Am I Normal? – Sensible Swinger

Alice is a 31 year old psychologist from Eastern Europe, currently living and working in New York. She is in an open marriage, and both she and her husband are very active in the NYC swinging community.

You’ve been with your husband for four years, married for three. How did you guys meet?
Alice: We met in the swinger world–through a couple who we were both fucking separately. We wouldn’t have been married if I didn’t need a green card. I would still be with him, of course, but I’ve always thought marriage was a stupid institution. I still do, although it was very useful.
So were you “open” from the beginning?
Yeah, there was never any expectation of monogamy. He’s been a swinger his whole life. I’ve been very unsuccessfully monogamous my whole life.
I feel you. That shit is hard!
It really is! That’s just not who I am. I tried to be monogamous twice–once in a long-term relationship with a man, another with a woman–and I failed miserably both times. In both cases, my partner was older than me, and they tried to convince me that when you really love someone you don’t want other people. And I thought, “Well, they’re older and wise than me… what do I know? I was 17, 18, 19, so I figured I’d try, but I cheated so much. So, after the second relationship ended I thought, “This is stupid, I‘m never promising monogamy to anyone ever again.”
Also, I’ve found that sometimes the restrictions of monogamy make you want to be even more crazy.
Yeah, it just wasn’t for me. It had nothing to do with my feelings for those people–I loved them very much–but I just needed to get laid by other people. Restricting myself doesn’t make me happy, and it doesn’t make me love my partner any less.
Do you get jealous?
I don’t.  I really don’t know what jealousy feels like and I hope I never do. If anything I’m like, “Go for it!” I feel happy for my partner when they hook-up.
See, I’m jealous that you can even say that. I wish I was more sociopathic, but unfortunately I do feel possessive sometimes, which is an issue in my open relationship! But anyway, I imagine you must feel very secure in your relationship to feel free of jealousy. If you felt threatened that your husband might leave you for someone else, that might change, right?
Security is critical. But it’s also largely about confidence–confidence in your own self and self-worth. I know that I’m a good, valuable person, and that’s big. I know that even if my husband left me for someone else, I’d be fine. It wouldn’t be the end of the world. We’re together because I think he’s the best possible partner for me right now, and I’m the best possible partner for him right now. If at any point, for whatever reason, he stops thinking that, then he stops being the most perfect partner for me, because why would I want to be with someone who doesn’t think of me first?
Very true. Does your husband ever feel jealous?
He struggles with it a little. It’s a personality thing–some people are just more emotional and get attached more easily than others. I also think it’s a biological thing. You just have to know yourself: even though some people want to stay unattached and be casual, as soon as something happens–especially if they have sex and have an orgasm–then they have all of this oxytocin running through their body, and people who are very susceptible to oxytocin start thinking, “Oh my God, is he going to call” or “Could this work out? Could he be the one?” even if it was a one night stand. While other people can just be like, “pffffft.”
That’s funny–in one of the episodes of my VICE series I interviewed my friend Leah, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller, about what makes people fall in love, and she said something like, “When you have an orgasm the brain releases of oxytocin, which is a chemical that helps to form and sustain love.” And I was like, “Wait… maybe that’s why I can have so much sex with dudes and rarely get attached–because they never make me cum. But my girlfriend is crazy good at making me cum, and I’m hooked.”
Thats so funny. So you have a hard time cumming with men?
I do, although in the past couple years I’ve gotten way better at it. But sometimes I’ll just masturbate while I’m fooling around with a guy, and I still count that as “cumming during sex.”
Yeah, that still counts. It doesn’t have to be them giving you the orgasm–it’s a situation where they’re involved. It seems that what oxytocin actually does is it ties the emotions of pleasure and euphoria with the memory of the person with whom you experienced this positive, pleasurable thing.
Oh wow. So if you cum during an orgy, it’s really confusing, basically.
Yep! Very true.
So what are the boundaries of your relationship with your husband?
Well our initial rule was that we could play with other people together but there were no restrictions when we were apart. But then my husband instituted a zip code rule, so basically we can only play separately with other people when we’re not in the same city. He needed that because he’s not as secure in himself or our relationship as I am. But when he instituted that rule I was like, “That’s fine, as long as we can take breaks.” So now every 4 to 6 weeks we take a break from each other for a week or two. He goes to the midwest for work a lot, so breaks are not hard. But now that we’ve been together for a while, and he feels more secure in our relationship, he’s started to relax a bit. And I certainly don’t impose that rule on him–he can play with whoever he wants, whenever he wants.
Really? But isn’t that unfair if he’s imposing that rule on you?
It’s not exactly equal, but I know he’s doing it because he wants to be mean. It’s because he can’t handle it. But it doesn’t make any difference to me, so I want to give him that freedom. If he wants to get a midday blow-job, he can go for it, even if I’m in town. And I know that eventually he’s going to be able to give me that freedom, too. It’s a process. He’s 44 and for his entire life he’s been the one who’s more open in his relationships. The he met me, and now he’s the one trying to catch up.
Do you and him have threesomes with other men?
Yep. He’s not bi though, so they’re very heterosexual threesomes where both guys are very focused on me.  
That so cool. So, where do you meet other swingers? Do you go to swingers parties in New York? Can you name a good one?
I do, I’ve been to many different sex parties. Hmm… there’s the Chemistry party in New York. They always have some sort of show, like a burlesque show, and there’s a DJ and catering. All of the good on-premise sex parties are kind of expensive–for a couple it’s like $150 or maybe more. But for single women it’s a lot cheaper. Most of these parties are bring your own booze, because you can’t have full nudity and sell alcohol in the same establishment in America. There’s also many online communities where you can meet swingers, for example Swinger Nation Ireland.
So these swinger parties start with eating, drinking and maybe a show, and then people just start fucking all in one room?
Well, it depends, but usually there’s a socializing room where people start making-out on the dance floor, and then you move into other rooms where there’s beds and stuff. Although you could technically have sex in the socializing room as well.
And how many people attend, roughly? And are they mainly hetero couples and lesbians?
Again it depends, but there are usually about 100. There’s almost never gay male couples. The swinger world is very heteronormative for males and then bi for women, so almost all of the women are bisexual, and almost all of the men are heterosexual. And there are actually not many lesbian couples either. And many parties won’t allow single men at all.
So at the risk of sounding superficial, what is the quality of the people at these things, looks-wise?
Different parties have different mixes, but I’ve usually found that I’d consider fucking about 20% of the group, and the other 80%, well…
That’s not bad.
Yeah, that’s still a lot of people. But remember, even if you like someone, they have to like you back! So it’s often difficult to find a good match, especially if you’re a couple.
What was your first swinging experience?
Well I had my first threesome when I was 13.
What the…?!
Yeah, I was precocious from the very beginning. I hung out with an older crowd, and I got into a lot of trouble early because I looked mature early, but it was all fun all great, and I’m glad I did everything that I did. But yeah my first threesome was with my boyfriend and another girl when I was thirteen, and I had my first MMF a year after that with two random actors guys–really hot. So this is something I’ve been doing my whole life. I never made a decision to become a swinger–that was just a term I applied later on.
What about your first sex party?
I lived in Berlin for six months before moving to the states, and my fuck-buddy and I would go to this sex club called the KitKatClub. I love that place–it’s very different from any sex party I’ve been to in the U.S–there were straight, gay, trans people, disabled people, kinky people, non-kinky people there. It was very inclusive. And there would always be a big crowd around my friend and I, watching us.
The only thing that worries me about sex parties is someone taking my picture with their phone.
No, no, that’s almost never allowed. Most events won’t allow pictures whatsoever, while some will allow pictures with consent.
Is there heavy security at these things?
Not really. Everyone just polices everyone else’s behavior. Usually guys are not allowed to touch women without consent, and at some parties guys can’t even approach people alone. Condoms are something you don’t even talk about–it’s understood by everyone that for vaginal and anal sex you always use one. Although for oral sex no one uses condoms,
So do huge orgies happen, or is it more like small groups?
Sometimes big orgies develop, sometimes people just have sex with the person they came with, but most often people play with one or two other people. And sometimes a gangbang situation will happen if single men are allowed. You should just come with me one day, and see for yourself!