I've always thought that marriage or a serious relationship consisted of two individuals. Person A meets Person B. They court, they get married, they have 2.5 kids, and they buy a house with a white picket fence. Standard. Traditional. Boring?
These have been the values that have been instilled in me since I was young. Growing up, I pretty much thought that this is just the way it goes. Until I visited Hedonism, a clothing-optional resort in Negril, Jamaica. It opened my eyes to what seemed to be a secret society that everyone at this resort knew about but me. It's a lifestyle -- a swingers lifestyle.
Now let me be clear here, not everyone who goes to Hedonism is a swinger. Some people are just there because they like being nude, and some are there just to kinda see what it's like (yeah I'm in this group here). But the most common phrase that I heard over the course of my stay was, "Are you in the lifestyle?" Thank God I had already met the cutest swinger couple while I was in the ocean, so I knew what they meant when they asked me that. I met Jenny and Ken while I was frolicking in the ocean on the nude side at Hedonism. We chatted for a bit and they confessed that they were swingers. Jenny quickly followed up with "Oh but we're moderate, we're not that heavy into the lifestyle." Apparently, there are levels to this. I’m no expert on the subject, but I learned from Jenny and Ken that some people are moderate swingers who go with the flow; and there are hardcore swingers who do things like host swinger parties, have long-term relationships with people that they swing with, and have swinger dating profiles set up so they can meet other swingers.
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Jenny and Ken brought me over to the pool to meet their friends Mark, Marie and Nicole. They are self confessed hardcore swingers. Actually, when I met Nicole she was in a bit of a compromising position. She was kinda serving up a little fellatio. When I got over the shock of seeing it right in front of me, I inquired if that was her husband. It turns out that it wasn't. The gentleman's wife was sitting next to them watching! Yes...you read that correctly. For me, I'm just not sure how cool I'd be with that. (Read as: I wish a heifer would try that with my partner!) Although I am coming from a place of non-judgment, I do struggle with this. I don't know how to detach my feelings for my partner and watch them perform sexual acts with other people right in front of me. What if she does it better than me? What if my partner gets too into it? Will I ever satisfy him after that experience? I mean, if he moans just a bit too loud, I'm gonna be upset for at least a week! I'd like to think that I would be enough for my partner. But is that a selfish way of thinking? When I asked about the jealousy aspect of it, they explained that there is rarely any jealousy because they get off in seeing their partner enjoy themselves. Man, they’re selfless...cause I just don't know if I could do it.
But apparently, there are unwritten rules to swinging, one of which is the woman rules. If at any point the woman is not comfortable in any given situation, it stops. Later during the trip, Nicole and I had a little chat while we were hanging out at the foam party. (We both decided not to go in because my awkward self would most likely be the one to take one step in and fall flat on my backside.) She was telling me that she has a husband and a boyfriend. (Interesting...very very interesting.) Her husband has met her boyfriend, they've gone out for meals together and her husband is fine with her having sex with him as long as it stays just that, sex. No relationship. No emotional intimacy. Just sex. Her husband is also allowed to have sex with other women. She told me about one lady he had sex with who started to text him afterwards to talk like she wanted to form a relationship with him. So, Nicole quickly put an end to that relationship.
One of the most important things about the swinger lifestyle is communication and respect. At the end of the day, you want your partner to be happy, and you've come to the realization that maybe having sex with the same person for the rest of your life isn't what you want life to look like for you. If you eliminate the need to cheat (realistically, that is one of the major reasons for a breakdown of a marriage) and instead have an open relationship with your partner, in which you both respect each other enough to be honest and understand that you might get fulfillment from someone else that you don't necessarily get at home...uhmmm, I think you could be in a modern day marriage?
I did see some couples who were happy to just play with themselves (well it looked like it, who knows what they were doing after hours)/ But believe me when I say I saw couples there, age 60+, pleasuring each other for all to see. Like your parents...maybe even some of your grandparents!!! One couple I met tells their family that they're gone to Sandals every year, meanwhile, they're actually at Hedo!
I think being surrounded by so much open sexuality, people are more open to being daring and try new things with their partners. For instance, there's a playroom there. You can only enter the playroom if you are a couple. If you are single, a couple has to invite you in. The playroom is the spa by day, and at night it's transformed into a darkly lit open space. And I really mean open. There are about 8 beds scattered around. When you enter you can either watch other couples, be watched, participate with your partner, or join in with other couples. When people think of swingers, I'm pretty sure they think of Bambis and Ambers. Nah. There are a lot of Barbara's and Susan's (no offence to any Barbara's and Susan's...I'm sure you are very lovely people). What I mean is that there are regular everyday people who are swinging and having sexy time in public. They are your teachers, pharmacists, podiatrists. I'm telling you, it really is a little secret society. And it's like an unwritten rule, they don't talk about it with outsiders. (I got the juice because I told them I'm a blogger and wanted to know how it all works.) It could be possible that traditional marriages or relationships are a thing of the past. This lifestyle isn't for everyone, but it's working for a lot more people than we'd expect.
I have never seen such happy couples in my life. I've gone to resorts and watched people at dinner. They quietly eat their food, never exchanging words with one another. The experience st Hedo was totally different. Couples were laughing, dancing, and staring into each other's eyes with passion. One couple performed the main dance from the movie Dirty Dancing on talent show night. I swear the man was about 70, and his wife was maybe in her fifties. I was low key waiting to see if they did the big lift at the end because he for sure would have blown out his back! But alas, they did everything but the lift.
It was actually a little surreal. Not only were all the couples happy, everyone at the resort was happy. Everyone that walked past you, greeted you. I was there by myself, and every night that I went for dinner I was invited into a conversation so I wouldn't be alone. People were just genuinely loving life. I saw women in their 80s show up to dinner in their thong costumes for leather and lace night and I saw their husbands/partners doting over them.
Do I think the swinger lifestyle is for me? Noooo...probably not. As exciting as the lifestyle might seem, I find it hard to get past how unhygienic (for lack of a better word) the lifestyle can be. I know I know, you guys probably would like me to be more like Debbie Does Dallas, and a little less Debbie Downer, but it needs to be said. What about STIs? I can't be the only one who's thought about this. Yes, I saw the use of condoms, but I also saw a lot of oral pleasure with many different partners. I could be a little confused here, but uhmmmm, are you not still swapping fluids? I admire those people who can just throw caution to the wind, but my mind just doesn't work like that. It never relaxes and goes with the flow. I've already put a lot of thought into where I'll shelter my pension when I finally retire....you know, 25 years from now!!!
So, the swinger lifestyle might not be for me. But, I pass no judgment on those who choose to partake. They chose a life of happiness for themselves rather than a life that society has chosen for them. But what I will say is this, I have now updated my new relationship goals. Walking hand-in-hand with my love at 80 will no longer cut it. I mean, if we can't do the rumba in matching assless leather pants, he might not be the one for me! Ha! I don't want to necessarily visit family on all holidays. I wanna be 80 and feel confident enough to walk around nude with my man. I wanna make love in public (and show some of them youngins how to really drop it like it's hot). I just don't want to be confined in a box of other people's expectations. I want to be free and to love freely. No labels attached. Creating my own love story, on my own terms.