What If We Get Outed as Swingers?!
This is Part 1 of what will be a 3-part series about being found out as swingers when you’d rather not be.
Arguably, swinging and other alternate marital relationships have become much more acknowledged by mainstream America in the years since we started swinging, as evidenced by coverage in the media at least. There are also lots of voices in the lifestyle community that encourage folks not to hide their ethical nonmonogamy, in part as a way to normalize it for all of us. We are not among those voices. We recognize all of the valid reasons that being out may not be the best thing for some couples. We are in favor of couples being out if that works for them, or not if it doesn’t.
Though it is true that mainstream America is more aware and maybe even accepting of the fact that swinging is an option some couples are choosing for their marriages, we realize that this is a matter of degree. We think America is more aware and accepting of alternate relationship approaches than it used to be. This is not to say that the swinger lifestyle is A-OK with everyone now. Not even close. There’s still a major lack of understanding and acceptance that’s evident.
In talking to folks who are new to swinging or considering swinging, we’ve found that fear of being found out still ranks high on the list of couple’s concerns:
We’ll lose our jobs.
We’ll lose our friends and we’ll have to move.
We’ll wind up on the front page of the local newspaper.
Our family will disown us.
Our kids will hate us.
Our god will abandon us.
We have first-hand experience with being outed by someone else in our community, and we understand these fears. We shared some if not all of them at one time. In part 2 of this series, we’ll talk about our experience and what we’ve learned from it in the years since. For now, we want to discuss how it tends to happen.
How it Doesn’t Tend to Happen
First things first, we have found that it’s rare for a couple to be outed by meeting another couple at an event or having a profile on a paid dating website.* It has happened, of course, that people have seen folks they know only in the vanilla world online or at a lifestyle event but, typically, those folks don’t want the community up in their marital business any more than you do. If nothing else, they aren’t going to out you because it would then out them. There tends to be a shared “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” sort of understanding.
We can’t say with certainty that no one has ever been outed after running into vanilla friends or coworkers at a lifestyle event or on a lifestyle dating site, but our conversations with others tells us that it’s uncommon. It is, naturally, a concern that causes many swinging couples to mingle and play only in places that are a good distance from their own backyards.
*This may be less true with free apps and websites that are open to anyone. Paid members-only apps and websites tend to attract others who are investing in part for the protection of identity.
So, How Does it Happen?
Mostly, being outed starts with you. Someone overhears the two of you alone or with another couple having a conversation at a bar or restaurant that reveals a little more than you intended. Someone sees you out on a swinger date with another couple and notices some cross-couple interactions that raise their eyebrows. Someone finds you through pictures that you have shared on social media.
Or maybe it’s just oversharing. A couple of glasses of wine in, you share a little about your lifestyle with a friend who wasn’t so trustworthy after all. He or she tells another friend who also wasn’t so trustworthy, and it snowballs. It may be someone who is jealous or insecure. It may just be someone who, a couple of glasses of wine in with another friend, can’t resist re-sharing what they see as salacious gossip—not thinking at all of how it may affect you.
Then there are those of us who start blogging or podcasting or otherwise sharing publicly about the lifestyle. If you are sharing ideas, thoughts, and experiences with swinging online—even under a pseudonym—you’re definitely increasing the possibility that someone in your vanilla community will find out about you. We weren’t out with our family and friends when we started We Gotta Thing, but it wasn’t long before we were. And we weren’t the ones who chose to do the outing.
As we discuss in Episode 93, there’s no way to 100% ensure that you won’t get discovered by others if you start swinging. There are certainly ways to minimize that risk, of course. We will talk about that in Part 3 of this Medium series. But before we get to that, we will tell you about our own experience—and what we have learned from it—in Part 2.
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.