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Swinging in the Concrete Jungle: A Deep Dive into Swingers NYC
New York City, the city that never sleeps, has a secret. A secret that’s not so hush-hush anymore. Yes, you guessed it right, we’re talking about swingers NYC. The Big Apple has always been a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and desires. But what’s with the sudden buzz about swingers in this bustling metropolis?
The Evolution of Swinging in NYC
Swinging isn’t a new concept. It’s been around for decades, but its presence in New York City has evolved over time. From hushed gatherings in upscale Manhattan apartments to more open and accepting events in Brooklyn lofts, the scene has changed, but the essence remains the same. The desire to explore, connect, and experience something out of the ordinary.
But why NYC? Well, the city itself is like a seductive lover, always beckoning you to try something new. And when you mix the city’s inherent allure with the adventurous spirit of its inhabitants, you get a potent cocktail of curiosity and desire. Here’s a brief history of how swinging found its footing in the city.
The Lure of the Forbidden Fruit
Humans are curious creatures. We’re always drawn to the unknown, the mysterious, the forbidden. And swinging, for many, represents that forbidden fruit. It’s the thrill of the chase, the excitement of the unknown, and the sheer joy of letting go.
“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” – Oscar Wilde
In a city like New York, where everything moves at a breakneck speed, swinging offers a momentary escape. A chance to step out of the daily grind and into a world where rules are meant to be broken, and desires are meant to be explored.
The Role of Technology
The digital age has played a significant role in bringing swingers NYC into the limelight. With the advent of apps and websites dedicated to the community, finding like-minded individuals has never been easier. Gone are the days of secret handshakes and coded messages. Today, it’s all about swiping right and setting the mood with a cheeky emoji.
But it’s not just about convenience. Technology has also helped in breaking the stigma associated with swinging. Online forums and communities provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, ask questions, and find support. This article delves deeper into how technology has revolutionized the swinging scene in NYC.
Like any subculture, swinging has its fair share of misconceptions. Some believe it’s just about wild orgies and hedonistic pleasures. Others think it’s a sign of a failing relationship. But the truth is, swinging is as diverse as the city itself.
For some, it’s about exploring their sexuality. For others, it’s about strengthening their bond with their partner. And for many, it’s just about having a good time. The key is communication, trust, and mutual respect.
The Future of Swingers NYC
So, what does the future hold for swingers NYC? With the city’s ever-evolving landscape and the growing acceptance of alternative lifestyles, the sky’s the limit. As more and more people shed their inhibitions and embrace their desires, the swinging community in NYC is set to grow and thrive.
In the words of Mae West, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” And for many in the Big Apple, swinging is just one of the many ways to make the most of this wild ride called life.
The Swinging Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts
If you’re new to the world of swinging or just curious about the lifestyle, there are certain etiquettes to keep in mind. After all, it’s all about mutual respect and understanding. Here’s a quick rundown:
Do communicate with your partner. Openness is key.
Don’t push someone into something they’re not comfortable with.
Do respect boundaries. Everyone has their limits.
Don’t forget to practice safe sex. Safety first!
Do be discreet. What happens in the swingers club, stays in the swingers club.
Don’t mix business with pleasure. Keep your personal and professional lives separate.
Remember, swinging is all about mutual respect and understanding. So, whether you’re a seasoned swinger or just dipping your toes into the lifestyle, always keep these etiquettes in mind.
The Cultural Impact of Swingers NYC
New York City, with its iconic skyline and bustling streets, has always been a trendsetter. From fashion to finance, the city leads, and the world follows. But when it comes to the cultural impact of swingers NYC, the influence is profound and far-reaching.
Swinging and the Arts
Art, in its many forms, has always been a reflection of society. And in NYC, the swinging lifestyle has found its way into various artistic expressions. From sultry jazz tunes in smoky bars to avant-garde theatre productions, the essence of swinging can be felt. It’s not just about the act but the emotions, the freedom, and the liberation that comes with it.
Movies, too, have explored the theme, albeit subtly at times. Independent filmmakers have often used the backdrop of swingers NYC to tell tales of love, passion, and exploration. This list of films showcases how the lifestyle has influenced the cinematic world.
Fashion and Swinging
When you think of swinging, you might imagine sultry dresses and sharp suits. And you wouldn’t be wrong. The fashion industry, always on the lookout for inspiration, has often turned to the world of swingers. From risqué lingerie collections to bold accessory lines, the influence is undeniable.
But it’s not just about the clothes. It’s about the confidence and the attitude. As Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” And in NYC, what’s happening is a swinging revolution.
Literature and the Lifestyle
Literature, with its power to transport readers to different worlds, has not remained untouched by the allure of swingers NYC. Novelists, poets, and essayists have delved deep into the psyche of swingers, exploring the complexities of relationships and the human desire to seek more.
From steamy romance novels to introspective essays, the swinging lifestyle has been dissected, discussed, and celebrated. Here’s a compilation of some must-read works that capture the essence of swinging in the Big Apple.
The Social Perspective
Beyond the arts, the impact of swingers NYC can be felt in the city’s social fabric. The lifestyle has paved the way for open discussions about sexuality, relationships, and personal choices. It has challenged societal norms and encouraged individuals to embrace their true selves.
In a city that thrives on diversity and acceptance, swinging has found its place. It’s not just a subculture; it’s a movement. A movement that celebrates freedom, choice, and the pursuit of happiness.
The Challenges and Triumphs
Every coin has two sides, and the world of swingers NYC is no exception. While the lifestyle offers freedom and exploration, it also comes with its set of challenges.
One of the biggest challenges swingers face is jealousy. Seeing your partner with someone else can evoke strong emotions. But as many seasoned swingers will tell you, it’s all about communication and trust. It’s essential to set boundaries and stick to them. And always remember, swinging is not a solution to relationship problems; it’s an exploration of desires.
Despite its growing popularity, swinging still faces societal stigma. Many view it as immoral or unethical. But as with any lifestyle choice, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s journey is different. What works for one might not work for another. The key is mutual respect and understanding.
Despite the challenges, the world of swingers NYC has seen many triumphs. The community is stronger than ever, with events, clubs, and forums dedicated to the lifestyle. The city, with its open-mindedness and zest for life, has embraced the swinging culture, making it a safe space for those looking to explore.
Swinging Around the World
While NYC might be buzzing about swingers, the lifestyle is not limited to the Big Apple. From the beaches of Brazil to the clubs of Paris, swinging is a global phenomenon. Each region brings its flavor, its rules, and its charm. But the essence remains the same – the desire to connect, explore, and experience. This guide offers a glimpse into the swinging scenes around the world.
The Science Behind Swinging
Yes, you read that right. There’s a science to swingers NYC and the lifestyle in general. Human behavior, after all, is a fascinating subject, and when it comes to the intricate dance of swinging, psychologists, sociologists, and even biologists have had their say.
The Psychology of Swinging
Humans, by nature, seek variety. It’s why we love buffets, multi-genre playlists, and wardrobes that span the color spectrum. This desire for variety extends to our intimate lives as well. Psychologists believe that swinging, for some, is an expression of this inherent need for diversity.
Moreover, swinging can be seen as a response to societal constraints. In a world that often boxes us into roles and expectations, swinging offers an escape, a break from the norm. It’s a space where one can explore without judgment, a space of freedom and acceptance.
Biology and Evolution
From a biological standpoint, variety is essential for the survival of a species. Genetic diversity ensures better adaptability and resilience. While humans have evolved socially and culturally, some evolutionary biologists argue that our primal instincts still play a role in our choices and behaviors.
The act of swinging, for some, might be an unconscious nod to these evolutionary drives. A way to ensure genetic diversity, even if procreation is not the end goal. It’s a controversial theory, but one that adds another layer to the complex world of swingers NYC.
Societal Structures and Swinging
Sociologists have often looked at swinging through the lens of societal structures and norms. In societies that value individual freedom and personal choices, swinging finds more acceptance. It’s seen as an individual’s choice, a personal journey.
On the flip side, in societies where collective values hold sway, swinging often remains in the shadows, whispered about but rarely acknowledged. NYC, with its liberal values and diverse population, offers the perfect backdrop for the swinging lifestyle to flourish.
The Emotional Quotient
Swinging is not just about physical connections; it’s an emotional journey as well. The lifestyle demands a high level of emotional intelligence. Swingers often talk about the deep bond they share with their partners, the open communication, and the mutual respect.
Navigating the world of swinging requires understanding one’s emotions and those of others. It’s about setting boundaries, managing jealousy, and celebrating joys. This insightful article delves deeper into the emotional aspects of swinging.
The Dos and Don’ts of Swinging in NYC
If you’re considering dipping your toes into the world of swingers NYC, there are some unwritten rules to keep in mind. The community, while open and accepting, values respect and discretion above all.
Communicate: Before diving in, have an open conversation with your partner. Discuss boundaries, desires, and fears.
Research: Not all swinging events and clubs are the same. Do your homework, read reviews, and choose one that aligns with your comfort level.
Be Respectful: Always ask for consent. Just because someone is at a swingers event doesn’t mean they’re open to anything and everything.
Practice Safe Sex: This one’s a no-brainer. Safety first, always.
Don’t Push: If someone’s not interested, respect their choice and move on.
Avoid Drama: The swinging community values discretion. If you have personal issues, sort them out outside the event or club.
Don’t Overindulge: Whether it’s alcohol or anything else, know your limits.
Avoid Gossip: What happens in the swingers community stays there. Respect people’s privacy.
Remember, swinging is about mutual respect and understanding. It’s a journey of exploration, both personal and shared. So, if you decide to embark on this adventure, do so with an open heart and an open mind.
The Swingers NYC Community: A Closer Look
While the allure of swingers NYC might be evident in the arts, fashion, and popular culture, the real magic happens within the community itself. This tight-knit group, bound by shared desires and mutual respect, is a testament to the city’s spirit of acceptance and exploration.
A Tapestry of Diversity
One of the most striking aspects of the swingers NYC community is its diversity. People from all walks of life, professions, ages, and backgrounds come together under the umbrella of swinging. This melting pot mirrors the city itself, where cultures, ideas, and desires intertwine seamlessly.
From Wall Street bankers to Broadway actors, from artists to entrepreneurs, the community is a reflection of NYC’s eclectic populace. And in this diversity lies its strength. Different perspectives, experiences, and stories enrich the community, making it a vibrant and dynamic space.
The Role of Swingers Clubs
Swingers clubs play a pivotal role in the community. These establishments, often discreetly located in the heart of the city, offer a safe space for members to connect, explore, and let loose. Each club has its vibe, rules, and ethos. Some are opulent and luxurious, reminiscent of the roaring ’20s, while others are more modern and minimalist.
These clubs often host themed nights, workshops, and events, catering to various desires and fantasies. From masquerade balls to retro disco nights, there’s something for everyone. This guide offers a peek into some of the city’s most popular clubs.
Building Connections and Friendships
Beyond the physical connections, the swingers NYC community is about building deep, meaningful relationships. Many members talk about the lifelong friendships they’ve forged within the community. It’s a space where one can be their authentic self, without fear of judgment or prejudice.
These connections often extend beyond the clubs and events. Members support each other in their personal and professional lives, celebrating successes and offering a shoulder during challenging times.
Challenges and Triumphs
Like any community, the swingers NYC group faces its set of challenges. From societal judgment to internal conflicts, the road isn’t always smooth. But the community’s resilience and spirit have seen it through many storms.
One of the significant triumphs has been the growing acceptance of the lifestyle. As more people open up about their experiences and the media sheds light on the community, misconceptions are being dispelled. The narrative is shifting from hushed whispers to open conversations.
The Ethical Side of Swinging
Swinging, at its core, is about mutual respect, consent, and understanding. It’s about making informed choices and respecting those of others. The swingers NYC community places a strong emphasis on ethics and values.
Consent is Key
In the world of swinging, consent is paramount. It’s not just about saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’; it’s about understanding one’s boundaries and communicating them clearly. The community fosters a culture where members feel empowered to voice their desires and limits.
Open and honest communication forms the bedrock of the swinging lifestyle. Whether it’s between partners or with other members, transparency is encouraged and valued. It’s this emphasis on communication that helps build trust and understanding within the community.
Respect and Discretion
While the community is open and accepting, it also values discretion. Members respect each other’s privacy, both within and outside the community. This mutual respect creates a safe and supportive environment, where one can explore without fear.
In the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The swingers NYC community embodies this spirit, coming together to create a space of acceptance, exploration, and joy.
The Impact of Swingers NYC on Relationships
The world of swingers NYC isn’t just about individual exploration; it’s also about couples navigating the waters together. For many, swinging becomes an integral part of their relationship, impacting dynamics, communication, and intimacy.
For many couples, swinging acts as a catalyst for strengthening their bond. It pushes them to communicate more openly, discuss their desires, and set clear boundaries. This level of transparency often translates to other areas of their relationship, fostering a deeper understanding and connection.
“We are most alive when we’re in love.” – John Updike
By exploring together, couples often find that their shared experiences bring them closer. The adventures, the highs, the lows, all become a tapestry of shared memories that enrich their bond.
Of course, swinging isn’t without its challenges. Jealousy, misunderstandings, and miscommunications can arise. But many couples find that these challenges, when navigated with care and understanding, lead to personal and relationship growth.
For instance, dealing with jealousy often pushes individuals to introspect, understand the root of their feelings, and communicate them to their partner. This process, while challenging, can lead to deeper self-awareness and empathy.
A New Perspective on Intimacy
Swinging often broadens the definition of intimacy for couples. They realize that intimacy isn’t just about physical closeness but emotional connection, trust, and mutual respect. By sharing experiences in the swingers NYC community, couples often find that their definition of intimacy evolves, encompassing a broader range of emotions and experiences.
The Role of Trust
Trust plays a pivotal role in the swinging lifestyle. Couples need to trust each other implicitly, ensuring that boundaries are respected and that both partners feel safe and valued. This level of trust often spills over into other areas of their relationship, solidifying their bond.
The Myths and Realities of Swingers NYC
Every subculture, every community, has its myths. And swingers NYC is no exception. Let’s debunk some of the most common misconceptions and shed light on the realities.
Myth: Swinging is Cheating
Reality: Swinging is a consensual activity where all parties are aware and in agreement. It’s about exploration and connection, not deceit.
Myth: Swingers are Immoral
Reality: Morality is subjective. What’s immoral for one might be perfectly acceptable for another. The swingers NYC community values consent, respect, and mutual understanding, principles that many would consider highly moral.
Myth: Swinging is a Free-for-All
Reality: Swinging has its rules and etiquettes. Consent is paramount, and boundaries are to be respected. It’s not a wild, no-holds-barred scenario but a space of mutual respect and understanding.
Myth: Swingers Don’t Value Their Relationships
Reality: Many swingers are in committed, loving relationships. For them, swinging is an extension of their relationship, not a replacement. It’s about exploration, not substitution.
The Global Influence of Swingers NYC
While NYC might be a hub for the swinging lifestyle, its influence is felt globally. The city, with its liberal values and diverse populace, often sets trends that the world follows.
From Paris to Tokyo, the ethos of swingers NYC is resonating. Clubs, events, and communities are sprouting up globally, each bringing its flavor but echoing the core principles of respect, consent, and exploration.
The world is becoming a global village, and ideas, trends, and lifestyles are no longer confined to geographical boundaries. And as the world looks to NYC for inspiration, the city, with its vibrant swingers NYC community, is more than ready to lead the way.
Wrapping Up: The Allure of Swingers NYC
The world of swingers NYC is a microcosm of the city itself – diverse, vibrant, and ever-evolving. It’s a space where freedom, exploration, and connection take center stage. From the arts to relationships, from societal structures to global influences, the impact of the swinging lifestyle is profound and far-reaching.
As the city skyline changes, so does the swinging community, adapting, growing, and thriving. But at its core, the essence remains unchanged – a celebration of human desires, connections, and the sheer joy of living life on one’s terms.
In the words of Frank Sinatra, “New York, New York, a city so great they named it twice.” And in this great city, the swingers NYC community stands tall, a testament to the city’s spirit of acceptance, exploration, and love.
Thank you for joining us on this journey into the heart of the Big Apple and its buzzing swingers scene. Here’s to exploration, connection, and living life to the fullest!
“Much of society still views different types of kink, including swinging, BDSM, and other aspects of kink as abnormal or deviant, which can take a toll on the mental health of those who identify as part of these communities. Having a place in which individuals within these communities can express their authentic selves without experiencing stigma and judgment is really important.”
“Swinging is like any other social activity, just dialed up to 11,” says Andrew*, 41. He and his wife first began swinging shortly after they began exploring nonmonogamy in 2018. Before the pandemic, the couple would frequent a western-suburb location every two months.
Swinger parties usually have a set of rules, require an ID, cost some money, and take place in hotels or private homes. Some clubs and parties have been occurring for years, while others are simply pop-ups. But there is a looming threat of them being shut down by city officials, particularly suburban locations where ordinances impact the ease of having a party in your home without your neighbors calling the cops.
In Markham, Illinois, Mayor Roger Agpawa has been working toward closing adult swinger clubs and specifically targeted Couples Choice, a popular location that has a dance floor and 18 bedrooms. In March, the owner and his son were arrested for operating an illegal business in a residential area. When I first started writing and researching this piece a year ago, the Couples Choice hyperlink was dead. Now, the website is back up again and explicitly states that, “This is not a business in any way and under no circumstances should be viewed as one. Couples Choice Social Club is a gathering of like-minded adults who enjoy the lifestyle.” Agpawa started the “Clean up Markham” campaign, closing strip clubs and other so-called “seedy” businesses in order to solve the crime and corruption concerns in the south-suburban town with a population of 13,000. Unlike Agpawa’s belief that swinging leads to crime, Rachel Zar, a licensed marriage and family therapist from Spark Chicago Therapy and Northwestern Medicine’s Center for Sexual Medicine, says just like any sexual activity, safety is key for swingers. Clubs offer solace and community for patrons because there is “security, boundaries, and rules” within these spaces. She says, “It’s interesting that there’s this idea out there that sex clubs are inherently dangerous, but I’d argue that would be the exception, not the rule. I’d liken it to restaurants that don’t follow health codes—they’re out there, and they’re worth taking precautions against, but that doesn’t mean that all restaurants should be shut down just in case.”
Couples Choice owner Tim Geary told WGN that his guest list is made up of doctors, nurses, dentists, and police, “I mean, they’re everyone,” he says. First, Agpawa told Couples Choice they had code violations. The club spent thousands of dollars to fix these concerns. Then, there was a zoning issue which turned into the passing of the “No Live Sex Act” ordinance. Peoria enacted a similar ordinance in 2011 which prohibits businesses where folks can watch or view live sex. In a 2019 city council meeting, Alderman William Barron said that Markham is a “Christian-based town,” and just because the club has been there for 30 years doesn’t “make it right.”
Dr. Mary Madrake, a clinical psychology postdoctoral resident at Balanced Awakening in Chicago, says, “Much of society still views different types of kink, including swinging, BDSM, and other aspects of kink as abnormal or deviant, which can take a toll on the mental health of those who identify as part of these communities. Having a place in which individuals within these communities can express their authentic selves without experiencing stigma and judgment is really important.” Online communities are also imperative: social media, FetLife, Facebook, Twitter, and OnlyFans have become a way for kink communities to thrive safely.
“When places are closed due to complaints or legal issues, this can also increase the negative views of individuals not involved in these communities, who could then view the community as causing trouble or engaging in unacceptable activities,” says Madrake on the closing of swinger clubs. By increasing the understanding of these spaces and communities, society can change their preconceived, often harmful judgements.
When I ask Andrew what swinging means for him and how folks can break down stereotypes surrounding the clubs, he says it’s a way for him to let loose and to “have fun with the woman I love more than anything else in the world. If I or my wife thinks someone is attractive, we don’t have to bury that feeling. We can communicate and have fun with it.”
Since the pandemic, the couple has been staying away from parties. “We have been pretty down about missing that part of our lives during this pandemic but ultimately understand. We have heard of some groups getting together to do Zoom meetups and other online events involving some level of nudity and sex, but for us, that’s nowhere close to satisfying, plus the possible security issues make that a no-go,” explains Andrew. Many clubs have closed during the pandemic due to “disagreements concerning how to safely get together,” as well as “disagreements about how dangerous the virus really is.” For Andrew and his wife, they are learning to adapt without attending parties. “Since swinging for us was always more of a bonus to add some fun than a need, we’re both pretty fulfilled in a lot of ways still.”
A club in Indiana, Young Couples Party, did attempt to organize an event during the pandemic at a Roseland Hotel with 160 participants. Even though those numbers were legal in Indiana, a reporter leaked the information and the organizers found that it may jeopardize the safety of their attendees. Organizers of the party explained that folks concerned with COVID-19 would wear different color bracelets that were assigned different meanings. Red would mean “do not approach, we are social distancing,” yellow would mean, “do not touch without consent,” and green would mean, “you can touch me, I’m here for human contact.” Ultimately, the party was canceled.
Carla, AKA the Purple Diva, 45, runs an inclusive members-only lifestyle club, Always Wanting More (AWM), out of the western suburbs near Elgin. When I mention the closure of swinger clubs due to ordinances, she laughs and says, “There’s a lot of us.” Last year I attended Karen Yates’s Wild & Sublime talk show event at Constellation where Yates read aloud quotes from folks who were upset over a recent club closing in the southwest suburbs. Carla reassures me that there are clubs popping up everywhere.
With 11 years of experience under her belt, Carla knows how to run the show. After the end of her marriage, she began searching online for clubs, and after attending a few events, Carla says she realized what she liked and didn’t like. As a result, she opened up her own club. “I thought to myself, ‘I can do this better,'” and that’s exactly what she did.
After being in the swinger community for three months, she started hosting hotel parties. “I’m a big girl, I’m a normal person, I’m not a Barbie. I like sex just like the next person. Why can’t I have my own club? Why can’t I have a space where people like me feel comfortable?” she says.
Carla was always honest with the hotel staff about hosting an adult party behind closed doors. After some time, she decided to host parties once a month in the house where she lives near Elgin. The Purple Diva’s parties have a cover of $20 for women, $50 for a couple, and $60 for men. In other clubs, women can get in free, but Carla says, “I’m providing you a meal. I’m providing you supplies. I’m providing you a venue.” Like many swinger parties, food is offered, but Carla goes above and beyond by cooking a full buffet dinner (think: enchiladas, lasagna, “actual good food”). There are nonalcoholic beverages and it’s BYOB (sloppiness is not accepted in swinger clubs). Supplies like condoms, puppy pads (for those who are messier than the next), lube, towels, and shampoo are all offered for the price of entry. With room for 150 guests, her four-bedroom, four-bathroom house is converted into a sanctuary for couples and singles. The guest list for Carla’s parties generally includes those in their 30s to 50s, and she requires that folks are 21+. However, she says those numbers aren’t set in stone. She does see folks in their 20s and over 60 as well. “It’s just mature people who know whatever the hell they want,” she tells me.
Carla lives in the house with her children, who are in their 20s and help her set the house up before each event but leave once it begins. She has security, tour guides, kitchen staff, and a front desk with a check-in. “My staff members are like family. We hang out all of the time,” she explains. One staff member drives three hours just to help Carla with her parties. When guests check in, they are given a colorized name tag that indicates what they are looking for throughout the evening. A girl looking for other girls is indicated with a pink tag, bisexual folks have a purple tag, straight women looking for men will wear a blue tag, and red tags are for folks just checking things out and observing. New folks have a cherry sticker on their name tag.
“My landlord knows what I do. They don’t have a problem. My neighbors, however, don’t exactly like me,” she explains. She’s had issues with parking, where folks legally take up all of the spots for ten hours one day a month. Every now and then, a disgruntled neighbor will call the cops. “I’m not hurting anybody. I barely play music in the house. You can’t even tell that I have 100 people in my house other than the parking. It could be anybody on the street. So that’s the slight issue I’m having currently, but that’s my own issue because I’m using my own residence,” she says when we talk before the pandemic. Before she moved into the house, she specifically checked the parking and city codes. The city is aware of what kind of parties she’s throwing and they do not care as long as she doesn’t violate parking or noise. “My next house will have a parking lot!” she says.
In terms of ordinances, clubs have to deal with minute details to find loopholes, which means the city will also find loopholes. Carla explains that she wasn’t able to publicly share a link online for her parties, and other cities don’t allow folks to run a business out of a residential space. Just like other owners, Carla is dedicated to her events. “I could be deathly ill and I would still have a party,” says Carla. “Something has to be significant for me not to have one.” Recently, on her website, she wrote that she has had to cancel all events during the pandemic and that, “NO ONE should be hosting any lifestyle events at this time,” because it is “impossible to maintain social distancing.” All of the profit that Carla does make goes right back into the party. She has a regular 9-to-5 job and says that the parties do not financially sustain her. Although she invests time, money, and energy into the events, it’s more of a passion project. If she’s having a party on Saturday, she says the planning and coordinating begins on Tuesday and doesn’t stop until Sunday.
Cook County has an ordinance regarding exchanging money when it comes to sex. Many clubs use the term “membership” as a loophole. Folks can buy a membership for an evening which blurs the idea of folks paying for sex as commerce. This is why many more clubs exist outside of the city limits where regulations and ordinances vary per city. That isn’t to say swinger parties aren’t happening in Chicago; they are just more private. “You have to get on things like FetLife or SLS” to find parties happening around the city, says Wild & Sublime founder Yates.
Yates explains to me over a Zoom call that it’s been a small coming-out process for her. Last year in November, we met up at a coffee shop in Lincoln Square where we briefly discussed her experiences in the swinger community, but on our Zoom call, we got into the nitty gritty. Now that she’s started a podcast and her thoughts on sex positivity are publicly being shared, she says, “I’m so much more comfortable being like, ‘I’m a sex positive babe, and I have sex.'”
About five years ago, she attended her first swinger party as a single woman. A previous partner led her through the process and explained how the parties work. “It was so new to me,” she says. “I was so intrigued and I was so frightened simultaneously. It was this push-pull.”
“I did not want to be around heteronormative people. I knew enough about swingers to know that it was extremely heteronormative. The men were content to see two women getting it on, but God forbid two men actually touch,” explains Yates. “What I did was I spent a month or two researching online trying to find a party.” She decided to look for explicitly bisexual male-friendly parties. As a result, she found a party called Private Encounters which was held on the property of Couples Choice. Dawn and Dave ran Couples Choice in Markham for 16-and-a-half years before it was closed down by the town’s mayor. Yates explains that while Couples Choice is incredibly heteronormative, this particular party was “explicitly bi-friendly and a larger number of men are allowed.” While it wasn’t a queer scene by any means, it was still largely open and accepting. Through Couples Choice, she found folks having parties in Chicago inside of people’s homes.
Yates explains to me that hotel takeovers happen a lot more than private housing parties. Renting an entire floor is easier and more relaxed than dedicating your entire home to a party. “People just run around and they fuck,” says Yates. “It’s also a way for people to organize larger sex parties. They will rent out two adjoining suites and invite 15 friends who all chip in. People are creative if they need mattresses.”
When I ask Yates about the demographics at swinger parties, she tells me, “In the cis-heteronormative world, they are younger, under 40. Swingers in their 20s and 30s. And then there’s the swinger umbrella term that is going to typically skew a little older. My assumption is that people start knowing their sexual proclivities as they get older. Second, if people have been in long-term relationships, eventually [they] want to add something to it. There are these two dynamics.” Although younger folks in the lifestyle do exist, she explains that folks above 40 make up the larger base in the community.
In my research, I’ve found that clubs can be very segregated and specific. “A lot of times they are very white,” says Yates. “What you see happening are more specialized swinger clubs, or sometimes, like at Couples Choice, they always rented out to specialized groups. And by ‘specialized,’ I mean African American, Latino, bisexual.” Cities like New Orleans, Miami, and San Francisco have more flourishing swinger parties and clubs that aren’t getting shut down by law enforcement. “But in [Chicago], there is not as much interplay. However, if you’re looking at queer play parties, those are different than swinger parties. There are subtleties. There are differences. After a while I found that the swingers parties were a little bit bloodless,” explains Yates.
She describes her experiences at swinger parties like a “hit and run.” She had a harder time building relationships, whereas with queer parties in the city, there is “emotional juice” developing between folks as there is more fluidity. “At first, swinger parties were super, super fun for me in my sexual journey. It felt like a fucking playground. After a while, I was like, ‘eh.'” She explains that the certain amount of effort in going to the parties eventually wore on her, and like with any process, she began to learn more about herself. “I took time off, but I probably will return.” For a year, Yates says she used to go every other month to a party, but then she started to move toward the private play parties (with more curated guest lists) that were more interactive and relational. “That was the next phase for me,” she says.
One woman in particular who threw private parties recently moved away, leaving Yates feeling crushed. The guest list was curated and invite-only which eradicated any feelings of uneasiness for Yates. “It’s a very real factor. It’s like a dance club. Like, ‘Hey babe, wanna dance?’ and you’re like, ‘No . . .'” Although Yates assures me the parties are a safe environment, there is still an effort to navigate the space and manage single cis men. Hosts and hostesses have to calibrate how many guests make sense. There can’t be too many single cis men, but there do need to be enough. “If there are too many single men, the men who are partnered feel threatened. Again, this is a hetero thing,” so hosts of the parties have to make sure there is an even ratio where certain folks don’t overpower the others in the overall setting.
I ask Yates if she has any tips for how newbies can get into the swinging lifestyle. She reminds me, “You don’t have to play at a play party.” Folks can simply attend and walk around and watch. “Yes, people are voyeurs, so it’s a very real sexual thing. But a lot of times in couples, one person in a couple wants to swing and their partner is not on board with it, so the person who wants to says, ‘Well let’s just go to a party and you can at least see it. We don’t have to do anything, or we can go have sex by ourselves in a corner.’ And that happens! That’s enough of a thrill.” Yates explains that there isn’t one way to play the swinger scene. “You don’t even have to take your clothes off. A lot of times what happens is that [people] are getting less and less dressed. In terms of exploration, you can just go and not do a damn thing.” In the past few years, Yates hasn’t played as much as she used to, but she still attends.
But the sex positivity community is essential for Yates. She literally created an event where she interviews sex experts to combat stereotypes and taboos. “People who live outside of the heteronormative, monogamous culture often experience a good amount of sexual shame—they may feel that they have to live in secret; it can often feel isolating, and they may have experienced ridicule from others,” explains Zar, the marriage and family therapist. “Shame can be healed by feeling like part of a community, knowing that you’re not alone, and sharing your experience with others.”
For many folks, swinging involves friendship and community more than sex. The safety and ability to eradicate shame creates a healthy, consensual space for folks. When I ask Carla what the swinger community means to her, she says, “They are my best friends.”
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When someone says the words sex club ( https://allswingersclubs.org/ ), what do you think of? Personally, I imagined them as places for exhibitionists, people with extreme sexual preferences and the odd perv, standing in the corner and w***ing himself off to the whole thing. I’m happy to report that I was very wrong. Last night, I visited Le Boudoir, a members club that hosts sex parties every week, held at a secret London location. In an effort to blend in, I’d dressed provocatively in the little black lingerie dress that I reserve for special occasions.
I’d also brought along a female friend, who we’ll call Cassandra, although that’s not her real name. As we arrived, the nerves set in. Le Boudoir is a bring-your-own venue, and I suddenly regretted that we’d only armed ourselves with one bottle of wine. I needn’t have worried though, as Master Boudoir, the club’s impeccably dressed host, had already prepared a special treat for us – personalized vodka bottles. How he found out that vodka is my tipple of choice, I’ll never know. As we enter the main floor, the club’s social room, the atmosphere is mixed; some couples are sat huddled together on sofas, while others are eyeing each other up, and one lady is having a spin on the stripper pole.
I tried the pole myself later that evening and was far less impressive, which the developing bruise on my bum is proof of. The dungeon, before the guests arrived Master Boudoir gives us a grand tour, while he tells us what we can expect in the coming hours. ‘We get lots of newbies, and I think what’s exciting for them is that there are so many possibilities here,’ he says. ‘People who come here definitely seem to have a great sense of humour, and they’re engaging and great characters.’ First up is the downstairs floor. It’s dark and inviting, and smells faintly of popcorn, a trick the club has implemented to conceal the natural smell of sex that’ll soon fill the air. As we descend the stairs, I spot a large bed with a TV above it, set to porn, and a large vibrator, free for all to use. An hour later I saw a woman give her partner a blowjob as she enjoyed the vibrator herself, so it definitely gets used.
Additionally, there are two glory hole rooms, where women and men can indulge in a strange penis or two. You never know what might come through the hole (Picture: Almara Abgarian) The building used to be a bank, and owners of Le Boudoir have kept many of the original fittings, including the vault which, coincidentally, is home to the dungeon. ‘The dungeon affords lots of excitement,’ Master Boudoir explains, including a padded wall, a St. George’s cross and a spanking bench with restraints. Sometimes, couples will say to me ‘Master Boudoir we’ve seen you do your thing, would you mind showing us your techniques’. ‘I’ve got my bag of tricks and I’m constantly adding to my implements, and it’s always to increase the woman’s pleasure. Each woman has different triggers and yearnings, so I’m very careful about asking what she’d like and I check whether she’s OK at each point.’ A few hours later, the dungeon is full. Master Boudoir is teaching me and Cassandra how to spank a blonde lady who is restrained on a bench, while she gives her partner a blowjob. Feeling somewhat awkward and out of place, I promptly apologise when I spank her, to which I’m met with kind laughter by both the woman and her partner. I’m encouraged to go ahead and ‘slap harder, she enjoys it’.
Meanwhile in the two prison cells, one of which has a sex swing, two couples are having sex as the whole room watches. It’s all very voyueristic, and I can sense which couples have been here before. It’s not a naked fest though – most of the crowd have their underwear on, while others are fully dressed still. I leave Cassandra and the Master to do their thing, and venture outside to the smoking area, where I chat to a few of the guests. It’s a mixed bag, but it’s a much younger crowd than I’d anticipated and most of them are fairly attractive. Especially this one gentleman from Scotland, who has come along with his female friend – I catch both of them in a swingers situation later that evening.
The Scottish gentleman admits it’s his first time at a sex club, and like me, he’s nervous. Another couple tell me they came along the night before, and found a lady to play with. She had come on her own, and apparently she also ‘came three times’. We should all be so lucky. Overall, the crowd is friendly – the seedy element that I’d expected isn’t present – but that’s not to say there’s not a lot of kinky sex, most of which takes place on the top floor. As I enter the room, I’m struck by how sensual the sex is. Yes, there’s definite f**king, but no one is in a rush, they’re taking their time and they’re enjoying having an audience. I sit down and take in the view: there are several couples having sex in front of me, while to my left there’s a woman orgasming as her lover plays with her. To my left, three women are getting head from their respective lovers. I’m surprised by how quiet the room is; the music is playing in the background and women are moaning softly, but no one is screaming load enough for the neighbours to complain. Lock her up (Picture: Almara Abgarian) The room is open to all. Whether this is the official way of doing things, I couldn’t tell you, but I had three men extend their hand to me that evening as a gesture that I was welcome to join him and his partner.
It’s actually incredibly polite, and I was both flattered and felt safe – if it’s a no, you simply shake your head, or smile and walk off. The only negative part of the experience was that despite the mischievous mood, as a single woman in a sea of sex offers, I still felt as an outsider, watching couples make love. But Le Boudoir offers different themes, depending on the night. On Saturdays, it’s couples and single ladies, but on Thursday’s a small amount of single men are welcome too. These are hand-picked by the club. In fact, the manager reveals that the club has 20,000 members and another 5,000 on the waiting list, and some of the less desirable men will never get a membership. Around 2am, I find myself on a sofa with Cassandra on the top floor, discussing the evening’s events with the club’s manager. On the sofa next to us, two ladies have switched partners and are giving the men blowjobs. They don’t seem to mind us chatting, though.
We decide that as far as casual sex goes, Le Boudoir is far superior to flicking through Tinder for a night of ‘Netflix and Chill’. Oddly, the former is far more respectful, even if you should find yourself in bed with multiple people in one night. You’re highly encouraged to find out for yourself, although I’d recommend bringing a plus one if it’s your first time. If I decide to return myself, I’ll probably do so with a male partner. And yes, I know what you’re thinking: did I accept one of the extended hands or find myself in the throes of passion with Scotland? The answer shall forever remain a secret, because a lady never tells and neither does Le Boudoir.
The Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee today formally endorsed the dotSCO campaign, after receiving assurances from the Government that it was doing all it could to help ensure an application could be submitted to ICANN later this year. The unanimous vote cast by the Committee means that our campaign now has cross-party support – a crucial step in demonstrating to ICANN a widespread desire across Scotland and its diaspora for a Scottish domain. The dotSCO team are delighted that both Parliament and Government have been so supportive of our campaign. Less than nine months after we started collecting signatures to submit the petition, we are now well on the way to submitting an application to ICANN – no small feat.
dotSCO is delighted that the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond MSP, has announced that the Scottish Government will be supporting a bid for new top-level internet domain (TLD) for the Scots community of interest online.
The Scottish Government setup a working group to consider a community top-level for the worldwide family of Scots in response to a petition from dotSCO earlier this year. As our previous newsletter highlighted our Policy Director, Davie Hutchison, has been an active member of that working group.
The First Minister has released research from the working group which shows that there is strong support for a new community TLD. 58% of organisations (from the public, private and third sectors) in Scotland support the creation of a Scots community TLD with only 18% being against. A huge 82% of organisations in the Scots Diaspora back the application with just 8% being against.
As was indicate in the last newsletter the final choice of what string or code to apply for was still under consideration, either ‘.sco’ or ‘.scot’ .The research from the working group has shown that some 59% have supported ‘.Scot’ with 14% preferring ‘.sco’. With .scot being the clear preference of the community we will continue our campaign for a new TLD using that code.
The dotSCO campaign team is looking forward to the year ahead and helping to prepare the bid to ICANN for a new Internet domain for the worldwide family of Scots!
After literally years of speculation and several delays, ICANN have this month published the draft Application Guidebook for applying for new top-level internet domains. The Guidebook, although still in draft form, provides some of the detailed criteria that we will have to satisfy. In a few months there will be a second draft followed by the final version in the 2nd quarter of 2009. On the current timetable it looks like the window to make bids for new top level domains will open in Autumn 2009. If this was the case then we are looking at the early stages of 2010 for dotSCO domains becoming available for purchase.
ICANN are reportedly expecting up to 500 applications for new top level domains, some will be community bids like ours and dotCYM while some will be ‘open’ commercial projects.
The new top level domains will fall into 4 broad categories –
(1) Commercial TLDs -such as dotSHOP or dotWINE. (2) ‘Vanity’ TLDs – such as dotEBAY and dotGOOGLE.
(3) City TLDs – such as dotNYC, dotBERLIN, dotLONDON and dotPARIS.
(4) Community TLDs – such as dotSCO, or dotCYM for the Welsh Community, dotGAL for the Galician Community and dotNAI for the North American Indigenous Community.
Since we began three years ago we have been campaigning for a new top-level internet domain for the Scots community of interest online, Scottish Culture and Scotland’s languages. The ‘string’ or ‘code’ that we have been using has be SCO, however we believe that since this top-level domain is for the community that it should be chosen by them too.
In the near future we are going to establish a mechanism to allow supporters of the dotSCO campaign to vote and chose their preference SCO or SCOT – the final decision will be up to you.