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'm good-looking!" Of course Eric liked that too.
Then there's the back area. To go in the back area of the club you either have to be naked or wearing just a towel or girls can wear lingerie. Pretty much anything goes back there. There's a pool, there are hot tubs, there are private rooms if you want to go in. Then there are beds right out in the open area.
That first night, Eric said, "Do you want to just stay out here [in the bar]? And I said, "Oh no, we're here I want to see everything." We hadn't really mingled with anybody. They have a locker room where you can go in and take your clothes off and get a towel and go in the back. There are condoms everywhere. We never did anything, even oral sex, without condoms. It was super clean. There were baskets of clean sheets everywhere and wipes so that you could wipe the bed and change the sheets. I always felt safe there.
The first time [in the back room] was very shocking to me. People were doing pretty much anything you can think of. Two people together, five girls together, it was just a free-for-all. I had my towel clenched around me, and we were walking around. We went and sat down by a bar and after a while Eric said, "Well, do you just want to go in one of those rooms by ourselves?" So that's what we did. We went into a private room alone, had great sex, then went home that night and had great sex for the rest of the weekend. The next day he'd look at me and we'd both burst out laughing. We had a blast. That kind of started it. We went over a period of two to three years. I would buy something fun to wear and get really dressed up and it would be this whole ritual.
Once a girl came up to me and we started talking and I thought she was gorgeous. Her husband was there but he didn't engage. She gave Eric a blowjob while I was there. It just happened and it didn't bother me and I didn't worry about it. We've swapped between couples maybe four or five times since then.
We had decided that if we met a couple that we were both attracted to that we would try it. One night we met a couple we felt comfortable with. And she was really scared like the first time I went. We told them that we'd never been with another couple. She and I had a little encounter and the guys just were there watching. We ended up keeping in contact with them, and we met up again; that time we did swap. Eric and I were in the same room. We've always been able to see each other and never separated. We both decided at that point that seeing the same people over and over wasn't a good idea. The anonymity of meeting another couple and not knowing much about them, and having fun then going home was better. We didn't want to meet up with people over and over and have them over for dinner. That just wasn't us.
I don't think it was [fear of forming] emotional attachments as much as being afraid that we couldn't get rid of them. I trusted him. I never thought,Oh, what if he likes her better than me?I never thought that. After that we didn't keep in contact or trade numbers. A lot of times we would go and it would just be him and me. We wouldn't always swap.
The most people we've been with at once were three other couples, everybody all together. That time, I started talking to a girl at the bar and Eric started talking to the guy and we really clicked. They had friends with them and we all just started talking. And this was in public, it wasn't in private. It was all in the open.
There were a few creepy times. We went once on a Saturday and we had such a phenomenal time that we went home and said, "we've never gone on a Sunday. Why don't we go back for a couple hours?" It was empty, but there was a couple who was a good 30 years older than us that just wanted us badly. I felt bad. I didn't want to hurt their feelings. But I went to the bathroom and Eric picked me up and we snuck out. The thought of getting disrobed with that couple…yeah, I couldn't do it.
We usually went seven or eight times a year. Then we got married and moved to a different city. There are clubs here and we've talked about it, but I'm not as comfortable with my body now as I was four years ago. If I lost 25 pounds I would go back. It's fun to have people find you attractive. It's fun to feel sexy and get dressed up in clothes I would never wear.
I think it made me stronger. I was very sheltered growing up. I was a little on the heavier side, not big, but I never felt that attractive. When I went there, I felt gorgeous. It just felt good. I want more people to go! For us it was a total relationship builder, it really was. It was a totally positive experience. It brought us closer than anybody can be. There's a level of trust between the two of us now. You can't do something like that and not trust each other.