Climbing Into the Swing Set: A First-person Testimonial From a Tar Heel Swinger | The Sex Issue | Indy Week
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Climbing Into the Swing Set: A First-person Testimonial From a Tar Heel Swinger 

Is the Triangle swinger scene dead?

That's what several people told me during the last two months, when I reached out to a few dozen anonymous contacts through Craigslist posts, message boards, and mutual friends. If it wasn't dead, one admitted, it was so small no one would run the risk of blowing cover by talking to a journalist.

But, on the condition of anonymity, one area veteran did agree to speak and to share not only the real details of often-glamorized swinger parties but also to discuss the fulfillment one can find far beyond sex in such a club.

There are people who go into this with the Hollywood-fed idea that this is what all the cool kids do. They don't typically last. I have seen people who came in the front door, looked around, and walked right back out. Everyone has a picture in their minds of what these encounters are like. It's just usually not like that. Mostly, the people are not movie stars. They're ordinary folks.

It takes some intestinal fortitude, any time you're opening yourself up and exposing the person you are and the things you like. You don't want to be in a situation where you let people see this raw side of yourself and have them shut that down. In that way, the people that do this sort of thing are actually kinder than your average bar fling—the normal dance of boys and girl, if you will, in a lot of different spaces, like a bar.

There is a lot of attention paid to how rejection might be met. You're all in this space together, and everyone understands that it is scary enough to put your heart out there. Everyone is always very careful how "no" is said and when "no" is said. This is the one place where you can take the chance. If your boss is there when the door closes, you got nothing to worry about. The only people who are there are there for the same purpose.

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS WILLIAMS
  • Illustration by Chris Williams

The location will open an hour ahead of when doors close, let's say at eight p.m. Most people will show up around seven thirty. Everybody knows that, when the door gets locked, if there is a knock, you put your clothes on. You're closing the door because what is going to happen is private. The people that have volunteered their homes for this don't want to have open curtains and don't want people to be parading back and forth in their birthday suits for the neighbors to have anything to complain about.

At seven p.m., there is a room where there is already pornography going, but generally people will have a beer or a glass of wine and chat. At eight, the host will announce that the door is officially closed. The eight p.m. rule is not about socializing; it is about sex acts. No sex acts happen before the door is closed, but when the doors close, that doesn't mean the socializing stops suddenly.

There are people who, as soon as the door closes, head off to one of the rooms because they've already done their whole dance—if you have been chatting with someone with the intention of them being the salad on the buffet, for instance. There is foreplay but not a lot of seduction. Everyone knows why you're there.

There is no required amount of time for you to stay. You can leave early, but not too early. It's not fair for you to go, get your fill, and leave the party without enough people for it to continue.

Physiology allows women to have more than one partner in rapid succession, more than for men. This is one of the reasons why most parties don't object to a slightly higher number of males. The males generally have two to five encounters, the females two to seven. The highest number I've seen is fifteen, because the girl was counting. This is a place for experimentation, and this particular twentysomething wanted the whole gangbang thing.

You can have anything, from a group of people watching one couple on the bed or a female on a bed for forty-five minutes, taking several partners or two partners at a time. There is what is called a puppy pile, where everyone just piles on. I should have written down the names of some of those mattresses. They had to be really sturdy.

For everybody, there has to be an emotional aspect. What is the "opposite" of the emotional part of it? You have to be emotionally engaged to do this. People that tell you that this is purely recreational? Go play a damn game of tennis. I can't recall doing the same thing twice, the same sex act with the same person. You have got to be able to open yourself up to experiences you haven't had before or—if you have had them before—you're giving them to someone who hasn't.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Not Hollywood Swinging"

  • When the doors close at 8 p.m., the sex may begin.

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