When I think of swingers’ clubs, I inevitably see a scene from American Swing where a leathery gent in white socks is having sex with a lady in a swing (literally) while talking to the camera, cracking jokes. Also, there are some images of beige and vomit-tinted wall-to-wall carpeting and a tray of Jell-O pudding with marshmallows on top carried by a pair of wrinkly female hands… Maybe that wasn’t even in a movie and those are just instant associations I have regarding swingers parties. The point is: no.
The second point is that it’s not about the sex part. It’s about the talky part. I can barely make small talk at normal parties with normal drunk people, so painfully flirting with some bub from Sweaburg, Ontario, who’s visiting the Ramada Inn Swingers Convention in Mississauga with his wife, Brenda, is as appealing to me as the Jell-O-marshmallow redneck soufflé. Sounds like I’m talking from experience, doesn’t it?
Well, I’ve researched this a little bit as part of my dissertation for my PhD thesis on the sexual behaviour of Ontarians. Actually, no, but I was once curious to see if swingers clubs were anything like the sweaty, golden orgies I imagined happened in the ancient Rome. They didn’t appear to be. They appeared to happen in places like the Ramada Inn and often featured hot tubs — at least judging from the invitations I’d come across. (Allow me this opportunity to debunk the myth of the hotness of hot tub sex — those things are dangerous and may actually “give” you herpes, the virus loves to live in wet, hot areas).
Then in Toronto, there’s the adorable Wicked Club that once in a while gets a defensive little write-up in a local weekly (it’s not that bad, kids, the write-up will usually say), which only makes me more suspicious. Recently, the picture of old mattresses thrown in front of the place made the rounds on Facebook with many, many, many ewwwwss underneath it.
Which brings me to point number three. The third point is actually that the first two points illustrate how I think many women feel about swingers’ parties. Actually, other women may be more into the small talk than I am. Still, most women feel ewww about swingers’ parties, not because of the sex part — in fact, we haven’t even gotten to that discussion here and won’t — but because of the shagginess (!) of the aesthetic: the general seediness and despair that seems to surround these events.
Oh, how do you get your girlfriend to come to a swingers’ party with you? I have no clue, but if you hear of one that is not held in a sad place and doesn’t seem like some horror version of middle management team-building exercises, let us know and we’ll send out our research teams.
Image courtesy of Steven Hart.