The Instruction Manual: What Turns Us On

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Balthus (Count Balthasar Klowssoski de Rola), THE ROOM, 1954

HIM: At a recent party, I made an embarrassing mistake with a woman we had met before but never played with. During one of those getting-to-know-you conversations only swingers can have, she had mentioned that she had a very sensitive clit. Like, very, very sensitive, as in “if you breathe on it gently, I might come.” Yet here I was, just two months later, giving her oral sex the way you like it, with all the tongue pressure I could bring to bear! Suddenly I remembered and looked up at her face, smiling bravely through the agony. I immediately apologized, but there was no way to turn the situation around. She was probably too numb by that point to get any pleasure out of a change in approach. Continue reading

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A Lady’s Advice for Gentlemen in the Lifestyle

AA Remrandt THE JEWISH Bride 1667

Rembrandt Van Rijn THE JEWISH BRIDE 1667

HER: Okay, guys, you’ve got me all to yourself this time. Huddle up. I’m going to let you in on a few secrets to succeeding with the ladies, not just in the lifestyle, but in life in general. Unfortunately, to most effectively illustrate what I’m talking about, I’m going to have to pick on some people I actually like very much. Hopefully their stories will help our readers avoid the mistakes these otherwise great guys have made. Continue reading

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Nude Pool Party III: The Orgy

Ed Rushca Nine Swimming Pools 1968

Ed Ruscha NINE SWIMMING POOLS 1968

HIM: After our second Nude Pool Party we felt strongly that we were getting closer to our original vision: a gathering of cool, open-minded people in a total sexual and social ‘flow state’. In the moment. No boundaries. All that would be required to make our third ‘Nude Pool Party’ a total success would be a few tweaks.

HER: First of all, we decided to significantly reduce the guest list. While a larger group is great for a purely social gathering, we wanted to be intentional about creating a space where people would feel comfortable enough to connect sexually.  So we ruled out all the couples from our previous party who were either too much drama or who seemed reluctant to engage.  That meant not inviting some really great people in the name of creating a better group dynamic. That left us with four couples who all seemed to get along well and who were all game to play. Then we added two couples who hadn’t been at the last party but who we had met on past trips to Hedonism. That made for 14 people in total, including us. I felt confident everyone would mix well socially and sexually, and the more manageable number might feel less intimidating for everyone.

HIM: The second change was to make our play space more obvious. You were the one who figured out after the last party that most people did not know where to go to have sex if they had wanted to. While we had set up a couple of matresses on the floor in our bedroom, they couldn’t easily be seen. I don’t know if we even told anyone they were there. So this time, we positioned the matresses side-by-side in our formal living room. Because the main floor of our house has an open plan, everyone who walked through the house to the backyard would know where the play area was. We also had a fold out couch open in our small library close by for people who wanted a quieter place to play.

HER: That was important, I think. Seeing the mattresses out in the open announced the nature of the party – you couldn’t just pretend this was a polite gathering of well-behaved adults. It was a little ‘in your face’.

The third change was to expand the games portion of the evening. At the last party our ‘lock and key’ game went over very well. The men were given keys on ribbons to wear around their necks and the women were given locks. When each man found the woman whose lock his key fit into she would produce a card with questions for the two individuals to ask each other. It was a fun form of speed dating. Everyone seemed to enjoy it so we played a few rounds. We decided we would play this game again, but this time we wanted to turn up the heat a little bit. We added a new game that would be riskier — more intimate, more vulnerable — but more on that later.

HIM: On the day of the party our guests arrived gradually over the course of a few hours. As each couple arrived it didn’t take long for them to get naked and jump into the pool. We were all having fun talking and flirting when, after a while, it seemed like suddenly all the women ran to an air mattress we set up in the gazebo. Almost instantly there was a full-blown seven woman orgy! How exactly did that happen?

HER: My original idea was to offer massages on the air mattress. I thought it would be a safe way to break down barriers, to get people touching, if it wasn’t happeneing spontaneously. Well, I mentioned this to Janine and Tina at one point and they were immediately excited. The three of us started it, then everyone piled on. Now that I think about it, the other women might have been chilly after jumping out of the pool and may have been merely huddling for warmth. However it happened, seven of us naked women were tangled up on the air mattress and everything just played out naturally from there. I had one woman kissing me, one sucking my nipples and another one licking my clit. It was amazing.

But I have to say that I was surprised that you men just sat around and watched. Some even pulled up chairs. Why didn’t you join us?

HIM: I think there were a few reasons. First of all, we were in shock — the happiest kind of shock imaginable. It was like a spontaneous dance, but without a self-conscious, performative aspect to it. Secondly, on a practical level, the air mattress was clearly at capacity. I’m sure it was built to sleep two adults, not support seven writhing women. Nothing would kill the magic like an explosion and a ten inch drop to the stone deck, don’t you think?

HER: Sure. But I don’t usually expect men to be making product performance calculations when it comes to sexual opportunity.

HIM: Well, I can only speak for myself, but I thought something special was happening in there and I didn’t want to break the spell. It really was a beautiful show. And I didn’t want to play into any old fashioned notion that it’s not real sex until a man and his cock arrive on the scene. I felt good about my decision when Christine walked past me once it was over saying excitedly, “That was a break-through for me!” I’m not exactly sure what she meant — whether she had never had a same sex experience before, or a group sex experience, or some other mystery achievement — but clearly something special had happened. So tell me, why do you think it worked so well this time?

HER: My orgy fantasy has always been about laying back and just letting anything happen, but, in real life, that can be scary. This time, partly because it was all women, There was no worry about whose hands or mouth that was because I liked and trusted each one of them. I was able to totally let go and just do whatever felt good without thinking too much. I definitely remember Kristine saying a few times ‘I’ve always wanted to do this.’ I was glad I could be a part of creating that moment for her. And when it started to wind down, that happened naturally, too.

HIM: The timing worked well for me, because while everyone was coming back to earth I ran out to pick up the sushi order we had placed earlier in the day. After everyone had their fill I announced that we would play our games. We started with the ‘lock & key’ game, which again went over very well. The questions ranged from mild (“What is the biggest compliment a person can pay you”) to medium (“What were the circumstances surrounding the loss of your virginity?”) to spicy (“Do you have a sexual fantasy that you would never want to make a reality?”). It’s the kind of game that automatically connects people if they are being honest.

Next, it was time for our new game. The first step was to find volunteer couples who weren’t shy about — how should I say this — being groped by strangers. That proved quite easy – everyone volunteered! ‘Groped by strangers, you say? Sign me up!’ This game had two rounds. In the first, all the men were blindfolded. Then their female partners, without blindfolds, stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a line, naked or at least topless. Each man was guided to stand in front of the first woman and, for a count of ten, to fondle her breasts. After doing the same thing with each of the women he would be asked to guess which one was his partner. It turned out to be harder than you might think. Two of the women had surprisingly similar larger breasts, and two had surprisingly similar smaller breasts. Although you would never mistake these women simply looking at them, their disembodied breasts were hard to distinguish with your hands alone. And, sure enough, two of the men failed to identify their wives. Fortunately for me, yours were the ones that weren’t like anyone else’s and I got it right.

HER: And then, for the sake of equality, we had you men line up so the women could fondle your equipment. I knew which one was you, partly because a couple of the men were uncircumcised, and one of the others had a pretty distinct curvature. It was lots of fun, but I was surprised none of you got an erection.

HIM: I think it was one of those things that felt good sensually, but there was too much of an audience to relax into a full hard-on.

HER: Fair enough. Anyway, this game also went over very well. One of the women told me later that she loved the idea that the rules made it ‘mandatory’ to touch all these men. She would never have been bold enough to do it on her own. And when the game was over, she wasn’t obliged to do anything with any of them.

HIM: I know exactly what she means. The boundaries were built right into the game — both the permission and the limits — but they wouldn’t be if you just spontaneously started feeling someone up.

HER: By this time everyone was thoroughly relaxed and people just drifted from chatting to playing to chatting to eating and back to playing again. It was what we had always envisioned. There was a small group scene on the pull-out bed in the library and a larger group developed on the two mattresses in the living room.

HIM: I was definitely part of both of those at different times. I also had two women giving me oral in the foyer at one point.

HER: In the foyer?

HIM: Yes. We were looking at a painting we had there and somehow it just happened. In a porn video you’d say it was a predictably contrived set-up, but it actually happened fairly naturally. And, of course, I returned the favor to both women separately later on.

HER: Ever the gentleman. But while you were off doing that, another real highlight happened: a full-on guy/girl orgy broke out on the mattresses in the living room with four couples naked, touching, licking, and kissing, and there I was in the center of it all. That’s always been my fantasy. Just like with the ladies earlier, I felt completely free to explore and let my guard down. Somehow, there developed a consensus that penetration would (mainly) be between regular partners, so there were no condoms to worry about. I completely let go.  But funnily enough, I don’t remember you there.

HIM: I think I arrived late on the scene after doing some clean-up in the kitchen. When I walked into the room, Janine beckoned me onto the bed. We fooled around, and it was great, but I was happy to be a supporting player rather than forcing my way to centre stage.

HER: I see you so often like that, hanging back a little rather than diving right in.

HIM: You’re right. I think the struggle for me is that I sometimes feel like there is one transcendent experience out there that I am chasing, where I lose my ego in one ecstatic moment, but I’m not sure if the road I’m on even leads to that place and I really should just be focusing on the various colours and textures along the way.

HER: I know you think you just said something profound, but really you just said, ‘It’s not the destination, it’s the journey’ in five times as many words.

HIM: I know. That’s so me. Why can’t I just enjoy a simple cliché?

 

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Hedo Diaries: Getting Ditched

 

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Masaccio (Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone) THE EXPULSION FROM THE GARDEN, 1425

January 4, 2017

HER: Believe it or not, I am an incredibly shy person by nature. When I was young, I hung back when others were having fun because I always imagined my presence would somehow ruin it. I never wanted to be the unwelcome third wheel, and I haven’t completely gotten over that feeling. For me, the world of swinging opened up a new avenue to connect socially: I could use my sexuality — something I feel confident about — to make friends — which I find difficult.  But my insecurities over not being able to read the social signals and feeling unwelcome all came back to me last night here at Hedo. Continue reading

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Nude Pool Party II

AA - E Fischl SWIMMING LOVERS 1984

Eric Fischl, THE SWIMMING LOVERS, 1984

HIM: Last year’s Nude Pool Party went quite well, and we were looking forward to building on it, when life got in the way. Two deaths in the family completely upended our 2016 summer schedule, and suddenly social skinny dipping slipped way down the priority list. Life is serious, for sure, but frivolity is important, too. In fact, one of the surest signs of healing is a desire for a little mindless fun. For us, that meant Nude Pool Party: The Sequel.

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Male Bisexuality: An Experiment

Family Tree 1991 by Gilbert & George born 1943, born 1942

Gilbert & George ‘FAMILY TREE’ 1991

HIM:  In our first year of blogging, we’ve published 39 articles on our sexual adventures. We’ve written about threesomes and foursomes; cock size and boob jobs; sex clubs and lifestyle resorts. Which one do you think had the most readers?

HER: Probably the one about nude photography.  The title is good click bait.

HIM: You’re close: that was our second most popular. But it turns out that our most viewed piece was the one on male bisexuality called The Lifestyle has a Bi(g) Problem. It was about how almost every female swinger seems to be bi-something while their male partners go to great lengths to proclaim themselves 100% straight. Looking back at that article now, it seems somewhat clinical, just the two of us talking about people’s attitudes. But I did admit that I was interested in experimenting in that direction.

HER: I’ll say. Until March of last year, you had never had any sexual contact with another male. Now, nine months later, you’ve had four separate experiences. You’ve gone from bi-curious to bi-comfortable in pretty short order.

HIM: Really? Four?

HER: Ok, let’s go through the list. First of all, there was Pierre of Pierre and Leanne. We knew he was interested in guy-on-guy play right from the beginning because his online profile said he was bi-curious.  And sure enough, the first time we got naked with them he asked if he could touch your cock.

HIM: You’re right! I remember saying no  — not because I was against it in principle, but because I didn’t want to over-complicate our first time together.

HER: In our three our four times with them, he got as far as sucking your cock, and you touched his. It was very hot for me, mostly because it was so new and ‘forbidden’. How was that first experience for you?

HIM:  Not so hot. I really like that couple. They’re wonderful people and they’ve become good friends, but for some reason I struggled with arousal, in general, every time we were with them.

HER: Did you feel pressured by the bi expectation with him, or was it something else?

HIM: Well, the number one issue is that I’m overwhelmingly straight. Imperfections that I could easily handle in a woman can become deal-breakers with a man. For example, while I prefer a bare pussy, I don’t find some pubic hair off-putting in a woman at all. But I’ve discovered that, with a guy, he’s got to be completely clean-shaven, and Pierre was basically au naturel down there.

HER: Is that really your only objection? A little body hair can’t be enough to completely put you off, can it?

HIM: Actually, it can be. My same-sex attraction is pretty tenuous. Remember, I can be a little Seinfeldian in my fixation on minor imperfections. With either sex.

HER: That definitely seemed to be the situation for both of us with your next man-on-man experience. Kevin and Laura were a couple we had high hopes for, partly because his online profile also proclaimed that he was bisexual.

HIM: This time body hair wasn’t an issue, but his approach was all wrong for me. He ‘man-handled’ me, so to speak.

HER: Well, duh, he’s a man.

HIM: His touch was rough. He stroked my cock with a reckless enthusiasm that I found the opposite of sexy.

HER: Was it painful?

HIM: Only psychologically.

HER:  You’re funny. But why didn’t you just ask him to tone it down? I frequently have to give new partners gentle instructions about how I like to be touched.

HIM: If that’s all it was, I  might have. But the chemistry was lacking with both him and his girlfriend, and I could sense it was the same for you.

HER: True. He was way more attractive in his photos than in real life.We never saw them again. Then along came Ryan and Natasha. We had an immediate connection with them. It was one of the rare times we played on the first date. With them, we didn’t discover he was open to bi-action until we were all naked.

HIM: Things were going well when Ryan announced that one of the reasons we caught their attention was my recent addition of the ‘bi-comfortable’ label on our online profile. This was a bit of a curveball because his profile said he was straight, but it was not an unpleasant one. I felt some chemistry with him, and he was clean-shaven, so when he asked if he could touch my cock, I honestly couldn’t think of a single objection.

HER: And when you reciprocated and stroked his, I was giddy.

That early positive experience with Ryan and Natasha continued through our next few visits with them. You and Ryan seemed to enjoy reaching across us women to touch each other, and each time seemed a little easier and more natural. Unfortunately, they live far from us and their lives have gotten complicated. When it seemed like we were losing momentum with them, we received a note from a couple who were very open about their interest in exploring both of their bi-sexual sides.

HIM: Steve and Monique checked all the right boxes for us. They were not only smart and attractive, they also lived close by.  Nevertheless, things progressed cautiously.  They were in a fairly new relationship and it was their first foray into full, four-way swapping.

HER: We saw them three times socially before we got naked. Maybe that slow pace (and your frequent texting with her) was what allowed you to feel more comfortable with them. On the fourth date, we ended up back at our place. We had some wine and split up into partners: Steve and I went up to the bedroom and you and Monique lingered in the kitchen.  He and I were already naked and raring to go by the time you two arrived upstairs. As I lay on the bed with Steve’s head between my legs, I watched you slowly undress Monique. It was nice to see the relaxed intimacy between you.

HIM: We definitely had a solid connection, but I was looking forward to turning our separate twosomes into a foursome. I maneuvered the two of us over to the bed where she went down on me while Steve started to fuck you. Within short order, we began cycling through an acrobatic array of positions. It was the most creative foursome we’ve had yet.

HER: The highlight for me was when you were up on your knees with Monique’s head between your legs. She was sucking your balls and licking your ass. I had been sucking Steve’s cock at a right angle to you two when he reached over and started stroking you. I lay back and touched myself, trying to just take in the scene as you returned the favor for him. The two of you masturbated each other for a minute with us girls making appreciative noises. And then it happened. You leaned over and put his cock in your mouth!

HIM: I’ve always been a ‘today’s the day’ kind of person. I had decided that morning that, if it felt right, I would try oral with a man for the first time. When he touched me, I knew it was going to happen. There was no awkward repositioning required — I just had to lean into it — so I didn’t have time to overthink it or chicken out. And the fact that both women seemed so turned on made it easier.

HER: A lot of things about that night are getting fuzzy in my memory thanks to the wine and acrobatics, but the image of you taking him to your mouth is seared in my mind. I’ve thought about it frequently since. It was very hot.

HIM: It still blows me away that you are so turned on by me having sexual contact with a man. My ex-wife was the total opposite. Once, on vacation, I made the mistake of telling her that I thought our waiter had ‘sensuous eyelashes’

HER: What?! Ok, that’s a weird thing to say.

HIM: Even now I don’t know exactly what I could have meant by it. Anyway, for years afterward she regularly reminded me how distasteful that comment was for her.

HER: Well, thankfully you weren’t weird about Steve that night. After you sucked him for a bit (somewhat tentatively, I have to say), he went down on you, and you stayed hard.  The whole thing was a fairly brief part of a long evening, but it left an indelible impression on me.

HIM: For me, the experience was a success because you were so enthusiastic about it. It’s all about you baby!

HER: Well, that’s nice of you to say, but there are lots of men who love their wives yet wouldn’t suck a cock for them. There’s got to be a desire within you that my encouragement simply makes acceptable. Maybe you can only allow yourself to indulge YOUR fantasy by telling yourself it’s really MY fantasy that you’re fulfilling. But did you actually enjoy it? Did it turn you on?

HIM: Oh, don’t get me wrong. I occasionally masturbated to same-sex fantasies growing up. I don’t deny it was a turn-on for me long before you came along. And I did enjoy the real thing in the same way I tend to experience most of our new sexual encounters: it’s not super arousing in the moment, but the real reward is the turn on later when I relive the events in memory (i.e. the thought is turning me on now just discussing it with you!).  I guess this bi adventure is a little like going to the gym: I get some enjoyment out of it in the moment, and I know it’s a good investment in my future happiness, but I’m more motivated to go if you come with me. Sometimes we just need a cheerleader to do the things we want to do.

HER: Well, sweetie, you’ve definitely found yourself a cheerleader in me!

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When life gets in the way: Anxiety and Sex

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Egon Schiele FEMALE NUDE 1918

HER: F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.” We’ve spent a lot of time being both the pursued and the pursuing in the sexual journey we’ve been on for the past few years, but these last six months have left us firmly in the last two categories: busy and tired, with little energy for sex and even less for writing about it.

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Consent is Sexy

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Roy Lichtenstein ‘Two Nudes from the Nude Series’ 1994

HIM: It seems you can’t turn around lately without hearing about the issue of consent. The Stanford Rape Case, in which an elite varsity athlete was discovered attempting to have sex with an unconscious woman behind a frat house, is only the most recent high-profile example.

Stories like this are shocking to read about, but daily life abounds with many less extreme examples. Although the Lifestyle is generally populated by people with progressive, sex-positive attitudes, it is not a paradise of enlightenment. The problem for swingers is that, because you’re up for more than the average person, some people seem to think that means you’re up for everything.

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Nude Pool Party

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David Hockney ‘Peter Getting out of Nick’s Pool’ 1966

 

HIM: I’m not much for pools. I think of swimming as a handy skill to have if your canoe tips over, but not the kind of thing a person with options would do for fun. When it came time for us to move in together, however, one of the features near the top of your wishlist was a backyard with a pool. I was more concerned about other things until you whispered those three magic words to me in the real estate agent’s office.

Nude Pool Party. Continue reading

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Big (Black) Cock

 

Dumas -Couples-1994

Marlene Dumas ‘Couples’ 1994

HIM: On a recent episode of Dan Savage’s ‘Savage Love’ podcast, he took a call that was both shocking and poignant. A black man in the Southern U.S. phoned in to talk about his experience working as an escort while in college to help pay his bills. One night, a client — a middle-aged white woman — asked him if he was willing to do anything to please her. He agreed, not sure what she had in mind. Arriving at her home, she asked him to join her upstairs in the bedroom. When he walked in the door, he was surprised to see the woman’s husband sitting on a chair in the corner. She asked if it was ok for her husband to watch and, though he felt somewhat uncomfortable, he agreed. Once they were having sex, however, the husband started saying racially-charged things to his wife like “fuck that nigger dick” (God, even quoting it feels disgusting). Although he was troubled by the turn of events, the young man persevered. Afterward the woman tried to explain that her husband wasn’t a racist, but that he simply got off on the taboo. Now, many years later, as a husband and father, he feels traumatized by this memory he had managed to suppress for such a long time. Continue reading

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