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REVIEW: My Life on the Swingset

Hey sex fans!

Have I got some marvelous news for you! My friend and colleague, Cooper S. Beckett, has written a new book.  It impressed me no end so I thought, rather than keep this all to myself, I’d share it with you.

Ya’ll remember Cooper, right? OK, maybe ya don’t; it’s been a long time since he was last seen skulking around my site. Way back in March of 2011 I had the pleasure of welcoming Cooper and his ever so lovely sidekick, Ginger, to my Sex EDGE-U-cation show for a two-part interview. You can find both parts in the Podcast Archive HERE and HERE!

Cooper and Ginger are the hosts of the Life On The Swingset podcasts, where they discuss a wide range of topics, with a focus on consensual non-monogamy. swingset

Cooper’s new book: My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory, is a collection of essays on…wait for it…his personal journey through ethical non-monogamy. This is what he says about it in the Introduction:

You should read this book because it represents my journey. From starry-eyed newbie swinger, through my dealing with jealousy and conflict, through the triumphs of orgies and play parties, through the devastation of breaking up, through exploring polyamory, through divorce, through major life changes, through depression, through success and failure, through the rise and fall of new relationships.

Triumphs of orgies?? How you do go on, sir!

It’s no secret that Cooper is unabashedly biased when it comes to swinging, polyamory, as well as other forms of ethical non-monogamy. And why shouldn’t he be? As he plainly states he has grown in his appreciation of himself and his sexuality in the process. Now, how many of us can make a similar claim? However, in his enthusiasm, he doesn’t gloss over the difficulties. He speaks honestly and earnestly about this particular way to live one’s life. He describes the opportunities that allow for growth in terms of understanding one’s sexuality and one’s loving relationships through experimentation and self-reflection.

To my mind, there is nothing more compelling than a “coming out” story. It’s one thing to quietly self-identify as a fellow big-fat-pervert, as I am apt to say on my podcasts, it’s quite another to tell the whole world. I am pleased to welcome Cooper to the Out-There-Come-What-May club.  It’s good to have you here, my friend.

One of my favorite chapters in the book is titled: Bi The Way – Male Bisexuality and Swinging. Cooper, Ginger, and I talked about this very thing, at length, in our podcast together. So it was delightful to find him exploring this concept in print as well.

There is a huge double standard in the swinging lifestyle when it comes to acceptance of bisexual males. We all know this, it’s endemic. As swingers we seem perfectly happy that our women are bisexual. We encourage and expect them to be so often. Some more than others, but by and large, definitely bisexual. Now don’t jump down my throat here, I’m well aware that straight swinging females exist, and probably in a decent sized number, but wouldn’t we all agree that the VAST majority of females in the lifestyle are bi? This fact isn’t really shocking, as even the mainstream vanilla world has embraced girl-on-girl dalliance action in the past ten to fifteen years. So when a lifestyle such as swinging presents itself as an option, affording them the opportunity to play with girls, well, there ya go, that’s where the bi girl inside comes out. Many of the swing couples I’ve met said that this was one of the prominent reasons they got into this lifestyle in the first place. So Mrs. could play with another woman. You raise the call for bisexual males, however, and tumbleweeds blow by. Invisible because it’s been made very clear in club and party rules and pricing that a man who wants to play with another man is an unwelcome addition to the scene. This doesn’t make sense.

See why I like Cooper so much?

Another thing I liked a lot about the book, and I think every reader will echo my feelings about this, is Cooper’s thoughtful addition of a glossary of pertinent lingo. If you don’t know the difference between a Full Swap and a Soft Swap or don’t know PIV and PIA from a hole in your head (someone’s gonna appreciate that pun, don’t cha know), not to worry because Cooper takes great pains to spell it out for you.

On a personal note, I want to say a special thanks to Cooper for his chapter titled: Podcasting Can be Lonely. I thought I was the only person who thought this way.

Podcasting can be a lonely pursuit at times. You predominantly interact with people that don’t have physicality in your world. They’re avatars, they’re ones and zeros. They exist for real somewhere, of course. (Most of them, there are the bots after all.) But few exist beyond text on a screen. Writing for a website is the same way. It’s a lot of work, and a tremendous output of self. We sex bloggers reveal so much to so many people (at least we hope for “so many”) and can often get to wondering if we’re just shouting into the void.

Funny, erotic, thought provoking, authentic, and true. My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory raises the bar for all of us who are trying to live honest ethical non-monogamy and talk with others about our experiences. Cooper Beckett, you are an inspiration!

My Life on the Swingset is available exclusively as an Amazon Kindle e-book. A print edition will follow later this month. And be sure to look for the audiobook release in the spring. Check it out, sex fans; you’ll be so glad you did.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Name: Trey
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Location: Charleston, SC
I’m a good looking guy. At least that’s what people tell me. I’m educated, have a good job, have a great sense of humor, and I’m also bi. I thought that being attracted to both women and men would increase the likelihood of me finding the sexual satisfaction I so desperately want and need.

I’m not afraid of commitment, but I can’t seem to get beyond casual hook ups and affairs that last only a few months. The sex is a hit or miss kind of thing, but even when the sex is great, I always seem to hit a wall. I can’t seem to get to the next level.

The New Year is upon us and I don’t want to remain stuck in this holding pattern. What am I missing? Any advice for someone like me?

Thanks for the timely question, Trey. And Happy New Year to you.

i'd totally fuck youYou bring up two very important skill sets — satisfying sex and relationship building. Despite the myths perpetuated by the popular culture, the two are not necessarily interdependent. Sexual satisfaction is one thing, and it can be achieved through traditional relationship models or not. Successful primary relationships can and often do depend on the sexual satisfaction of the partners, but not always. And given the diversity of intimate interests people have, it’s no wonder some come away from the experience frustrated and disappointed. Think of it as a combination lock. All the tumblers need to align for the lock to open.

The secret, it seems to me, is to discover precisely what it is you are looking for and deciding precisely what it is you are willing to expend getting what you want.

And I hope that your bisexuality has lead you to embrace more relationship models than what is traditionally handed us as the be all and end all—heterosexual monogamy. There is so much more out there.foreplay

That being said, I do have some generic thoughts about sexual satisfaction that are applicable to whatever relationship model you choose. Great sex is dependent on mutuality, even in a casual hook up. Be sure your partner knows he or she is loved, appreciated, or in terms of the casual hook up, respected.

If the connection you have with another has legs, so to speak, you will soon discover that either you or your partner has a stronger libido than does the other. That’s pretty common. Deal with this immediately, like adults. Don’t wait for your relationship to go broken. It’s just too easy to walk away from something that is floundering instead of investing the effort it would take to right it. Does that sound familiar? I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Accommodations and compromise are always necessary in seeking the common good. And by that I don’t mean sinking to the lowest common denominator.  People come to compromise and accommodation through effective communication. If you don’t know how to do that, your relationship, of whatever stripe, is doomed.

female body as art 2Passion is not a dirty word, nor is sexual expression a sin. If you or a partner has religious scruples about enjoying you own body or that of your partner you’re headed for trouble. And remember, boredom in the bedroom is a recipe for disaster.

You should be well versed in self-pleasuring. In fact, the more you know about your body and the mysteries of your sexual response cycle the smoother things will go in partnered sex. Nowadays there is absolutely no need for anyone to come to partnered sex uninformed about sex in general and his or her sexuality in particular.

Like I said, mutuality is the key. And since we all evolve sexually, partners need to grow right along with each other. Make your sex play an adventure. Never hesitate to check in with one another to see how the pleasure thing is going. What’s worked last time is not necessarily gonna work next time.

Spontaneity is always a real good thing. Both partners need to take responsibility for seeing that their intimacy needs are being met. Sometimes that will involve fucking like bunnies, other times it will mean vegging-out in front of the boob-tube with a fist full of Häagen-Dazs.

Again, communication is key! Openness and honesty about one’s most secret sexual fantasies and desires is essential. Can’t trust your partner with your secrets? That’s never a good sign. Take responsibility for your own sexuality. Ask for what you need, but don’t neglect caring for yourself.

Seek your partner’s pleasure before your own. This is particularly important for a man.

If you are too busy to celebrate your sexuality with your partner, you are indeed too fuckin’ busy. Prioritize your life with your partner at its center.

nipple rubThere’s a fundamental difference between making love and fucking. Both have their place in a healthy sex life. And there ought also be room for solitary sex too. Everyone in entitled to privacy and private time, especially in a relationship.  If your job, or career, or whatever else interests you is more important than your relationship don’t expect that relationship to last.

Be creative in your sexual expression; toys, fantasies, role-playing, they’re all good. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Attend to making your sex play spaces fit the mood — romantic to down and dirty. One size does not fit all, if you catch my drift.

Stay in shape (and there’s not just one shape), get plenty of exercise, and keep yourself interesting and attractive to your partner. Pay attention to your personal hygiene. No one wants to bump someone with a smelly body or bad breath.

Make sure your partner is fully aroused before full-on fucking. And remember sex is way more than the old in an out. Finally, have a sense of humor about the whole damn thing; it will help take the edge off.

Good luck

You want me to do WHAT?

First Name: Beth
Age: 52
Gender: Female
Location: New Jersey
Your question or comment: My husband and I have swung in the past and have had an open marriage for a short time about 5 or 6 years ago. We have, for the most part, been monogamous for the past few years. He now tells me that the only thing that will make him interested in having sex with me is if I find men to have sex with and send him pics of myself in the act with other men. I have no desire to do this but am considering doing it if it will help my sex life with him. I have read about Candaulism (a sexual practice or fantasy in which a man exposes his female partner, or images of her, to other people for their voyeuristic pleasure) and am beginning to think he may be a latent homosexual or bisexual and trying to fulfill his desire to be with a man by living vicariously threw me. He says that the torment of knowing that I am with another man is exciting to him and I don’t understand how that can be a healthy thing for him. I am desperate for guidance in this area. Your thoughts??

Well then, Beth, things are gonna get very interesting in your life real soon, huh?

2477075029_d8e7e288c4Before I get to answering your query, let me ask you some questions. You say you and the hubby used to be swingers and even had an open marriage for a while some years ago. Why, after all that nontraditional relationship stuff, did ya’ll go back to sexual exclusivity? Did you both agree to go back to the straight and narrow, or did one of you decide for the both of you? This is an important point. If one of you decided for the both of you, the one tagging along with the decision may not have been totally on board from the get go. And when that happens, what looks like domestic tranquility is actually nothing of the sort.

It appears to me that your marriage has somewhat of a cyclical pattern to it. You guys have vanilla periods and kinky periods. Would that be an accurate representation of the dynamics? If so, let me ask a few more questions. Who or what determines the swing, you’ll pardon the pun, from vanilla to kink? Is it a boredom thing? And who determines the swing back to vanilla? And does that have anything to do with fear and jealousy? Do you guys discuss the transition before hand? Or is the migration from vanilla to kink and back again more of a follow-the-leader sort of thing? And who leads whom into kink? And does the same person lead out of kink back to vanilla? These questions are all very important and I would want to know the answers before I suggest a path forward.Candaulism

Now I know you are not here to answer my outstanding questions, so that means I need to punt. From what you tell me, I discern that the hubby is in need of a little spice. And maybe he is the one who traditionally leads the marriage out of vanilla into kink. You appear to be resisting this migration for whatever reason. Maybe that’s your traditional role in the marriage. I’m also guessing that you guys don’t talk things through before a momentous change is in the offing, but ya should. A lot of the heartache and misdirection could be avoided if you did.

I also think your husband is not veering into particularly dangerous or uncharted waters with his Candaulism. Seems to me you’ve been there already, at least in spirit, with your periods of swinging and open relationship. It also occurs to me that your hubby has a big fat cuckold fetish that he is trying to itch. And in terms of fetishes, this is a relatively harmless one, especially if everyone involved is on board for the fun and games. Check out my How To Video Library for some swell movies on that theme.

mr-honmaIs his cuckold fetish latent homosexuality? What a funny question to ask considering your relationship history. Isn’t it more likely that he might have a bisexual streak? And the fact that you are puzzled by all of this suggests, at least to me, that you guys don’t know each other very well. And that’s astonishing considering what you’ve been through together.

What I’m getting at though all of this is, if you want to restore some balance and harmony to your marriage, the answer is not simply hanging out at the vanilla end of relationship spectrum because it’s comfortable and safe. At least not until there is consensus on the part of both you and your husband. The big mistake many couples make is to assume that if one person is along for the ride, just to make peace, there is consensus. That’s not consensus; that’s conciliation.

Again, because you guys aren’t here to discuss this stuff with me, but I’d still like to help, let me turn you on to an exercises that will facilitate the open and honest discussion you need to have with your man and he with you. What follows comes from a workshop I developed called; The Gospel of Kink. I’ve also conveniently packaged this workshop into a workbook with the same title. You can find the book HERE!

GOK small cover

Both the workshop and book are designed to help people, like you and your husband, develop the skills they need to effectively communicate with one another and improve their problem solving skills. The workshop and book, as the title suggests, are specifically geared toward folks in kinky, BDSM, and alt-culture relationships, but even vanilla couples will find what I present very helpful.

Even the strongest relationships go through periods of distress and turmoil. Disagreements, misunderstandings, and personal foibles can cause contention and conflict. So let’s see if we can come up with some practical tools and techniques to 1) handle common alt relationship related issues, and 2) successfully navigate our relationship conflicts.

EXERCISE 2 — Tools and Techniques for Navigating Alt Relationship Conflicts

Begin by jotting down a half dozen or so key words or phrases that identify the issues and problems you’ve encountered in your alt relationships. And then see if you can come up with a list of a half dozen or so key words or phrases that suggest possible solutions to those issues and problems.

Once both of you have completed your lists you’ll need to set up a time for a formal discussion of those lists. With a little luck, this exercise will help you identify the stumbling blocks that both of you see and help you develop a strategy to overcome them.

Of course all of this will depend on how well you listen to and absorb the message coming from your partner. Need help with that too? Never fear, The Gospel of Kink has exercises for that as well.

Good luck

Nothing beats threes

David
My wife and I have wanted to add a third person to our relationship. Would you have any advice for us on how we could do this? Is this something that you could assist us with? We are in our mid forties and wanting to do this with someone we can trust.
Please help.

Hey David, try using the search feature in the header. Type in 3-way and/or swinger. You’ll find a wealth of information (both written and audio) on the topic you raise.

Here’s a taste of what you will find:3way-78516707835_xlarge

Trying new things can be really fun especially when your playing with people you like and are turned on by. I’d suggest you keep the event light and breezy. Too many people try to script a 3-way to within an inch of its life, and that can ruin the whole damn thing. At the same time, just hooking up for quick shag can be a little too impersonal.

There is another way. I suggest that you, your wife and the potential partner start your encounter by getting a bite to eat together. A little food and a couple cocktails can be a great start to the adventure. No doubt all three of you will be a little nervous, so make this part of the outing sexy and flirtatious. Each of you could practice your seduction skills on each other. In doing so, you will soon discover the sexual hierarchy…and there always is one in these kinds of encounters. If there are any ground rules for the encounter, this is the time to mention them. You and your wife should have discussed this ahead of time. The more you discover about your potential partner in this non-sexual, but seductive environment the more prepared ya’ll will be for how the rest of the evening will play itself out.

If it were I, I’d want to get a sense of how experienced the other person is at having a 3-way. Other important questions; are either you or your wife bisexual? Is the person you are inviting to join you bisexual? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you can be assured that the dynamic of the 3-way will be fundamentally different than if none or only one of you is bi.

Be sure to inquire about the sexual fantasies of your prospective partner and share some of your own. In most situations, all the partners in a ménage are equal. Make sure that your potential play partner knows what turns each of you on. You’d be wise to know in advance what turns him/her on as well. That will make the event go a whole lot smoother.

There are some fine videos in my How To Video Library on the topic. Look for the Video Library tab in the header, then search for 3-way or swinger.

Here’s another tip: I’ve done several podcasts with seasoned swingers. All these conversations are part of the Sex EDGE-U-cation show, don’t cha know. This series of interviews takes a look at the world of fetish sex, kink and alternative lifestyles. We touch on topics both familiar and exotic. And I chat with prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles from all over the world. Here’s a fine example: The founder of Life On The Swingset, Cooper Beckett and his ever so lovely podcast co-host, Ginger. All these conversations about consensual non-monogamy are fun and informative. Don’t miss miss them!

Good luck

High And Dry

Name: Stephen
Gender: Male
Age: 47
Location: Sacramento, CA
Dear Dr. Dick I am at the end of my rope. I am a white male, 47, 50lbs over what my Doctor would like me to weight. I am per-diabetic, with blood pressure and cholesterol just a little higher than my Doctor would like. I have been married for going on 13 years, and have a 7-year-old special needs son. And my sex life sucks.
My wife who I love dearly has chronic pain that leaves her muscles aching all the time, so the last time she and I had sex was the night we conceived our son. I have tried to take care of my needs though masturbation, but to be honest I am getting very bored with the whole idea of jerking off. Even using my hand I have trouble sometimes getting a hard on. I have managed to have an orgasm while my dick is soft, it just takes care of the itch, and it does not really satisfy me like fucking or a good slow hand job while fully hard.
I have tried using a cock ring, but I think I am doing something wrong because I don’t stay hard while using one and none of my partners has used one so I have no one to ask. I also have the problem of finding the time when I can be alone. Without my wife finding out what I am doing, because she does not approve of me watching porno, or jerking off. The last time she caught me, she did not speak to me for over two weeks.
I am trying to find a family counselor for my wife and I, but I’m having problems with finding one covered by our Insurance and one that can make appointments that will fit in with my wife’s work schedule.
I have been exploring my BI side with men I meet on the web. I am fussy because I want to be safe, and they have to have somewhere we can meet. Most married BI guys have the same problems I do, nowhere to go to have a little fun. There are no bathhouses in our area. And on top of all those problems I can only get a hard on if I use one of the ED drugs. Which my Medical Insurance will not pay for so my Doctor has been giving my free samples that he gets.
So of the five or six times a year I get to have sex, maybe one of them I will get to fuck someone. While I like being a bottom, there are times I just want to fuck someone. There are times I just want to pack up my bags and leave to find the sex life I want, but I do love my wife and son, and I don’t think leaving will make anything better.
So here I sit, I have run out of ideas, my counselor has run out of ideas. Having sifted thought most of your web site with no luck I hope that maybe you can shed some new light on this disaster of a sex life.

Do you know the phrase, “sinking to the lowest common denominator?” Well that’s what you are doing, my friend. You have precisely the sex life you permit yourself to have. You’ve boxed yourself into a corner by allowing others, particularly your wife, to dictate what you can and cannot do with your sexual energy. So there you are high and dry, as they say.

challenges aheadI appreciate the fact that your wife may have medical issues that might prevent her from joining you in the vigorous sex life you desire. But if that’s where you leave the discussion then you are getting precisely what you deserve.

I realize you’ve committed yourself to your wife through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. But in the absence of a marital sex life, you’ve discovered new and uncharted areas of your own sexuality. This volatile combination will either be destructive or regenerative.

I have one real simple premise that I live by. And that is, each of us has a right to a happy, healthy, integrated sex life. If there is something that is getting in the way of achieving that, whatever it might be, it is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

As far as relationships go, particularly a marriage, I am of the mind that we ought, first and foremost, work to honor our commitments of fidelity and mutual support. Are there ways that these two moral principles — a right to a healthy sex life and one’s marital commitments — can coexist when one’s relationship excludes the possibility of happy sexual expression? Yes, I believe there are. And many couples achieve this balance, because they have an overriding love and concern for one anther.stubbornness

Now the facts — not all loving relationship, including many marriages, have a sexual component. Many, for one reason or another, simply don’t. In fact, most long-term relationships are not sexual in nature. However, a partner in loving relationship who is unable to provide sexual satisfaction to his/her partner should give the languishing partner permission to find sexual fulfillment outside the relationship. I hasten to add that these are often very difficult negotiations to hammer out. But to do less than try to make these accommodations is, I believe, a form of sexual abuse.

If what you report about your wife’s revulsion to even you sexually pleasuring yourself is accurate, then you have a very hard row to hoe. Trying to negotiate a satisfactory solution to your dilemma is all the more difficult when one of the partners is opposed to even discussing the issue. This is where a good counselor will come in handy. (If you would like to consult me, see the Therapy Available tab under the About Dr Dick page in the header of my site.) If your therapist is not up to helping you bring this issue to the fore, then you’d better look elsewhere for the help you need. If this issue is left unattended you will continue to sink to the lowest common denominator. You will continue to be unhappy as you skulk around looking for stray cock in unsavory places. And I have a sense that you are not being totally upfront with me about your extracurricular activities. Simply put, you do yourself and your marriage a greater injustice with this kind of reckless behavior than risking the dissolution of your marriage by engaging your wife in an honest search for a healthy solution to your problems.

solutionsThat being said, I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and guess that you’ve already made up your mind about the direction you intend to go. I suspect that you will continue to explore your nascent bisexuality through these furtive liaisons with men you’ve been meeting. I also assume that, divorce is not an option, at least not in an up-front sort of way. The sad thing here is your wife is unable to join you in coming up with a viable solution to the problem at hand, because she is being kept in the dark about your dalliances.

I am not suggesting that you deny your sexual needs just to appease or pacify your wife. Nor do I condone deceiving your wife about your true self. These options will only create a divide between you and your wife that will never be bridged.

If you ever hope to escape the corner you’ve painted yourself into, you’ll have to buck up and be honest with your wife. Looks like you have your work cut out for you, my friend.

Good Luck

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