What If We Get Outed as Swingers?!
Part 2 | Our Experience & What We Learned From It
This is Part 2 of what will be a 3-part series about being found out as swingers when you’d rather not be.
Part 1 | Why it’s a concern for many, and how it does/doesn’t happen.
Part 2 | Our experience with being outed by someone else.
Part 3 | How to handle it before and after (in case it happens to you).
We started our podcast, We Gotta Thing, early on in our journey as swingers. Although we didn’t announce to any of our vanilla friends or family members that we participated in the lifestyle or that we had begun a public podcast about it, it goes without saying that opting to start the podcast increased the odds that someone in our community would find out. And that’s exactly what happened.
Our long-time listeners know that by episode 37 (about 2.5 years into podcasting) we were pretty abruptly outed in our community. An important thing to know is that we were not outed by someone we met in the lifestyle nor someone we came across on a lifestyle dating site. As we discussed in Part 1, it’s actually pretty rare to experience this sort of thing at the hands of someone you meet within the lifestyle.
No, what happened in our case was that someone in our neighborhood found out about the podcast and figured out that it was us, then circulated a letter in our community decrying what we were doing.
How We Reacted
We didn’t want to overreact immediately, and didn’t. It took some time for us to think about and talk about the ramifications of being outed by someone (we didn’t know who) and of not knowing who in our lives might know or soon find out, as a result of this person’s actions.
We temporarily took down the website and paused the podcast to give ourselves some time to decide how we would respond. Ultimately (obviously), we opted not to shut it down permanently as a result of the outing.
Because we didn’t know who might find out or possibly already know, we decided to have some very frank conversations with a handful of people we are very close to—the idea being that we’d prefer them to hear it from us and for us to have the opportunity to address their questions and concerns. Those conversations were difficult but ultimately affirming.
We are not here to tell you that there are no consequences of being public about your participation in the swinging lifestyle.
People who prefer not to be out about their participation in the lifestyle often worry about whether it would have ramifications on their careers and their livelihoods. The short answer is: It might. In our case, Mrs. Jones was eligible to retire and—as a result of the outing—opted to do so earlier than planned in order to get in front of what would very likely end her career unpleasantly if she did not.
Probably the most difficult ramification of the outing was the reaction of our church, where we had been very active and involved members for many years. We were subjected to a highly uncomfortable meeting that resulted in us being asked to leave not only leadership positions, but to leave our church. (If you’re now wondering how we reconciled our faith with the lifestyle leading up to this, you might be interested in listening to Episode 17).
It is true that we have also lost some friends; however, what we’ve learned from the experience about people and friendship is valuable.
What We’ve Learned
Based on our experience with people we told or who found out, we learned this: We can’t expect people’s understanding of the lifestyle to be where ours is when they first hear about it. We have had the benefit of much research and experience. They are learning about it for the first time and will need both information and time to get it.
Some do not necessarily understand, but accept it based on what they know and love about us. Some people assume our marriage is “in trouble.” Some will opt to believe swinging is just a form of cheating. Some may get angry and judgmental. A small number will express curiosity and maybe even admiration.
What It Affirmed for Us
- The swinging community is not just about sex. That became abundantly clear in the wake of our outing, when our lifestyle connections showed an immense outpouring of friendship, love, and support that continues to this day.
- True friends take the time to learn and accept, even if they don’t initially understand. We now have a support network of vanilla friends (folks we call lifestyle adjacent) who know about our involvement in the lifestyle and do not judge us or shrink away from us in light of how different it is from their own relationship choices. Our friends are genuine. We can say, “Sorry we’ve got a lifestyle thing this weekend” and they just shrug and ask if we’re available the one after that.
- Those who aren’t true friends aren’t a big loss when they decide to exit the friendship upon learning that our relationship is different from their own choices.
- Our close family remains our close family. It is true that we did not tell everyone in the family because, frankly, very few people in a family need to know the ins and outs of our sex life no matter what form it takes. While the telling was not easy or always smooth, those family members we have told have not abandoned us.
- Change isn’t always bad. Both of our careers have necessarily changed a great deal in the wake of the outing…for the better. The original plan may have been altered, but the path we find ourselves on now is exciting and fulfilling in ways we maybe couldn’t have attained by following our initial plans.
In Part 3 of this series, we will talk about managing your risk appetite; that is, the importance of talking with each other about “How out do we want to be?” and “What if we get outed?” Part 3 will talk about ways to mitigate the probability of being outed (spoiler alert: maybe don’t start a swinger podcast) and how to develop a plan for how you will respond if it does happen to you.
We are Mr. & Mrs. Jones, swinger lifestyle podcasters. If you like what you read here and want to learn more about the swinger lifestyle and/or We Gotta Thing, you can find our podcast episodes and much more at WeGottaThing.com.