Is The Swingers’ Lifestyle Male-Driven?

John and Jackie Melfi are friends of mine at and fantastic advocates for the Open-Swinger lifestyle through their web-blog, their three clubs Colette Dallas, New Orleans, and now Houston. All of their efforts to further educate couples and singles are positive, encouraging, and down to Earth when it comes to first exploring your curiosities with your partner/spouse. They also dispel many of the preconceived notions and false myths outsiders might have about the lifestyle. John and Jackie make you feel so comfortable, so welcomed with your questions, you leave not only impressed, but feeling as if you, or the two of you, are veterans in total sync with each other AND others! Yes, they are that good!

John-Jackie Melfi_abcnews-nightline

One such popular misperception is that the Open-Swinger lifestyle is male-driven and that the women are essentially there to please or keep their man and afraid to speak up for themselves. John and Jackie flat-out take contention to that false claim saying that in reality the exact opposite is true. The women are very empowered and dictate much of what occurs in the lifestyle! In my 15-16 years in the lifestyle I could not agree more with them.

This is a transcript and repost of their recent video-blog, Is The Swinger’s Lifestyle Male-Driven? Check it out. If you’d like to just watch the blog-video, scroll to the bottom and hit the play button.

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John:  Hey everybody, it’s John and Jackie here at and we’ve decided to have a little conversation today about whether or not the Swinger lifestyle is male-driven because we’ve heard some comments about that lately, and we’ve had some questions about it in emails, and it’s something I don’t think we’ve ever really discussed. So this is kind of off the cuff here.

I know that when Jackie and I first got together she knew right away that I was in the swinger club business and there was a curiosity there from her to come to the club. I didn’t force her to come to the club. I mean, I think in our conversations about the swinger-lifestyle relationship model, you decided you wanted to see what it was like… at least, yeah I mean, she’s gonna end up with me she’s got to see what the clubs are like, right? But I didn’t drag you in there. And now… you talked to me before about some misconceptions you had, like what your thoughts were, like what was going to be going on inside the club.

Jackie:  Yeah, you know again, and I’ve talked about this before too, you know I didn’t know anything about swinging and you know like John said this was his livelihood so of course it came up very early in our conversation and I had done some research on it. So through that there was a I guess a level of comfort, but I was still really apprehensive about going into a club because again, unless you’ve had the opportunity to go into a club, it’s one of those situations where you have to actually go in and see how you’re going to feel about it. Once I did that of course, any preconceived notions that I had just went out the window. I realized that it was you know… it was so much deeper than what I thought it was… which was just this sex-fueled lifestyle and of course I’ve learned since then that it’s much deeper and so once I bridged that gap and made my way into the swinger’s club and the comfort level that I felt, the conversations that I was able to have all of a sudden this went from something that John you know was doing for his livelihood, but it was also something that I was beginning to enjoy. I wanted to go to the clubs with you. I wanted to be involved in what was going on. I liked seeing the other couples and interacting with them. Regardless of what that level of interaction was I just really liked that and I liked the environment.

We’ve talked in our other videos about how women sometimes can kind of get engulfed in this view of our sexuality and of each other that can be somewhat competitive. That was one of the things that I noticed in the swinging lifestyle was that particular thought-pattern was void. I mean the women were all really embracing of each other and encouraging. It was kind of like this community within a community. And with other women that I’ve talked to since then, it’s kind of the same storyline. It can go… My husband introduced the concept to me and so then I came into the club and now we come all the time. I’m really active and vocal and in the forefront of what I’m wanting to do… continuing on in the swinging lifestyle.

That is something that I think gets lost, more often than not, and I think it’s pretty common that men are going to introduce this in the partnership, at least that was my experience, because men get to come at sexuality, more often than not, from a little different angle than women. So women for me… I can only speak for me… I wouldn’t have been as inclined to introduce something from a much more sexual standpoint than John would feel like introducing to me.

John:  So I think that might come from… that women have a tendency… more of a tendency to feel shame or guilt about… thinking along those lines. So if a woman is going to propose to her husband… Let’s go to this swinger’s club and I’m going to want to hook up with a few guys, what do you think? Her fears are going to be, I guess, would be that How’s he going to look at me? Is he going to look at me in a bad way if I broach the subject? Wouldn’t you say [to Jackie]?

John-Jackie Melfi_at_homeJackie:  Right. I think you know you’re going to have varying degrees of that within the lifestyle. You’re going to have some women that have no problem embracing it and then you’re going to have other women that it may take them a visit or two in order for them to feel comfortable with it. But I think what’s important ultimately is for us not to kid ourselves or to fool ourselves into thinking from a societal standpoint that these women are being dragged into these things against… against something that they’re wanting to do. This is a very female dominated lifestyle. It has been my finding that these women have really embraced this opportunity that they have to get in touch with themselves and foster their relationship with their partner… and just really grow that. I think it’s an important topic to touch on to kind of dispel some of those myths that this is just strictly something for the guys. I can guarantee and I promise you that the women end up pulling away a lot of positive feedback for themselves in this.

John:  Actually I think I see more women driving what the couple does in the clubs than I do the men. I don’t know if it’s because the men kind of defer to the women to make sure they don’t cross any lines, or they really don’t want to push their partner into doing something. Now of course there’s couples that have been around for a long time in the lifestyle and they just… I’ve seen those couples, they just kind of do whatever comes along. I could think… the man could suggest or the woman could suggest… either way. And then in our relationship we both suggest things but for the most part in the clubs I really see the women as being the driving force behind it.

There’s a story that comes to mind in a club that I owned in Tampa, and this couple had come in and they announced when they came in the door that they were there to meet a single woman. They were looking for a threesome with a single woman. I kind of suspected that it was an idea that was generated by the man because that does happen sometimes… men really want to have their fantasies, to have a threesome with two women, but that particular night there really weren’t these single women in there. When they left, the woman was so excited she had had sex with like four or five men. I mean, it was the exact opposite! And she goes It was amazing! I never dreamed I would have come in here and had this happen to me! and she said I had the opportunity and I said can I try it? He said sure. So there’s another example, and I see that happen more often than not when a woman is able to fulfill the fantasies she might have whether it be with a man or a woman.

Jackie:  Yeah, that’s a great point.

John:  So I definitely I think it is a misconception men or the driving force behind it and it really is a couple’s thing.

Jackie:  That’s true. I mean at the end of the day you know it’s about enhancing the relationship so yeah, definitely.

John:  So thanks for watching our video. Please subscribe to our email list at and we’ll send you updates on new videos and blogs and other stuff about what Jackie and I have going on.

Both:  See ya.

(paragraph break)

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If any of you have any questions, about absolutely any subject, John and Jackie, as well as myself, are happy to answer or suggest tips, etc. John and Jackie are very good at replying to questions and emails.

And below, please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and questions!

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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28 thoughts on “Is The Swingers’ Lifestyle Male-Driven?

  1. Hello Professor. A grand post. I am a sex positive person and listen to the Dan Savage Podcast Lovecast. I learned, as a young man in Germany, from a couple I met in West Berlin. I adored them, but they were so different than any people I had known. They had what was then called an open marriage, after living with each other for many years they got married at the birth of their second daughter. I learned that they felt they did not own each other. They felt each was a person with feelings and rights and not property to be claimed. So if one of them felt the need to have a physical action with someone not in the relationship it was OK, as long as they always came home to each other. That was the key in their minds. The love they had for each other was strong enough to include the physical attraction to a different person. They felt that as long as they were first in each others lives the physical pleasure that one might feel with another was not important. You might think the male told me all this, but in truth it was the female who talked to me about it. She was not willing to reduce their relationship to ownership. I was a young kid of 20 trying to get past the preconceived notions and emotions I had drummed into me so I could understand and appreciate the depth of love and care they lived in with each other. I never forgot their lesson.

    When Ron and I pledged our lives to each other we also agreed we were people, individuals with needs and wants. While our marriage was not totally open we agreed that if one of us had a need or want to be sexual with others it wouldn’t destroy us. We set rules for it if it happened. If a person wanted to have sex with one of us, they had to agree to include both of us. We believe in sharing. It has been interesting, but in 27 years we simply have found that we have not needed or wanted a sexual relationship with anyone but each other.

    To each as they will as long as no harm comes to any. Consent is the key to all and any actions. Including the consent of the other partner in the relationship. Personally I do not care what type/system of “marriage” or commitment people agree to as long as again it is with the full consent of all involved and causes no harm. We humans do not have the lock on relationships, nor is one type of relationship superior to any other. The animal kingdom is full of different types of relationships and we are part of that animal kingdom. So have fun, enjoy life, and remember we get out of life what we are willing to put into it. Hugs

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you Scottie. And what excellent personal experiences to share here! Thank you! In general, I agree with all you’ve shared, especially the part about how different, how diverse everyone is in their relationships, level of understanding, communication, articulation, self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses (that typically CAN be improved or corrected, depending on specifics) and those their partner(s) possess or don’t. One thing has become abundantly clear to me in all my years in the lifestyle and the many, MANY people/couples I’ve had the honor of knowing… FLUIDITY! Things, circumstances, people, all change. Some quick, some faster or slower than others. BUT… and this is critical for everyone to understand about the lifestyle…

      When human beings challenge themselves/ourselves — in other words, don’t get complacent or apathetic and into rutty routines — humans are capable of incredible feats of endurance, adapting, finding working solutions for fluid dynamics (internal and/or external) and it REALLY ISN’T so exhausting or impossible as some might think! It actually makes us more whole, more refined, more mature! ☺️ Our learned refined ‘people skills’ get better and better. Yes, of course there are always bumps, hick-ups, and awkward painful moments… TEMPORARY moments… just like growing up through our teenage achne years, BUT… you always come out smarter and wiser. That said, I do fully understand why some would rather just take the safest route to and through life, the “path of least resistence,” so to speak. I get it. For me personally, the curious explorer Marco Polo type — and many others like me — I crave more from life and love it when others wish to join me or I join them! Tons of fun for me and all of us! 😉 😀

      You and Ron have a very practical realistic relationship model Scottie. BRAVO and well done, both of you! ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I joined a swingers club when I was 5. It was in a park, and all of us kids would swing on the swings there until we got sick to our stomachs. It was fun, and both boys and girls did it together. SWING!!! Ah, I miss those good ‘ole days. (Great post, btw.) 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • LOL… did any of you “boys and girls” fall out of the swings? One time I did, right out of the back… on the up-back, WHOOP, up, down according to gravity (which works by the way, everytime!) and flat on my back and slammed my head. Which is one of two reasons/events I am apparently very messed up in the head. 🤕🙃

      And thank you Sir. There are times when Puritan America are just way WAY too serious about sexuality — a very natural genetic behavior. 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  3. My compliments to you, Professor, for this insightful post that will undoubtedly challenge some of the sexual taboos which unfortunately plague our shared American culture. For reasons that demand further exploration (e.g. the influence of religion), the male must be seen as the lustful, mindless perpetrator while the female must be seen as the chaste, helpless victim. Anyone even remotely educated in human psychology knows that these myths are profoundly erroneous.

    Liked by 5 people

    • You are so correct Robert. John and Jackie frequently deal with societal (patriarchal?) shaming of women, let alone other non-binary “unconventional” relationships. Sad really when the entire world’s species on every level show otherwise, everything BUT! 😔 Funny you should mention that part about the general hetero male…

      That is the very reason — the lustful, mindless, insensitive, hetero male perpetrator — why many clubs and events in the lifestyle “screen” those single men. More often than not it becomes obvious, and their behavior often demonstrates it, that their/our blood flows ONLY in ONE direction (down!) at any given time, ESPECIALLY when “liberated” empowered women are about!!! It’s funny (hetero Neanderthals? 😛 ) but sad in other ways I think. 😖

      Thank you very much for your very relavent comment! ❤

      Liked by 3 people

    • Very much agree Lyz! John and Jackie are very practical, intelligent, vastly experienced (John especially), and FUN too! Doesn’t get much better than that with them! And of course they know tons of other couples and singles in the lifestyle here regionally, nationally, and across the world that are just as top quality. In our many experiences I’d/we’d say that the open relationship model works a lot more than people give credit and honestly, it has more benefits than challenges. 😉

      Thank you so much for your comment Lyz. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My biggest fear about swingers clubs still prevail, everyone, I mean everyone I have seen on photos, pictures, websites is beautiful. AND a lot younger than me!! Even though Jackie said that the swinger club seemed to be void of competitiveness and the woman embraced and encouraged each other I still feel that it is for the young and beautiful!!
    Having said that it was a very interesting post, thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Keep in mind Jad that some/many photographers are there “promoting” the club by the club owner(s), and therefore want to portray the club photos with (possibly) PAID models that are not regulars or members at all in order to attract more numbers of ALL ages. Not faulting the club for promoting their business, and I can’t say that John & Jackie do that (my guess is no), but everybody does it in all industries: they use “sexiness” as good advertising.

      That said, and I’ve mentioned this to you over the phone, the average age is typically upper 30’s, low 40’s. Why? Because their kids are grown and out of the house and the couples/parents have much more time together. There are always couples/singles there in their mid- to upper-40’s and some 50 year olds as well. It’s not unusual.

      …I still feel that it is for the young and beautiful!!

      May I ask you a “forthright” question? Here or privately? ❤

      Liked by 1 person

        • Absolutely!! It has taken me a long long time to rebuild my shattered self esteem and there are still scars. I think we all have body image issues no matter how small or insignificant. I don’t think there is hardly a person alive who does not look in a mirror and think “oh I wish my nose was a little smaller” or “I wish this freckle was on my right cheek” or ” I wish I could lose 5 pounds” or ” I wish I had straight hair”
          Some people have small wishes and others have huge wishes. For some it is just a wish that they occasionally get when they look in the mirror, for others it is something that stares back at them every time.
          I went from a size 20 to a size 8, in one area (my tummy) I still have size 20 skin. I can hide it with clothes, I can feel fabulous and sexy with lingerie, clothes etc but completely naked I am vulnerable to my self image issues with. I do not let it stop me from having some wonderful and satisfying sexual experiences but it is still there and still part of me and yes, very much my hesitation.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you Jad for sharing this and for your stronger courage I’m sure you’ve gained since those past experiences. I genuinely applaud you for your “NEW” self, you sexy rock star! 😉

          You are absolutely correct about everyone finding faults in the mirror and in most of the world and in human interactions, personal or otherwise, we ARE indeed raised/taught to be competitive and thus, in degrees accountable to ourselves and others. It can sometimes be difficult for sure, but it can be healthy as well. Nevertheless, the nice thing about the reputable lifestyle events is that no one has to do anything they are not comfortable and willing to do. And special “Monitors” inside help insure and enforce those safety policies. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. “If any of you have any questions, about absolutely any subject, John and Jackie, as well as myself, are happy to answer…”

    If, for some reason, one partner decided they no longer wanted to participate in the swinger lifestyle, would the relationship continue?


    • Depends on what they mutually agree upon based on the (hopefully) well established proactive raw communication that is typically developed at the start and over the length of the relationship. One of the hallmarks of (veteran) Open-Swinger relationships is the excellent precise articulation of thoughts, feelings, experiences, hang-ups, etc, of self as well as a very good understanding of one’s partner because they too possess excellent precise articulation of THEIR OWN thoughts, feelings, experiences, hang-ups, etc. And the environment in which the two have brought and contributed to the relationship is usually one of comfort, of non-judgement or shaming, which allows more freedom for each to genuinely express their joys and struggles.

      Therefore, in my 15-16 years of experience — and I think John and Jackie would agree too — in your hypothetical situation, not only would it not be a major concern or surprise for either partner, both would seek a mutually beneficial solution or change.


      • Very interesting.

        As a follow-up, “when mutually agreed patterns of well established proactive raw communication are typically developed,” do people account for the inevitable changing of cultural norms and the impact these will have upon “precise articulation of thoughts, feelings, experiences, hang-ups, etc, of self as well as the understanding of one’s partner and the precise articulation of THEIR OWN thoughts, feelings, experiences, hang-ups, etc?” In other words, does “the environment in which the two have brought and contributed to the relationship is [NOT] one of comfort, but of judgment and shaming, which inhibits freedom for each to genuinely express their joys and struggles,” would the relationship become untenable at that point or would the mutually agreed upon parameters of said relationship maintain it for the period of time required to re-establish precise articulation of thoughts (i.e. “hallmarks of Open-Swinger relationships“)?


        • Before I answer that question JB, let me ask you a question, if I may. Do you know or have you known any couples or anyone in the open-swinger lifestyle? If so, what was/is their arrangement based upon how long they’d been together?


        • Ah! An excellent question!
          There are several different answers depending on the definition of “know” one takes into consideration. I am not familiar or acquainted with any persons or couples who have described themselves as living a lifestyle that refers to the open-swinger lifestyle. Neither have I known with any specificity what the open-swinger lifestyle maintains as formally pre-requisite philosophical positions for the purpose of describing said lifestyle to such persons who may lack a working definition themselves. That is to say, I would never deem to ascribe my assumptions of the swinger lifestyle to any persons or couples claiming said lifestyle for fear my ignorance would misrepresent the actual viewpoints of those people who are actually engaged in the lifestyle. It would be unacceptable to draw conclusions regarding the protocol following the scenario I described in my previous inquiry without first seeking the insights of someone who testifies to participation within the generally described culture about which I am asking the question. But I cannot claim to “know” anyone involved in the open-swinger lifestyle with any definitive certainty as I lack both testimonial evidence and first hand observational data.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I wanted to see if you knew any couples or persons in the lifestyle and their scope of experience because everyone has personal preferences, comfort levels, boldness or timidness, and their own backgrounds and pace at which they explore themselves and others like-minded. There will be exceptions to the rule.

          That said, generally the ‘discussion-divulging table’ is always open for self- and couple-expression. One particular hallmark of the Open-Swinger community is an introductory unspoken rule of respect and consent by everyone. These two pillars are best understood and followed by proactive, articulate communication first because sometimes there are “Newbies” who at the beginning of their curiosity and exploration are NOT familiar with the “ropes” of the lifestyle etiquette.

          Now there are times when some enter the event or community thinking it is just a sex free-for-all and you can select or take whatever you want when you want similar to a Red-Light district! Perhaps that behavior happens out in the vanilla world or real everyday world, but it is NOT TOLERATED in the Open-Swinger community! Hence, along with these general guidelines and etiquette, an environment of responsible freedom (verbally, mentally, emotionally, and physically) does exist, and it goes both ways. In other words, swingers/lifers certainly have the freedom to change their minds as they see fit. Those could be big or small depending on circumstances, and of course, life is full of ups, downs, highs and lows, and phases at different times throughout our lives.

          In my own personal experience I still maintain contact and encounters with my four past ladies of this lifestyle and the SSC BDSM lifestyle. All four of them know about the other three. If they have questions, they ask… I answer with little hesitation. The reason they are dear intimate friends of mine and not a full-time partner or spouse is because of exactly what you mention: inevitable change. The changes were not favorable to continue further or deeper. And when I use that word “deeper,” I can guarantee you it means much, MUCH MORE than the vanilla world’s definition. Our “comfort levels” of which you asked are ones unconventional with little reason to hide anything from each other. In fact, it has only been on very few occasions that these four women — and others I know — did not have this “freedom” with me and others when they were mixed up with or dating someone NOT familiar or inside the lifestyle. He would sort of passively prohibit her from continuing contact with me while they dated. As always, those relationships eventually ended and OUR relationship quickly returned to normal. Sadly, this is often not the case in the vanilla world.

          It is certainly a testimonial by us veterans inside the lifestyle that once you experience the liberation, freedom of expression without fear of shame/judgement, the politeness to which swingers treat each other — with variances during the fun, hot sexual moments! — you cannot hardly find any reason(s) to NOT continue a relationship/friendship for a long, long time no matter each other’s present or future situation.


  6. This has certainly been an an eye opener for me. Wonderful and educational as always!
    I have friends who are swingers and or have open relationships.
    Sadly for one couple the rules changed and their marriage of 30 plus years fell apart. Being honest is monumentally important.
    As for me, I can remember the first time I was asked if I liked to swing. I simply told the nice guy that I got motion sickness and found the question odd. Why the hell did he want to take me to the park?! 😂
    Years passed before I realized what that meant and that he had a hidden camera in the tanning booth.
    It’s important for society not to judge what anyone chooses to do with their sexuality. I have noticed that my friends are hush hush about their sex lives and hide it. Everything seems so secretive and they seem sad. I wish that there could be more open and accepting discussions and less judgement. The people who judge are mostly the ones who are running around and cheating on their partners imho. Do you think that the act of hiding/occulting or cheating, at the risk of being caught or being “naughty,” adds an element of excitement further enhancing the sexual connection? I think I’m twisting cheating with swinging and I don’t mean to. I guess I’m asking if swingers get more out of it because it isn’t the mainstream norm?
    I think I’m rambling. I need more coffee! Buenos días corazón.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you LG for your comment-question. I thoroughly enjoy feedback and questions on the O-S lifestyle. It is often misunderstood, especially when “friends” or family members in the lifestyle have a bad experience or the dissolution of the relationship. You asked:

      Do you think that the act of hiding/occulting or cheating, at the risk of being caught or being “naughty,” adds an element of excitement further enhancing the sexual connection?

      I understand what you are getting at, however, I wouldn’t word the question that way… and here’s why.

      First, “hiding/occulting or cheating” isn’t a reflection of the dysfunction of the O-S lifestyle anymore than alcoholism or drug-addiction is a reflection of licensed certified Psych/A&D rehab programs. The problems or the successes are a reflection of the individuals concerned and those fluid personality dynamics WITH the assistance of learned management skills and problem-resolution skills over a period of time, usually a long period of time, tested in varied challenging PLANNED situations. More often than not we successful veterans find that the couples and their relationships deterioration or collapse ISN’T the fact that they bought a house in a certain neighborhood or a certain vehicle from a manufacturer, it also (to some levels of degree) is THEIR decision-making processes as well as maintenance and care for themselves, the house or vehicle, the learned (or not) content of the rehab program, and the #1 Make-It-Or-Break-It factor: articulate communication skills.

      And lastly, any levels of excitement can be planned and added into any type of monogamous or non-monogamous relationship whether they are in a lifestyle or not. A GREAT benefit of the O-S lifestyle in those sorts of situations is twofold: 1) everything is out on the table for everyone to see/hear, and 2) that honest, proactive, articulated communication NURTURES self and participating partners inside an environment of civil, mature dialoging instead of shaming and judging. This in turn nurtures intimate, tighter bonding growth.

      As far as “sexual connections” go, those can be discovered more frequently than not because of the openness, BUT the differences between O-S encounters and the mysteries/fears of “vanilla” encounters will be the broadening of chemistry with honest articulation. See the differences? Keep in mind too that, like your gentleman above that invited you out to “the park,” there are predators in every walk of life. And some of those predators, knowing what the O-S lifestyle offers, in some type of dishonest stealth WILL prey upon the openness of the lifestyle just as a predator would do in any other circumstances.

      Does that help LG? 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • It helps greatly! I have a very small scope of the bigger picture into other styles quite often and ask questions in a style that may be offensive without that intent. So please forgive me if I’m blunt and or ignorant in my journey to expand beyond myself.
        I do find the ability to love openly frightening and I ask myself why. My perspective is myopic at best. I appreciate your patience with me. 💖

        Liked by 2 people

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