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My wife and I have been married four-and-a-half years, and we both are bi. We’ve been propositioned by—and played with—a number of sexy friends heteroflexible enough not to want/need full swap. So our play with others has been limited to oral and light petting.
We’ve now been approached by a very sexy couple, a straight guy and bi female, who want to do a full hetero swap. The male is not interested in any bi play. He is also borderline overly intense about his attraction to my wife. His girlfriend is very hot, and playing with her could be fun. Thing is, unlike cuckolds, I have a hang-up about another guy doing the full hetero swap with my wife. Light petting and oral is fine, but I feel that saving something “just for us” gives us an anchor in this sea of swingers.
Am I too square and insecure? Should I try and open myself to the idea of another guy screwing my wife? If we ever do full swap, how can we avoid the pitfalls of insecurity and jealousy? Will you please advise?—Swap Curious
Sure, SC, but the first bit of advice I wanna give you is rhetorical. Only pre–Vatican II nuns and modern Mormon virgins use the phrase “light petting.” People are going to have a hard time taking you seriously as swingers—hell, they’re going to have a hard time taking you seriously as nonvirgins—if you insist on saying “light petting” instead of “mutual masturbation” or “manual stimulation.”
As for “full hetero swap,” well, that’s pretty clunky, too, but it is a phrase that actual swingers use, so I’m going to let it slide. In the Swinging Sea, “soft swap” means you only do oral and manual with others; “full swap” means you do full-blown vaginal intercourse. So you’re soft swappers contemplating full swapping, SC, not light petters.
OK, on to your question…
Not all swingers seek to avoid insecurity and jealousy. Gently or aggressively manipulating those feelings is, for many swingers, an intrinsic part of the thrill. But all swingers want to avoid the pitfalls of insecurity and jealousy. And how do they do it? By having frank, honest discussions and setting clear, mutually acceptable boundaries. So long as you know what you’re comfortable with, you and the wife should be able to safely navigate the potentially treacherous emotional dynamics that are an unavoidable aspect of swinging.
Up to now your boundaries have worked out well: Manual stim and oral—soft swap—is OK; some other guy’s dick pounding away at your wife’s pussy—full swap—is not OK.
Should you now abandon boundaries that have served you so well up to this point? Well, you wouldn’t be writing me, and you wouldn’t be signing off as “Swap Curious,” if you weren’t, you know, curious. It sounds to me like, as much as you might want to give full swap a try, you’re not sure you can wholly trust this guy. You describe him as “borderline overly intense” about his desire to fuck the living shit out of your wife. But at the same time, you seem attracted to his energy and, of course, to his girlfriend.
So what do you do?
Test them. Suggest to this other couple that, at first, you would like to play under your current rules: soft swap only, but no bi play, since he’s not into that. If this other guy really wants your wife that badly, he should be thrilled to get a crack at her even if he doesn’t get to fuck her. If after agreeing to a night of oral and manual this other guy verbally suggests upgrading to full swap midscene, well, he gets an F. If he physically attempts to upgrade to the full hetero—if he physically attempts to initiate vaginal intercourse—he gets an F-.
But if this other couple demonstrates that they can respect your boundaries before you agree to shift them, well, then they might be good candidates for satisfying your curiosity about full swap.—Dan
I’m not in the best shape. After a couple of minutes of the old “pelvic thrust,” I get winded. I know I need to improve my health in general, the whole “diet and exercise” routine. But are there specific exercises that can improve your sexual performance?
—One Boy Eagerly Seeking Exercise
Sorry, OBESE, but there’s no single exercise or workout gizmo that’ll whip you into shape from navel to taint. You don’t have to be a gym rat to have a satisfying sex life, of course, but all fucking—even if you’re lucky enough to be strapped down to a bed, completely immobilized, responsible only for maintaining a reasonably convincing erection—requires some minimal degree of physical fitness. Are your arteries lined with nacho cheese sauce? Are your lungs full of tobacco smoke? Well, guess what? You’re not going to get that hard if your heart can’t pump blood into your dick, and that blood is gonna be useless if your lungs can’t get any damn oxygen into it.
If you’ve reached the stage where five minutes of pelvic thrusting winds you, get your fat ass off the couch and to a doctor’s office first and to a gym second.—Dan
As a hetero male, I just wanted to say that your response to Freaked Out Girl was right on. (She dumped her boyfriend when he told her about his foot fetish.) I’ve dated this type before: young, inexperienced, more conventional than they want to admit, and totally unaware of how men behave as real human beings. All the words FOG uses—“sweet,” “tender,” “considerate,” “normal”—are the kinds of words you’d use to describe every generic, one-dimensional love interest in every clichéd chick flick ever made. If pornography supposedly gives men unrealistic expectations and encourages us to treat women like objects, mainstream film and television does exactly the same for women.
I’ve been mistaken for that kind of fantasy archetype more times than I care to recall (although I can’t for the life of me figure out why), and I’m sure this is exactly how FOG thought of her unfortunate ex. He probably didn’t tell her about his kink sooner because, deep down, he sensed that she would react exactly the way she did. As far as I’m concerned, Dan, you can’t point this out often enough: The conventional idea of what constitutes a “normal” man is absolutely 100 percent nonexistent. Please keep spreading the word.
—Real Love Is Weird
You’re right, RLIW, popular culture does encourage women to have unrealistic expectations. If real straight men filled their girlfriends’ apartments with a million twinkling votive candles as often as fictional ones do, three large American cities would burn to the ground every weekend. And rolling around in a canopy bed sprinkled with rose petals? Uh, sorry, but your boyfriend/husband is unlikely to find that fantasy terribly compelling—not unless your sister or your mother or your or his best friend is rolling around in that bed with you.
Men are freaks. And you know what? So are lots of women.
For lots more letters about my response to FOG—some in support, some slapping me around—go to thestranger.com/savage/fog.
Dan Savage’s new book, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family, is on sale now. Send your Savage Love questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. A new Savage Love podcast is available for download every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.