Claire and her now-husband Eric (not their real names) spent about three years while they were dating going to a swingers club. Here's how it happened, according to Claire—and how she says it made their relationship stronger.
We had been dating a few years and lived pretty far apart. We were in our late 30s. Neither of us had ever been married or had children, and we met up and it kind of just clicked. I think it was the right time in our lives. We stayed long distance for quite a while and it was good, because I had something to look forward to. Then we started to get more serious.
[Swinging] kind of started as a joke. He always joked with me and said, "There are a couple things I'd like to get off my bucket list before I turn 40." He kept saying, "Do you want to go to a swingers club?" I said, "What are you talking about? I don't even know what that is! I'm a corn-fed Midwestern girl." He had a friend who went with his girlfriend and they said it was a blast and they had this incredible sex for weeks and weeks afterwards.
He's not even remotely creepy. There are other people I've dated that if they would have said that I'd have been taking the first train out of town. But we had a really great relationship. As it was getting closer to his birthday, I was thinking to myself, I'm going to do this for his birthday. I knew I'd be safe. I knew if I told him I didn't want to be there, that he'd leave. But I was still petrified.
The first night I had his hand like a vice and I said to him, "Do NOT let go of my hand." There was a sign before you walk through the door saying that if you're offended by public displays of nudity or sexuality, do not enter. But we went in and it was a really nice club. There was a big dance club, a big bar, and a huge buffet set up. It was clean. It wasn't icky at all, and the food was delicious.
We sat down at the bar and we ordered drinks. I had to go to the bathroom and there was a naked woman standing in the bathroom fixing her hair. In the bar section, people were dancing more suggestively than they might in a regular club, but nothing crazy. That first night we came in there were two guys sitting at the bar and there were two girls giving them blowjobs as we walked in.
We were kind of shy. That's one of the things I always liked about it. Everybody always leaves you alone unless you want them not to. You might walk past someone who might smile at you and you can smile back and start talking. I never felt like people were creeping on you. A girl would walk past me, and as heterosexual as I am, she'd say, "Man, you're beautiful" and lean over and give me this hot kiss. And I'd be like, "This is the coolest thing ever—this girl thinks I'