Is The Swingers’ Lifestyle Male-Driven?

John and Jackie Melfi are friends of mine at OpenLove101.com 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 OpenLove101.com 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 OpenLove101.com 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.

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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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The Power of Letting Go

Musing release and peace…

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It is a feeling of need, of fear, of vulnerability, a foreboding  grasp, clinging to something, someone which was never ours in the first place.

Your heart is not open, so I must go
The spell has been broken, I loved you so
Freedom comes when you learn to let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no

Obsessions and fixations so consuming, blinding tunnel-vision of envy, we lose sight of all the other beauty around us. Our intense, fixed fire singes when overly controlled rather than spread out, tempered. Fixated it overwhelms, scares, consumes, devours.

You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress you had to burn
Pain is a warning that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long
Do ya wanna go higher?

Elusive homeostasis. It flies, it dives. But it always returns when it has the freedom to be. It always soothes. Knowing it is here when it seems not. Goodbye is not so bad. Letting go is setting free, you as well as me.

There’s nothing left to try
There’s no place left to hide
There’s no greater power
Than the power of good-bye

Come out. There’s nothing here to fear… there are no monsters. Show yourself. Show your burning heart. Let it shine. Show your spirit of power, your spirit of life! Please, no need to hide.

Your heart is not open so I must go
The spell has been broken, I loved you so
You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress

Learn to let go. Learn your place, your here and now. Goodbye is as much a part of hello. You are never really alone. Learn to say goodbye… until hello.

Then there’s nothing left to lose
There’s no more heart to bruise
There’s no greater power
Than the power of good-bye

Learn to say good-bye
I yearn to say good-bye

…so that another door opens, for another Hello. Open doors, open windows to learn. Freedom. To express. To come and go. To be.

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Starvation or Abundance?

Last October I posted a six-part blog-series Untapped Worlds in which I shared the many abundant ways for humans to find, tightly grasp, and experience the marrows of life, a fuller more impactful, vibrant, attaching life. Today I want to address a very specific part of this human experience.

For a few different reasons in different settings both in the past and lately, I have been in conversations, listening, and reading about a subject that effects all of us, every single one of us. It is very intriguing to explore and examine the various perspectives of What makes quality human intimacy. Quantity inevitably enters the discussion in some form and this is where I find the most fascinating definitions and points of views about love, sex, intimacy, and the mindsets people create for themselves. More often than not, two love-models or paradigms eventually appear. Due to my schedule this weekend, I want to just share a lens to these two models from two excellent resources on the subject of love, sex, and intimacy…

Many traditional attitudes about sexuality are based on the unspoken belief that there isn’t enough of something — love, sex, friendship, commitment — to go around. If you believe this, if you think that there’s a limited amount of what you want, it can seem very important to stake your claim to your share of it. You may believe that you have to take your share away from somebody else, since if it’s such a very good thing, someone else is probably competing with you for it (how could they!). Or you may believe that if someone else gets something, that means there must be less of it for you.

We want all of our readers to get everything they want. Here are some ideas that might help you over some of the obstacles on the path.

We call this kind of thinking “starvation economies.” People often learn about starvation economies in childhood, when parents who are emotionally depleted or unavailable teach us that we must work hard to get our emotional needs met, so that if we relax our vigilance for even a moment, a mysterious someone or something may take the love we need away from us. Some of us may even have experienced real-world hunger (if you didn’t grab first, your brother got all the potatoes), or outright neglect, deprivation, or abuse. Or we may learn starvation economies later in life, from manipulative, withholding, or punitive lovers, spouses, or friends.

The beliefs acquired in childhood are usually deeply buried and hard to see, both in individuals and in our culture. So you may have to look carefully to see the pattern. You can see it in a small way in the kind of complaining contests some people engage in: “Boy, did I have a rotten day today.” “You think your day was rotten—wait till you hear about my day!”—as though there were a limited amount of sympathy in the world and the only way to get the amount due you was to compete for it. Or remember how you have felt looking at the last piece of a very good pie, the secret salivation that made you greedy and territorial and a “selfish” person. When is it okay to want anything? People may think that if you love Bill that means you must love Mary less, or if you’re committed to your relationship with your friend you must be less committed to your relationship with your spouse. And then how do you know if you’re Number One in a partner’s heart?

This kind of thinking is a trap. We know, for example, that having a second child doesn’t usually mean that a parent loves the first child less and that the person who owns three pets doesn’t necessarily give any less care to any one of them than the person who owns one. But when it comes to sex, love, and romance, it’s hard for most people to believe that more for you doesn’t mean less for me, and we often behave as if desperate starvation is just around the corner if we don’t corner some love right now.
— The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

bigger-tableAn additional lens…

When they approach romantic relationships, people often fall into one of two patterns. Some follow a starvation model, and some follow an abundance model.

In the starvation model, opportunities for love seem scarce. Potential partners are thin on the ground, and finding them is difficult. Because most people you meet expect monogamy, finding poly partners is particularly difficult. Every additional requirement you have narrows the pool still more. Since relationship opportunities are so rare, you’d better seize whatever opportunity comes by and hang on with both hands—after all, who knows when another chance will come along?

The abundance model says that relationship opportunities are all around us. Sure, only a small percentage of the population might meet our criteria, but in a world of more than seven billion people, opportunities abound. Even if we exclude everyone who isn’t open to polyamory, and everyone of the “wrong” sex or orientation, and everyone who doesn’t have whatever other traits we want, we’re still left with tens of thousands of potential partners, which is surely enough to keep even the most ambitious person busy.

The sneaky thing about both models is they’re both right: the model we hold tends to become self-fulfilling. If we have a starvation model of relationships, we may tend to dwell on the times we’ve been rejected, which may lower our self-esteem, which decreases our confidence…and that makes it harder to find partners, because confidence is sexy. We may start feeling desperate to find a relationship, which decreases our attractiveness further. So we end up with less success, which reinforces the idea that relationships are scarce.

When we hold an abundance model of relationships, it’s easier to just go do the things that bring us joy, without worrying about searching for a partner. That tends to make us more attractive, because happy, confident people are desirable. If we’re off doing the things that bring us joy, we meet other people there who are doing the same. Cool! The ease with which we find potential partners, even when we aren’t looking for them, reinforces the idea that opportunities for love are abundant, which makes it easier for us to go about doing what makes us happy, without worrying overmuch about finding a partner…and ’round it goes. We think our perceptions are shaped by reality, but the truth is, the reality we get is often shaped by our perceptions (Cognitive scientists talk about confirmation bias—the tendency to notice things that confirm our ideas, and to discount, discredit or not things that don’t.).

These ideas will also influence how willing we are to stay in relationships that aren’t working for us, both directly and indirectly. If we believe relationships are rare and difficult to find, we may not give up a relationship even when it’s damaging to us. Likewise, if we believe that relationships are hard to find, that may increase our fear of being alone, which can cause us to remain in relationships that aren’t working for us.

Naturally, there’s a fly in the ointment. Sometimes the things we’re looking for, or the way we look for them, create artificial scarcity. This might be because we’re doing something that puts other people off, or because we’re looking for something unrealistic. If you’re looking for a Nobel Prize–winning Canadian supermodel with a net worth of $20 million, you might find potential partners few and far between. Similarly, if you give people the impression that you’ve created a slot for them to fit into that they won’t be able to grow out of, opportunities for relationships might not be abundant either.
— More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory

The model we hold tends to become self-fulfilling.” I could not agree more!

Returning to the point of my six-part blog-series Untapped Worlds, the majority of scientists, especially sociologists and psychologists, postulate not as a “theory” but available mechanisms of innumerable abundant ways for an intrinsic and extrinsic nirvana if you will, WITH OTHERS! Getting there is not a myth or Mount Everest! Simply rewiring and remapping the mind and body in more balance is the first step. ❤

Would you agree, add to, subtract, or disagree? Share your comments below.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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