Bisexuality / Desire / Fantasy / Group Sex / Long Term Relationships / safer sex / Sexually Transmitted Infections

Girlfriend on the fence about swinging

This classic column originally appeared at the Barbershop Notebooks where new episodes of Sex with Timaree run every Monday.

Question to the Sexpert:

“Oh great Sexpert, what’s the best way to bring up swinging to a girlfriend who’s on the fence? My gf wants to; but only when she’s in that mood…which isn’t often. Do you have any suggestions? There is a couple that’s interested but my gf says she needs it to be spontaneous which I think is impossible. Help?”

I find this question endlessly fascinating because, while I’ve written about the 8 Mandatory Rules for Group Sex, and I’ve written about how to bring up fantasies with a partner before, this situation is actually more than the sum of those two parts. Yay! We’re combining sex with Gestalt theory today!

If there is any wisdom I’ve gleaned from my learning about the matters of group sex, swinging and open relationships it is this: be absolutely one hundred percent completely damn fucking certain that this is something that you both want to do and that it isn’t really just a fun fantasy. It could be awesome or it might be way hot to talk about but a total train wreck if implemented in real life.

Because for every couple that has spent decades happily immersed in a wild swinging scene and found it improved their communication skills, heated up their sex lives and enriched their professional networking (“Hey, isn’t Hairy Leather Daddy a CPA? Maybe we should give him a call about these capital gains questions.”) there is a couple who broke up because it turns out swinging was not like they thought it would be.

Those couples who find it a suitable option, either as a lifestyle choice or as a random one-time occurrence, have a few things in common. They:
1. recognize that jealousy is a realistic reaction but aren’t easily consumed by it. They have learned to predict what will set them off, know how to prevent conflict and effectively manage their jealous feelings.
2. genuinely know what they want going in, express these desires honestly and explicitly.
3. feel confident in their original pairing and are committed to continuing it
4. have complimentary interest (i.e. looking for the same type of partners, situations, etc)

So, to the specifics of your question: If she’s only interested in it at certain times, “when she’s in the mood,” my guess, unfortunately for you, is that this plan ain’t going down….at least not anytime soon.

That’s a good sign that your girl really likes talking dirty in bed and may or may not have an inkling of bicuriosity but is not prepared for or interested in complicating and potentially endangering your relationship to make the sex hotter.

Don’t take that as a bad thing, you may have dodged a bullet in the form of months of midnight screaming matches, dragging out to a long protracted breakup… all for the sake of getting to grab an extra ass cheek or two while getting your swerve on. And perhaps this is something she really does want to do and eventually she will be prepared. But I don’t think today is your day, buddy.

I also come to this conclusion based on her idea that this setup should be spontaneous. She is being unrealistic and a little dangerous. Spontaneous group sex happens, yes, but it’s often drunk and between people who know each other well already or people rolling on E, about to ruin their conception of enjoyable sex for the rest of their lives.

It’s good to know the people, at least a little, in advance. That way you know you can trust them, their HIV and other STI tests came back negative and it’s safe to assume they won’t rudely push the boundaries or take any valuable artwork on the way out afterwards. It’s not a good idea, in the real world, to pretend like life is a big sweaty porn orgy just waiting to happen and that de-pantsing the cable guy or the mail lady won’t have consequences.

My parting words of advice:
1. It’s ok if it just stays a fantasy. You both may enjoy the idea, the talk, the role play, etc enough already. Bringing fantasy to real life is very complicated and sometimes disappointing. Sometimes it’s really, really bad.
2. It’s ok if you decide to go ahead. Many people find mixing it up with others brings a spice to their relationship and strengthens their original bond due to the feeling of going in on something adventurous together.
3. Keep talking about it. The more conversations you have, the more you learn, the more you know what to expect and the more you can mull over ways to make it perfect. Maybe it will stay in your heads, maybe it will spill into the streets, who knows? Look at some swinger websites (just google em, there’s a ton) and see if any of that suits your fancy. Peruse the Craiglist personals together, start an honest flirty conversation with that couple you mentioned that might be interested, maybe even visit a swinger’s event purely as voyeurs. You’ll get a better idea of what’s out there and whether or not you want in.

Do you have a question or comment? Please email Timaree directly at

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