Can we get paid to show off and not ruin our lives?
November 26, 2012 6:15 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are swingers who happily have lots of casual sex recreationally. We were recently offered money from someone who just wants to watch us have sex with each other, and money is really tight right now. Is there a way to make this work without screwing our lives up?

My husband and I are very happily married (second marriages for us both), and we are both very sexual and kinky and love that about each other. We have a deeply loving D/s relationship in the bedroom that is egalitarian and mutually supportive and is a real pleasure and joy for us both to engage in.

Part of how that manifests itself is through swinging - my husband posts ads online for strangers to come visit our home, where we entertain primarily single women or straight couples, although less frequently he will find single or multiple men to have sex with me while he watches and directs the action. It is one of our favorite things to do together and the majority of the encounters we've had have been very friendly and positive.

In the meantime, my husband's work has also suddenly dried up in the bad economy, and I'm the only one bringing in any income, although he's been looking for work for months. I have a regular salary but don't make great money, and we are really struggling to pay our monthly bills. (I've also been looking for a new, better-paying job, but have only gotten one interview in months of looking.)

So this is the context in which we were offered money from someone who just wants to watch us have sex with each other. My husband is always fielding emails from single guys who saw that we were looking for a woman or couple, and decided to try to convince us to entertain them instead. This, however, was the first time we've been offered money, and for something as simple as being watched. With our circumstances the way they are, it is a very tempting offer, and we've talked about considering it, but it seems like a huge step to accept money, even though we would be doing something we would happily do for free anyway. So what I'm wondering is, is there any way to do this without turning into a Lifetime movie?

My concerns:

- Prostitution is illegal where we live (NYC) - would accepting money for someone watching us count as prostitution since there is would be no physical contact with the person paying?

- Would this turn a fun hobby into a job we don't feel like doing? I like to bake cakes but I always felt like doing it as a profession would take all of the fun out of it, once it was an obligation. If we decided to do it, what are the best ways to make sure we don't lose the enjoyment?

- Would the addition of money make the risks significantly greater than what we're already doing? I mean, we already have total strangers coming to our home to have crazy kinky sex with us, and we've been careful to mitigate the risks of having strangers come over, as well as to keep the details of our sex life private. My husband shares custody of his child with his ex-wife, and we are extremely careful not to let our sex life impact our role as parents already.

-I have no desire to do this full time or make it a career. We have no plans to stop looking for better paying real jobs, and that is our end goal. I am just looking at this as a a temporary stop-gap measure so we don't have to completely deplete the meager savings we have left, or to start raiding the 401k accounts.

Anyway, I would love to hear from anyone who has an informed opinion or personal experience with this arena - I'm sure lots of people would find this a horrifying proposition in any way, which is fine, but I'd really like to get input from people who know the ropes. Thanks!

Throwaway email:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
-While I'm not a lawyer, I see no reason why this would be any different than being paid to do it on a webcam with your partner or to make a porn video.
-Maybe...if it was a job. But you're saying that you very much don't want it to be. If you do it, I'd do it once and see how you felt about things afterwards. You don't have to continue doing it if you feel bad about it.
-When does the addition of money simplify things? I would imagine if your husband's ex-wife ever found out, she could use it as a way to attempt to get full custody if she wanted to. But the same could be said for her finding out you were having sex with strangers.
posted by inturnaround at 6:36 AM on November 26, 2012

You're already open about sex. You've already learned how to deal with jealousy and possession and other negative emotions that can go with opening your relationship. Also, I'm pretty sure this is not illegal - they're paying for adult entertainment, akin to pornography. I'd also say the risks are the same, bad outcome-wise, and safer, sex-wise.

I'd say lay out whatever ground rules you need to make yourself comfortable, and go for it. For example, you can make it clear to prospective watchers that it's a one-time offer, and you decide when and if you're up for repeats. You can meet at a hotel rather than your place to provide additional privacy if you feel the need.

Thinking about how this will affect your private intimate time with your husband is one concern that will be hard to mitigate fully without trying it. For me, it would help to know that I was being paid for a performance and entertainment, rather than intimate time with my partner. They really are pretty separate things. I think dividing them in your mind similarly will probably be helpful.
posted by zug at 6:36 AM on November 26, 2012

If you're worried about this affecting your custody arrangements, career, or potential criminal records, talk to a lawyer. You may want to talk to these folks - they help sex workers and human trafficking victims, but they can probably point you in the direction you need to go even if they can't help you directly.
posted by SMPA at 6:39 AM on November 26, 2012

Also, if you want to have a conversation about how this may impact your relationship with your spouse, you can get referrals to appropriate social workers/therapists from SWOP-NYC.
posted by SMPA at 6:41 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have friends who do this, and a wide variety of associated activities (dogging and swinging are particularly popular across what seems like all demographics in England). Two of them do it as a career, with strict rules for viewers. Safety and privacy are the topics they discuss the most. Privacy both during the act, and long term.

Watching is one thing. If that's all it is - no physical contact, tho' will he be jerking off to the two of you - then that seems low risk, especially if you state beforehand that it is a one-off.

Privacy: where it could be problematic is if he wants to record, picture or film your conjugal frivolities in any way. You haven't said he wants to, so assuming he won't? Doing so would provide evidence if there are any legal problems, and once it's recorded you have zero control over what happens, and your future privacy is forever compromised. Especially if you've been paid in some manner, as there's then a messy content ownership issue.

I don't think it's prostitution, else the entire porn industry, and a lot of the movie industry, arguably falls into that category. If you do it, then you and your partner do have to have a good, frank chat afterwards about how it was, and whether you want to do it again (possibly irrelevant of the financial benefits).
posted by Wordshore at 6:44 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

How would you feel if it ended up on the Internet? A stranger who wants to pay to watch you have sex may very well record it. Yes, it's prostitution: sex for pay. It doesn't seem to violate your values, it violates cultural norms.
posted by theora55 at 7:31 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

It doesn't sound to me like the risks of doing this are any higher than the risks of what you're already doing. That is, the overwhelming majority of the risk here is coming from inviting a stranger into your home, but if you already have procedures in place to deal with that risk, then I don't see how the money changes anything.

IANAL, but it's my understanding that if this person was the one who brought up the idea of paying to watch you have sex, then you're not dealing with some kind of sting operation, since that would constitute entrapment. But it would be a good idea to be sure about that.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:48 AM on November 26, 2012

You can look up the statutes for prostitution yourself. IANAL, but watching is not sexual conduct as I functionally understand it.

It's a fine thing to do and accepting cash is its own kink, you just need to make sure there are no recordings. How? Be clear about your boundaries as you would in any scene negotiation. Visitor is to store cell phone in a bag, bags will be left in the hall closet, etc. Optionally you can request that he disrobe, let's say to shower, and you will provide him with a robe to make sure there are no hidden devices. If you think this through, I'm pretty sure you can come up with the set of parameters that would make you and your partner comfortable. They may or may not be acceptable to your potential visitor, but you know that isn't the important boundary.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:51 AM on November 26, 2012 [9 favorites]

Yeah, just remember that you're the ones offering a service for money and that this means that you can dictate whatever arrangements make you comfortable.

I don't know about the legalities at all but I'd definitely make sure to take steps that would prevent your performance being recorded.

One possible problem I could see is that if you grow to depend on income from things like this, it might become more of a job that something you enjoy, but hey, you're in control of that as well, so you should be fine. Have fun!
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:00 AM on November 26, 2012

I agree with what's been said, but it might be wise to draw up some sort of contract... making the rules and boundaries clear (he is not to touch either of you, no recording, etc...) and laying out the repercussions (how many warnings, getting asked to leave, etc.). This seems more like porn and less like prostitution. However, you don't want him to come in presumptuous and trying to take liberties "because I paid you". Make it clear exactly what he's paying for, and what is/isn't included. I had a boss at a bland office job that in the midst of an argument told me I had to do whatever he wanted (it wasn't sexual... just personal chore stuff) because he paid me - needless to say, I walked out in a huff. It's a bad attitude.

This will also make sure the rules are clear so that if he makes you uncomfortable, your husband knows at exactly what point the guy has to go (but then, you no doubt already do this anyway).
posted by jrobin276 at 1:03 PM on November 26, 2012

This is maybe a bit overboard, but I'd possibly get a hand-held metal detector and when the person shows up, ask them to agree to metal detection to discover any recording equipment, as a condition of going forward. Don't warn the person in advance that you will do this. I think it should be a pretty good deterrent against being recorded.
posted by kellybird at 5:12 PM on November 26, 2012

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