As someone who has always heavily landed in the BDSM camp, I’ve eyed swingers with some dubious hesitation for a long time.
My first experience was at a long-closed swingers club I went to not knowing what it was. I had some couple try to pick me up, but I wasn’t particularly open-minded about my bisexuality back then, and I politely danced my way through the evening solo. I didn’t go back.
I honestly didn’t think of swingers as being kinky (I have since revised my personal definition to include most non-vanilla stuff), just like I didn’t see poly as a variant of kink.
For me, those things all fall into a big group in my mind that I label non-monagmy. Non-monogamous could include BDSM, but doesn’t have to. A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle isn’t necessarily a square, right?
But swinging is just one of those things that is outside of my risk profile, which means I haven’t explored it, even though I don’t have any negative feelings about the people who participate.
Then I saw postings for “Swink” events.
Well, first I had to look up the word swink. I mean, thanks Google. I felt a little dumb when I realized it was a smash of the words swinging and kink. Okay. But swinging is still not a me-thing. Some of the larger conference-type events look interesting, but there are some big reasons I still won’t attend.
1. Gender-Based Pricing.
There are so many people in my local community who have such eloquent words for why we shouldn’t support this across the board, I feel I may not do it justice. Does paying a higher entry fee stop an asshole single male from being an asshole? Not likely. Someone paying more encourages a feeling of entitlement to touch things that don’t belong to them. Some of the huge pricing gaps are as wide as $100 for a single male and free for women. Females become the commodity for sale.
I haven’t even started in on how that discourages non-binary individuals or those who are transgender. It certainly doesn’t promote equality and civility. Therefore, I choose to attend events with one price point for anyone who attends. While the majority of BDSM events in my local community have one price point for all attendees, those who come from a swinging background seem to keep trying to make gender- and relationship-based pricing models a thing when it doesn’t have to be.
Different sections of our community seem to have different ideas of vetting.
For some groups, they require you to attend a set number of public meetings, parties where you’ve been sponsored, or munches before you become a member or are invited to private events. Others only require sponsorship. Both of those generally require a real name at some point (verified by legal identification) and, one would presume, a background check, so none of us are unknowingly partying with serial rapists or whatnot.
Some of that is about privacy, some is about safety, some is just to avoid the fucking lookie-loos who inevitably turn up with drink in hand to gaze in rapt wonder at the kinky peeps when they aren’t filtered out.
Very few groups actually post event locations, allowing anyone who wants to attend to purchase tickets. Those particular events make me uncomfortable. One I attended recently made me feel as though I was on display, the weirdo with floggers and a locking collar. Other than having a collar on I was hardly flying my kink flag proudly, yet some of of the people attending wouldn’t make eye contact with me, deliberately turned their backs to me uncomfortably, and generally made me feel awkward and freakish. I prefer to practice my kink in places where I am not a spectacle for it.
3. Body fluids are an issue for us personally.
I’ve talked about immunosuppression before. Basically, the gist is that if there are going to be more body fluids outside of body than at an average restaurant, it makes our risk higher of all kinds of problematic stuff. Yes, this means we don’t go to bloodplay events either. This won’t be as big of an issue for most people as it is for us.
4. General other stuff.
I have other, smaller, general issues, like the awkwardness of having power exchange misunderstood, the struggle with finding instructors who have positive reputations within the larger kink community, and the general issue of trying to mix what could be considered non-monogamous sex play with “sex n’kink light” and attempting to stir in a bit of hardcore kink. Perhaps those things will mix beautifully. Perhaps they will attempt to mix and eventually separate into layers of different density.
In theory, it seems like a great idea. Let’s get all of the alternative sexual communities to band together and support one another. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like we can’t even band together separately long enough to add in more moving parts together.
Perhaps it will take all of us making a concerted effort to be more inclusive to bring these communities together, or perhaps they will continue to have small separations between them. Hopefully, we can be supportive of all those who fall under the alternative sexuality umbrella even if we do not share their proclivities.
About the Author
Christmas bunny has been exploring kink since she was legal to do so. Her serious writing started in college, where she accidently got some of her papers published in educational journals. She has recently expanded her writing to include her kink journey. She began writing in the physical realm, but shed some of her inhibitions and began sharing those entries with others. She now keeps an active blog of her personal growth and her relationship with her Master / Daddy Dominant and writes helpful educational posts on a variety of subjects. In addition to her writing, she is a leatherworker specializing in impact implements.