Separate Play – My Shades of Gray

Separate Play – My Shades of Gray

So, I’ve been listening to a few lifestyle podcasts lately – shocker!  But what’s notable here is that I have stumbled on a couple of episodes where the topic of discussion is separate play. My initial reaction was to think that these people are crazy.  That’s a slippery slope you’re headed down! What are you thinking?

But then I stopped flipping out and realized that these people are my friends.  We know them; we hang out with them; we have deep discussions with them. And I know these are smart, thoughtful people who are deeply in love and committed to their marriages.  They are careful about the decisions they make and have great communication skills with one another.

But yet they are considering some form of separate play.  I am referring to two podcasts in particular. “That Couple Next Door” has two episodes in particular where they talk about separate play experiences and how they navigated them before, during, and after.  And the second podcast is “Swinging DownUnder” where C and D discuss the possibility of playing separate and how they each feel about it along with what parameters they would need to put in place to make it a positive experience. (I’ll link the episode numbers for you at the end of this post.)

I, on the other hand, need to breathe into a paper bag when I consider separate play for Mr Jones and me.  It’s not something that has ever been on my radar and it honestly scares me to death. In my defense, I enjoy seeing Mr Jones with other women, and it turns me on knowing that Mr Jones is watching me with another man (or woman!)

After listening to these episodes multiple times and talking to our friends about their experiences and reflections on separate play, I have done a good bit of self-reflection regarding my strong opposition to separate play experiences for Mr Jones and me.  Here’s some back story: Last winter we spent the weekend with three couples at a cabin for the weekend. These are couples that we have known for years and have played with several times. One night Mr Jones and I were ahead of everyone else and finished playing with each other before the other couples had a chance to really get started.  Since Mr Jones was basking in the afterglow, he wanted to get in the hot tub and relax for a while. The other couples were ramping up to some sexy fun and I wanted to join in. So Mr Jones said that it was fine if I wanted to participate, but that he was done for the moment and needed a few minutes to recover before he would be ready to join in.  

I didn’t handle that suggestion well at all.  That was breaking a rule in my book, and I was frustrated that he put me in that position in front of our friends.  I did end up staying inside, but I didn’t play. I just hung out on the fringe for a bit, and then ended up sitting on one of the husband’s laps and talking to him.  It was fun because we were naked and some super hot sex was happening next to us, but this gentleman knows me well and respects my decision to not play when Mr Jones isn’t around.

The bottom line is that Mr Jones has the utmost respect for the guy that I hung out with inside that night.  He is obviously OK with me playing separately in that kind of situation – where it’s with someone that we know well and completely trust.  Mr Jones didn’t intentionally put me in a situation where I was at risk or uncomfortable (No hate mail please!). I just couldn’t do it. So why???  I don’t really know the answer to that question. But I have been pondering the strength of my feelings regarding separate play and here’s what I come up with so far.

Mr Jones and I married when we were in our early 20’s.  So my whole adult life has been emotionally centered around him.  I have come to depend on him as my partner and can meet all of my needs.  I trust his judgement to make good decisions in all areas of our life together.  So in the lifestyle, I trust his judgement when it comes to meeting and hooking up with other people.  He can see red flags that I miss and he is usually spot on in his assessment of situations. Because he is so good at this, I have probably let my personal guard down a bit.  Please note that this doesn’t mean that I don’t have a say in the decisions we make at all – those of you that listen to our podcast know that I have plenty of opinions and that we are truly equal partners!  What I’m saying is that I have realized that I’ve allowed myself to become somewhat emotionally dependent on Mr Jones, and I think that is a good thing for the most part.

Where this emotional dependence can be an issue is with the possibility of separate play.  I have no desire to do this lifestyle thing without him, even if it’s just for a few minutes.  I need him by my side, for both pleasure and security. And by security I mean emotional security more than physical security.  Luckily I’ve never felt at risk in that regard when we play with others.

So do I need to put on my big girl panties and push some boundaries here?  Maybe for now just the fact that I’ve made this realization is enough progress.  Self-discovery is always a good thing. But what am I going to do with this information?  My name is Mrs Jones – I’ve been married for 33 years and have allowed myself to become dependent on my husband for my emotional security.  There, I admitted it. Stay tuned as I continue to reflect and decide whether or not I think this is a good thing. Right now I say yes.

Swinging Downunder – Episode 64:  We Discuss Solo Swingers Play

That Couple Next Door – Episode 25:  Stunt Cock

That Couple Next Door – Episode 26:  Hotwife

  • James
    Posted at 22:06h, 08 June Reply

    Very well written. As my wife and I have progressed in the lifestyle, it has become very clear that our boundaries with certain couples are different. Depending on our comfort level with a couple, we may explore options that we would normally not do according to our set rules. So we discuss them at length when we find a couple that we truly connect with and have played with them on many occasions, what we are willing to do with them.

    This has given us the opportunity to try out fantasies that have been put on hold because of our rules. We have run into the exact situation that you were presented with. You know a couple well and every one has mutual respect and are comfortable with them. We decided that with this couple we will try separate play as long as all individuals are in close proximity, such as a log cabin. In any other circumstances we would not do separate play.

    I understand the emotional support part of the play. And I too depend on my wife for that support during play. The thought of separate play scares me too and not having my wife there if I stall out a little is nerve wreckIng. But the thought of not having any distractions around me to fully connect with a women is alluring.

    I can’t recommend either way for you, but the self reflection will eventually give you your answer. Always stick with your gut and what feels right.

    • Mrs Jones
      Posted at 11:46h, 14 June Reply

      It sounds like we have a lot in common in the way we approach our play experiences. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jay & Kay
    Posted at 16:47h, 09 June Reply

    It can certainly be an intimidating topic of discussion. I remember wondering how I would deal with the Pandora’s box of feelings that I might open if I actually suggested turning fantasy into reality but was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed hearing about Kay playing alone as much as I anticipated I would. It was not surprising to find that she didn’t feel the same way, but we’re okay with that and that experience led to conversations in which we were able to explore what might be behind those feelings. The conversations have led us to be able to frame our experiences as promoting growth and learning together even though we played apart. We eagerly await hearing about your journey of self-discovery.


  • Bob & Jo
    Posted at 00:28h, 11 June Reply

    I wondered when you would end up here! 🙂

    I got into the lifestyle over 40 years ago. From my own experience and watching many others my expectation is that within one to two years Mrs. Jones will get, and enjoy, a “hall pass” to attend a party without Mr. Jones. And within a year after that Mr. Jones will get his own hall passes.


    • Mrs Jones
      Posted at 11:45h, 14 June Reply

      Well, I’m obviously not there yet, so don’t hold your breath!!! But I’m learning to never say never….

  • GnT
    Posted at 03:03h, 11 June Reply

    We were slow to move from the shallow end (soft/g-g play), to full swap, and have been very fortunate to do so with some great couples. Always same room, for the same reasons you gave! Then we attended a house party….many of the couples we knew were present, and could vouch for others we just met. When I (husband) was being “seduced” by a lady from a couple we know (it was not a big challenge…), my wife went exploring, rather than join in (it WAS our first house party). When our escapade ended, I went looking for my bride, who was found to be very busy entertaining the host, plus another gentleman from a couple we had played with, with a third awaiting his turn. It was easy to see, and hear, that fun was being had. I checked in “all good?”, and was met with a smile, nod, and moan. So though we still prefer same room play, we now know that situations can exist where separate play can be enjoyed!

  • Lowell
    Posted at 04:28h, 16 June Reply

    Hi Mrs Jones. I can see that this is something that you are trying to look at from every angle, as it might appear to be the next, logical hurdle for you both to overcome. My non-PC ideas may not sound like good advice, but hear it goes anyway.

    Clearly, in order to undergo growth and change in our lives and our relationships, we must deal with risk and uncertainty where many others may fear to tread. If we never leave the nest for our first flight, there is no way that we could adapt and survive in this world. Although, I think, the presentation of a choice, and your ability to act upon—or not, is truely a blessing, so should this event should not be squandered or overlooked for sure.

    Much of the early explorations into the LS could be looked at from the idea of the fungibility of those experiences, initially at least, in exchange for some abstract ideas about what the future consequences of undergoing a related change—good or bad—might be. I think what your partnership with Mr Jones has accomplished up until this point in the LS can be looked upon with admiration by those who understand your journey—and certainly, I would expect that you both could look at the choices you have made along the way, and be proud of your envelop-pushing actions.

    What I’m about to suggest is more difficult to prove or debunk, but from my own early experiences I’ve come to see it as a truth—although still axiomatic, none the less. So, take it as just another friend’s perspective, nothing more.

    I believe the following:

    – your instincts, fears, intuitions carry with them an intelligence far beyond our contemporary cultural norms; but, have a multi-generational insight into what may work, or not work for you today, in this current moment; and as such, your internal navigation impulses should be treated with deference

    – this then leads us to the uniqueness of all individuals and couples, in all that they do, and so all of their choices, can not possibly be expected to be analyzed away fully by some contemporary norm or belief system; and should one’s own impression of a situation, be discounted, without first following the roots of the discord, then you will have insulted yourself with a disservice to your unique past and character

    – at the levels of LS engagement that you have experienced up until now—ie, as to how much of yourself that you have given to the energy of others, beyond Mr Jones, I would suggest that at some level of separate-play engagement, it is only natural for the basic premise of fungible LS experiences breaks down, where the defining lines of uniqueness of yourself and your relationship becomes fuzzy, if only because as loving people, as you both are, you will want to give of yourselves to the person you are now with for that separate time

    So, I think it has not yet been proved by any couple, anywhere, or for any of the unique LS people, that there exists some kind of magical switch where the human psych & soul are able to switch those defining lines of what makes you and Mr Jones ‘you’ as a unique entity—couple, back again, and then again with fluidity, from that of the other couple you formed separately. I don’t believe our emotions, are boundless beyond time, thereby, leaving you in the middle at some point, with something less of a relationship experience on either side. Of course someone will prove me wrong, but I am only writing this from my own POV.

    As a uniqueness example, C&D have something different from your couple arrangement, at least, from what I gleaned in earlier podcasts. D was a young middle-age male, but he carried substantially more world-wisdom(& life-wisdom) than the notably younger, energetic C. Her boundless energy with his wisdom, seemed like a perfect fit as do you and Mr Jones—but your fit together is unique and different, for different reasons—I don’t suggest to know how, but only that these pieces give us a clue. C was a regional Oceana traveling business women, often at times away from D on business, for what sounded like extended periods. Separate play feels like a more practical fit in their case.

    So, like many of your friends, you and Mr Jones are creative in how you experience this LS given the differing constraints and talents in each of your lives. One couple may naturally have a greater propensity for risk, and feel flexible enough to recover should things go south and land standing up. This does not mean that this will work for other couples.

    So, that’s my 2 cents. If I offended anyone in any of my characterizations here, I am sorry, that was not my intent. I apologize, in advance, for the length of this post, as well. Brevity and succinctness is not my strength. Good luck Mr & Mrs Jones with your choices going forward.


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