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Happily Married Swingers (Part I)

Here is an article I found online about happily married swingers.

We joked that I should answer the door in a long hippie dress,” says Janet Williams*, who’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt as I step into the living room of her suburban Orlando home. “Or nude!” says her husband, Eric, who looks like he’s dressed for a round of golf in a polo shirt and shorts. They’re low-key and welcoming, even though I’m here to grill them about what they do naked: specifically, getting intimate with other couples at swingers parties.

At first glance, it’s hard to imagine Janet, 33, stripping down in a room full of strangers. She’s gorgeous in a clean-cut sort of way, but her olive skin, Brooke Shields brows, and curvy figure make me bet every guy she works with has a crush on her. And it’s not out of the question that Eric inspires watercooler chatter too: He’s 6 feet tall and, at 40, has flatter abs than guys half his age. He comes off as strong and straightforward—maybe it’s his military background—as he slips his arm around Janet and looks adoringly at her. The tenderness between them makes what I know about their sex life even more baffling. How can two supposedly happily married people watch each other get so close with so many someone-elses?

Sounds like a lot of swingers I know. Janet and Eric sound like a lot of fun!

Janet and Eric have agreed to answer every question I ask on this August afternoon before they head out to a swingers gathering, and even okay my request to ride along with them to the party. I’m also welcome to interview them the day after, when their defenses will be lowest. They’re willing to let me share everything except their real names and address, in order to protect their identities.

On paper, Janet and Eric are more Main Street than Wisteria Lane. They’ve been together 13 years, married for seven. Janet has a master’s degree, and Eric enlisted right after high school. They do all the things most married couples do: go to movies, walk their yellow Lab, work out (which explains the abs; they run every morning at 6 a.m.). They don’t have any children together, though Eric has a son from a previous marriage who lives with them for part of the year; today he’s with his mother. Their living room looks like a Pottery Barn catalog, with throw pillows alternating precisely across the couch: beige, burgundy, beige, burgundy, beige.

They keep their unorthodox sex life under wraps—and with good reason. Janet and Eric both work for the county. If anyone they know professionally discovered what they do in the buff, there would be unfixable damage to their reputations, or worse. “The idea of someone finding out really does scare me,” says Janet. Not even their closest friends are privy to their swinging lifestyle. “They call us prudes,” she says, laughing. “And for the most part, we are. We follow the rules.” Neither one has ever tried drugs, and most nights they’re in bed by 10 p.m.—just the two of them.

Even thought swinging and swinging parties are becoming more open, it is still best not to go around broadcasting what you do with other swingers since people get a little freaked out sometimes. The article goes on…

I ask them to back up for a moment. Sure, they follow everyday rules, but the concept of swinging is mind-boggling to most people in a serious relationship. “It sounds crazy when we look at it from the perspective of the typical married couple,” agrees Janet. But they’ve inched their way into it, she says; after two-plus years of swingers parties, they’re just now starting to contemplate actual intercourse with other people (so far, they’ve engaged in oral sex and foreplay). For them, swinging is something they do to enhance an already strong bond. They talk about what turns them on and what’s out-of-bounds before every sex party, and when they go to one, they stay together so everything’s in the open. “Janet and I are married, we are best friends, and we do everything as a couple, including this,” says Eric. “I see a lot of my friends’ marriages end because they get stuck in a rut,” Janet explains. “I think that’s why it’s important to try something new together, whatever it is.”

This is one of the most interesting comments in the article. Swinging does not have to be full blown sex — You can ease into it with oral sex and foreplay. Nothing wrong with going slow. Especially with newbies!

Janet and Eric started swinging to get over a rough patch in their relationship, they tell me. A few years ago, Janet’s libido took a nosedive, something she blames on the Pill but could have been due to stress, age, or just growing complacent in her marriage. Eric was frank: He wasn’t getting what he needed. “I stopped seeing her in a sexual light,” he says. Janet admits sex felt like a chore. “It took me so long to get going,” she says. “I couldn’t control that my sex drive had plummeted, and when you’ve been with the same person a while, sex can start to feel same-old, same-old.” Eric became concerned; his past marriage had ended after he and his wife stopped being intimate and both had affairs. “I remembered how bad cheating had made me and my ex feel, and I’d never do it again,” says Eric. “But I wasn’t ready to say, ‘I’ll pretend to be okay with this’. What’s the point of being married and not enjoying sex together?”

This is something you hear a lot of. It can make marriages stronger (if you go about it the right way).

The lightbulb went off while the two were on vacation and Eric, on a whim, suggested hitting a strip club. Surprisingly, Janet was game. “I was relaxed after a few days off, and it seemed exciting,” she says. “Just doing something, anything, new—I needed that.” Once they had a few cocktails, Eric bought Janet a table dance. For him, watching Janet with someone else—even a stripper for hire—was a turn-on. For Janet, being watched by Eric was equally sexy. The rest of the vacation was charged in a way they hadn’t experienced in a while. “We couldn’t keep our hands off each other,” says Eric.

They decided to try a swingers club. “It was Eric’s idea, but I was on board,” Janet says. She and Eric hammered out ground rules: no kissing other people, no doing anything without checking with the other person first, and always staying together. “To us, sex is a physical act, but kissing is an intimate act,” Eric explains. “That’s why it’s always off the table.” In other words: Pretty Woman rules? “Exactly,” says Janet. They finally picked a club over an hour away. The experience was exhilarating, but not their scene. Things didn’t get started until after midnight—tough for a couple that goes to bed well before Letterman—and they were freaked out by the atmosphere: One room was filled with people in bondage gear.

Gotta love the rules! Important to set and follow them. Part II to follow. Read the full article here.

Read to mingle? Click here to join a swingers web site.

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