
Well, a lot more discussion ensued, and about two weeks ago, I proposed that we go visit this club. She was very much opposed to the idea, and basically said that she wouldn’t be caught dead there, etc etc. But, the pressures were still in place. By last week Friday, she had agreed to go, but when we got there, she had a panic attack in the car, and backed out literally in the parking lot of the club. (I hear that happens a lot). Well, more discussion over the week, and I did actually get her into an online chat with one of the ladies from the club. We addressed a lot of her concerns and fears, but she was still pretty nervous about it. Friday rolled around again, and I again suggested that we go out for dinner, and then visit the club. She agreed to try it again, setting some conditions that basically equate to what is called “Soft-Swing”. So we once more rolled up to the place. We got out of the car, and as we were walking up to the doors, the crisis hit her again. She said weakly “I can’t”, and started to go back to the car, but I gently took her hand, and told her that it would be ok, and opened the door.
At this point, an amazing transition happened. As I started the membership process at the front desk, I could SEE the tension melting away from her. The fellow at the desk was friendly, professional, and just seemed to radiate calm. By the time we were ready for the tour, she was almost completely relaxed! I don’t know what she was afraid of, and she says that she doesn’t know either, but whatever it was turned out to be some relation to that monster we’ve all had in our closets as children. Turning on the light always makes them disappear. We did the tour, and then started getting comfortable.
I should say at this point, that I wasn’t without my own fears in this situation, but I knew they were groundless. I didn’t have much trouble telling them “thank you, now go away”.
We sat for a while and people-watched, we shot some pool, (I enjoy pool, but I suck at it). We chatted with some of the members, and things went pretty darned well.
Part of the tour was to explain about all the different rooms they have, and what was allowed. One thing that you notice pretty fast, is all the signs, frequent reminders that “NO MEANS NO”. Our guide repeated this many times. Not really needed for us as HAI folk, but it was reassuring to her to see that these people play by the same rules, and that they didn’t just pay lip service to it, they MEANT it.
One of the rules that HAI and the swing club have in common, is “What happens here, stays here”, and so I won’t detail anything further about our first visit. We had a great time, and we will be back next week, and next week, and next week…. My wife is now comfortable with the place, and so am I. We met some wonderful people, and I was able to introduce her to most of the ladies that I’d been chatting to, who gave me such good advice from a perspective I never would have had otherwise.
Now you might think that I would have some ‘splaining to do, as I was introducing my wife to these women from a swinger’s club, which I’ve been chatting to online for some time, but that simply wasn’t an issue. She was glad of it, and glad to meet them.
There was, in the end, one hazard that nobody warned us about though, and it should be clearly pointed out to new members. After spending about six hours there on the first night, we had to leave because of some early morning commitments. When we got home though, we launched into some pretty amazing sex again. I ended up only getting about half an hour’s sleep that night… But now my face hurts! I haven’t smiled this much in a LONG time!! Prospective members should definitely be warned. Face muscle cramps are a definite possibility.
Now at this point, I have to say that joining a swing club, and becoming swingers is not something that I am doing JUST for my wife’s good. I freely admit that I’m intending to play and explore too. Why the hell not? SEX IS FUN! Intimacy is wonderful! And on the whole, more is better. It’s really nice that we have this option to explore things together and separately, and not have to resort to cheating and lying, which would be slow poison to any relationship.
Now that we’re members, I think that nature will take it’s course, and she will find out where her passions are. I’m not worried in the slightest about her running off with anyone, and I’m not feeling like I’m in competition with anyone over her. I’m proud to stand by my wife as two free adults, who choose to be life partners, without “owning” each other. Jealousy may yet rear it’s ugly head, but we’ve seen no sign of it yet, and if it does show up, I think I have my sword ready.
This lifestyle is definitely not for everyone. But then again, I can’t stand Nascar, and you couldn’t pay me enough to watch boxing matches. But I’m not going to tell you that YOU shouldn’t do that, if that’s what you enjoy.
As a footnote, we’ve also discovered the local Unitarian Universalist church, a GLBT friendly organization, and we are enjoying that a lot too. Religion without bigotry and intolerance! What’s next?
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