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Slow night at the swingers ball


Some people love to talk the night away about their sexual exploits while still cleaving safely to the shadows of vagary. “You’re not going to use my real name, are you?” “No, your secrets are safe with me. Tell me more about how you got involved in the lifestyle.” For those in the dark, people who refer to “the lifestyle” are the ultra-special sexy people who are usually called the same name as a playground staple. While “swinging” often invokes negative, wide-collar stereotypes in people looking in from the outside, “lifestyle” works like a corporate re-branding effort: it’s so much safer, more modern, younger, less hairy, and a little less creepy.

Walking into a newly opened swinger/lifestyle club two weeks ago was a lot like entering the set of Real Sex bounded by very dark walls. All in all, the club (no, they would not agree to be outed by name here) was clean and classy. Surprisingly, it did not smell like lube or sex. There were lots of candles, mirrors, and flashing club lights. So it’s just like a club on the River Walk, but with beds? Neat.

Everyone in the lifestyle has their own forte, and there are seemingly as many sexual preferences as there are flavors of ice cream. One woman said she loves to watch her husband with other women but has absolutely no interest in being with other men. She used the word “community” a lot, and being around the participants, I felt it firsthand. A single girl (a VIP in the freak scene) said she needs to feel attracted to the girlfriend/wife first, and the man comes second. Dirk (not his real name) put it colorfully, “It’s good to spend some time feeling them out before you start feeling them up.” He educated me on the difference between a soft swap and a hard swap. The former involving kissing, oral sex, fingers, and hands. Hard swap, you guessed it, means penetration.

I could see myself getting in the mood within the cozy lounge area with sheer curtains and a huge throne-like chair. I ask if I can have my birthday party here. The community is not amused. The staff was friendly and the DJ played great Top 40 music. My favorite part of the décor was a replica of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. I found myself oddly comforted by it, like I was at a family member’s house for Sunday dinner.

Besides the sensual entertainment provided by a local drag queen, I watched porn more than I people watched. That’s just what I’m more comfortable with. If you find yourself stimulated by any of this, I highly recommend looking into a lifestyle website or club. After all, you’re just sitting there wasting precious booty time.

Dr. Appelbaum is a certifiable, if self-trained, doctor of love and of those things often found to resemble amour. She blogs at and takes your questions at

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