A Night to Remember
Traversing the line between what is sexually comfortable and what is sexually uncomfortable takes experience. Although, I felt I had experienced all that I could in a two person arena, I wondered how I would feel in a group setting. As luck would have it, a friend of mine proposed an idea that would work to fulfill a personal fantasy of exploration, as well as a course requirement. My friend, lets call him James, had a friend who was currently working as DJ for this well known swingers club in downtown Los Angeles. The DJ friend had set it up so we could enter the club as his guests and partake in all the festivities we wished to partake in. So I began my adventure as foremost an observer, and possible participant in a world I’ve only seen in HBO documentaries.
Before I go any further, I must explain the dynamic of my relationship to James, we were friends first and foremost. At least, I viewed him as a friend. From his point of view, I knew he was attracted, but I kept him at bay. I was simply was not attracted to him in that way. However, before we set off for our adventure, I made it clear to him we were going to this club as friends, although the club was geared toward couples looking to hook up. In fact, that was a qualification to get into the club, you had to come as a pair, a male and female couple. We were able to bypass the screening process of sending in our pictures through our connections, and just showed up at the location the night of the party. The club was located somewhere amidst the warehouses in downtown la. The entrance was nondescript, we entered and immediately had to sign confidentiality papers and show proof of our age. Then we were lead through what looked like office cubicles, to another door. We were led by a cheerful hostess who asked us if it was our first time and told us all about the amenities and theme rooms available to us. Then we were led into a large room, which resembled any old dance club, with a bar, area for food, seating, and dance floor complete with requisite stripper poles. Everyone’s attire was appropriate for a typical club setting. I did notice that everyone kept to themselves, at each table it was rare to see more than one couple seated. Alas the night was early, and so far I was underwhelmed by this sexual subculture experience. We decided to get a table and people watch. Most of the couples there looked to be in their late 20's to mid 30's and of average beauty. They looked like everyday people, not the typical over sexed porn star at all. Regarding the attire, I was surprised to see how conservative people were dressed. For a club that advocated sex, I would have thought I would have seen more people wearing clothing that advertised their attributes more successfully. After some time, I could tell the people were loosening up. People were actually chatting with other people, I could see many more attempts at mingling. There was an MC who came on stage to announce a stripping contest, and was running around the crowd looking for volunteers. I also started to notice that people had brought secondary outfits that they were changing into. These outfits were more like lingerie, and were definitely advertising sex.
At this point I started to notice that the crowd in the main club room was thinning out. So my friend and I decided to explore and find out where they were going. Behind the stage led to a maze of rooms, with all different themes. There was little to no furniture, just soft mats laid out and little strategically placed baskets full of condoms and lube bullets. We quickly toured every room, and became voyeurs to the people having sex in front of us. I didn’t feel any shame watching these people have sex, they did not invite nor seem to care about the attention, they just went about their actions. All of the theme rooms I was comfortable with except for two. There was a sadomasochism room. To get into that room I had to climb a ladder and go into what looked like an attic. Inside people were not having sex, just beating each other with whips and other devices. In this room the people did not seem to be enjoying themselves. There was no joyful moans, just painful grunts. This room also yielded what looked like the least attractive people in the club. I didn’t stay around to see much else more in that room. Another room that effected me, although not in a sexually aroused way, was a room that when you enter over looked a den. In the den people in every combination possible were having sex. It looked almost artistic to see the different combination of bodies intertwined. However, what I found unsettling was the faces of the people involved. There seemed to be no connection between any of the participants. Everyone seemed to be in their own world, almost in a hypnotic daze. No one made eye contact, and there was no intensity. I left that room uncomfortable, as if I watched something I was not supposed to see.
It did not take long for me to become completely desensitized to watching random people naked and having sex, everywhere and in every combination. There were moments of arousal, but nothing to the point where I wanted to participate. That was until I walked in on a couple not having sex, but making love. They were passionate, they were into each other, there was eye contact. I became aroused and almost envious of that passion. I started looking at my friend with lust, which was odd, because in any other occasion I was not attracted. Before I went to the club, I knew the experience would either turn me off to the idea of group sex, or it would completely turn me out. It was only when I saw the couple making love in the middle of all the sex did I answer my question. I wanted the passion of a connection, that was what turned me on. Thinking of all the masses of bodies I saw, humping each other, zoned out. I did not want to be part of that, but I could see the immediate gratification of it.
Unfortunately for my friend James, he awkwardly ran into a co worker at the club. I saw this as a plus, because I had an opportunity to talk to some real live swingers in more depth. My friend and I played the part of the first timers, and asked the veteran couple questions. Such as what is the protocol for inviting a new couple, or partner into bed. They said to just initiate conversation and you’ll know from there where to take it. I asked them if they had any limits while swinging. They replied with an resounding, “ No ”.
Then they proceeded to explain to me the different levels of swinging. There was Soft Swinging, where the couple may invite a partner(s) and only stroke, kiss or have oral sex. Then there is Full Swap, where full penetration occurs. After a little more conversation, I began to be aware that they were hitting on us. I was taking part in conversation that could lead to swinging if I choose to participate. I am used to getting hit on by men, but not by a woman. I did not recognize the signs right away. I flirted back, but remained aloof. The couple, recognizing our reluctance to play along, at least for tonight. They invited us to another swingers party going on at a mansion in a few weeks. They said the mansion party had better looking people, and was just a superior party over all. Being that my friend and the female in the couple were co workers they gave each other little winks and we said our goodbyes.
On the ride home I began processing all that I saw, heard and yes, smelled. In the Swingers club there seemed to be more respect, than in a straight club. The men respected the women more, there were no cheesy pickup lines, or guys making rude comments as a female walked by. As for the women, they seemed more confident and comfortable. Maybe this was because they were with men already, and did not have to fight over attention and male suitors. In straight clubs and bars, you see a lot of young girls trying to get male attention by playing gay and making out with their female friends. A lot of females use the ideal of lesbianism to get male attention. In the Swingers club, surprisingly I did not see any females desperately seeking male attention. Nor did I see much gay sex for that matter.
As for what needs this culture satisfy. I would expect it would satisfy a community of couples who trust each other and are secure enough in their relationship to bring in another partner(s). Human beings, as a physical specimen, are not monogamous creatures. Some people recognize that, and are able to process the complex emotions that arise in participating in an alternative sexual life style. I can see how this lifestyle is tricky to maneuver. Simply because you never know what is in your partners heart, while they may say sex with another person is purely physical. There may be an emotional connection they don’t tell you about. There are too many new variables when you bring in new sexual partners. A monogamous relationship is difficult enough without bringing in more potential problems.
My whole experience in the swingers club was enlightening. I learned a lot about myself, as well as a whole sub culture that I feel had not been given fair representation. The media loves to portray people who seek other avenues of sexual lifestyles as perverts or deviants. But the people I encountered were respectful and more tolerant than most people give them credit for.