Have you considered attending a swinger’s party, or have you attended one and felt woefully out of place? The Lounge spoke to some swingers and organisers of these events and we are here to give you some practical advice on how to navigate the party and how to be safe.
“A friend of mine sent me this invitation; it came from an anonymous source and it had asked him to recruit some people to attend this ‘party’. There were some stipulations in there, which I guess are necessary if you are going to participate in that kind of thing,” says Phillip, who then went on to do some intense research on the subject.
He gives people who might attend a party some tips:
“Do your research. Be sure about what it is that you want to get out of the experience. Be sure about what the reason is that you want to attend and be sure about what your expectations are,” he says. Do you want to attend a house party or a commercial one? Do you want to go somewhere close to you or do you want to travel further? Do you want to attend a small party or one that attracts a big crowd? These are some of the questions you would have to answer for yourself.
“Most parties are run where either you ‘dress down’ on arrival or after an hour or so, with some social time thrown in at the start, to chat and get to know people,” Phillip says. The biggest thing to remember though is that no one is going to judge you.
“I know the first time I attended a party as a plus size woman, I was worried that I wouldn’t get any play, or that I’d wear the wrong thing, etc.,” Sophia tells us. “As a woman, you have to fight through internalised shame, self-confidence, to even get yourself to the point of thinking about going. It was also the first party in Windhoek, so you can imagine the pressure”, she giggles. “Instead, I found that the swinging scene includes some of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever encountered. Sometimes I spend more time at parties socialising and having a laugh than getting down to it, parties can be social spaces too!” Parties are down to earth environments where no one is judged based on looks or status. It doesn’t matter whether you are a CEO or a primary school teacher, skinny or chubby, everyone is polite and nice.
Genevieve tells us that she was worried about what to wear when she accepted her invitation to a party hosted on the outskirts of Windhoek recently. “I was imagining gorgeous models walking around wearing La Perla. But honestly, no one cares what you wear to a party, as long as you’re comfortable and confident. Wear what makes you feel good!”
A tip from Phillip is that you should know your own boundaries. “The first rule of parties, is that no means no. If you go to a commercial venue there is likely to be posters up on the walls everywhere saying this, and if you go to a private venue the host will walk you through these rules and the set-up of the party when you walk in.
Parties are no pressure environments, you don’t have to go and play if you attend a party. You can just go and watch or socialise. No one is going to push you into something you aren’t ready for,” he says.
Parties are run by hosts. They are safe spaces to explore, but they are also about asserting your boundaries, so that if someone touches you without asking, you tell them that that’s not okay.
If they do something you don’t like, say so. If someone doesn’t appreciate your boundaries, let the host know and they will deal with it.
“Don’t set your expectations too high,” Phillip cautions.
“The lifestyle does come with some real worries & risk. You should talk with your partner to see if you are both comfortable with the risks and share your worries with each other. You want to work together when deciding if the risks are worth the potential rewards of swinging.”
The swinging lifestyle is like taking your car onto the highway and then suddenly starting to drive at 180km/h.
If your relationship isn’t very strong right now, the stress from swinging can ruin it. You probably wouldn’t drive a car with a busted windshield and missing the car doors on a high-speed highway, so why would you take a damaged relationship into the stresses of swinging?
Phillip concludes with, “if you have any trust or communication issues, they can become worse when your partner is flirting with new play partners. Your partner may not even do anything wrong, but if you are uncomfortable you can become defensive or accusatory, turning a slight miscommunication into a horrible fight. To minimise the emotional risks, you will have to have great communication skills.”