So, what brought you to the scene originally?
It’s one of those things where you can look back and go, ‘oh yeah, those adverts from the sixties that are horribly sexist, with some housewife being spanked because she bought the wrong coffee…’ I remember being fascinated by them, I mean I couldn’t have described it, and I couldn’t have told you that that was what was interesting, but I do remember that there was something fascinating about it. I’ve always had quite vanilla partners, and there’s only so far you can push people, when it’s not their thing. Also without feeling like you are doing it wrong somehow. Since my late teens when people started to talk about it, I knew what I had to do was different, and I knew I was getting it wrong. Because, you know, nice girls stay at home, and there’s all that kind of attitude still, so I just figured I had to tone it down a little and keep quiet, and do the normal thing.
How long have you been on the scene for?
I’m pretty new to the scene. It’s been about three or four months. Scary!
What are your observations so far?
For me, it was definitely s feeling of finding my tribe. So for me it’s been a very comfortable thing. Also I haven’t come to it at 21, which for me I think has been a good thing. I’ve come at a point where I’m really comfortable with this, because it is what I enjoy and I’m finding good people to enjoy it with, and friends, and the social scene, and all that side of it as well, which I think is important. It’s not just I did this, or I did them. But its the whole kind of environment. And I think that’s kind of essential. I don’t know if I’d have been as comfortable, or as confident in my early 20’s.
Which venues do you like the most?
I haven’t been around that long, so a limited amount. Torture Garden was my entry in, which I think it probably is for quite a few people. It’s fun there. And I love dress up in any way, shape or form. I have given drawers full of underwear and things that have had limited view time, so I think that’s actually..I know people get a bit snobby about it? Especially on the kink side? Kink light- in inverted commas. Actually I think there’s room for that kind of thing. It’s a damn good club night, with everything involved. Having said that, now I’ve kind of -about to say progressed. I’m not sure it is- but I’ve just ventured out. I like DVS. Good nights there. It’s very newbie friendly. Can’t say I’ve done masses of events. I like Subversion Noir. That was, that was actually- I think I was a bit terrified of going.
So do you just do the BDSM events, or the swing ones too?
So I’ve done that night which was between the two. I’d say it was more swing oriented. I’ve been less confident about going to the swing stuff on my own. I think, because the impression I got, from random conversation and people’s impression of it, and also just because my initial exploration was around the BDSM side, having said that, I’ve every intention of going to Le Boudoir. That’s great, and I’m very comfortable.
They do have a dungeon downstairs too.
For me it’s not all or nothing. You know what I mean? It’s not that there’s any…some people like it isn’t..I totally respect it. Great, enjoy whatever it is that you enjoy. It’s like some people are into rope and that’s their thing, and that’s their only thing. Great! Enjoy. I like the variety.
How do you find people’s approaches have been? Have you had mostly single men, or couples approach, girls?
Yeah. It’s been more, I’d say.. so I’m on Fet**, and that’s how I got into it. So that is a lot of single guys. A lot with one line. You could do a course on that- how to write something! There’s a girl’s group that we’ve got- just a chat group- and we do actually regularly talk- there will be guys who scatter-gun copy and paste to basically the entire group. Now I have no problem, it’s a swinging site. It’s not about being a special snowflake, and that kind of thing. But girls talk! And it’s just entertaining. Especially when you see it across 14 different girls, you think ‘well, you’ve been busy’.
Does it make you feel less special?
Yeah. But I mean I didn’t come into it looking for a relationship, so I think that makes a big difference. So I think if what you want is a one to one, then you’re going to – a one to one partnership and you might swing, or a partnership where you get into kink and BDSM and that side of things, I think that’s actually harder, because it’s intrinsically a very open and very play-oriented place. There is a bit of an assumption that you’ll be up to it with everyone.
So you think it’s a good scene for singles, as opposed to couples?
Um, I think it depends what you want. I think if what you want is a relationship, that’s harder. I’ve fallen into one, which I wasn’t expecting at all, and wasn’t what I was looking for. We decided last week to call ourselves ‘dating’, we are not monogamous, because I think that would fail miserably, especially on my side. I’m probably more on the poly side than he is. We are taking it slowly and seeing how it goes. But I wasn’t looking for that. That wasn’t something that I went in for.
Do you think the two of you will be picking up single girls together?
Not at this stage. See it’s funny, because I’ve played with couples and I really enjoy it. That wasn’t something I went in thinking I had a particular…I like the idea of two guys, I didn’t have a particular thing in my head for a couple. But actually not just a guy and a girl- but a couple- where they’ve got a dynamic they’ve built: that place – there’s something about that I really enjoy When they are really comfortable with it.
So you are a true unicorn?
Yeah. And I didn’t know I – I mean it’s a term that sound’s nice. I’ll show you something because it will make you laugh – I did find a unicorn T shirt that I didn’t buy at TK Maxx because it’s a stupid amount of money for what it was, but I did take photos of it because I found it entertaining. Yeah, it’s all things. I’m Bi in the sense that I’m sexually attracted to women, I’ve never had a relationship with a woman- but I would have no particular problem- I have gone on dates with them – so for me there’s something about the couple dynamic that’s really attractive to me, if they’re in it together. I’ve had an experience where I was definitely the tick-list of ‘I’ve now slept with a woman’, and that was rather enjoyable! But it was early stages and you live and learn anyway, and make clearer what’s okay for you as well. That’s part of why I’m glad I didn’t come into it at 21, where I’d have felt like hell, and probably felt hugely insecure and horrible about the whole thing. This was like ‘Oh, okay’. Not something I’d do again. Not something I’m prepared to be again, but it’s not the end of the world.
So the couples that you decided to meet with- what was it that made you choose them out of all the, presumably, hundreds and hundreds, you get?
To be honest, they’ve been accidental for the most part. My first couple was before I came out on the scene. I was in America; in Miami, in a club, hammered. And a couple picked me up. It was totally unexpected. I would never in a million years have thought it, and I had a really good time. That was part of that whole kind of route into the scene. It is what I enjoy, and kind of- why am I not at least trying it to know? So the couple stuff has- I think it’s much trickier with messaging. I’m much more wary about it. It’s much harder just in terms of time. Finding time to meet people, finding time to meet a couple. Seeing if you get on with both of them. At events, it’s very comfortable. Because obviously you’re not trying to date them. You’re you know, it’s kind of an intrinsic thing. The downside of that is, for me it’s more about them – the couple, so I’m very aware of not pushing beyond boundaries that are clear it’s okay for me to go there? And obviously if you meet a couple after you, you can kind of expand those boundaries and its comfortable, and playful I suppose.
When do you think couples should talk about their boundaries, if they’ve decided on any?
I think they should have a good discussion. Because what it means, particularly if you are involving the BDSM side of it, it could have no sexual play, give or take. I have been in that position of not knowing ‘well can I kiss someone?’ or…it’s very much, for the most part, guys have no problem with you kissing their girlfriends, they are really fine with that! But then is she okay with me kissing him? That kind of thing. So for me, it’s a lot more attractive if they know where they stand, and the last thing I ever want to do is mess around someone else’s relationship. If it’s not right, don’t do it. Don’t do it because it’s on a website, or because it’s the thing you’re supposed to do to show you love them. You don’t. And if it is, what that would look like, is going to be different for everyone. I’m just starting to think, ‘well that’s something I have to think about’, dating someone. What am I comfortable with? I don’t entirely know. Some of that is, I guess, the person you’re with at the time and people you’re with, and keep talking about it?
Why do you think most couples have so much trouble finding a unicorn and closing the deal?
I think partly it is kind of intimidating coming into a couple’s dynamic. You know, if you’re in a good relationship, you’re a couple. As someone who likes that side of it, I quite like being fairly objectified- I like being the object of play, that’s fun for me. But it could mean that I could end up feeling very alone at the end of it, if I wasn’t comfortable, if things didn’t go the right way. If they just decided, ‘oh we don’t want to do this now,’ because they’re a couple then it makes a different kind of unit? So I think if you’re single then there’s a bit of an awareness of that. Also, you’ve got to be attracted to both of them. Both physically and who they are- because if you’re into the BDSM side rather than just the swinging side, then you’ve also got that element. Do you fit? Are the things that you like the same?
Do you find the treatment you get from people on the BDSM scene and the swing scene, in terms of couples, is quite different? Are there expectations?
Again, I can’t pretend to have any sort of expertise, partly because I’ve only had limited experience, and my swinging experience has been more sex stuff rather than couples, so I don’t know if I can give a really good answer to that. I’d say there’s a bit of a difference around the concept. So BDSM tends to be a lot more ‘ask first,’ you know, ‘what do you like, what’s okay?’ I think there is a little bit sometimes that the couples look for someone who is comfortable, or wants to do the things that maybe one of them doesn’t, or one of them would like to try. So if someone wants to try the cane and the other half isn’t into it, it’s okay doing it on someone else. whereas swinging isn’t like that. It’s more of a threesome, in that respect. But it’s a bit more ‘consent implied?’ Obviously you could say no at any time, and obviously that’s fine. It feels like a conversation. You don’t have a specific conversation before you start anything, of ‘where can I touch you, what are the no go areas,’ that kind of thing.
If you had a few top tips to give to a couple who decided to do this, and were totally new to it, what would you tell them? What is your main advice, from your experience?
Be really honest with yourselves about what it is you actually want. I mean it’s a nice thing, it’s like ‘I’m bored, we want another girl to play with’ – but to do what? Because if you know what you want, you’re much more likely to find someone who’s into a similar thing. And how that would work. And just kind of the basics, I mean can you accommodate, and a certain amount of reassurance about being normal human beings with lives and all that kind of thing. Because I think sometimes you can get caught up in this myth of who you have to be, and it’s …everyone has profiles.. it’s no different from the Instagram thing, everyone is showing a version of themselves, so it’s okay to, particularly if you are looking for something regular. I do things – I went to an event, which was very couple heavy. It’s a new one. And actually I think if you’re a newbie couple in general, it would be a really good type of thing. You’ve got singles and couples, it’s quite couple heavy, so it’s not just ‘you as a couple and a load of single people going, “Hey do you want me to play?”‘
That does tend to be a common scenario
I can see from that point of view as well, if you’re that couple, it’s very hard not to feel like you’re being predatory I’d have thought, even if you’re not, because it’s two against one, automatically. I do think there’ s something where it’s easier, and I’m saying this obviously because I’m bi and I love it too, it’s probably easier if women chat. But be really aware that someone might not like both of you. It think that’s just kind of…
Do you think couples should be more willing to split off?
Honestly, only if it’s a really good thing for them, I don’t think they should do it for the sake of ‘yeah there’s someone else,’ and I have heard stories from people where they’ve tried to get either the guy or the girl has approached them as a single person, and pulled them in as a dating thing, and then gone ‘oh, we’d like to introduce you,’ and actually introduce their actual partner.
It’s a nasty thing to do.
I’ve got a blog post on that! (How to fool a unicorn: The Silver Bullet)
It’s one of those things where you’re just like, ‘that’s a lot a) that’s a lot of work, b) that’s a really shitty thing to do to someone. Don’t do that!
It’s very often tried and very rarely done well. If it’s done well, you literally never know.
Seems like a lot of effort. I mean, I like straight talking. It’s one of the things I really like about both sides of the scene. It’s the straightforward honesty. I’m looking for sex. I’m looking for kink. I’m looking for someone to play with. I’m looking for someone to be my partner for ever. Or one of my multiple partners. And I really like this. It’s actually something, in more vanilla life is..amiss. I like it very direct, but I think an element of that would help most people’s relationships. That kind of ‘well what do I actually want?’ and the ability to say it. And if it’s not right for both of you then it’s not, and people have emotional egos and all that kind of thing, and egos get bruised I think. It’s also a reality sometimes you will get rejected, and it sucks. Even if it’s just on a night out, you know. That sucks. And that’s part of it. If that’s what you’re looking for, that’s kind of okay? No-one is going to be the right thing for everyone every time. It still sucks when it’s someone you quite like and, you know. Or everyone else seems to be getting it right and getting it together, and you’re like ‘Sigh. I’ll just go home then’. You know. I think there’s that side of it, which can be missed, because we are talking about all the wonderful swinging times we’re having, and they are. They’re great! I really enjoy myself. But, you know. You’ll always get an ebb and flow. I think whether you are a couple or single, the key is knowing what you actually want and why. If you’re not sure, wait. Find it because it’s right, not just because you have to tick it off a list. It’s not going to be great. And not everything’s for everyone.