Dear Patrick: I have known for a long time that my husband would like to go to a swing club with me. His 30th birthday is coming up, and after giving it a lot of thought, I have decided I want to make this his special birthday surprise. But I have no idea what to expect. Can you give me a clue so I don’t make an idiot out of myself? For example, he is not at all interested in having other men approach him for sex.
Dear Adventurous Wife: There are a lot of different kinds of space where sex parties might take place. Unless you waltz your husband up to a gay bath, he probably won’t be approached by another man looking for same-sex joy. Most swinger clubs are okay with girl-on-girl action but don’t see (or encourage) the boy-boy variety of Eros. I have often thought this was a weakness of such events. For every straight man who wants to voyeurize a passionate lesbian couple, there must be a straight woman who wants to see two men throw their inhibitions to the wind—as well as exhibitionists who might enjoy being watched by breathless strangers.
The typical swing club (if there is such a thing any more) is managed by a couple who have been in “the lifestyle” for quite a while. They are often available to talk to first-time guests and answer their questions. Some clubs even offer a beginner’s hour, so you can come to a sort of orientation where etiquette is explained and you are given a tour of the facilities. Most swing events allow couples but charge a high premium for single men to attend, or don’t allow single men at all. Single women are allowed, however.
Every party is different, but at most, the activity has to be consensual. You can walk up to another couple and talk to them if they smile at you, but you don’t want to put your hands on anyone without verbal permission. Usually there is an area where people can get soft drinks, socialize, and listen to music that is separated from the cubicles where you can go stretch out with a new single friend or couple. There may be a “hard swing” room where it’s assumed that if you walk (or crawl) in, you want to be fondled, etc. But that’s not typical of most clubs.
Swing clubs can range from a couple of large rooms to huge places with multiple floors. It’s rare for any liquor to be served, and drugs are frowned upon. There can also be a lot of variation in how often and how well the places are cleaned. I usually bring a flat sheet and some towels so I can create my own clean surface for sex. I also bring a couple bottles of water, my favorite lube, condoms and gloves, and any sex toys I might want to use.
If you want to show your husband a good time for his birthday, I’d recommend you call the club before you go. See if you can come take a tour. If you have any questions about etiquette, just ask the party host(s). If you don’t like the vibe of the place, you can always stay home and fulfill another one of his sexual fantasies.
Going to the party, by the way, is not the same thing as allowing anybody to do anything to you that they might want to do. You don’t give up your right to say “no,” though it’s good to be polite when you turn someone down. “We aren’t ready just yet,” or “We are still looking around” are well-mannered refusals. Most swing clubs want both members of the relationship to have a good time. If you like the idea of this kind of activity, you can develop some rules that will keep it fun and avoid jealous arguments. For example, if you go to a party together, it’s only good manners to go home together. If one person is ready to leave, both leave together. As a woman you have more to risk here, so if you want to make a rule that you don’t get left on your own while he parties, that’s fine too. Couples often make one set of rules when they are novices and change them a bit as they gain more trust and experience.
I’m not sure exactly what your husband says he wants to do at a swing club. Just remember you can always put him on the bed, blindfold him, and tell him what is going on all around him, while the two of you have sex. It’s often a good idea to see if he can deal with a certain fantasy (like, perhaps, seeing you with a different man) before you are faced with the more challenging opportunity to do this in the flesh. Just be sure you don’t do anything you know you won’t enjoy. That’s not going to make his birthday memorable for either one of you!