As we anticipate the start of a new year — following a year that has arguably been a pretty harrowing and unusual one in a  lot of ways — we begin to think about what habits and mindsets we might want to leave behind in 2020 and which ones we might want to embrace and cultivate in 2021. The holiday time can be a perfect time to sit down as a couple and discuss your relationship with each other and your goals and desires for the future. This is an especially good idea if you are contemplating entering the Lifestyle. So, with that in mind, we offer a few habits and mindsets curious couples may want to discuss together as they enter a new year.

couple with champagne

OLD | “My partner must not really love me as much as I thought if he or she is OK with me being with someone else, sexually.”

NEW | Compersion is a very real thing. It can not only be a huge turn-on to see your partner physically pleasured by someone else, it can bring deep feelings of satisfaction and joy. It’s like giving your partner an amazing gift and the pleasant feeling that comes with knowing they are enjoying it. Couples who have a deep connection to one another find that experiencing other people sexually doesn’t mean they are loved less by their partners; in fact, many couples see it as a genuine and deep expression of love for each other. It says, “I want you to experience variety, pleasure, and satisfaction…and I will be right by your side the whole time.”

OLD | “Marriage is ownership. She is mine. I am hers. We made a vow to ‘forsake all others.’ Marriage means being with only each other sexually, forever.”

NEW | If you both feel that way, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with continuing a monogamous marriage. But if both of you, tightly bonded to each other, have a desire to spice up your marriage together with exciting new adventures — including inviting other adults into your bedroom — you have not forfeited your marriage vows. If you are embarking on the Lifestyle together, hand-in-hand, you aren’t cheating on each other (the ‘forsaking all others’ vow is really a promise not to cheat). You have expanded your definition of marriage together, re-examined the phrase “bonds of matrimony” for yourselves rather than accepting society’s definition, and claimed your right as a couple to create a marriage that works best for you.

OLD | “Sex toys and porn are for lonely people,” or, “I must be a pervert if I like sex toys and porn.

NEW | Experimenting sexually, alone or as a couple, is healthy and a way of expressing sexual curiosity. Novelty in the bedroom is an aphrodisiac, and it’s okay to want to experience the novelty and excitement — not to mention physical pleasure — that can come with introducing toys and visual stimulation. Adult couples, even those who have been married for a long time, are allowed to explore their sexuality. You aren’t lonely, perverted, or depraved. You are claiming yourself as a sexual being and sharing that with your life partner.

OLD | “We should not spend money on frivolous things like Lifestyle events, sexy clothes and shoes, or sensual vacations.”

NEW | Flip that script. How about, “Our relationship and our adventures together as a couple are a priority to us, and we can budget for Lifestyle fun as a way of making sure we don’t put ourselves last.” Many long-time married couples have become accustomed to doing for others, especially their children and grandchildren, without setting aside money to do things for themselves as a couple. As the new year dawns, why not sit down together and budget for some couple fun?

OLD | “The Lifestyle is for young, beautiful, perfect-bodied couples…not a ‘normal’ couple like us.”

NEW | After looking around at Lifestyle dating sites and swinger communities, it will become clear that the Lifestyle enjoys and embraces all kinds of couples and individuals. Maybe one new habit this year, if you haven’t started already, could be to listen to podcasts, read blogs, look around at dating sites meant for couples enjoying ethical nonmonogamy, and maybe even join the WGT online community to get a real sense of who is swinging.

OLD | “If we join the Lifestyle community, we will have to be all in…and we’re not sure we want that.”

NEW | Many couples dabble in the Lifestyle at whatever level of comfort they possess. It may be that they attend events and clubs to look around, be stimulated, and play with only each other. It may be that they enjoy letting people watch them, or maybe not. It may be that they decide to try “soft swap,” but don’t ever move on to “full swap.” Other couples dive right in and try it all. Some wade slowly, over years, and re-evaluate their comfort level along the way. There is no one single way to “do” the Lifestyle and it’s totally okay to define what it will be, for yourselves.