Dive into the complexities of the swinging lifestyle as we explore the controversial topic of “Taking one for the team”. How do you solve the four-way connection problem? In this eye-opening episode, we share personal experiences and survey insights from a wide spectrum of lifestylers, unraveling the intricacies of consent, boundaries, and the art of saying ‘no’ or ‘yes’ in the swinging community.

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🔍 Key Topics:

  • Team ‘No’: Unyielding standards, the evolution of preferences, and the power of saying ‘no’ confidently.
  • Team ‘Yes’: Embracing enthusiastic and lukewarm yeses, the beauty of diverse experiences, and the flexibility of boundaries.
  • Keeping Score: The controversial practice of tallying encounters, the potential pitfalls, and ways to navigate this delicate territory.
  • IOUs and Obligations: Exploring the thin line between consent and obligation, the impact on relationships, and the importance of open communication.
  • Respect and Guilt: Unpacking feelings of resentment, guilt, and the role of respect in the self, relationships, and with play partners.

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Explore the nuances of the swinging lifestyle with us! Like, subscribe, and share your thoughts in the comments below. What are your experiences with Team ‘No’ and Team ‘Yes’? Let’s continue this conversation and build a community where open communication and respect thrive. Don’t forget to hit the notification bell for more insightful discussions on navigating the swinging lifestyle!

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Have you ever taken one for the team? Do you have sex when you don’t want to because your partner does? And do you keep score? We asked Swinger couples and you might be shocked at some of their answers.

Welcome to Swinger University. I’m Ed. And I’m Phoebe. Join us as we explore the exciting world of ethical non-monogamy. Sexual health and sex education with an intellectual and sexy twist.

Alright, alright. Oh my gosh. This is a heated topic. And I’m just dying to get into it because… And it’s interesting because we’ve heard a couple different perspectives on this one. Yes! We’ve heard this term a number of times throughout our 10 years plus swinging. Yes. And there was one particular incident that happened recently that kind of inspired this incident. Or there was an incident that happened recently that kind of inspired this episode and us wanting to dig deeper into it. Right. Which is why I love doing what we do because I’m always questioning. Do people like this? What’s the other side to it? Right? Right. We’ve heard what we’ve heard and we know what we feel. But what does everybody else feel like? Right. So we surveyed our community and what we found was there’s a team “no”.

Don’t take one for the team and there’s a team “yes”.

Do take one for the team. And then there’s this whole aspect of “do you keep score?”

Right. Keeping track of who took when or what and they’ve gotten to so you get to and this kind of… Right. Equaling the scales of justice for swinging. Right. Right. So it was interesting… We’re going to start with the team “no” first. And it’s interesting the wiggle room or the wiggle room that the “no’s” have and the “yes” have. Yeah. Yeah. So let’s get into the team “no”.

For the most part, team “no” has this policy that anything less than an enthusiastic “yes” from both people, it’s a “no”. So if everybody’s not on board, no go. Right.

Although what’s interesting is as they’ve gotten more experience, they’ve started to really hone in on that. And one of the reasons they get to this “no” point is they’re just not willing to compromise.

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They get to a point where they… You know what? I don’t need to compromise on my sexuality anymore. Right. And that happened for me because I didn’t have… We didn’t have a lot of experience swinging.

I didn’t know what to expect. You didn’t know what to expect. You do your best with the information that you have and the information that you get when you’re in a situation. And you have an experience and then you reassess and go “pros, cons, yeah, you know, didn’t really like that experience.” Or “yeah, that was amazing. Let’s do it again.”

Over time as those experiences progress and you catalog them, then you may start to go, “you know, I have filet mignon right here in front of me, and I don’t have to settle for a hamburger anymore.” Right. The other thing that happens with experience is couples become more confident and comfortable with just saying “no.” Yes. Part of the thing that happens with social interactions, it’s hard to say “no, you don’t want conflict, you don’t want to make people feel bad.” But guess what? You get to a point where you’re like, “no, I don’t need to say yes. I don’t feel the social pressure to say yes anymore. I’m okay saying no.” And everybody should be comfortable saying no. But it’s hard to do. It’s not easy. It’s not easy because of the social pressure and the programming, especially for women being… They’re taught to be people pleasers, right? We are connectors of a community. We bring families together, we bring people together, we nurture and take care of people. So there’s that pleasing type of mentality ingrained in us. So wanting everyone to feel okay is in our nature, so to speak. But in the Swinger community, I really had to let that go. Right. Because, you know what? I was doing a disservice to myself.

One of the other things that has come out with this interview, or one of the other things that came out during this survey, was people feeling like they had higher standards, that they didn’t feel like they needed to compromise, that they had this right to be choosy, the whole steak versus hamburger. Right. “If I have something good, why do I need to compromise so I’m only looking for stuff that’s as good as what I’m getting?” Or at least approaching that, because obviously sex with your own primary partner is always better. Yes, never going to be the same with anybody else. It’s always going to be best with your partner. It could be a lot of fun, but it doesn’t usually equal.

And what’s interesting with this group too, is that there really isn’t any wiggle room on this. They were pretty much set on, “Nope, nope, nerd. If it’s not enthusiastic, it’s a hard no.”

We thought about how do you kind of advance out of that, or what are some of those ways so that you don’t feel like you’re always saying no, or that you have these kind of unattainable standards when you meet other couples? Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of supermodels running around in a lifestyle that are willing to have sex with everybody, especially us average people.

So, how do you kind of work through that? How do you kind of maybe expand your boundaries a little bit so that you’re saying no a little bit less if you feel like it? These are just some ideas.

One of the ways is flexibility with your preferences. I know personally, my preferences have changed throughout our experiences within the lifestyle. I’m choosing to have sex with people who I may not have chosen to when we first got into the lifestyle, because I’ve had some positive experiences with people who are maybe a little bit outside my boundaries, and it was a lot of fun. Yes, yes. So, I’m okay with maybe changing my boundaries a little bit, or that over time my boundaries have expanded a bit. Right.

I’m the opposite in where I wasn’t as… I mean, I had boundaries, maybe I wasn’t as picky in the beginning, because I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I feel like my tastes are maybe more refined now. Not picky, but just more refined. And I don’t want to just lay down for anybody. I really value that connection with people now, as opposed to before, but I had a reason for why I didn’t want a connection before, because to me it felt threatening. Now it doesn’t feel threatening, now I desire that. So once again, my preferences have changed as well. Yeah, and I’ll say that one of the reasons why my boundaries have kind of expanded was this concept of getting to know people, and you know, when you get to know somebody, sometimes they’re sexier than when you first meet them. Yes, yes. And that has a lot to do with that level of enthusiasm, that level of connection, and that feeling that, you know what? I feel comfortable. They may not be my typical, they may not be that kink or that fetish that I really usually go for, but God, they seem like a lot of fun. Right?

This could be interesting. This could be interesting.

Okay, so that was team no. Let’s talk about team yes.

All right.

Team yes is either an enthusiastic yes or a lukewarm yes. Right, right. So they have a little more wiggle room. Right.

Classic example of this is, we’ll just say one partner is a 10, and the other partner’s five, maybe a five.

But they’re interesting. They have a, they’ve got some particular feature that you go, you know, I could kind of just dive into the boobs for a while and just forget the rest of the stuff.

That’s okay.

Right. Or it’s the humor, or they tickled my brain. It’s the sapiosexual aspect that I really like. Maybe they talk dirty really well. Right. And that just does it for you. The tingles start to happen. You’re like, oh, yeah, it’s on. Right. So what’s fun about that is that you, you get to experiment and discover new things with other people that you may have not known that you like. Right. And you go, oh, I want to do that again with that person because I don’t get that with you. And I could get that with that person. And it’s fun because it’s like going out for ice cream. You’re like, oh, I get to have chocolate ice cream. I never have chocolate ice cream at the house. I have chocolate ice cream or the sprinkles or whatever. Right. Right. I mean, the dirty talks are really good example. I mean, maybe that partner can talk a really good game and they’re basically just seducing you right off your feet. You’re like, oh, I’m in. I was a no, but now I’m I was a maybe and now I’m an abs. Oh, hell yeah. Take me away. Right. Right. So this this the team. Yes. Also said that, you know, these lukewarm yeses allow for more experiences. Right. Like what we were kind of describing. You don’t really know because you need to open up that space for the experience to happen. Right. Right.

And early in our swinging, we said yes, probably more so than we say yes now.

I think we were also experimenting a lot with orgies and they seem to be very as like people like to say organic. Right. There was very spontaneous spontaneous. Right. And they always seem to be happening everywhere. And so in order to I wish they happened all the time, but it didn’t require a lot of conversation up front, which is where we were awkward.

And so we would just kind of jump in. Right. And it was nice that we were very, very lucky. And it’s a testament to the community that the people were very respectful and didn’t take advantage. There was no negotiation or any kind of verbal consent up front. Right. There’s a lot of nonverbal consent. There’s a lot of nonverbal and it just worked.

Now, I will say in the early days, I don’t think people partied as hard as they do now. Seems to. Yeah. It seems to have ramped up a little bit. It does. And so if I I’m a little more picky with with people who are a little more, I don’t know, I don’t know, I do the influence higher because I tend not to have as good experience. And so for me, that’s my personal preference and choice. Right. Right. And a lot of our early experiences with, you know, saying yes, or at least being comfortable with kind of being in those those larger group dynamics had to do with there were a fair amount of maybes. There were a couple of no’s in the room. But because of the group situation, you can be a little flexible and you can kind of move around the room. And as some people have said, there’s no such thing as a bad blowjob.

Oh, my goodness. So we talked about the wiggle room with the yes group. There is some wiggle room that number 10 and the versus number five kind of example personality. And the last thing, which is really a turn on for for me and I’ve heard this from other people, is that that energy that when you look at another couple and you can tell that they’re just in love. They’re just in love with each other. Right. They’re just passionate about each other. Right. And you love the way they make out with one another. You love the way they touch one another. And it’s exciting. It is a turn on and you just want to be part of it. Right. And I have had that experience multiple times. And honestly, it is the most beautiful thing ever. It’s really exciting to watch that enthusiasm, whether it’s a single partner or it’s a couple. That level of enthusiasm really gets me motivated. It’s very exciting to watch. And it you kind of feed off of that energy. It’s kind of powerful. Yeah, because they’re owning their sexuality. They’re owning their passion and their expression and they’re not afraid to show it. And that is addicting. It’s catching. Right. Well, let’s talk about keeping score and IOUs. This is one of those things where you’ve got a tally sheet in the back of your head where you’re like, hmm, remember that time with that thing with the girl in that room. And it was weird. I’m calling in that that favor because now that couple, I want that partner and we’re going to have a good time. And guess what?

Calling in the chip. I’m calling in the chip.

Yes. Some people said that that phrase or the concept of score is really wrong and insensitive. Right. They didn’t like it at all.

And the I don’t think anyone really was in favor of using it in that way. Right. And I think there were a few people in favor of saying, yeah, an IOU, right? It was kind of a little softer of an approach. Sure. Sure. And I think when it gets to the point where you feel like you’re pushing your partner to do something that they’re not comfortable with when, when that IOU is a kind of a detriment to your partner. Right. Yeah. That’s kind of a no fly zone. Yeah.

It usually the IOU is when one partner’s all in and the other person’s kind of on the fence. Right. Maybe they haven’t had enough time to communicate with their other partner or flirt with them or warm up to them, engage with them enough. Right. And we’ve actually had this happen before where you were all in and I’m like, I’m with you. I just need more time with him. I need to feel more comfortable, but I think there’s a strong possibility. Right. And so you, we negotiated, we took a step aside, we negotiated and I said, you know, I just give me another half an hour conversation with him and I think, I think we could make this happen.

And, you know, then, you know, my feelings, once I was all in, then we had a great time.

I will say that I tend to fall into the taking one for the team side to a certain degree.

I know how hard it is for you to find partners that you like really connect with. And when you do.

I feel a little guilty because my palate is maybe a little wider than yours. And so if you’re having a hard time finding partners and you find one that you really gel with and their partners, maybe not so much on my list, maybe even on the border of not really interested. Right. I might still do it just because it’s so challenging for you to find people who you just connect with. Oh, interesting.

I didn’t know that.

And because I’ve had such a good luck and because my spectrum is a little wider than yours, I don’t really have a problem finding partners where I’m like, man, it’ll be fun.

Do you think it is a it is a part of it too is there there is that satisfaction and erotic charge watching me have sex with somebody else? Oh, absolutely. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of things that go into that. Let’s say, for example, maybe you don’t like I don’t know the shape of the woman’s hand. Let’s just say the system because I’m not going to go abstract abstract. Maybe you don’t like the shape of her hand. You’re like, you know what? There are 10 other things about this woman’s body that I really enjoy. But the hands, you know, we’re kind of putting you over the edge. But you’re like, you know what? There’s there’s nine other things that are great. And I get to watch my wife with this man.

Absolutely. And I think part of it is that I can I tend to be able to find at least one attractive attribute or at least one redeeming thing. I’m very much a lemonade person. I like to create lemonade even when I’m handed lemons. Now, that sounds very objectifying. But at the same time, if you’re not attracted to someone, you’re not attracted to them. But I can kind of find attractive qualities for a lot of people. And so I think that’s why my spectrum is maybe a little bit wider than yours is. I think for us, it also has something to do with your background and my background.

I’ve had a lot of shitty sex in my life. Oh, absolutely. I really don’t want to have any more shitty sex. There’s also the really just the very real issue that women are accepting a man inside of them. And that’s very invasive. Yes. Men were pretty much just sticking things in other people. Right. And it’s a different experience from everything that I’ve heard. Yeah. We are inviting you into our home, our own sanctuary. So it is. It’s different. Right.

Oh, my goodness.

What’s the last thing on the IOU keeping score thing?

Oh, yeah. This one’s a little awkward. And this almost plays into our gossip episode and how things get out in the community. And that’s what happens if one of your play partners finds out that you took one for the team. Can you imagine? Well, if from an ego standpoint or from a body image standpoint, that can be demoralizing. Oh, yeah. So if you’re going to do this, be really careful about how you deal with it and how you talk about it and how you like, like, keep it to yourselves. Like, this should not be something that gets out in any respect because if it gets out, you’re not only are you going to be out that guy. Yeah, you are not going to be on any health party list ever. You’re going to be on everybody’s shit list. Yes. So keep it to yourself. It’s your thing. This is how you decide to deal with it and just take it that way. All right. Here are some really interesting things to think about when you’re taking one from the team, so to speak, if it’s not 100 percent, yes. Is it really consensual?


You know, so this is just kind of this is that thing about gray area of not definitively yes. So is it really consensual?

And from from my perspective, yeah, I don’t think I would ever consent to something that I was not comfortable with. I may not be 100 percent comfortable with it, but it’s still consent. I’m still, at least from my perspective, still saying yes. So if you are saying yes and you don’t feel like you’re consenting or you feel shitty about saying yes, it may not be consent.

Correct. And I will say in that people pleaser mode, I have said yes and I did not want to say yes. And I felt shitty afterward. And who is to blame? Me.

So I have learned to not do that to myself anymore. Right.

Another thing to think about. Do you feel forced to have sex to make your primary partner happy?

That would be an interesting thing if you are feeling that way. You should really think about that. We get comments and we see comments and questions a lot in the Swinger forums about this. And we have actually experienced this more so early on where the husband speaks for the wife. Right. Says, oh, she likes this. Oh, she really wants this. And the wife is pretty silent. She’s usually under the influence and doesn’t have much of a voice. Right. And knowing now after years of experience, seeing that I do not. I straight away. I will talk and ask her directly, but I don’t feel like I get a confident answer from her. No way. Yeah. And this goes a lot to the issue of consent and how you can grant consent if you’re not 100% there or 100% on board. And that kind of power imbalance we’ve seen in forums, we’ve seen it in conversation with other Swingers where it’s like, yeah, she just didn’t seem like she was into it. She didn’t seem like she was on board, like she was super quiet or she didn’t, she wasn’t flirty at all. Or actually, we don’t usually see that from the men. Most of this does tend to be women who seem to be kind of railroaded or dragged along to these events.

A lot of Swingers pick up on this and it’s easy to spot because they just look out of place. Yeah, they don’t look like a couple.

The other thing to think about is, do you feel obliged to have sex with somebody else to keep your partner happy? It’s kind of the same thing as feeling forced, but it’s a little different. Do you feel obligated? Or at least guilty after the fact. At the end of the night, you’re like, you actually had this issue for a long time. You felt like if I wasn’t happy or I wasn’t coming away from a party having that experience, that you had somehow gotten in the way of the fun. Yes, I ruined your fun. And I assured you over and over again, it’s like, no, your happiness is just as important as mine. And I am more than happy to just leave a party if that’s what we need to do. Yes, and it was a bit challenging because it was almost a battle of who wants who to be happy. I wanted you to be happy, but you didn’t want me to be unhappy to the detriment of your happiness. Right. Right. To my own detriment of making you happy. So, you know, yeah. Yeah. It was a bit challenging working through that.

Another thing to think through is, do you think it’s dehumanizing to keep score? In other words, talk about objectification. I mean, it’s literally keeping a tally, like that whole notch on the headboard kind of a thing.

And I think it’s OK if it’s kind of in jest or you’re having some fun with it. You remember that one time at that party and I wasn’t really so much into it, but you were super gung ho. OK, I’m going to let you have that. But did you see her?

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Right. Or maybe it’s situational. Right. They say you’re on a cruise and there’s different theme nights and you go, you know, tonight’s my night. I’m going to, you know, I’m going to go to the playroom and I’m going to pick out this type of person and I’m going to play with them. Right. And tomorrow is your night. Right. And so you have a very limited structure. It kind of becomes like a game, a key. Sure. Right. Something fun that you both do together with obviously with the consent of others. And so in that regard, you’re kind of keeping score, right? Yeah. You almost make a game of it where it’s more of a novelty thing. Yes. And you’re you know, it’s like a bucket list. You’re like, I’ve never tried that before. I’m going to check that box. Right.

Do you feel resentment or guilt afterward? So if you’ve got strong feelings, like something wasn’t right about that and you’re thinking about it a lot afterwards.

Think about that. Right. Do you feel it is a lack of respect to yourself, your relationship or even to the other play partner? Right. Because you’ve you’ve said things to them. Oh my God, you’re so hot. I really want to play with you again.

Even though you and you said it to let them down easy or to, you know, and then all of a sudden they think, oh my God, I’m so special to her. She’s going to want me next time I see her. And you don’t. Or you didn’t say anything. You didn’t try to seduce them. You weren’t flirty with them and you become that silent partner that’s kind of not into it. Oh, yeah. How does that make them feel at the end? Right. You’re like, oh, she doesn’t look like they weren’t really into it. And I’ve been in plenty of situations where it just didn’t seem like she was into it. Yeah. And then we just like, yeah, not not at all interested in either me or the situation or whatever. Right. But momentum was moving that way. And that’s where everybody went. And I end up feeling pretty weird about it afterwards. Yeah. And that’s when we stopped and we go, you know, I’m not sure if everyone was on the same page. We have learned a lot from our new beginnings and the origins and all of that. And we honestly have moved more towards sober play again. We started off sober for the first three years. Then we got really comfortable. We started relaxing a little bit by being more a little bit with the social scene. And, you know, it hasn’t, it hasn’t really been a pro in my mind. I haven’t had those meaningful connections and experiences that I really like and enjoy when I’m not completely sober. So you’re moving more towards that and more of a verbal, more expressing what we want out of a situation. Right. Right. And so our preferences have changed as they do.

The relationship with yourself and with your partner is an agreement. If you don’t agree to stand up for what you want, nobody else will. Relationships are all about agreements and negotiating what works for you and your relationship.

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