Allow me to preface this blog by saying this: We are not anti-alcohol. We are certainly not sober ourselves, and we don't judge those that partake in alcohol in any way. We are simply providing some thoughts based on personal experience and stories shared with us by listeners of our show.
As lifestyle podcasters, we receive a lot of emails, many of which are other lifestyle folks wanting to share their stories with us. Typically these stories are very heart-warming and wonderful, but every once in a while, someone will reach out with a train wreck experience. I recently started combing through our saved messages to see correlations between the horror stories, and I bet one pattern won't shock you at all: One or all parties involved were almost always intoxicated.
Drinking is somewhat of a staple in the swinging community. It is incredibly rare to find sober events or house parties, and the vast majority of lifestylers will tell you that alcohol is an important element to their swinging experiences. While we are certainly not saying there is anything wrong with that, there is clearly a line that gets crossed on a very regular basis. First, let's start with our personal experience. I will never forget the very first lifestyle event we attended in Montana. The level of intoxication was staggering, with some being so drunk they couldn't stand up on their own. One woman was slurring her words right before she touched Brian's penis without asking consent. And that was far from the only consent violation we witnessed that evening. We were so uncomfortable that we left and were in bed before 11 pm.
At another lifestyle event we attended, before 8 pm we were seeing people falling over from intoxication. One woman fell straight out of a chair and hit her head on the ground. Another woman was uncontrollably sobbing in the restroom, with her friends telling her it was time for her to get an Uber and head home. The level of decorum simply was not there.
Allow me to explain why this is an issue, if it's not already obvious. Firstly, I can't think of anything less sexy for me personally than a person slurring words, speaking loudly in my face, falling all over themselves, and not being able to form full sentences. I am in this lifestyle to experience erotic pleasures with people, and when someone is at that level of intoxication, there is absolutely nothing erotic about it to me. Secondly, consent people! This one escapes me: We as a lifestyle community preach consent until we are blue in the faces, yet we believe that we can safely give and receive consent when we or others are drunk. Not possible! The definition of consent is that permission is granted and received from two or more people OF SOUND MIND. When you are literally falling out of chairs, you are clearly not of sound mind and therefore are unable to safely provide and receive consent.
Now, from the perspective of the lifestylers that reach out to us with their horror stories: as mentioned previously, almost every single time, the story begins with, "We got drunk, and..." What follows is anything ranging from, "He/she did something to me without asking," or "I broke a rule we set as a couple ahead of time," or even, "I went forward with something I never would have had I been sober." These stories make it clear that alcohol is a huge contributing factor in a failed swinging interaction, and had it not been part of the equation, the night would have ended very differently. Let us be clear if you're still doubting the impact alcohol can have on swinging encounters: We have seen it ruin friendships, result in legal issues, or even split couples apart altogether.
We've talked about this subject in the past and were met with the following response more often than not: "Yeah, but it's just not fun without alcohol." While that statement is concerning to me on its own, I will once again reiterate that I don't believe swinger interactions need to be completely sober. I partake in drinking at events responsibly (although Brian doesn't at all in most situations). RESPONSIBLY is the key word there. You need a drink or two to provide a little social lubrication? I honestly don't feel that's a big deal. You want to take a shot right before play so you aren't so in your own head? Do it, as long as it won't send you over the tipping point and result in you being a hot mess. The point is not sobriety in swinging, it's moderation and an ability to make solid choices.
I know this article will not result in unanimous agreement, and that certainly was not the point. Swinging and drinking have always and will continue to go hand in hand for a lot of lifestylers. The point was simply to start a dialogue about the amount of drinking that is happening at some of these events. There are so many consent violations we hear of, so many horrific situations that could be avoided if one or all parties were of clear mind. So maybe at your next event, switch to water halfway through. Ensure you eat a sizeable meal before heading out for a night of drinking. Or at the very least, discuss ahead of time with your partner or those you plan to be sexual with what boundaries should exist around alcohol before play. It might surprise you how many potential play partners would appreciate you not slurring and tripping all over yourself all evening....