An Absinthe-Loving, Polyamorous, Kinky, Sex-Positive Couple talk about all things Sex, Kink, and LGBTQ.

Overcoming the Fear of Love

Like many other of the other wonderful bloggers I know — take a moment to check my blogroll to the right for some fine examples — I get a sense of amusement from some of the various search terms that result in somebody new stumbling across my little corner of the internet.  One that stands out as particularly amusing was “husband says absinthe makes his dick hard”.  What’s not to love about that?  This morning, however, I saw a search term appear that got me thinking about just how much people can manage to hold themselves back — or not — on the spectrum that encompasses the swinger and polyamorous couples.  This search term was  “fall in love swinger become exclusive poly with one couple”.

There are many ways to read this term, in large part due to the lack of punctuation.  Was the person searching attempting to find a swinger with whom to fall in love and then, with that person, become polyfidelitous with another swinging couple?  Was this person perhaps already a swinger and was looking to find information on the ways to or likelihood of entering into a poly relationship with another couple?  Could this person perhaps be a single swinger and is looking to join a poly couple in a triad?

Thinking on these possibilities made me realize something that’s hovered around the edges of my consciousness for sometime; something with which I have, at times, struggled.  This something  is a prevalent trend among those who write from within the swinger community, and one that I suspect has arisen from some improper assumptions.  I suspect this because I have been guilty of it, and because of it I inadvertently derailed what could have become a very good thing.  This something, this “it”, is the fear of oneself or one’s partner falling in love with somebody else.

The common mantra I’ve seen among many swinger blogs and advice forums is that to be a successful swinger one must compartmentalize emotions from the act of sex.  In doing so, goes the theory, one avoids the messy complications that may be introduced by an undue level of emotional attachment to a new partner or the jealousy that may spring from one’s spouse forming an attachment to another.  Under this advice the goal becomes to make the sex purely recreational.  Yes, it’s great fun with the right person, and getting the rush of discovery with a new partner is undoubtedly thrilling (most times), but I think to advise pure detachment and compartmentalization is to deny an intrinsic quality of being human.

As humans we are imbued with emotions to better help us adapt to changes around us and navigate through the world.  Studies have recently shown that without access to our emotions one becomes checkmated by one’s own mind, unable at times to make even the rudimentary choice between breakfast cereals at the grocery store.  A complete reliance upon intellect and cognitive ability to make decisions is a hindrance to the human construct and renders victims of specific types of brain damage incapable of maintaining a high quality of life.  Why, then, would so many members of the swinger community advocate this approach — minus the gut-reaction physical attraction to a new prospective partner — when living The Lifestyle?  What is so inherently dangerous about developing and exploring an attraction beyond the sexual with somebody new while maintaining the existing loving and supportive relationship with one’s spouse?

The best reasoning I have seen for this argument — and perhaps the most honest — comes from my good friend Mr. No Name, who recently commented here that he doesn’t believe he could ever be truly polyamorous because he spends as much of his free time possible with his wife SM, and that anything or anybody who detracts from that time with her is damaging to his happiness.  I accept and understand this approach completely, as I feel the same way about Mrs. AP.  Our time together is special, and we were terribly (happily) spoiled during our first 16 months together by the fact that we were able to support ourselves — with help by her husband and our roommate — from home, which allowed us to spend 24 hours a day together.  We have both suffered from being unable to continue this lifestyle over the past 14 months, as I work 48 hours a week plus commute time, but the time apart has made our time together that much more important.  We feel unaccomplished if we let a day together be “wasted” by dealing with trivial matters and not focusing on each other.  In this manner, if somebody wanted to do something with one of us but not the other during my days off, we would both be hesitant to agree.  We are a pair, and operate as one unit on those days, seldom away from each other for longer than it takes to run to the store for a few small household items.

Nevertheless, Mrs. AP and I know that we cannot separate ourselves from our emotions when we embark on any journey discovering a new potential partner.  Mrs. AP requires that connection, that spark with somebody that allows her to care, to sympathize and empathize.  If that connection is not in place she has no particular care about the other person beyond the most base civil courtesy, but once she comes to know somebody and connect and grasp the sense of the being of that person, her interest level in and reactions to that person become more relaxed and reciprocal.  She requires that friendship first, and not one that typically forms in a matter of minutes but takes days, weeks, or even months to foster and mature.  I also know from my experiences during my slut period that casual sex with people I barely know tends to leave me feeling empty and unfulfilled.  I imagine that engaging in this behavior with Mrs. AP as my partner and accomplice would minimize the effect, but the fact remains that I become more focused and engaged when I have an existing emotional connection with my partner.  I care more for his or her pleasure, more closely notice reactions to my actions, and I feel a sense of immediate compersion with my new partner’s pleasure.  Instead of the encounter being solely about the physical pleasure (selfishly often only my own) during an encounter with somebody new the experience becomes about building and maintaining mutual pleasure for everybody involved.  The sex becomes a stronger, deeper, more meaningful encounter.

This is not to say that every swinger out there should start becoming friends or romantic interests with every new partner before playing.  Clearly not everybody is wired to engage in such fashions, just as not everybody is wired to enjoy seeing a spouse brought to a roaring orgasm by another person.  Swinging is nor Polyamory light, nor does Polyamory require some level of Swinging.  There is, however, much room for overlap between the two, and I think room for a deeper connection between individuals and couples alike if the people involved remain open to that possibility.  Developing and exploring that connection can, I believe, lead to a wider realm of potential play within the group, and may even be one of the unifying factors among the “closed swing” groups of friends who only play within the group.

Love, attraction, infatuation, and all other forms of interpersonal emotional affiliation aren’t necessarily things to be feared.  Nor should they be embraced headlong without any consideration for consequences.  When exploring non-monogamy as a couple, the best advice I’ve ever read is to keep the lines of possibility and communication open.

When that happens, anything is possible.


Stay SINful, friends.

14 responses

  1. This is a great discussion – I have been thinking about this and I keep thinking I want to separate my spanko activities from my love life, but that is just a way of protecting me from fully living. (Or something like that.)

    Anyway, thanks for putting up a timely post for me.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

    • Always happy to help! I think, in the end (pun intended) that you must do what works best for you that will also prevent harm from befalling anybody. Easier said than done, I know, but goodness isn’t the learning along the way fun?

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      September 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm

  2. Kat

    I agree with Kitty.

    I have never been able to complete a purely just for sex event with someone. I just don’t think I’m wired like that. I need emotion and a connection and friendship with someone for me to even want to have sex. That isn’t to say that I have never had sex with a good friend and remained good friends after that but we had been friends for years and remain so to this date. I think that, for me at least, I need that level of emotional connection to the person who is going to see me naked. I agree with Mrs. AP there.

    You know it would be interesting to see a post from her on here once in a while. I would like to get her thoughts about your life as well.

    September 24, 2012 at 10:05 am

    • I believe more of us are wired that way than we want to believe. Not that some hard, hot, “just for the sake of it” sex cannot be fulfilling in a raw and lustful way with the right partner, but I think that is the exception far more than it is the norm.

      Mrs. AP is rather under the weather right now, but we’re working on ramping her up into posting as well. All the comments she’s left thus far have been fantastic contributions, and I cannot wait to read some of her thoughts more flushed out.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      September 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm

  3. Emen

    This touches me so much, as you so often do. You are one ot the great bloggers that I always read. Even if I don’t comment, sometimes I can’t do it justice, I always read.

    Your honesty, your courage, your joy in trying to express yourself and live the life you want to live, is inspiring 🙂

    September 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    • Thank you, cheri! You are, as always, far too kind. I welcome your comments, always. Your warmth and support are meaningful, every time.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      September 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm

  4. Whenever I bother to go to the swinger sites we belong to, I often bust their asses for making sex as impersonal as possible by driving a wedge between the sex act and their emotions. I’ve mentioned to them that being a swinger – and then falling in love with someone you’ve played with (or your partner does) is an occupational hazard every swinger flirts with. You can control who you play with; you can control the environments you play in… keeping one’s feelings at bay, well, that’s problematic because, oddly, swingers want to do this thing… while preserving their own monogamy. They want all of the perks and none of the responsibility… and that’s never really set well with me since we all have to deal with the consequences of our actions.

    As I’m fond of saying, you can’t do anything about the way you feel; you can, however, do something about how you act on those feelings. You can fall in love with someone you’ve played with (or are currently playing with) – doesn’t mean you have to run off with them or do anything other than accepting the fact that this is how you feel. Another of my favorite sayings is just because you can do it doesn’t mean you have to.

    If you have sex with me and my baby, you get the emotions that drive all of it… because it doesn’t make sense to deny any other emotions or try to wall them off – you wind up giving someone less than your best, I think – and if this happens, why bother in the first place?

    Another great posting!

    September 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    • I think if more people approached non-monogamy the way you do, there would be less clique behavior and a more open approach to inclusion of all peoples. I like your style, sir. Thank you for the thoughtful and insightful contribution.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      September 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      • It just makes sense, doesn’t it? That people see otherwise just amazes me…

        September 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      • Yes, but to some people “no sex before or outside of marriage” makes sense as well. Diversity makes the world go round.

        Stay SINful
        Mr. AP

        September 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm

  5. Gosh this has given me a lot to think about, but im not complaining i do like a blog post that makes me sit back and reflect and this has done just that.


    September 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    • That’s a high compliment! Thank you so much! I hope the train of thought reaches a nice and proper destination. 🙂

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      September 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm

  6. Interesting thoughts here. I do not identify with being a swinger at all. I do identify with being polyamorous, but I more so just like to say I am open. Love does not have to be involved, but emotions always will be. Even if it’s just a good friendship with sex involved, that is still emotions. I’ve had sex with people just for sex. Usually in a group setting. I generally walk away thinking, sure it was fun, but I’m happy to never see them again. Why? Because I had no connection with them other than the physical.

    For a lot of people, it’s jealousy. They can’t handle their partner having feelings for someone else because they think it means they will run away with the other person. Could this happen? Sure. But it can only happen if that person wants to run away from you. You can’t hold onto what was not yours to begin with. Just because I enjoy spending the occasional weekend with someone else and away from my husband, does not mean our relationship is in jeopardy. But maybe that’s because my husband and I spend a LOT of our time together since moving here and losing our social life. It’s nice to have some outside things and spend time away from each other. It’s really all about time management. If my husband started spending more time with other women than me, of course there is a problem there and it’s not the other women. It’s obviously a problem within our marriage. But if my husband wants to spend Wednesday night having dinner with another woman, it does not bother me. He and I will have dinner together Thursday night and all other nights.

    I am very happy that I can be as open and honest with my husband when it comes to our outside relations. I’d hate to have to hide my emotions about someone from him. I’d hate to not be allowed to have these emotions. I think that’s where the REAL danger comes in. When you have to conceal everything. Is it easy for my husband to hear I have feelings for, even love for another man, no it is not. But he has learned by now, I’m not going anywhere. What makes it hard for him is knowing one day, my heart will be broken by someone else and he’ll be there to pick up the pieces when the other person is long gone. We’ve done this for each other. It’s all part of the package. But this is how we function. Everyone is different. I prefer and enjoy the deeper connections I can form with another person, beyond just my husband. For me, sex just for sex wasn’t good enough.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

    • I love the way you think and operate, and I further love that you and your husband are secure enough in yourselves and each other to invest fully in being open and loving and vulnerable to and with each other. You are an inspiring woman. Thank you.

      Stay SINful
      Mr. AP

      September 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm

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