Nice shoes, I'm married, she's fine with it, wanna do it?
November 18, 2009 5:58 AM   Subscribe

How can I indicate to potential female partners that I am interested in casual sex with them, and that my wife approves?

I'm male; mid-twenties; coastal metropolitan US. My wife and I are, for lack of a better word, swingers. As a couple, we've had plenty of luck picking up playmates for group play from craigslist and at swinger's clubs. My wife has gone on individual dates with fellows. I've not been so lucky.

The problem I'm having is how to indicate interest in a woman, IRL, while also indicating that I'm married (and so not available for a conventional LTR) but that my wife's all for it (and so it isn't an "affair"). I wear a wedding ring, so one would think it's pretty obvious that I'm married. But I don't want to drive away potential partners who might be into casual sex if they knew nobody's getting hurt, but who wouldn't contribute to infidelity. And I also think it's unfair to take somebody out on a "traditional" date only to spring on them, "Yeah, so, I'm happily married, so the best you can hope for is friends with benefits."

I'm not really talking about one-night stands with barflies--I'm not usually interested. Rather, I'm talking about the sort of girls that I'd happily hang out with even if we weren't doing it. Friends with benefits really would be the optimal situation. But, I've found that trying to develop existing friendships into, uh, "beneficial" ones doesn't really work very well. So let's assume it's the curvy goth girl behind the reference desk.

Throwaway contact account: "swinging_mefite_1776@hush.com".
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
First of all, I think you need to come to terms with the fact that a lot of women are uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping with a married man-- open relationship or not. I'm one of them, and your approach wouldn't have anything to do with the reason I'd say no.

Your safest bet would probably be to look for a partner in your circle of swingers. But if you want to look outside that, then (once you accept the fact that most women you approach probably won't be interested in getting into a situation notoriously rife with drama), you might just want to jump in with the flirty banter and see what happens. Women will notice your ring no matter what, so all you'd really have to do is convince them that your wife's cool with it.

And there's always Craigslist, or even OkCupid. Text lets people know what they're getting into before they get into it..
posted by oinopaponton at 6:35 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, bear in mind that your relationship status and your approach probably won't have much of an impact on some women's reactions.

If you really want to convince them that you're wife is OK with it, the easiest way is to take her along so they can hear it from her directly.
posted by motsque at 6:49 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


This would be best accomplished online through personal ads. I'm sure there are plenty of swingers sites.

However, if your local barista is irresistably cute, become a regular there. Then have your wife meet her in the work context (really casual, like "Hey, I'd like you to meet my wife Alice"). Then BOTH of you invite her out to dinner to get to know each other. You'll know if she's a good personality fit, she'll know that your wife is on board, and then you can make your proposal in a non-skeevy way.
posted by desjardins at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't even count the number of times I've been approached and told "No, really, my wife is cool with it." Having been a wife who had a husband who used that line untruthfully, I tend not to believe guys who say that. I think most women tend not to believe guys who say that. I mean, it just sounds like bullshit. (Even when it's true.)

Also, many women after a certain age don't want just a fuck-buddy...they're looking for companionship and a relationship...none of which are things you're really offering. Also, it really takes a special kind of people to manage a swingers relationship...people who have either no jealousy, or have learned to manage their jealousy. (I for one would be a terrible candidate, for example...because I think in terms of "Mine" and "Not YOURS!". I recognize this, and avoided relationships with friends/lovers who had a more fluid definition of relationship than I do.)

I agree with the answers that suggest you stick within the swinger community, where the precepts are already an understood, or go with online services where you can set the ground rules early. However, do not be terribly surprised if there is not a huge response from the "straight" set...the women who are looking for a more traditional relationship.

Good luck!
posted by dejah420 at 7:25 AM on November 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


I don't think people are generally comfortable with others approaching them with a goal in mind, especially a sexual one. I think the swinging/married thing is a canard; you'd probably have the same (or worse) luck giving off the impression you are single and interested in a casual relationship. Or even that you are single and looking for a LTR, and you have "chosen" some person as the object of your desires.

When it comes to sex/romance, people like to believe that the relationship has a life of its own and successfully formed through the compatibility of the two people involved. It seriously skeeves most of us out when we realize or find out or are told that the other person was approaching us with any kind of "expectations". Or even if there was an unspoken imbalance of attraction.

I also think that there are more people out there who would be willing to be involved in that kind of relationship if they aren't confronted with the concrete definition of it. Plenty of people outright cheat who would never describe themselves as cheaters and would never think about polygamy as a lifestyle for them. I think, if picking up strangers is your thing, there is a way to communicate your (I assume) ethical polygamy without actually saying it out loud. But I can't think of many ways to do it.

As for actual advice, the only thing I can think of would be to mention your lifestyle in a backwards kind of way. Don't force it, but if an opportunity presents itself, mention something like "oh, you like Dave Matthews? My wife's boyfriend does too." That will inevitably lead to some kind of "whu-huh?" and if the other person is at all curious, they'll inquire further.

(I've seen swinger profiles on OKCupid, and it's probably a pretty good way to intersect with people of similar mindsets. But they always seem to me to have a very controlling tone. Their potential paramour seems to be someone willing to fit exactly into their lives as specified by them. More like an advertisement for a plaything rather than an equal partner (within the confines of that particular relationship).

Also, there is a site called ashleymadison that used to cater to the married but looking crowd. Don't know if it still is out there.)

(I'd also strongly caution against mixing your regular social/work life with your swinging life. The workplace or the neighborhood probably adds too much baggage to the concept. Even if all the participants are 100% on the same page, there will almost always be people on the periphery who will cause trouble. The guy down the hall who is trying to impress the girl you are dating, for example. Or the neighbor who wants to cheat with the other neighbor who you have a relationship with. If they see that you are somehow "double-dipping", they may cause undue chaos. Keep it separate, so that if any party wants to end it or needs to extricate themselves, they aren't intertwined in some kind of lovers and neighbors and coworkers lust polygon.)
posted by gjc at 7:28 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


If I were single, I totally would not buy it if a guy told me his wife was cool with it. Would your wife be willing to be your wingman?
posted by Ruki at 7:34 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah this is really about coming into contact with women interested in this kind of thing, your approach has very little to do with anything. It's hard enough for totally single guys to find a women for friends with benefits, let alone a married guy into swinging.

I think this is what craigslist casual encounters was made for, but honestly, unless you have some stellar attractive quality, what you're looking for is going to be hard to find with any regularity. Women who would be interested in a situation like this are out there, but are fairly small minority. They also have their pick of men. Just going by sheer numbers, your wife will basically always be having a lot more dates than you.

And as a single woman, I would like to thank you for deciding in advance not to make a date with a woman and then tell her over dinner that you are married, but would be interested in friends with benefits, but don't worry your wife is cool with it. This is basically my worst nightmare.
posted by whoaali at 7:35 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Coincidentally, the first letter in this week's Savage Love is about this issue.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 7:42 AM on November 18, 2009


I know where you're coming from and, well, good luck. The problem here isn't the married part, it's the ongoing relationship part, which is not so much a part of the swinger subculture.

If you want to go on dates and have friends with benefits, you're going to find more resources and have more luck if you use the term "polyamorous".

Either way, the ideal people for you to be flirting with are people who are:

1. Non-monogamous kinky people. Of course you have to be kinky for this to work, but there tend to be a lot of people (even those who consider themselves monogamous) open to ongoing, casual play.
2. Polyamorous people who are cool with the level of commitment you can provide
3. People with open marriages or swingers whose spouses won't be threatened by an ongoing relationship
4. Busy single people who like friends-with-benefits sorts of situations and aren't into you in a "relationship" way

The best way to meet kinky (BDSM) or polyamorous people is by taking part in their communities, going to events, etc. If you're on the West coast, this might be easier than on the East coast. Just be 100% open and out there about who you and your wife are and what you're looking for, and you'll be able to find it. Make sure your wife happily comes with you to at least one event so they know you're not skeezing it up on the side.

If you find someone single, make sure you have intense chemistry, hang out with her a few times in a group of people, flirt like crazy. Don't hide the fact that you're married, but don't have a big Talk About Being Married, either. Introduce her to your wife in another group setting, find a spot to sit with her and flirt. Then your wife waves at you, obviously cool with the whole situation. Tell her you like her and ask her out for drinks. If she gets flustered, reassure her that your wife knows and is cool with everything.

All this is much, much easier if everyone in your social circle knows that you're in an open relationship.
posted by kathrineg at 7:49 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Have you tried pretending to cheat?

I mean: try to pick up women who don't care whether you're married or not, or even women who like the idea of screwing a married man. Maybe you'd get an extra thrill out of keeping your mistress in the dark about the fact that there's nothing illicit going on . . .

-
posted by General Tonic at 8:01 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think people are generally comfortable with others approaching them with a goal in mind, especially a sexual one. I think the swinging/married thing is a canard; you'd probably have the same (or worse) luck giving off the impression you are single and interested in a casual relationship. Or even that you are single and looking for a LTR, and you have "chosen" some person as the object of your desires.

Uh, approaching someone with a goal in mind is called "dating".
posted by kathrineg at 8:05 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


gjc says: "mention your lifestyle in a backwards kind of way. Don't force it, but if an opportunity presents itself, mention something like "oh, you like Dave Matthews? My wife's boyfriend does too."

Honestly, that's the one of two ways a married/taken man has ever successfully picked me up. The other? His wife/s.o. actually approached me to "clue me in" that he was interested and she had given him the go-ahead. Keep in mind that whichever approach you take, the woman in question will probably want confirmation from you wife that is really is OK with her.

I'm not much a participant in the swingers community, but I'll agree with those who suggest getting involved with them. I know my friends who do go to swingers parties have had some good experiences.
posted by MuChao at 8:52 AM on November 18, 2009


my husband and I have an open relationship and he has generally tended to be quite successful at "getting numbers" and making new friends out by himself by talking about me and us and our great relationship and being open about our openness. I am also always very amenable to meeting potential "new friends" and getting to know them (some women will prefer to ascertain that its really ok with your wife)

good luck!!
posted by supermedusa at 9:05 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even though you identify more as swinger than poly, I highly recommend looking into poly dating guides, poly dating events, etc. Just be very upfront with potential dates about the extent of emotional involvement you're looking to give (which does sound like non-zero...). A lot of poly daters would describe what you're looking for as a "secondary", and most likely you'll find that other married people are the ones interested in that level of involvement. (There are also some poly people who will turn up their noses at anyone swing-identified. But, hey, you want a friendship, so someone who doesn't respect you has helpfully clued you in that they are not good friend candidates for you anyway. No loss.)

Freaksexual is a great blog for people new to poly dating. Pepper's got a post right now that may lend some relevant insights. He and his partner Jen also organize poly dating events around SF regularly, and offer classes on Practical Non-Monogamy around the bay area.


There's PolyMatchmaker.com, of course. OKCupid is the only mainstream option that provides a poly-ish dating status ("available" rather than "single"). If you and your wife both create profiles stating that you're in an open marriage with [link to partner's profile], the wingman function will have been served. Anyone who has doubts has been implicitely invited to message the other partner for confirmation that play is cool.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:50 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I mean: try to pick up women who don't care whether you're married or not, or even women who like the idea of screwing a married man.

No. I have "a friend" who tells me that this is a good way to psychologically fuck someone up later down the line when they are consumed with guilt.
posted by desjardins at 11:05 AM on November 18, 2009


My wife and I are just getting into the world of open-marriage/polyamory/swinging/what-have-you. We were shocked to easily and quickly find quite a few good candidates in our relatively small and conservative city via www.swinglifestyle.com. You can post a listing and send/receive a limited amount of messages a day with a free account.

It looks like there is some other information linked in this thread that will be useful to us as well -- thank you to everyone who has chimed in with resources!
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 11:28 AM on November 18, 2009


Have you tried pretending to cheat?

I mean: try to pick up women who don't care whether you're married or not, or even women who like the idea of screwing a married man. Maybe you'd get an extra thrill out of keeping your mistress in the dark about the fact that there's nothing illicit going on . . .


LYING IS A SHITTY WAY TO DO RELATIONSHIPS. So please don't do anything like this.

Polymatchmaker.com and AdultFriendFinder.com are your go-to on this, though there are a lot of pros trolling on AFF.com so be ready to do a lot of noise-filtering before you get useful signal.

And a personals ad that says something like "My wife and I have an open relationship; she's finding lots of interesting dates, but it's not so easy for me to find women who are cool with the situation. Maybe this is you? And if you're {whatever you're looking for in women}, even better."

The thing is that the ways to connect with people who are cool with people who are in open or polyamorous relationships are a bit different--either joining a polyamorous group or advertising in outlets that are open to that are going to be the way to go, because you're fishing in an interest-limited pool.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:43 AM on November 18, 2009


Also, if you guys haven't read Tristan Taormino's book Opening Up, do so. It's really the best thing out there on open relationships.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:44 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if a guy told me he was married but his wife was cool with it, I'm not sure there's anything he could do or say that would convince me. It's unfortunate for the honest guys that the lying guys use their line. I also agree with those who said that some women just wouldn't be comfortable with it even if they knew you were telling the truth.

That being said, I think you're going to have to keep trying until you find women that either don't care if you might be lying, or believe you and are comfortable with it. In other words, if it seems like it isn't working very well, it's because I wouldn't expect that a ton of those people exist -- it doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong, and I can't think of a way to assure the women you're not lying or make them comfortable with it when they're not. In other words, I don't think it's your technique that's throwing people off, or that you're fishing in the wrong pool or something; it's just that the facts of the situation can't be changed.

Just make friends with whoever you'd normally want to be friends and see who seems attracted and receptive, and recognize that out of that pool, probably not that many are going to go for it. As you might have already had happen, I imagine you might lose some friendships by introducing the idea, too. I can't see any way around that, so I guess it's just something you have to be prepared for.
posted by Nattie at 12:32 PM on November 18, 2009


In other words, I don't think it's your technique that's throwing people off, or that you're fishing in the wrong pool or something; it's just that the facts of the situation can't be changed.

See, that's why I think dating people who have already indicated that they're comfortable with open and/or polyamorous relationships (either by looking online, or by looking among people who socialize in groups related to those orientations) is probably a better bet.

Hitting on friends and acquaintances is likely to end in disaster far too often, because the majority of people just aren't comfortable with dating someone who's married to someone else, or even being asked. Might as well do one's best to avoid that if possible.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:47 PM on November 18, 2009


Okay so I'm in your shoes. We're not married but we're in a pretty serious LTR (6+ years).

I go for drinks or lunch with someone. It's a datish thing that doesn't seem awkward if you end up not clicking. At the end of said datish thing, if I am feeling interesting, I say something like the following:

"I am attracted to you. I have a boyfriend. We are in an open relationship."

And then I see how they feel. They are rarely surprised. It often works.
posted by mai at 5:16 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe have your wife help recruit your lovers? She could befriend sexually adventurous single women or swinging women, and then talk up how great you are in bed. "Oh, you've got to try him."
posted by Jacqueline at 11:57 AM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


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