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.Suddenly, it was a must-have amenity for me. Granite countertops and hardwood floors didn’t seem to matter so much any more.
HER: The first three summers in the new house passed without our fantasy becoming a reality. While we had the pool, finding the naked partiers to put into it was harder. We had a couple of very naughty afternoons there with our male threesome partner, which were great, but I had always imagined something bigger, the kind of erotic energy you only get with a larger group. To be honest, I was picturing the afternoon party scene at Hedonism’s nude pool, magically photoshopped into our very own backyard.
HIM: During our fourth year we started online dating as a couple, however, and that changed everything. Even though most of our meet-ups didn’t turn into nights of passion, after a few months we had accumulated an impressive roster of lifestyle friends. These were mainly couples we found to be respectful, smart and interesting. Still, we didn’t know how to make our dream come true until one of those new friends asked if we would host a surprise party for her husband. Suddenly, we realized that we had the perfect excuse for our fantasy gathering. We contacted people who we thought would enjoy meeting each other and set about planning our event.
HER: It was fun turning our suburban family home into our vision of an upscale sex club. You bought a truck load of white towels, rolled them up and built a fluffy pyramid on the bench by our front door. We dragged two spare mattresses up from the basement and sheathed them in crisp, white fitted sheets to create our own little play area on the main floor. And we experienced the special rush that comes from not caring who sees you buy the jumbo pack of 60 condoms at the drugstore.
HIM: By the night of the party, we had seven couples plus ourselves, for 16 guests in total. People trickled in gradually over the first 90 minutes, and the group fell into the kind of conversation you might hear at any adult gathering. Friendly, but not exactly salacious. Because our guests were all known to us, but not to each other, we had decided we would play an ice-breaker game once everyone arrived. We gave each woman a small brass lock on a red ribbon to wear around her neck, and each of the men a key. The men had to approach as many women as it took to find the one whose lock their key fit into. When they made a match, they were given a few cards with questions in the ‘have you ever/would you ever’ format.
Would you ever have sex in a public washroom?
Have you ever participated in an orgy?
Would you ever make a sex tape?
Have you ever tried to pick up a couple at a non-lifestyle event?
Everyone seemed to get into it. Animated voices rose from our randomly minted couples and mingled in the twilight air. After close to fifteen minutes we collected the keys, redistributed them, and played another round. The same thing happened again. It proved to be an interesting, and surprisingly intimate, form of swapping. The ice was definitely broken.
HER: Now that everyone had let down their guard to some extent, and darkness had fallen, the first few people slipped out of their clothes and into the pool … led by me, of course. Eventually, all but two of the couples took their clothes off. This was the moment I had envisioned from the beginning. I made my way from couple to couple making sure that everyone felt included.
HIM: As I remember it, you basically just made sure that everyone got felt.
HER: What can I say? I’m a very friendly person.
HIM: I love the way you break down barriers with people. It’s sexy for me to watch from a remove, and I think you have a special genius for knowing what people will be comfortable with. You have no problem caressing the cock of a man you’ve just met while talking casually about this and that, somehow without setting expectations too high.
HER: I think that was just about being a good, if unconventional, hostess. Even you managed to overcome your issues with the water and get naked to be a good host. But your hospitality did not end in the pool, as I later discovered.
HIM: I thought the whole night was great, but the part I’ll remember once I’ve forgotten everything else was about twenty minutes right in the middle. The only couple we hadn’t met before were Greg and Marcy, who came recommended by the birthday couple. At one point, she and I found ourselves in the living room, with towels around us. Marcy was asking me about some of the art on the wall. It was not a sexually oriented conversation at all, but she was clearly curious about my opinions and really interested in what I had to say. As we discussed a particular painting, I started to sense an erotic undercurrent to the conversation that had nothing to do with the words coming out of our mouths.
At one point I excused myself to go upstairs to get a book I thought she might be interested in. When I returned, I found her sitting on one of the mattresses in our little play area. She had adjusted her towel to her waist, exposing her breasts, which were pretty fantastic. Conversationally, we picked up right where we left off, with me reclining on one elbow before her like an Athenian philosopher. After a while, I began idly tracing circles on her knee with my fingertip as we talked. I took my towel off as I got harder and harder, though neither of us was saying anything remotely flirty. Soon she took hers off and started kissing me. Before long, she was sucking my cock, and then she straddled it, keeping it about, oh, a sixteenth of an inch from sliding right into her.
HER: I had lost track of you by that point. I had no idea what was going on. But, when I found out later, I was surprised. Of all the women there, I would not have figured Marcy for your type.
HIM: You’re right – neither would I. She had kind of a goth look, with her dyed black hair and serious expression. But it seems like my type has not much to do with appearance – it’s all about connection. In so many of our adventures I have struggled to get erect when everyone is naked. Yet here I was in a situation where the sexual potential was anything but obvious, and I was hard as a rock. Things were flowing.
Ultimately, not much came of it, though, for a reason we’ve become very familiar with – I didn’t have to ask to know that you would not be interested in playing with Marcy’s husband. I felt that if I took things further with her that it would imply an obligation for you to be with Greg. Thankfully, we were interrupted by another couple who joined us on the bed and the spell was broken. I managed to slip away.
HER: Well, you were right: I definitely had no interest in her husband. His key had fit my lock earlier in the evening, and I found him to be interesting, but it was simple for me: I just can’t do a big hipster beard. Under any circumstance. I always worry about what might be lurking in there.
But I have to say, it did bother me when you told me about your little adventure later on. While I appreciated that you didn’t go further with her, I wondered why you couldn’t have brought her to me to let me join in, or — just like you had run up to get the book — run out to get me when things started to heat up. Hell, send a messenger, a text, a raven, anything!
HIM: Well, that was because the whole thing snuck up on me, and by the time I knew where it was going, I was in the middle of a rare success and there was just no way I was going to call a time out.
HER: Seriously?! Do you know how selfish that sounds? My feelings were not part of your mental equation?
HIM: That’s not true. Every nerve in my body was saying ‘fuck her’, but because of the implications for you and Greg, and because I figured intercourse to be beyond our boundaries, I didn’t go there. I was actually thinking about you the whole time.
HER: Don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely against a little separate play. I found myself in a room with the birthday couple who we had been with several times, and we fooled around a bit. You walked by the open door and I waved to you as he was going down on me. But that was an eventuality we had talked about and agreed to beforehand. I feel like it’s different if it’s someone we both know and trust, but I had never said two words to this Marcy woman.
It brought up one of my big fears about the lifestyle: that my giving you license to be with someone I approve of will translate in your mind to permission to be with anyone you choose. You know the idea of you having sex with another woman gives me a little clit erection, but I need to give my consent. Swinging is not a free pass to fuck anyone you want. I would never just have sex with someone you didn’t know, that you had no idea about, just because ‘things were flowing’.
HIM: Ok, I know when you describe it like that it sounds bad, but it’s not like we were hiding. We were in the middle of our living room where anyone could see. I was comfortable with the possibility that you could walk by at any moment. In fact, I think you were just ten feet away in the kitchen.
HER: So you could have just called my name?! Why didn’t you do that?
HIM: Try to imagine it from my perspective. You have had an unbroken string of successes in our lifestyle experiments. You always come off like a rock star, and I am proud of you. I wouldn’t want you to do anything different. But I am still searching for the secret formula. While you’re busy blowing people’s minds, men and women alike, I’m generally trying to not let on that I feel like a total failure. Calling out to you might have been all it would take to lose my focus and my erection.
So yes, the circumstances weren’t ideal, but I feel like I learned something really important: I need to know a woman is into me before my sexual equipment will work. I think a lot of women in the lifestyle believe their willingness alone is enough to stimulate a man. It’s a holdover from the traditional ‘all men are desperate dogs’ view of male sexuality. And while I’m sure simple willingness is all many men need, I seem to need actual enthusiasm.
HER: Well, that’s nice. But a history of struggling, or wanting a woman to be enthusiastic doesn’t change anything about my concerns. Aren’t you worried that, just like in our first full-swap experience, what most easily turns you on is having sex that I’m not aware of — doing something that you’re not supposed to do? That interpretation also ‘fits the data,’ as you like to say.
HIM: I will go as far as agreeing that being bad may be a part of the appeal, but I can tell you honestly that I’m not interested in having secrets. In fact, I want to be successful at fucking other women for you, sweetie (there’s a sentence I bet you never thought you’d hear five years ago). I want to build on some good experiences so that we can have foursomes together where I’m not worried if I’m going to get hard. The Marcy episode seemed like a good start to that.
HER: So our nude pool party ended with us both getting a little action, though not without some emotional consequences and valuable lessons learned. As we move forward, it’s important that you know I want to see you fuck other women. In fact, I’ll do everything I can to help make that happen. I just want to have talked to her first and given my consent.
This Saturday night, for example, with that couple we met a couple weeks ago, you have a free pass. If at any time you’re feeling it with her, just go for it with my blessing. I mean, unless her guy has grown a hipster beard since we last saw them. In which case, don’t even think about it.
Liam & Kate are a married couple, very much in love, writing honestly and insightfully about their adventures in the world of non-monogamy.