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My Wife And I Are Swingers: Here's What It's Actually Like

My wife and I are a typical heterosexual couple, but we have a dirty secret: We're swingers. No, we don't twirl and flip to music from the 1940s; we meet other couples and have sex with each other's partners. Due to our conservative careers and even more conservative families, we keep our sexual practices to ourselves. Only a few close vanilla friends know what we're into ("vanilla" is the term swingers use to refer to anyone who isn't a swinger ... and also other swingers who happen to be covered in vanilla).

Here's what we've learned in the several years now that we've been "in the lifestyle" (that's the more subtle term swingers prefer):

7
It Can Take Years Of Negotiating

We were first were introduced to the lifestyle by two married friends, whom we'd found out from common friends' gossip had an open relationship. This couple was attracted to us, and they gradually revealed their interest via heavy flirting and questionably sexual contact whenever we'd hang out. Well, I should clarify: The flirting and contact came from only the husband. The wife was pretty ambivalent about me (probably because I'm just too awesome), and the husband was always a little more aggressive than my wife was ever comfortable with.

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Eventually, we realized they were into swinging because he really just wanted to fuck other women, and in an effort to preserve the marriage, she went along with it. That marriage lasted only a few years before she finally got fed up and divorced him. Yeah, I know, imagine that. She's in a new relationship now. They are not swingers, and she's way happier than she ever was with her ex-husband. And that's kind of the point here.

Due to this rocky introduction, we were initially hesitant to get into the scene. But the aforementioned couple did turn us on to websites like Kasidie and Lifestyle Lounge, where you can keep up with the scene and meet other couples (kind of like OKCupid, but for swingers). Through these sites, we found information on local mixers -- discreet get-togethers at bars, where swingers can meet each other and newbies can get their toes wet (stop giggling) in a chill setting.

The veteran couples we met at these mixers were always welcoming and more than willing to offer us advice on getting started. And perhaps most importantly, they never pressured us into doing anything we weren't ready for. In fact, we soon realized the scene is all about asking before you initiate any sort of contact with someone. That was a welcome relief for us, especially after the pressure my wife had previously received from the aforementioned husband.

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As we met more and more couples who were understanding and patient, who were happy to stop the moment one of us hesitated, we realized that there are some truly good and decent people in the lifestyle. And as we got more comfortable, we started being willing to do more. That led us to three years' worth of conversations about how far we were willing to go, what exactly we were looking for within the scene, and above all else, how we were in this together. We didn't want to end up in a situation where one of us was like, "I'm bored. I'm going out fuck-hunting. If I get lucky, I'll see you tomorrow, loser!"

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Once we were comfortable with escalating, we realized ...

6
It Can Be Just As Awkward As A High School Dance

After three years of dabbling in local mixers (without ever really hooking up with any other couples), we decided to take the next step: our first big out-of-town event. In Las Vegas, of course, because duh. This one was going to be a four-day takeover of an entire hotel, with over 1,000 swingers in attendance.

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As we were packing for the trip, we psyched ourselves up for what we were sure would be a massive 96-hour orgy of writhing bodies. We had another long discussion about how far we were willing to go ("Let's just go for it all" was our consensus this time), and we showed up with roughly every condom produced that year.

Our fantasies were dashed pretty quickly. The first night, we walked into the venue and saw a bunch of people dressed in the sexiest attire we could imagine (think Vegas nightclub, but without any rules about indecent exposure). Everyone looked smoking hot, but we couldn't for the life of us figure out how to talk to anyone. As we walked around, we noticed that everyone seemed to be hanging out in their own cliques.

We felt pretty awkward, but we soon realized that this is just natural human behavior. People gravitate toward those they already know. And when you throw in the strong likelihood that you're going to be exchanging fluids with them later on in the evening, then of course, you're going to be a bit more discriminating about who you're hanging out with.

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After two hours of hapless attempts to make eye contact and smile, we finally met a group who welcomed us into their circle. But even then, we soon realized that a get-together of swingers doesn't always end in a massive orgy. Sometimes people just want to catch up. The orgy with this group came the second night (seriously, stop giggling). The first night was mostly flirting.

And that's the weird thing that I never expected: how often you end up hanging around, joking and chatting with each other. Because ultimately, these people are friends first (albeit friends who make each other sticky).

5
"Swinger" Is A Broad Umbrella Term

As we delved into the scene, we realized that every couple has their own specific interests. Some prefer to attend parties and participate in orgies (like my wife and I, as we soon realized). Some are more "introverted" (I know, it's a weird term in this situation), preferring to meet other couples through the lifestyle websites.

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Some couples will do everything but sex (soft swap). Other couples will have sex (full swap), but only if everyone is in the same room. Many couples get into the lifestyle because the woman realizes she is bisexual, so they're looking for couples where the women can play with each other, but the men are only involved with their own partners, which may sound complicated or even frustrating for the man, but really is far from something to complain about. And as we've mentioned before, there are "unicorns" -- single women who play with couples, so named because their rarity and allure are almost mythical.

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Then there are the fake swingers. These couples tend to be younger. They attend all the big events, and if there's a stripper pole in the room, you can bet they'll be the first ones on it. But when it comes down to the actual swinging, they're more into the exhibitionist aspect of the lifestyle and ultimately are not looking for sex with other couples.

Since each couple sets their own boundaries, when we're out meeting other swingers, the first thing we have to figure out is what they're into. There are so many different levels of swinging that even people who've been in the lifestyle for decades can't keep track.

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For this reason ...

4
Your Communication And Trust Has To Be Perfect

In case the three years of negotiations I mentioned didn't drive the point home, a lifestyle couple simply can't have any communication barriers. You have to trust each other 100 percent and be open with each other about everything. Imagine the level of trust you need to be able to tell your partner, "I'm really attracted to this person, and I'd like to have sex with them" ... and then also feel comfortable that your partner won't slap you for saying that.

As an example of that communication and trust, here's a story one couple we met early on shared with us:

A massage parlor opened up near his work, and he had a sneaking suspicion it was one of those sketchy ones. He told her about it, so she laughed and replied, "Yeah, you go and check it out. Let me know how that goes." So he did. It did, in fact, turn out to be one of those massage parlors where you don't get just a massage. He opted for the "happy ending," but as he explained, it was by far the most mechanical, uncomfortable experience his penis had ever endured. He likened it to being in the grip of a jackhammer. But here's the best part: She thought it was hilarious, and they both still laugh about it to this day.

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Twisted as that may sound, there was something we found oddly admirable about a couple who could joke about something like this together. My wife and I agree that stories like this are a big part of what drew us into the scene -- the fact that couples are comfortable engaging in these silly sexcapades and telling each other about them. We've only been married a few years, but seriously, we now believe this is how you 1) make a marriage last, and 2) keep it exciting for decades to come.

And once you have your communication and trust down pat, you realize that ...

3
You Still Have Standards

Just because we're swingers doesn't mean that we'll fuck any random genitals that people whip out. But that's kind of the impression outsiders get, right? Even when we're ready for sex, we have to respect the other couples, and we definitely don't want to be the awkward aggressive one. So there ends up being a lot of "feeling each other out," so to speak. OK fine, you can giggle at that one.

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No matter how excited we get, we have to recognize when our partner is 1) uncomfortable with the person we're hooking up with, 2) uncomfortable with the person they're supposed to be hooking up with, or 3) just plain not in the mood. A failure to do so is the surest way to jam a spiked butt plug into your relationship.

In fact, this was something we noticed about our now-divorced friends. It didn't matter how clearly not into another couple she was, he would keep going and even berate her for not being in the mood. Remember how I mentioned that the wife was pretty ambivalent about me? That never stopped the husband from trying to hit on my wife. And in the end, that only made all three of us (my wife and I, as well as his wife) uncomfortable.

The sad reality is, you'll often meet a couple where you are totally into your "counterpart," but your partner is not remotely attracted to theirs. Like maybe he looks like Richard Spencer or something. Or hell, maybe he is Richard Spencer. When that happens, you and your partner need to execute some covert negotiations in the heat of the moment. Because you don't want to be an asshole and say, "Sorry, dude. I like your wife, but my wife thinks you're grotesque."

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At this point, you either have to agree to call it off completely, or your partner has to be willing to "take one for the team." Yes, that is a legitimate lifestyle term ... you may giggle.

Now, for the record, some couples do appear to be okay with one partner calling it a night while the other partner keeps going. But most couples we've met are leery of this, because it always smacks of those not-quite-on-the-same-page, not-so-tight couples. We're all out to have fun -- comfortable fun. And if any couple even hints of drama, well, there are plenty of other couples to hook up with.

2
The Scene Is Surprisingly Empowering For Women

We've talked before about how this lifestyle is predominantly driven by women, but I wanted to elaborate, because it's a huge part of what makes this work.

Whether true or not, the societal stereotype of women being demure and men being walking boners is at least acknowledged in the swinger scene. And because there is this unspoken assumption that men are more into casual sex than women, experienced couples will often let the women take the lead. That is to say, a couple will move at a pace the woman feels comfortable with.

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Many of the events we attend start like any typical party, with everyone just hanging out (hehehehe) having drinks. As people loosen up, the women start dancing with each other, and at some point, that escalates into touching and kissing. Once they've sufficiently indulged their bisexual sides, only then will the men join in and everyone starts swapping. It just makes everyone so much more comfortable that way. If "reality porn" were honest, you'd skip the first five hours of it. (Sidenote: This dynamic does make it slightly more challenging to be a completely straight woman in the scene.)

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Plus, there's the fact that single men are simply not welcome in the scene. Every now and then, we do meet a male unicorn (not an actual term, because single males are so rare that an actual term is pretty much moot), but they're always there by personal invitation from a female event host only. Without fail, they are incredibly charming and incredibly good-looking, and even more notably, they are respectful and don't make unwanted advances. If anything, they're available for any interested women to approach. They're not there to hit on women themselves.

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The bottom line is, everyone gets creeped out by the inappropriately aggressive man. For the record, every now and then, we will run across an inappropriately aggressive woman. In these cases, though, people get less creeped out and more eye-rolly.

Put this all together, and it creates a comfortable environment for women to be sexually uninhibited and still fully in control.

1
It Can Create Awkwardness With Your Friends

Remember what I said about swingers being picky about who, when, and where they'll fuck? Well, that means something more when you consider that swinging is something we just do for fun every now and then. Just like how you and your significant other may decide to go out for a fancy dinner as a way to be romantic on a Saturday, my wife and I may decide to unleash a fuck storm as ours. Despite what the term "lifestyle" may imply, it doesn't actually consume our lives.

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Yet some people seem to think we're looking to fuck anyone, anytime, anywhere. The worst is the (invariably male) acquaintance who somehow finds out about our lifestyle and is just a tad too eager with his questions -- or worse, his touching. He finds out we're swingers, and all of a sudden he thinks it's okay to touch my wife in a sexual way without any invitation from her. At best, these acquaintances come across as desperate. At worst, they feel like the opening scene of a horror movie.

Among our more tolerant (and less creepy) friends, though, awkwardness can occur too. Ever since my wife and I "came out" to our vanilla friends, most of them have accepted our lifestyle openly, and some have even been curious. Every now and then, though, we'll notice a slight physical discomfort with our presence -- like if I put my arm around a female friend, I may catch her recoiling or stiffening ever so slightly, as though she's suddenly uncomfortable with the mere thought of me touching her. My wife has noticed the same thing with a few of our male friends. It's a subtle difference in how they now respond to physical affection from us -- physical affection that was always accepted warmly in the past.

I guess it makes sense, though. Once you find out your friends are into stuff like this, it's easy to think, "Shit, he just put his arm around me. He's about to whip out his hog and take me on a tour of Hog City." The subtle recoils we get are reminders of the hurdles we ourselves had to overcome during our three-year journey to becoming swingers.

If you have questions, you can contact the author of this article here.

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465 Comments

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jeswainston

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 5:48 am

"We've only been married a few years, but seriously, we now believe this is how you 1) make a marriage last, and 2) keep it exciting for decades to come."

I think it's ONE way to believe...it doesn't work for everyone. And this quote is what annoys me abut anyone who has an "alternative" lifestyle. Just because it works for you, doesn't mean it will for everyone. Kind of like religious belief ... everyone gets to choose what works for them so stop trying to "convert" people to your beliefs.

Other than that, each to their own preferences.

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July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 6:39 am

Well why did you think the "you" in that statement literally meant "you"? Why should people have to go out of their way to only speak in terms statements acceptable to every potential variable of a person out there?

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bleicher

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 7:38 am

Called survival bias - but its not even that.
Basically its pair of people who are married, probably are ok with each other but really like to fuck somebody else (or at least one of them).
Why would one call marriage something that is obviously just very close friendship with benefits? Its like calling beer "bread juice" - kind of joke, but you dont build communication around euphemisms. Relationship, marriage - all these imply "exclusivity". You cant just call things whatever you want for your comfort. Thats the whole point of having common language. I dont call my apartment "mansion" just to feel more important.

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SandraBowling

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 7:58 am

Yes. I've been with my husband for 10 years and there's no way we'd ever be comfortable with this. Not because it's wrong but because it's wrong for us. People seem to think there's a secret formula out there for a good marriage but i think it's more like a unique formula for each couple and you have to figure it out as you go and be willing to put the work in.

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chaos013

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 8:20 am

bleicher- That's a very crude outlook. A marriage is not about exclusive fucking rights. It's about two people deciding to tie their welfare together to the point where either one represents the whole.

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Hxy3000

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 8:48 am

Marriage is a social contract and what it includes is up to the people in it. You can't call it an exclusive contract for your own comfort.

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Bannef

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 9:02 am

Bleicher, I disagree. For some people, exclusivity is a vital part of marriage. But for others, the other ways of being there for each other until death (communication, emotional support, financial or physical support, etc.) are more important.

Some married couples don't even have sex, and they make it work. If the sexual aspect can be entirely deleted, I don't think sex being exclusive is the most important thing in order for something to be called marriage.

Ultimately, with something as complicated as relationships, you can't assume that the other person is using the same definition as you. You have to explain what you want in the relationship, and then listen to what the other person wants. That's true if you are married and want to try swinging, as explained in this article, or if you are just casualy dating someone and want to make sure you're both on the same page.

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IsaiahKey

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 9:04 am

I thought they were referring to the open communication and trust their lifestyle demands.

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FeedMyChildren

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 10:15 am

The best part is when people who are into unconventional sex demand tolerance for everyone and then call anyone who isn't into the same stuff as them a prude.

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FiaRose

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 10:47 am

Another way to keep the sex exciting for decades is to have more exciting sex with one another :).

This also adds to that communication building when you start getting really honest about what thing you'd like to try in the bedroom (i.e., please wail on my ass with this hairbrush, or I'd like it if we watch porn together on Tuesdays).

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MrBunny

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 11:58 am

It's their private life so that respect is final. The issue that I generally see is it was one party of the 2 that pushed, cajoled, manipulated, or otherwise to bring the other into the fold (so they could bring "others" into the fold, ahem).

This isn't a husband trying to convince his wife into anal cuz' it's New Years or her wanting him to be some Johnny Depp clone for whatever kink they may subscribe to. IDK, blood is too thick for that mode of lifestyle in that, well, I don't want the inevitable baggage that goes w/ it given the human animal's proclivities, the risk of STI skyrocketing, a messy divorce, etc. Furthermore, I'm not sure I could do that to my girl cuz' it's not just someone you fuck, it's someone you love. And you spend more time just loving them in your day to day than you do in the sack, you know?

I don't wholly want the emphasis of the relationship to just be sexual first, everything else second. This is not to say there aren't insanely carnal moments, but it's in poor form to kiss n' tell. It's just if you lead with that, you cheapen it by association, I guess. But to each their own. Not for caring.

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fimikag

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 12:17 pm

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ElizabethLees

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 12:53 pm

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Gadjo

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 8:21 pm

Well when it comes to any sort of polyamory or open relationship, it very much depends on whether both people want it. That lifestyle is great for some, and not for others. It's a matter of personal preference, at it's very core, so everyone attempting to do it would be foolish.

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Skeletoregano

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 9:45 pm

Yes, "vanilla" is an improper term here.

"Muggles" is what the dick-tator to this article's scribe is looking for.

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Spike1382

July 2nd, 2017   Light Full Zip Energy Weight Jacket Solid Down Ultra AS4 Plus Size Men's   02/07/17 11:30 pm

It just is another way of saying "muggle". Also, maybe worry less about what terms marginalized groups come up with for people who don't belong to them. Not everything is an insult and not everything is about you. Move on. You weren't invited to the party anyway.

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Geekatroid

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 9:15 am

What are you talking about? Religion is a matter of truth, not opinion. The existence and nature of God is a factual question.

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cardbourdbox

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 12:22 pm

I really don't see the problem with trying to convert people to your thing. Warhammer, religon swingings probably a funny one because you've kind of involved there partner. Aslong as it's not forced or pushed conversion I don't see the problem.

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FiaRose

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 4:01 pm

No one likes an evangelist (which I learned when I was still Christian) ;). Just present the lifestyle and let people come to their own conclusions about whether or not it's for them.

"The existence and nature of God is a factual question."

There are no factual questions--just factual answers. A "factual question" is a nonsense phrase.

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July 2nd, 2017   Men's Down Jacket Size Light Solid Ultra Energy Plus AS4 Zip Weight Full   02/07/17 4:38 am

Whether it be vanilla or cisgender I really wish people would stop labelling me based on their activities or orientation "Your not a swinger? Your vanilla then" no dick head, your the one thats a swinger you need the label I don't. Ever thought of asking people if they mind being called something before slapping a label on them? Especially one that suggests we're dull and plain.

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rhodaron

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 4:40 am

Vanilla isn't dull and plain, it's cloying and nauseating. Doesn't matter in this context, really, but I do have an irrationally strong opinion on the subject.

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July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 4:52 am

It's human nature to put labels on groups, usually of the "is" and "is not" variety. I'm not saying it's necessarily good or anything, but we've been doing it for millenia. I find it interesting that I've been seeing a lot of backlash around specifically cisgender. I mean, are you mad because there's a word that means you identify as your apparent gender? Or are you just more mad because it reminds you that transgender people exist and you'd rather not be reminded of that? I mean, do you have the same problem with being labelled "heterosexual"?

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DoctorNotAPatsy

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 5:02 am

Having been in the swing community for some time now I can say I've never heard that phrase used outside of articles and have never used it in real life. My non swinger friends are just my friends. Vanilla just sounds like an insult

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TwoSteps

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 5:14 am

I've never really view "vanilla" as insulting or derogatory. It was more along the lines of a warning "That person is vanilla, so cool it with the kink talk around them". It was more of a courtesy, acknowledging that not everybody is into kinky shit and not everybody sure as hell wants to hear about it.

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King.Zog

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 5:23 am

Who cares? If they need to refer to "people who are not swingers" with any regularity, it makes sense that they'd have a less-clunky term for it.

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und_ed

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 5:34 am

Cannot stand the "vanilla" label.

It got to the point where the only way we could get our swinger friends to cut it out was by referring to them as "fomosexuals", a phrase I really want to become mainstream.

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Vanilla seems to be a pretty universal blanket term that's either really easy or lazy to come up with and I expect has been in use for years and years where most people question it anymore.

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AlfredTheGreat

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 5:53 am

What bothers me about vanilla is that its disrespectful to a genuinly great and popular flavor. Vanilla is awesome because its sweet and mellow, you can add so many different flavors to it, it can be in so many different types of food. It can be a deep, medium, or light flavor depending on how you prepare it. Hell in order to make chocolate you add vanilla to it.

Also in pop culture it always seems to be a disparaging term, like people aren't enjoying their sex lives just because they aren't kinky. Like on top of everything else, from judging me on the amount or lack therof of sex I have, you will also judge me on the type I enjoy. So wrong to judge you for your sexual nature, alright for you to judge mine? No, that's bs.

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TrudyBooth

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 6:10 am

Cis/trans can be handy as a point of clarification, plenty of trans folks also just want to be regarded as men and women.

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Spreadeagle

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 6:37 am

I agree, keep your nasty stuff private, peeps.

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ZeroClout

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 7:02 am

Labels are about identity. Some can't help but compartmentalize things. Assumed it makes people feel informed and satisfies expectations. Very few ways to identity a person whom hasn't adjusted to the swing of things yet (ha!). Don't get how vanilla fits though. Isn't it a common flavor of ice cream?

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FiaRose

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 11:05 am

I get the same feeling I get being called "vanilla" that I did when my LARPing friend called me "a mundane." Just... rude!

Also, I'm kinky AND monogamous, so it's doubly annoying because it's half wrong.

Can't there be a scientific term (like cisgender) versus a judgemental, passive-aggressive term (like vanilla)?

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MrBunny

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 12:06 pm

It's a pejorative for them/others in attempt to move the goalposts like any other demographic that feels attacked, marginalized, or otherwise. Otherwise known as the same ole' BS like anything else.

You'RE taking the high road, the smarter road if you just keep it clinical and honest. Your penchant for immediately making it personal and condescending to any outsider is both stupid and ironic. You make a shit showing of your demographic and immediately garner not just a detractor for yourself as you've just put someone down, but you've earned your choice demographic and enemy from this person when some of them therein might be better ppl. At least, better than you, the antagonist calling all "nons" "vanilla" and the like.

short version: pride/stupidity bigger than their common sense.

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July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 2:20 pm

@MrBunny

The problem with this view is that it always puts the burden on the outlier group to "behave" beyond ordinary human expectations. It's not like most monogamous couples you meet are going to be interested whatsoever in participating, so it's not up to swingers to try and humour or indulge them.

If that's not what you want and you want mutual respect, then say it; don't get mad about individuals using terms you think are derogatory if you there might even be an inkling of a thought that these could be defensive expressions born from previous antagonism. Living alternative-anything in this world is often a call for immediate judgement, hatred and derision from the outside world, and yet there's this demand for everyone in these groups to be saint-like hyper-tolerants, as if any nearby sneering rubber-necker is a potential convert.

So if you want others to rise above these labels and resentments, then tend your own garden accordingly with some dignity too.

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FiaRose

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 3:28 pm

Look, I'm childfree, but I refrain from calling those who aren't "Breeders."

Because I'm not an asshole.

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cnconrad

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 5:13 pm

The term is normal.

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BoxerScribe1

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 5:25 pm

Labels are what keep people from drinking windex.

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KaosKat

July 2nd, 2017   Solid AS4 Jacket Full Zip Energy Size Light Men's Ultra Down Plus Weight   02/07/17 6:07 pm

Vanilla is label used for anyone into "normal" sex. So they aren't into BDSM, aren't swingers, don't have any kinks that are of the more taboo nature. It's a well known term that is often used jokingly. You don't have to freak out about it.

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FiaRose

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 6:28 pm

So not liking a passive-aggressive term is "freaking out."

Truly, there is no winning, and, apparently, no room for compromise.

It's just a request: Don't be snarky toward others, as you would have them not be snarky toward you. (I think that's in the Bible or something...)

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I halve no beef with "transgender" if thats what anyone wants to be called, i usually go for their name though seems polite to me.

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WaterTofAlph.B

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 7:14 pm

The prefix "cis" means the opposite of the prefix "trans." Cisgender is an objectively accurate term for someone who isn't transgender, like how "heterosexual" is the objectively accurate term for somebody who is attracted to the opposite sex.

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ShortUsername01

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 8:21 pm

If I were in a polyamorous or open relationship, I would be terrified of the thought of accidentally impregnating one of those partners and bringing a child into that situation. I would want her to abort, yet the fact that it's not my decision, but would be partly my fault, would be hanging over my head. I would need to have had a vasectomy just to not feel guilty about it, and even then, I'm not sure whether or not that'd be enough.

And even I don't take offense to the term "vanilla."

You know why? Because I'm not the type to put words in people's mouths. They said monogamous people are vanilla. They didn't say that's a bad thing. They shouldn't have to walk on eggshells just because others jump to conclusions.

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Gadjo

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 8:25 pm

Most groups (especially small groups) will come up with a term for the larger group, so they can quickly and easily discuss them.

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ogamis

July 2nd, 2017      02/07/17 8:46 pm

Ahahahahahaha XD
OK, anyone who legitimately regards vanilla as a pejorative term is either amazingly insecure, has a considerable victim complex, or, as seems to be the case here by the pointless insult, just wants an excuse to whine about people with different lifestyles.

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MrBunny

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 2:52 am

"@MrBunny: The problem with this view is that it always puts the burden on the outlier group to 'behave' beyond ordinary human expectations."

As I understand it, the PROBLEM was with the word, not the entirety of the lifestyle. I mean, it's not a problem until someone makes it one, right? So why start w/ the negative to non-poly out of the gate? It's not some grandiose hate speech or anything so over-the-top, but I've heard it enough on dark wave nights (since '95), largely B&D predominating, some poly, and elsewhere to sniff out a playful ribbing vs. some passive-aggressive jab and everything in between.

Generally, it was never a problem. You maybe knew a couple that had a kink and others you didn't. No one had to attach a label, compartmentalize and simplify an otherwise complex, but more importantly, private matter. No one goes to work and publicly makes idle chit chat about peeing on ppl or gets on Cracked to lead with their kink for strangling hobos to get off...uh, anymore.
And with that definition, that need for validation or whatever their motivation was, that penchant for pigeonholing came the inevitable backlash like any other demographic. Now this isn't a presumption that anyone who says "vanilla" is possessed of malice of forethought (see "gentle ribbing"). That's the key. But when it is, and it's to basically talk shit to anyone not on board for a personal choice that was right for them/their partner, I mean, damn...wtf?

But what I will say is this, if you publicly wear an aspect of your (and partner's) private life on your sleeve, that probably says more for you than your sexual proclivities. And if you need to take pot shots to anyone that's not in it, even those that don't give AF, well, what then? Better to make friends (Hell, potentially new partners, right?) than alienate or antagonize. If you're just being objective as smarter eggs said above, well, no harm no foul.

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varkarrus

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 5:29 am

There's really nothing different between "straight" and "cisgender". No straight person Minda being called straight so what's wrong with being called cisgender?

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StpdFck

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 5:31 am

What is wrong with using vanilla as short hand for identifying someone is into or out of a lifestyle?

I met someone the other night and while talking on the phone the term came up. By using that term, we were quickly able to answer if we had a preference for sex that most people would call 'alternative.'

It's not meant to be derogatory, just short hand to identify which side of the sexual divide you fall in.

Asking that question we were able to determine we are at least in the same galaxy of sexulaity.

Galaxies are really big though and there are many solar systems of preference. Some of those non-vanilla types would never ever fly through, let alone visit.

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Lizzy-Chrome

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 5:55 am

What about terms like "gentile," or "gadjo?" Minority groups will always have terms for everyone else, and vis-versa.

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D1ddy

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 6:20 am

"What's wrong with 'vanilla'..."

The list of people above who don't like being labelled 'vanilla'.

Holy shit, how hard can it be.

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MrBunny

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 12:33 pm

Sanctioning or condemnation aside, it's not very telling.

That is to say, when I'd heard "vanilla" between tracks otherwise heightened sexual fare on a typical goth-industrial circuit, it was generally indicative of a hint of slander, but even when it wasn't- say, a casual acquaintance noting that new guy over there (Oh, jeans and a 'T', must be vanilla...) it didn't take a genius to realize that was foolish. It's not like our judgment's already impaired on 3 vodka tonics, beer, what have you and this is to say nothing for a wealth of the girls disappearing to the lady's room for more, uh, extended play (coke and the like, generally).

But it wasn't. Even the most ardent leather daddy or dominatrix barbie rocking out to even a run-of-the-mill NIN track didn't seem vanilla, but woe to you if you try and venture some poly bit on select groups of them. That is to say, despite not being "vanilla" as evidenced by a landfill of cuffs, crops, "specific" piercings, etc., many are definitely NOT into sharing. That is THEIR SPECIAL SOMEONE and it's hard enough to get that as a minority demographic in a world that often doesn't share that sentiment or kink.

And then it hit me, that whole 'D' in B&D let alone elements of S&M makes a pretty huge nod to control, a more formal declaration or will/desire/etc. Ceding that to 3rd parties often runs anathema to many who subscribe to that relationship, but they sure as shit weren't "vanilla" and more than a few would turn on you in a heartbeat for even insinuating an intimate dalliance, group play, what have you. Others not. But what was seemingly a fine line in appearance did not jibe well with a rather bland, careless adjective to note who was who, what was what even if they meant no harm in the reasoning to the regular majority types.

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cardbourdbox

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 12:35 pm

I'd say labels are great. I was talking about dwalfs with a mate (actually I used the word midget but there was no in the car to offend). How could we talk about people with are medically alot shorter without using terminology (we could but it would be clumsy).

In a night club I might also want to communicate to a guy that i'm not gay or if I'm acting uncomfortable they might say the same to me.

I'd say it's fine to not like terms but in that case you owe said person please don't use that particular term before you cause trouble. I was on a online conversation on youtube where someone kept calling me bigoted for using the term drag queen (to rather to men who dress as woman for entertainment) and the term lady boy. I kind of wish I argued back with them rather than trying to build a understanding now. They had a point about the term lady boy but they could have just said. I didn't know the finer details of what they where pissed about at the start of it.

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cort2000

July 3rd, 2017      03/07/17 5:24 pm

So I'm black but not a swinger....am I still vanilla? Tee-hee of course I am, the vanilla bean is black.

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piggysayswhat

July 6th, 2017      06/07/17 11:13 am

Sure, I'll get on that. What would you prefer to be called?

You already have "person with human rights" and a monopoly on the definition of "man" or "woman" as gifts of being part of the majority, what else would you like from your minority fellow-folk? What's another thing done in the service of the majority after centuries of oppression for any deviation from them?

I know it's been such a burden on the majority to include even one or two new terms for the people they'd rather stuff in a closet somewhere, even if such terms are rarely used without a deep eye roll or coupled immediately with a whine about how little attention said majority card holder is getting for a brief moment in their otherwise represented by society experience. But, hey -- it's what's expected of people who can't easily start a lynch mob, so what are you looking for? Let me, once again, change for you. Always happy to be of help because might get chased with pitchforks if I say otherwise!

If I can't use "average" "vanilla" "normie" "straitlaced" "standard" "middle of the bell curve" "usual" "Brad/Janet" or any variation because I see now how hurtful it is to not be better represented in a group that you're not a part of from the side of a society that has been violently puritanical to non-standard sexual practices -- what would you prefer? Because I am going to talk about you behind your back, just like everyone does about everyone else, and you're the outsider here. Yeah, you need the label in this situation, I don't. What name do you want to eavesdrop in on and then complain about on the internet next?

Vanilla has a pejorative context, only when it's coupled with, "Boy, isn't it so frustrating how needy vanilla people are about wanting yet more representation for their lives and sexual practices that society is already built around?" Still, I doubt you'll ever have it directed your way, outside of you taking on that definition, then being offended by it, after reading it in an article about one single niche of heteronormative swingers. Because that is rude, to be openly nasty or dismissive to someone's face, dick head. Luckily, it's something you're unlikely to find unless you go bitching about how sad you are that people you're not connected to aren't putting your lifestyle on a pedestal in comparison to their own. You know, that thing the minority has and probably always will get to deal with.

What about snowflake? Isn't that a term used now for people who just desperately need to have attention brought their way because they don't feel coddled appropriately by strangers? I mean, snowflakes are unique and beautiful, but still make up just a sea of indistinguishable blankness when lumped together. Or how about "C+'s?" It's right there in the middle, but that plus can really highlight how you're neither dull, nor plain. Making sure that no one ever forgets how special and important you are, even for a moment, even if you have nothing to do with the communities that have so cruelly dismissed and judged you by associating you with the most produced/popular flavors of iced cream products.

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NateHevens

July 8th, 2017      08/07/17 9:43 am

Welp, in that case, I label you as someone who doesn't like to be labeled which, BTW... is a label.


Also... are you implying that the opposite of those labels, such as transgender, for example, are "deviations" from some kind of "norm"? Because that is *exactly* why labels like "cisgender" exist. We who are not trans refused to label ourselves as anything other than "normal", but were more than happy to label those who are trans... often with demeaning slurs. So they came up with a label for us, at least in part as a way to normalize themselves. There's nothing more "normal" about being cis over being trans, just as there's nothing more normal about being heterosexual over being homosexual, or being a man over being a woman, or being white over being a person of color... even being vanilla over being a swinger (or having some or more other kinks).

Stop whining about labels and deal with the fact that we all have them. Labels are an inherent part of language and always will be... no amount of hipster crying about them will change that, Mr. I Don't Like Being Labeled Because I'm "Normal".

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