Savage Love

Swap Shop

Hey, Dan:
On our way home from dinner with friends, my wife and I enjoy talking about who among our friends we could imagine having sex with. These conversations get especially interesting when the woman I could imagine having sex with is married to the man my wife could imagine having sex with. Naturally, this raises the question of a "swap."

Is there a protocol for suggesting to some other couple that they entertain the idea of a swap? Or does it just require getting everyone really drunk?

Just Curious

Hey, JC:
Robert McGinley is President of the North American Swing Club Association (NASCA), has a Ph.D. in psychology, and has been called the "swingers' guru" more times than he cares to remember.

"In my experience, it is not a wise idea, and rarely successful, to try to introduce one's dinner companions to swinging unless you're sure that couple is interested or already involved in swing activities," Robert said when I shared your letter with him. "Good friends are hard to find, so why risk mucking up a friendship by making an advance? Also, if the other couple is shocked, they may tell others of your advance, affecting other friendships. Far better to go to a swing club, one that is couple-oriented, and make new friends who are already into swinging."

Robert would give that advice, wouldn't he? As the head of a trade association for swing clubs, it's Robert's job to direct horny married couples to NASCA's paying members and discourage freelance swinging. But conflicts of interest aside, I have to say I agree with Robert. When it comes to major kink--and swinging is major--it's best to meet like-minded pervs through like-minded perv organizations or at like-minded perv bars or parties. At NASCA's inevitable Web site (www.nasca.com), you'll find listings for swing clubs all over the world. "Look up clubs in the state you live in," Robert suggested, "and call the clubs that sound interesting." I went online and found eight clubs where you live, JC.

What kind of people will you meet? "Couples involved in swinging are the cream of the crop," said Robert--but, again, Robert would have to say that. The head of NASCA is not going to say swingers are scum, is he? But, again, I'm going to back Robert up: Some of my best friends are swingers, and some are the cream of the crop. "The last study I saw put the median age for men at 39 and 36 for women," Robert said. "These people are married, they have careers, they have families. Swinging is a couples activity. They have their act together and know what's what."

But what if you're attracted to one particular couple who aren't swingers? Should you get them drunk--a move I recommend frequently--and make a pass? "Oh, boy, that is a no-no from the word go," said Robert. "Even if it works, there can be a lot of repercussions once everyone sobers up. And why would you want to be drunk when you have sex? Getting drunk greatly inhibits the ability to be sexual. Swinging should always be entered into by knowledgeable, sober, consenting adults."

This is where Robert and I part company. Yeah, yeah, yeah: Everything should be entered into by knowledgeable, sober, consenting adults--but that's not the way world works when the world wants to get off, is it? My advice: Get your friends blasted and work swinging into the conversation. There's a new documentary film about swinging, The Lifestyle, that's making the rounds on the festival circuit. See it, or claim to have seen it, and tell your friends about it--when they're blasted. Without saying anything pro-swing or con-swing, feel your friends out on the swap topic. If they're pro-swing, pounce--make that pass. If they're con-swing, get 'em a little drunker and see if they don't come around to a pro-swing position.

In addition to his many duties at NASCA, Robert also runs the Lifestyle Organization, whose 26th annual convention will be held in Reno, Nevada, this weekend--where everyone will be stone-cold sober, no doubt. "There'll be four dances," Robert told me, "and seminars on sexuality, relationships, growth and medical issues--and a lot of socializing." But no drinking, of course. You can get more info about the convention by visiting--you guessed it--Lifestyle Organization's inevitable Web site: www.lifestyles.org.

Before I let Robert off the phone, I had one more question: Had the late-Nineties resurgence of swing dancing resulted in the North American Swing Club Association getting calls from people looking for dance lessons and not pervy middle-aged married couples? "Yeah," Robert said, laughing. "Some--not very many, but some. We tell them we're not swing dancers. They laugh and say, 'Sorry about that,' and go away."

Hey, Dan:
My fiance and I were frequently intimate when we were boyfriend and girlfriend. But since we got engaged, we haven't done much. Any advice?

Really Curious

Hey, RC:
Don't get married.

Hey, Dan:
Have you heard of a gay sex practice called "decanting"? As it was told to me, one man catheterizes himself to empty his bladder and then refills his bladder with wine to serve to guests at a very posh gay club. Is this real? While not universally appealing, urine is sterile and the bladder is a very clean place. Is a glass filled with urine from the penis, or does it go directly into the mouth? Any light you could shed on this would be great.

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