Risk. It may be a part of the reason some couples become attracted to the Lifestyle. We’re not talking about risk to health or well-being. We’re talking about the thrill of doing something others might consider taboo (maybe we once did too). We’re talking about the excitement of being daring and bold in our sex lives.
At the same time, one of the most frequent questions we get from folks who are new to the Lifestyle is: “How can we make sure we aren’t exposed as swingers to our family and community?” Yep. It’s true. Engaging in the Lifestyle come with some risk of that sort, too.
We answered this in brief in our Q&A last month, but we’d like to revisit it in this post in a little more detail. After all, we do know a thing or two about risk and exposure.
The truth is — we know this from our own experience and the stories of many others — you can not guarantee that you won’t be revealed as swingers. For that reason, it’s important that you take the time and put in the effort to assess your level of risk appetite and align how you engage with the Lifestyle accordingly, preferably before you jump right in.
It’s important for any couple who is considering entering the Lifestyle to take the time to think about and discuss their separate and combined risk appetite. This is the level of risk someone is willing to take on while pursuing an objective before any action is determined to be necessary in order to reduce risk.
Each member of a couple may have a different risk appetite. Our thought is that it’s best to err on the side of whichever partner’s risk appetite is the most conservative at the start, and grow from there.
Determine Your Lifestyle Objectives
What do you want from the lifestyle? What do you hope to gain or get out of the Lifestyle experience? In other words, what’s your why? Answering this question is important. It will help you determine how you will engage with the lifestyle (or not). Examples of objectives may include:
- I/we want spice up our sex life.
- I/we want to fantasize about being with others.
- I/we want to watch others in a live setting.
- I/we want play in a live setting, but only with each other.
- I/we want to socialize, connect and make friends with like minded people.
- I/we want to enjoy sexy fun with others.
It’s not a bad idea to have each partner think about and determine their separate reasons/objectives for being interested in the Lifestyle, and then compare and discuss where you match and where you deviate until you come to a shared set of objectives for yourselves as a couple in the Lifestyle.
Use Your Objectives to Determine How You Will Engage in the Lifestyle
Once you’ve established your objectives for pursuing some level of engagement with the Lifestyle, it’s time to talk about and come to agreement on your boundaries and rules when it comes to exposure.
How will you meet and interact with others?
Examples of possible questions to consider:
- Do we feel OK about meeting and dating other couples locally, or do we feel safer only meeting others an hour or more from our hometown?
- Do we feel comfortable with the idea of visiting a lifestyle club or house party?
- Do we feel OK about attending a lifestyle weekend event or hotel takeover?
- Do we want to attend a Lifestyle resort or weekend Lifestyle event?
It may help to imagine yourselves in certain scenarios. For example, what would your reaction be if you were out to dinner with another couple, nicely dressed and just getting to know each other…when your next door neighbors got seated at a table nearby? What if you went to a local Lifestyle club or event and a colleague from work was already there with his or her partner?
Putting yourselves in imaginary situations like those will help you determine your answers to how you prefer to engage in the Lifestyle.
What and how are you comfortable sharing with others?
What will you share online or through texts, and how much more when you meet face to face?
- Will we use our real names or pseudonyms online? Will this be different when we meet face-to-face?
- Will we show face pics or just body pics online and by text? Do we feel OK about sharing face pics in private chat or text?
- Will we give out our phone numbers for texting and talking, or create and use a chat app profile name?
- Will we share any explicit pics online or by text? When might we be OK with doing that?
- When we meet, will we share our job titles, places of employment, or maybe just our general field of work?
- How much and when will we share information about what neighborhood or region in which we live?
- How much and when will we share any family details, or will we stick to generalities?
Again, it doesn’t hurt to put yourselves in some imaginary scenarios. What if, as you’re getting to know a couple, you share a nude photo with your face. Are you going to feel haunted by thoughts of, “What if they send that to someone else?” Could you be OK with it if photos of your body (without face) somehow ended up posted online where someone outside the Lifestyle might see it?
Your reactions to those scenarios will tell you how much to reveal and what to protect, so that you are looking after your own comfort level with risk.
These are important conversations to have together. On the one hand, in order to make real friendships you’ll need to trust and disclose some things with others. It’s not realistic to think you’ll build genuine relationships without sharing some personal information either in response to something shared with you or as a way to learn more about others. On the other hand, you want to have clear and shared ideas about what you are willing to share and what you protect as private.
This little ‘trust dance’ we do with ourselves and with others is difficult and risky at first, but over time will turn into a tried and true process for meeting quality people, making meaningful friendships and limiting the possibility of being outed as a lifestyle couple.