As it turns out, I was wrong. This past week we were in Las Vegas at the Vegas Exchange show which is a fairly large swinger’s convention. Now depending on whom you ask will get you different answers but in general it is accepted that poly and swinging are different but distantly related versions of a similar relationship dynamic. Each has a different end goal in mind, a different set of rules (as we learned) and in general a different way of looking at life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Please understand that I am not saying one is right and the other is wrong, I am not. I am just pointing out that the participants of each of these dynamics have their own flavor and views.
Anyway, this was the first swinger event that we have worked and I will share with you my experience with it and how it differed from what I was used to. I share this with you in hopes that it will help with your reading or writing of these different lifestyles to understand some of the thoughts and behaviors of each.
I had always been lead to believe that the swinger community was comprised primarily of the "beautiful people", that everyone was young, in shape and drop dead gorgeous. From my own experiences in both the BDSM and poly communities I have seen that there are all types of people involved and suspected that would be closer to the truth for the swing community than the urban myth of the beautiful people and I was right.
Don't get me wrong, there were a lot more people in the swinger community in their late 20's to late 30's than in their late 40's and over which is common in most of the BDSM and poly communities I have seen. The BDSM and Poly communities in my experience have tended to frequently (but certainly not all by any means) be in their 40's and up, slightly out of shape and ready to try a different lifestyle than their parents had. The swing community from my limited observations seemed to be slightly younger, slightly in better shape and just as willing if not more so to live life to its fullest.
All of these communities have a mix of all ages, body types and willingness to explore life but each has, again in my opinion and only my opinion, these characteristics. I found it interesting just how secure many in the swing community were in their relationships. In the kink community, there often seems to be a lot of relationship drama just like in the vanilla world. People obsessed with jealousy issues and insecurities about their partners and their place in their relationships. In the swing community, they have these same issues but at least from an outsider’s perspective, they didn't seem to have the same teeth they do in other parts of life. They seemed to be able to separate love from sex and enjoy both with whomever they chose to. They seemed to do so without the fear of losing their partner or damaging their relationship that so many of us are hung up on. It was very refreshing to see people willing to live life and enjoy themselves knowing they would return to normal life on Monday with new stories to tell and none of the emotional crap that many of us would battle after such a weekend.
As I mentioned each community has their own set of rules that differ from community to community. One of the most obvious ways this point was made to me was in trying our chainmail clothing on people. When we do vanilla or kink shows I always ask the person wanting to try on a piece if it is ok if I help them with it and then ask their partner, Master, Dominant whatever the same question. I do this since there is a minimal amount of touching involved, I keep it very professional but as a courtesy always ask and it seems to be appreciated by most. In the swing community, almost every time I asked the partner that question I received a look like I was brain damaged and often was told "Dude, its a swing convention". Apparently that means I didn't need to ask permission before touching someone else’s partner.
Now, it was refreshing to find a community so free and open that I didn't need to ask permission but it made me a bit uncomfortable since my three ladies were with me and I didn't want just anyone groping them without consent. In our communities consent is huge so this was a concern to me. But as we discovered, at least in the vending hall, no one acted inappropriately or touched without consent of the person being touched. We didn't get to go to the parties (the registration for the event to get to do the fun stuff was quite expensive) so I can't comment on how they operate but in the vending area it was safe and comfortable.
The closest we came to anything unusual, at least for us, was when someone we have met previously stopped by the booth and explained that his partner was on a date for three hours and so he was alone and asked if he could borrow one or more of my girls. I tend to be very over protective of my loves but knowing it was meant as a compliment to their loveliness (which I couldn't agree more, I have three of the most desirable women I have ever met, not bragging just my opinion, love you ladies!!!) and not an insult I politely thanked him for the offer but declined. He was very respectful of the rejection and we all parted on friendly terms. It was a new experience though and one that really made me think about the differences in codes of conduct between different relationship dynamics.
I don't know if any of this was as interesting to you as it is to me but I find it fascinating how people define and live their lives. Our travels allow us to mix and minge with so many different forms of relationship dynamics that we get to learn lots of different ways to live life. This lets us mine the nuggets that work for us and to appreciate how others make things work. I hope this helps you to think about the customs and behaviors of other dynamics when you read or write your stories. If I can answer any questions please don't hesitate to contact me. Have a great day!