Today I read a blog post from Tara at “Sex Uninterrupted.”
She describes herself as a “leader in the lifestyle,” and I have seen her giving swinging lectures on youtube and being the guest host of Hedonism trips in the past.
Her blog post is entitled, “Why I no longer identify as a swinger/lifestyler.” She lists four main complaints, two of which are rampant drug use and a lack of consent. As a result, she’s disgusted with swinging and can no longer associate with or identify as such.
What struck me as I read her blog was how different my experiences have been than hers, and I began to wonder if her issues were all related to one another.
Regarding drugs, she writes, “Like I mentioned in the last paragraph, I frequently went to festivals, raves and DJ shows — mostly during my early to mid-twenties before I really knew about the LS/Swinger community. During this time, I did a SHIT LOAD of drugs. Like, sometimes I wonder how I made it through that period of my life… When James and I started exploring the Lifestyle, I was shocked that drinking and drug use was at par with the rave scene. People were doing ecstasy, MDMA, GHB, cocaine, mushrooms, acid AND drinking — not just at big events and clubs but at house parties and smaller get togethers (like orgies) too. Of course, I indulged with everyone, I mean, I had a lot of experience with drugs and probably a slight addiction too.”
My view couldn’t be more different than hers. I’ve never once seen or been offered illegal drugs at a lifestyle event or party.
The only exception has been at Hedonism in Jamaica when beach “merchants” will try to sell you virtually anything. These same merchants do the same thing at Sandals resorts and everywhere. It’s a Jamaica issue, not a swinger issue.
On some level, I wonder if she was open about her drug use and attracted people with similar interests. Soon, it appeared from her world view that practically all swingers use these substances?
Her experiences with consent are also far different than ours. She wrote, “Consent was also something that I realized I saw differently than others. I believe in eliminating rape culture and part of that includes putting the responsibility of Consent not just on the receiver, but on the person “doing” the act. This is why I always educated people to ASK FIRST and talked at length about Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent. Asking first, rather than waiting for someone to speak up and say no, is a powerful way to navigate Consent. However, this is not the norm for many people and businesses in the Lifestyle/Swinger community. I have been touched, groped, and kissed without Consent at nearly every Lifestyle/Swinger event/party/resort I have been to. 9/10 times the person thought it was ok and none of them asked first.”
I agree that this is not a significant focus from practically any lifestyle events or promoters. YCP has a consent instructional video that we force people to watch, and I can assure you no other event has or would do, such a thing.
We also set the standard that you ask before you touch…at all. Even a hug. Even your friends. Every. Single. Time.
That said, we’ve not had the same issues of being victimized as she has. Not even close. A part of me wonders if she was struggling with Consent because she was hanging around with people “using ecstasy, MDMA, GHB, cocaine, mushrooms, and drinking alcohol?”
Like I wrote earlier, we’ve been going to different events. Or at the very least, hanging around with other people at those events.
What are your thoughts?