Social Overload

Mr Jones and I have been “In the Lifestyle” for about ten years. Initially we started out exploring together and our rules, such as they were, stated that we played together and only with other couples.

Early in our journey we met a few couples who we went on to become good friends with some of the couples we met. We hung out with them as regular friends attending some family events, camping together and sharing meals etc. We did fall into a group or a couple of groups who held parties regularly and we attended some parties that were like the fantasy stories that people read about.

Over time we became more relaxed about our ‘rules’ and our relationship evolved into the more Open Marriage that I described in last week’s TMI Tuesday post. Other changes in our lives including me beginning my Teaching career and a decline in my mental health has meant that we grew away from the traditional swinging lifestlye. We pursued our own partners or visited clubs to pick up people for sex. Sometimes we interacted with couples but the interaction was limited and often frustrating as it is difficult to find a couple where all four members are happy and comfortable with each other.

Last year I was included by a long term friend in a group that organises weekends away for like minded people. I decided it might be fun to dip our toes in that water again so I signed Mr Jones and myself up for a weekend at a large holiday house with four or five other couples.

In terms of fucking the weekend was relatively tame. In terms of getting naked or semi-naked, making innuendoes and playing sexy games we were fairly out there. In terms of drinking, it was next level.

The wash up from the weekend is that Mr Jones and I have found ourselves back on the social merry-go-round of the South East Queensland swing scene. One of the royal couples of this scene has taken us into their ‘bubble’ and we now find ourselves drinking and socialising much more than we have in quite a long time. It has been a journey and an awakening. It is exhausting.

I have been diagnosed with garden variety depression and been medicated for this for quite some time. I believe that it is mostly hormonal and a result of menopause, or so I thought. I have always avoided the idea that I had anxiety but I definitely find interacting with large groups of unfamiliar people difficult and very, very tiring. Add that to forcing my body to digest significant amounts of alcohol more regularly than I have in about twenty years and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Last night we attended a birthday party for one of our new friends. It was fun, they had employed a fantastic musician and we met some nice people. But during the course of the evening there was discussion about upcoming events following Christmas and New Year. The birthday girl announced that she had no free weekends until 21 Feb!!!! My brain hurts thinking about that much socialising.

Of course they are encouraging us to come along to some of those events but we find ourselves hesitating. We are enjoying the new set of friends. We are having fun but such a radical change in such a short amount of time is hard to deal with. I need some time to adjust. I also think we are not going to be the people who are at everything. I just don’t think I can cope with dealing with that many people so regularly.

And so over the next month we are going to be adjusting and evaluating. Hopefully we will be able to strike a balance that works for everyone.

In the Bubble

When Mr Jones and I started our swinging journey our “rules” as they were, revolved around both of us being together at all times. It was important for us to stay in contact and to look out for the other. Over time our level of trust and understanding of how to avoid dangerous situations has grown. In line with that we have expanded our horizons and these days heading out on a solo date is part of our regular repertoire. Our concern for each other has not changed. Mr Jones is concerned for my safety and prefers to know where I am and what the plan is. Equally so I am concerned to know that he is OK and not being put in a position that will damage his confidence.

In line with our “rules” we typically sought out couples. I was not so interested in other women that I wasn’t interested in other men and Mr Jones was not so insecure in our relationship that he couldn’t bear the thought of me being with another man. So we swapped partners with other couples. I am sure long term readers of these pages have read about the complicated nature of finding a suitable couple. Often one “pairing” will work while the attraction between the other two partners is lukewarm or non-existant. The politics of the situation can also become a hassle.

Mr Jones and I are fairly open and honest in our communication with each other and we both try very hard to be the same with prospective partners. Sometimes they can’t pay us the same courtesy. When they make their way to the swinging table they bring with them a host of insecurities and sometimes downright toxic relationship behaviours that can make the situation awkward.

After a few encounters and even friendships that took that path we found ourselves pulling away from swinging with couples and the swinging lifestyle in general. My mental health also spurred this disconnect. I was taken up with surviving massive hormonal changes associated with menopause and the stress of my new career. Mr Jones’ confidence declined and consequently his interest in sex followed.

I started 2020 with the realisation that I had retreated into myself much too far and needed to push myself to get out and become more connected with people around me. 2020 was to be my year of socialising more.

Then Covid happened.

As we slowly come to terms with different ways of interacting and socialising Mr Jones and I had the opportunity to spend a weekend closeted in a huge country house with a few other couples who have the same ideas about marriage as us. That is we went to a swinger’s house party.

We hadn’t met any of the people in the group before but the Brisbane scene is not that big. We had a couple of mutual acquaintances with the hosts and had probably rubbed elbows with some of the others. In any case this was a completely new situation for us. We had attended house parties but not a whole weekend. We honestly didn’t know how it would turn out. Would it be a two day orgy? Would we come home completely shagged out, unable to walk? Would we be left in the corner while everyone partied on? Would we find the couple of our dreams and dissolve into a happy polyamorous future?

As it turned out none of the above happened. Sex was not even a big feature. Nudity was limited but that was more a function of the weather, which was a little cool. What happened was a lot of drinking, something I am not used to. A lot of talking, some naughty truth or dare type games, a naked spa session and an altogether great weekend in the company of people who perhaps could be described as our tribe.

One of the ways our “Hostess with the Mostess” described it was like being in a bubble. In fact I think she needs to copyright this term as it is an entirely accurate description of the environment she creates. While in her bubble, that she creates with her husband, you feel safe and loved and able to be yourself. There is no body shaming, there is no feeling of not fitting in. Mr Jones and I found ourselves immersing into experiences that we would not have had left to our own devices. We were comfortable enough to do our own thing but also join in when we wanted. For the first time in a long time we made connections with other couples that were not vanilla but not necessarily focussed around picking up. It was what we needed. Affirmation that we had value as people and we could be all of ourselves.

Always with Vanillas there is restraint. A need to hide something, often a fear that they will discover a secret and it will have repercussions on our children or our careers. Or a fear that they will be offended and launch a personal attack. Our recent experience with swingers has been in a club, in that environment the connection is based around sex and not usually much more. Without realising it Mr Jones and I had put ourselves in a place where we never fully connected. It wasn’t particularly a problem, but you never know what you don’t have.

As the weekend drew to a close I felt the imminent bursting of the bubble. It was a little sad. I am definitely looking forward to reconnecting with our new friends inside the bubble.

This post is part of Wicked Wednesday #432. To see who else is being wicked click on the image below