The most important concept, I think, for swingers to remember is that sex does not equal love. It is funny that, while we are single, many of us freely give our bodies over to no-strings-attached play in the form of one-night-stands, but once we have committed partners, such enjoyment becomes taboo. One could argue that those one-night-stands might develop into something deeper, I suppose, but I think the dichotomy owes more to societal standards. Just as a man who has many partners is a “stud” (good) while a woman who has many partners is a “slut” (bad), so it holds with singles versus couples: singles may pursue others while couples are supposed to be only with each other.
I have always had problems with the term “making love.” I have had sex with people that I did not love. I do not tend to feel emotionally close or intimate with someone while in the act. Certainly, I try to be courteous and hope that my partner will do the same. However, I experience physical sensations, not emotions. My mind, if functioning at all, is processing how to best get the next orgasm or how to adjust to improve a position, not full of love for my partner.
This is not to say that I do not feel love or that the sex does not impact the feeling. Sex is one way in which I can connect with my beloved… but it is not the only way. It goes along with enjoying each other’s company, respecting each other’s ideas, sharing life choices, and other elements to a good relationship. Bad sex is like badly conflicting political views; it can cause problems within the relationship. Good sex is like shared music tastes; it can give positive common ground, but is not the sole basis for an solid relationship.
To help my transition into the swinging lifestyle, I do a lot of reading, particularly of forums where swingers of all types discuss their preferences and experiences. What couples will do ranges broadly, of course, but one interesting thing I have seen is the “No Kissing” restriction, typically between new couples. Sex with others is acceptable, but mouth-kissing is saved for only the original couple. It is considered a “saved” act of intimacy. SwingBot and I do not kiss a lot; kissing is a huge part of sex for me and is not much of one for him. So, we do not have the “No Kissing” restriction; I can get my kissing pleasure from other partners who are comfortable with kissing me.
I wondered, though, whether we should have any physical restrictions, any “just us” activities. We discussed it and could not think of anything. We go “bareback” (without condoms) strictly between us, but that is for health considerations. If we ever have a sufficiently long-term partnership in which everyone is willing to take an STD test and share the results (and the results are clean), then we can look into ditching the condoms… at least where pregnancy is not a concern. Beyond that, there are other activities currently only between us, like bondage, but we would be happy to share those more advanced activities when we feel sufficient trust and comfort with the right people.* Again, this is a safety issue, not an issue of intimacy. One does not want to be bound and blindfolded in anticipation of kinky play, only to have one’s house robbed and the perpetrator escape.
So, there are no physical acts that we would not potentially share with a not-us partner. There is no sexual act that signifies intimacy or love between us. The sex is for the sake of sex, not for expressing love.
I do love SwingBot and the great sex between us is part of that love… but there is more than that. I love his humor, his wit when expressing his opinions, his frustration with societal stupidity, his should-have-know-better mistakes, his patience with my idiot moments, his generosity, his quirks, his ability to manipulate by being completely direct… the list is so extensive and complicated that I am not sure that I can truly itemize it. My point is that sex with another partner does not lessen my love for SwingBot, nor make me love that other sex partner.
* This entry was originally composed before we started our bondage play with BG. That we did such play with him is case in point; our increased association and comfort level with him led to us sharing that more advanced form of play.