I have been reading a book lately. Devouring it really. And it has kept me from posting anything because my mind is spinning in so many directions. I am reading Life on the Swingset by Cooper S. Beckett. If you haven’t read it, go get it now. Even if you are not interested in swinging, go get it now. His essays are so accessible and funny and pertinent. And the reason I am loving this book has almost nothing to do with swinging and is all about his outlook on life, the freedom he inspires, and how he is unabashedly himself. This passage sums up my attitude perfectly and why I am drawn to sexual exploration.
Which is, I think, why we “play.” By “we”, I mean swingers.
They’ve all grown up to their grown-up jobs and their grown-up
responsibilities and their grown-up hobbies (like fly fishing) and their
grown-up lawn mowing and dog walking and carpooling and
minivanning; all looking back on what The Boss called Glory Days.
Days that can’t be recaptured. Days that are long gone. As though
they’ve forgotten where the fun is and have replaced it with
But still, we play.
We haven’t forgotten how to play. From the youngest playmate
I’ve had in their twenties to the oldest in their fifties, we remember to
enjoy…to suck the aforementioned marrow out of life (as well as other
stuff out of other things) and seize us some diem.
Just to be clear, Dr. R and I are not swingers (yet. I’ll get back to you on that after our Desire vacation in November). We have been monogamous for 18 years. Our entire adult life. We met very young and have grown happily together. Neither of us are looking for more in a relationship, but both of us are very sexually expressive. We may get there one day and this book has given me an entirely different perspective on The Lifestyle. It has really opened my eyes to the fun of it. Not just the naughty, carnal bit, but the playful side. The part that I can relate to and not take myself too seriously. It has given me a strange confidence in my capability to navigate an open relationship and have fun growing with my husband. Very cool and heavy stuff.
It has also made me examine what I would want in a purely sexual encounter. What are MY desires totally separate from Dr. R’s? By and large, they still include him, just with others added! I have done a lot of introspection about my own sexuality and identity. I know the vast majority of women who swing are bi-sexual, but I have never considered myself to be. I am a deep believer that sexuality is a varied and colorful spectrum. I just happen to fall quite firmly in the hetero area. That makes me a minority in the swing world! But, after reading all of Cooper’s book, I realize I may be cutting myself off from new experiences that may surprise me. Just because I have never been with a woman doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like it. It doesn’t mean I will either, but it is staying open to those new paths that is really key. Really what it is all about. Tasting all that life has to offer and enjoying every moment we can.
I can’t say if or how Dr. R and I will delve into this new lifestyle, but reading this book gave me a new perspective on myself. I often say that the greatest gift I give my friends is permission and acceptance to be themselves. I am not afraid to say what I think and feel about sex and, in my mind, I hope it gives them the confidence to do the same. Strangely this book did that for me. I have always been a very sexual person (not just in my marriage) and reading these very real essays with very real perspective let me know that I am totally normal in those thoughts. I have told many friends who have come to me worried about their fidelity that it is normal to have a crush even as a grown woman. (And it is by the way. We all do, even if you don’t admit it.) Healthy even. It just means we are still a woman capable of sexual desire. More than one thing may turn us on and that is an awesome and wonderful thing. This book just cemented that for me. Even if some don’t take the leap and act on those feelings, they have them. Some of us just dive in to touch, feel and taste.
Call us lustful, greedy, or gluttonous, but I have one life and I want to suck everything I can out of it.