Rut to Smut - NSFW
April 17, 2008 10:23 PM   Subscribe

Please help us "diversify." [NSFW!]

Hi everybody. I'm Steve, and this is my wife Beth.

We have been married for over a decade. We have 3 young children, a house in the suburbs, I have a good job, we have a strong and loving relationship, we're generally very happy.

Trouble is, the sizzle has gone out of our steak. Sex that used to be frequent and hot grew less of both over time, and now is pretty pedestrian. It's not a question of growing apart, I think; more along the lines of growing accustomed. Part of the difficulty is that because she knows me so well, Beth finds me to be predictable. A large part of the excitement of our early sex life was the discovery, and we're all discovered out.

Then recently, on a lark (and some pretty positive reviews) we watched Short Bus. Beth was intrigued by the club in that film and imagines that in real life it would be pretty hot to flirt with / be lusted after / have sexual contact with somebody else besides me. Being scrupulously fair by nature, she assures me that it owuld be okay for me to do the same.

Here's the tricky bit - Short Bus is (1) fictional and (2) in New York. We are (1) very real and (2) in middle Tennessee.

Beth writes:

"... Internet searches have revealed that there is a sex club in our town, and I am intrigued about what we might find there. I am frightened, however, by the prospect of waltzing into the place unannounced and unknown. I am completely ignorant about the culture of such a club and the appropriate way to introduce myself and my husband. A mentor would be helpful--someone we know and trust who could hold our hand, so to speak, until we find our footing."

We're not interested in:

1 - falling in love with other people
2 - establishing long-term physical relationships outside of our marriage
3 - advertising in those "swinger" publications / websites

We're pretty sure the subculture exists (fictional accounts aside); how do we get into it?

Sockpuppet gmail account for private dialogue: rut2smut@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
you should check out a documentary called "the lifestyle: swinging in america" (it should be available at your neighborhood cinephiliac video store or on netflix). i'm not saying that this will be your experience, but it might be of some interest/enlightenment for you.
posted by violetk at 10:36 PM on April 17, 2008


Welcome to being married for a while and having young children. Sit down, here's a cocktail.

I'm a reformed slut living in a really free-wheeling area, my spouse and our friends are of similar mind. I had a chat recently with a very likeminded and very close friend, and we came to the conclusion that no matter what, you don't know what is going to happen if you change the rules.

You just don't know. You don't know. That's what it boils down to.

And thus, so far, what makes the most sense FOR US is to just talk a lot about the possibilities. Acting on the possibilities doesn't seem like a practical approach, because that's not what we went into this thinking, and rationally, we expect our relationship to evolve fairly quickly over the next few years as our kids age and we do, too.
posted by padraigin at 10:43 PM on April 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


I suggest contacting the person who runs the sex club in your town. The owner/proprietor of places like that will usually answer any and all questions of those who are interested but hesitant. In my experience, there has usually been a pretty strong age divide in swinging/sex clubs. At least in our part of the world (Denver area), there are those that cater to the twenty- and thirty-somethings and then those who cater to 40+. By talking to the owner, you could also get a feel for what the norms are, e.g. is it kosher to just watch the first time? how easy is it to meet/talk to people you don't already know? is it an open, welcoming environment, etc. Again, in my experience, it's perfectly acceptable for a couple to go to a sex club and not actually "play" with any one else. Some couples just want the voyeuristic experience.

I'll also echo what padraigin said: namely, talk, talk, talk with each other about all the what ifs and possibilities. It's really important that you explore how you *might* feel in all sorts of situations in order to minimize potential unexpected fallout. Create boundaries. What is okay your first night out and what isn't? Make sure you have a clear agreement. And of course, check in with each other throughout the night. And afterward as well. The key to making something like this work is being open with each other about how you feel and feeling like you can express hesitation/ discomfort and be respected and listened to.

And good luck! It can be such a fun addition to a stale sex life!
posted by crunchtopmuffin at 6:13 AM on April 18, 2008


I'll share my 'experience' with a club like this..

My girl and I went once to see what it was all about. It was a 'private' club, BYOB. We simply had to arrive, 'sign up' for membership, and then enter (after paying an entrace fee). It was basically a club with music, and an 'outer' area where couples mingled, danced, and drank. It also had an 'inner' area where the rooms and beds and such were.

(Note: places like this often have different entrace requirements depending on the night of the week. Some nights are only couples. Some allow single men. Some allow single women. I recommend going on a couples-only night).

We never went back to the inner area, so can't comment on that. But we did hang out for awhile in the outer area and were able to talk, flirt, mingle, and drink. Oh, and they had a buffet, which was nice.

Overall, it was a much 'easier' experience than I imagined going in. I was rather surprised by the diversity of the people there.. There were young, old, attractive, unattractive, fat, skinny, etc. And almost everyone was very nice and friendly. Ultimately, the reality was a lot less scary than what we had in our minds.

I'd say try it once, with the expectation that you'll be doing nothing 'heavy' the first night -- just mingle and such. If you like it and feel comfortable, go back again with greater expectations.
posted by eas98 at 7:04 AM on April 18, 2008


Good advice here so far. I can especially confirm what padraigin said. You just don't know what will happen until it happens. However, since you are exploring this together, you are in the perfect position to set your boundaries, and to discuss them as they begin to erode.

I've found the hardest thing to overcome in these situations is the sense of entitlement we have when it comes to emotions. I remember feeling vaguely hurt and jealous at times, and having to remind myself that I actually had no reason to feel those things at all-- they were merely reflexive, and didn't hold up to scrutiny. They were feelings that an average person in my situation might have, but within the rules and reality of my relationship, they didn't apply-- so I discarded them. It's an interesting test in emotional honesty: do I really feel this particular emotion, or is it what I've been taught that I'm supposed to feel? When you've been raised to see things one way but then take steps toward a life that goes in another direction, it's hard to shake those societal instincts that tell you something's wrong. As long as the reality you've created with your wife contains enough constant reinforcement (and lightheartedness) and is the product of your shared fantasy, then you'll find that you're swimming safely in the same water that other people avoid for fear of drowning.

Congratulations on having a partnership that has withstood conversations that many people would never attempt with their partners. Even if it only goes that far, you've still broken important ground.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 7:05 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Short bus was actually 1) a real place and 2) in Montreal. In understand that Middle Tennessee is probably as different from Montreal as it is from New York, but you'd be pretty surprised where clubs like this (or at least groups like this) crop up.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:27 AM on April 18, 2008


I think these venues can really run the full gambit. A formal "club" may have fairly set patterns of behaviour and expectations, whereas a "place" can be more open ended.

My husband and I have been to a hot tub place where one or two nights a week are definitely NOT all about the hot tubs. You pay your admission, got to different locker rooms, and then wander around in a towel. The downstairs is indeed hot tubs and soaking and chatting and a juice bar; the upstairs is rooms off a corridor where people are basically having sex in dimly lit view of one another.

Your options upstairs are to watch, to get it on with a virtual stranger or strangers in any number of combinations, or to get it on with each other in full view of virtual strangers. One thing that made this particular venue quite palatable (ha) was that we attended on couples only evenings, which makes for a less predatory environment for your wife. Similarly, a club may have rules that help keep behaviour polite.

I agree with whoever suggested calling the coordinator of your local club and finding out how it works and what kind of rules they run under. At a minimum, I'd be looking for safe sex and a controlled M:F ratio.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:31 AM on April 18, 2008


My experience is with BDSM clubs, not swingers clubs, but there seems to be a fair amount of overlap in the membership rosters. The swingers I've met were really, really approachable people, and they would make the rules and expectations quite clear to you. At BDSM events/dungeons, you have to sign something clearly explaining all the rules (some dungeons don't allow penetrative sex, etc.). Swingers have nonsexual meetups (not sure what they call them; in BDSM culture they're called "munches," an amalgam of the words "meeting" and "lunch"). I'd advise you to check out one of these prior to going to the club. They're at restaurants and/or bars, and provide a way to talk to others in a nonthreatening environment, without the expectation of immediate sex. Here you will find the mentor you seek.
posted by desjardins at 7:53 AM on April 18, 2008


It may be that the thought of going to a club may be enough impetus to spark up your fantasy life. This may sound lame but what if you send her out to a bar and 'pick her up' for some 'anonymous' sexin in the back seat of your car? Sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality, and especially since you have children, keeping it in the fantasy realm can be a lot less complicated.
posted by softlord at 6:59 PM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like what [NOT HERM... said, but feel the need to point out that just because the emotions felt 'didn't apply', that didn't make them less real. People can make rational plans but sometimes the limbic system makes a surprise appearance. Be prepared to have unexpected things happen (good and bad), and make sure you talk about them with your partner.
This is somewhat dangerous emotional territory (which is part of the excitement), so go slow, and compare notes. It can be done well, but it can also be done very badly.
posted by MtDewd at 6:19 PM on April 19, 2008


Can I add my two cents to those suggesting that you just talk about it, fantasize about it, but don't actually do it? Some guy touching your wife - the mother of your children - is a pretty sure way to bring all your insecurities to the surface, destroy your self-confidence, erode your trust and destroy your marriage. Get her a subscription to Penthouse Forum, some nice underwear, toys, whatever; start flirting with her more, being spontaneous and treating her like she's single and desirable rather than somebody's mom or wife.

But dude, I'm begging you. Don't let some stranger do her in the ass.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:41 AM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Watch the movie Cheeky by Tinto Brass (or All Girls Do It). Don't go to the club. Let your minds wander and fantasize, and have at it with each other. Way more fun.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 4:38 PM on April 22, 2008


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