If we reach out to them, they will assume we want to have sex with them.
If we answer their message, they may take that as an indication that we’re all in. We’re not sure we’re in at all, yet.
If we agree to meet up with them, we’ll be obligated to have sex with them.

If you’re new to the Lifestyle, reading statements like these may make you feel seen. We get quite a few couples reaching out to us—especially after setting up a new dating profile online—expressing uncertainty and hesitancy about whether they should communicate with other couples they are interested in getting to know better. They feel concerned that the other couple will think communication automatically means they are asking for sex or agreeing to sex. And that concern can sometimes paralyze a couple, preventing them from reaching out or responding to others and getting in the way of their newly-developing Lifestyle goals. For some people, experiencing anxiety about this can make them question their decision to try the Lifestyle.

Even couples who have been in the Lifestyle for a while (maybe even a good long while) can struggle with this. Maybe we have changed our mode of approaching the Lifestyle or our play style/preferences. That can mean feeling oddly pressured to make decisions that don’t match where we are now, feeling as if we are obligated because we “used to” do things a certain way. Concern over that can keep seasoned Lifestylers from following through on communication, preventing them from moving forward and enjoying the Lifestyle.

How do we move forward in communication and make sure there is a good social connection first?

First off, know that this is a common concern. You’re not alone in feeling like this. We think it’s probably caused, at least in part, by how we come into the Lifestyle with preconceived ideas about how things operate. While it is true that some couples and singles in the Lifestyle are driven solely by a sexual agenda, in our experience far more Lifestylers are interested in social connection that may or may not lead to sexual connection.

One important thing to know (or remember) is that it’s completely acceptable in the world of the Lifestyle to say “no thank you” at any point in the communication cycle. Even after you’ve agreed to move forward with meeting and or having sex with another couple, it’s okay to kindly put on the brakes. We’ve done it. We know many others who have done it. Come to think of it, we don’t know too many friends in the Lifestyle who haven’t done it.

In our experience far more Lifestylers are interested in social connection that may or may not lead to sexual connection.

“Hey, it was really great meeting you, but we don’t feel a four-way connection to move forward to the bedroom” is a perfectly fine thing to say after exchanging communication or meeting up. And, here’s the thing: Anyone who gets offended, pressures you, or is rude in response to that is just confirming your solid decision-making! People in the Lifestyle tend to respect and respond favorably to honesty delivered with kindness. (Of course, the flip side of this is responding graciously when another couple kindly tells us that there’s not that kind of connection).

Another thing to know (or remember) is that finding your “tribe” takes time. What we’ve found over the years is that communicating well between ourselves as a couple, being consistent with our social-sexy approach, and persevering through the moments of uncertainty have paid off in the long run in the form of many lasting friendships and some amazing connections—both social and sexual.

Sometimes couples give up on the Lifestyle without ever really experiencing the social side. We think that’s a shame. There are many, many people just like you out there in the Lifestyle—deeply committed partners looking to make friends with like-minded couples, form friendships, and explore the possibilities beyond that without pressure or obligation.