My vanilla (non-lifestyle) friends often inquire about why I would consider being a part of the swinging lifestyle community. I get questions about being involved in a lifestyle where my wife has sex with whomever she wants. And I get to have sex with whoever I want, right? Wrong. This line of questioning lets me know their minds are stuck on the stereotypical ‘swinger.’ There is so much more to it than sex. The lifestyle of consensual non-monogamy is not JUST about sex; this is such a common misconception.
To me, the open marriage concept is about sexual and social connections between people. This connection for me begins with my wife and goes from there. The relationship my wife and I have is the focal point of our open experiences. Our sexual exploration enhances our connection and builds our bond.
Not all occasions in the lifestyle are sexual. It’s about building relationships with friends regardless of their sexual preferences, likes, and dislikes. Once you get past the predisposed sexual stereotype of the lifestyle, you can observe the depth of the swinging community is far beyond just sex.
One of my awakenings in the lifestyle came from being fully aware of my insecurities. When we first dabbled in the lifestyle, my insecurities were at the forefront of my mind and grew within me like a fire. I didn’t even realize I was insecure about some of the things coming into my mind. You would think being involved in the sexual realm of experiences involved with ethical non-monogamy, my mind would have been just focused on sex. There was no way to predict how our experiences in an open marriage would change us and our relationship for the better. Just like with most things in life, you have to face your insecurities straight on in the lifestyle. My wife listened to me and talked with me about them, and I found that openly talking about them put my mind at ease. It was like a mental release.
At the beginning of our marriage, we were both slightly jealous. I saw my wife as a sexy, intelligent overachiever compared to me. So why on earth would I even consider the thought of her sleeping with other men with my underlying insecurities? Especially if she wanted to! What was wrong with me? Was I not enough?
I quickly came to the understanding that sex was sex. My genuine concern with my wife was being replaced emotionally. Our conversations post experiences opened up a new chapter in our marital and lifestyle journey. We started talking about our feelings and thoughts more than we had in the previous six years of our relationship. I think the biggest thing that I learned from the lifestyle is that I can be completely honest with my wife and the same for her with me. Let’s be honest; once the topic of having sex with other people comes up, you can talk about anything in the world!
The open relationship concept isn’t for everyone. Your relationship should be intact; trust and loyalty need to be strong and not damaged. You need to be prepared to speak about your feelings, concerns, and especially your insecurities. Without appropriate communication with your partner, you can’t have a successful journey into the lifestyle.
The benefit that we have experienced is a newfound trust established, unlike before—a deeper love and appreciation for each other and an openness that is indescribable. I get excited when I get to experience something new, and I love watching my wife be pleased.
So even if you don’t take the plunge into the lifestyle, work on being open and honest with your partner about everything, especially sex. Work your way toward opening up about your fantasies, find a safe place with each other. You will learn more about your partner than you ever knew before. It’s the same feeling as when you were first dating, and it’s all very new and exciting. Find your kinks and excitement together. After all, a couple that plays together stays together!