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A friend of mine has been married for more than 30 years.  Naturally, one may ask what’s his secret. Well, he has many. Too many to count or remember in fact. Of those 30 years, he has been faithful for less than one. He describes these countless acts and urges as an infliction, one for which he feels no remorse and has no intention to desist. Of the countless women he has fallen in and out of love with, fucked, shared, and/or made love to, he has never spent a night outside of his home.

As a friend, this man is truly kind and one of the most loyal friends anyone could ask for. I can only imagine the candor he upholds as a father and a husband. Though I am at constant moral odds with his lifestyle, I love and respect him dearly. Recently, he asked that I join him at a local Swingers Club. He, a girlfriend of his (your run of the mill 21 year old slattern), a coworker, and I conceded to meet at this club. It had been all except my associates first time. The coworker showed up to my home in a wig and pronounced that she would be known as “Monica” for the remainder of the night.

We arrived, cloaked in discomposure and mild conceit. As we stood in a short line waiting to go in, the paranoia that someone may recognize us set in. That was easily mulled over by ideas of camaraderie and a possible kindred of shame. I thought if I’m asked, “What are you doing here?” Then I could simply ask the same. After some formality ‘Monica’ and I entered a dimly lit dance floor. We were allowed to bring our own liquor (some to-do about a license)  and we drank generously. Soon, we became enamored enough that watching our friend devour his ‘girlfriend’s’ privates didn’t appear out of place. The club walls were laced with pornography. Vivid, hardcore images of women being pounded were on every screen in every room (there are approximately 5). By 1 am, several couples -old and newly paired- retreated to a back area. As somewhat of a voyeur I was anxious to observe. I donned a towel- as is the requirement- and made my way to the back. I took in the sweet musk of sex and feasted my eyes on mounds of intertwined flesh. I watched beautiful women and handsome men entangled in the most primal of cavorts. Needless to say, I was immensely turned on, but luckily not enough to engage. And yes, luckily is the appropriate word.

I couldn’t help but think, how primitive are we? When under the influence, it appears our most basic instincts appear, often in the  most vile and unyielding ways. I left with my integrity that night but I’m anxious to go again; perhaps to defile said integrity with a partner of my own. The next Monday our visit made for intriguing water-cooler talk. I expressed how eager I was to return with someone I cared about and the implications that may have on an otherwise healthy relationship.  I further wondered how does one openly share someone they love? How do you survive your partner asking for permission to sleep with someone else? How do you watch him enter her? How do you return home after?

I imagine the potential for insecurities are endless. Does she moan the same way with him? Does she cum more often? Is he bigger than you, better than you? What about after? Does she think of him when you’re not around? Does she think of him when she masturbates? Does she hope to see him again?

To many of us swinging is highly taboo, but it is estimated that over 4 million Americans engage in the lifestyle. For those extramural to this practice, maintaining integrity within these relationships is simply unimaginable. As a willing voyeur I am open to returning to the club. My intentions are only to watch but will my partner understand this concept? Is it like bringing someone to a well and saying, “Hey, remember we don’t drink.” There may then be some preconceived expectation for progression? 

With enough trips and enough alcohol, norms and taboo are bound to get misconstrued. Before you know it, a progression into engagement becomes inevitable. Perhaps, some interests are simply too dangerous to explore, even at their budding semblances.