There is quite a bit of prejudice and skepticism when it comes to swinging and open relationships. While I now find myself a sexually liberated woman in an open marriage, I have at one point in my life been on the other side of the looking glass.
Years ago, I worked with a woman named Yvette who casually mentioned one day that she and her husband occasionally had sex with other people, sometimes together and sometimes separately. She used the term "open marriage." I was aghast and found my mind immediately jumping to what I now know were unfair conclusions.
Poor girl, I thought. This must be a last-ditch effort to save her marriage. Her husband brings her lunch every day and they smile and laugh and kiss; clearly it was all a cheerful mask hiding dark secrets. What other explanation could there possibly be? I didn't dare voice these thoughts, but I'm sure she could see them writhing around in my face. Being the wonderful and kind person she was, she just laughed it off and changed the subject. I was relieved, but the conversation stuck with me.
I found myself lying awake in bed that night, mind racing about the obviously significant tidbit Yvette had shared with me about her personal life. If she and her husband were really having problems, why did they act like champagne-buzzed newlyweds every time I saw them together?
Suddenly, I had a revolutionary thought that would ultimately change my way of thinking forever: I'm an asshole! I liked to present myself as an open-minded individual, but here I was, assuming the worst about a situation new to me that I was far from understanding. I decided I owed it to Yvette to look into just what an "open marriage" entailed. I crawled out of bed without waking my husband, grabbed a beer from the fridge, and sat down at our computer desk. Knuckles cracked and crisp beverage ready, I began my journey into the informational world of sexual freedom.
I never came back to bed and found myself startled by the daylight filtering through the curtains. I had just pulled an all-nighter without realizing it! Defeating ignorance and my own prejudiced beliefs about couples in an open marriage was well worth it.
I read everything I could find that would put things into perspective for someone like myself. The informational essays and magazine articles were helpful, but the I made real breakthroughs reading personal accounts of couples that decided to start bringing others into their bedroom, and eventually venture out separately to the bedrooms of others. Whether you call yourselves swingers or just simply state that you're in an open marriage, one thing was for sure: it didn't mean your marriage was failing. Quite the opposite, actually, especially for couples with the utmost respect, love, and levels of trust weaved into their marriage. I was in awe.
Several years passed and I didn't hear much else from the realm of swingers and open marriage. I would occasionally see a reference on the internet and smile a little, briefly wondering what it would be like if my husband and I slept with other people. My husband is my best friend and my life partner, and as far as I thought swinging isn't something he would ever be into. I tucked the thoughts away in a dusty corner of my brain.
Two years ago, my husband and I were at home alone and decided to see if we could down a large bottle of vodka between the two of us. We are happy drunks and enjoyed being sprawled out on the bed, talking about life and voicing every thought that pops into our brain.
I had just mumbled something about dinosaurs when I heard him blurt out, "I'd really love to see you with another man."
My eyes got huge and I shot up so fast it made my already dizzy head spin. I looked straight at him and felt the need to clarify. "What did you just say?" He laughed nervously and tried to change the subject, but I wasn't having it. I needed to know. I kept pressing him until he final caved and spilled the beans: since we were teenagers, he's always fantasized about me having sex with other men.
I'm pretty sure I was silent for far too long contemplating this. After the silence he was immediately apologetic, telling me how much he loved me, hoping I wouldn't take it the wrong way. I just smiled at him and told him how hot it was for me to picture him with another woman. We started at each other and laughed, which marked the beginning of our decision to give an open marriage a shot.
We went online together and spent months learning about what we wanted in our new open relationship. It was several months before we actually ventured out and did anything physical, but the wait was well worth it. We immediately knew the lifestyle was going to be amazing.
I truly believe it's one of the best decisions we've ever made. Our sex is better than it's ever been, by far. Having the freedom to explore our fantasies together and separately, being able to talk about our experiences late at night, being in a restaurant together and mutually checking out our cute waitress...these are just some of the perks of being a sexually liberated couple.
I'm thankful for that evening two years ago because without that long talk (and booze!), we wouldn't be having the fun that we have now. My open marriage is the most exciting never-ending party I've ever been to in my life.
I wish I could revisit the conversation I had with Yvette all those years ago...I think she and her husband would've become great friends of ours.
If you and your significant other are open to giving it a shot, I highly recommend it. The wonderful people you meet in the lifestyle will provide you with so many unforgettable experiences and memories. You’ll know you did the right thing.
Life is too short, enjoy yourself!