It’s spring of 2013 and we are en route to a long weekend at a clothing-optional resort in Palm Springs. The sun is high in the sky when we arrive, and my flip flops sizzle when they hit the asphalt. We grab our bags and start walking toward the door, wondering if we’ve over-packed.
Wait. Before I go any further, let me tell you why it’s taken me 4 years to finally share this story.
I am scared I’ll be judged. Sure, I’ve written about some crazy things in the name of learning more about my sexuality and improving my relationship with my husband, and to date, people have been amazingly supportive. However, I worry this story may be one step too far for some people to relate.
What I hope happens by sharing this story is that others will find parts that resonate for them, even if the overall experience is one step outside of their personal comfort zone. I also hope that readers will see this story as an experience in exploring my sexuality, not as a story that defines all of who I am.
With that said, let’s jump back to 2013.
Back then, my husband and I had been married for a decade and a half. We met in college and had always struggled with him wanting more sex than me. We had recently started seeing a sex coach who was helping both of us explore our sexuality and better communicate what we wanted from each other.
As part of our exploration, a few months earlier, we had tried a different clothing optional resort. It wasn’t sexual in any way, but we liked how it was a place to experience more freedom with our bodies, which we found led to more freedom in the bedroom. So, we were headed down to Southern California to spend a weekend at what we assumed was a similar resort.
As we walked inside, the owner greeted us warmly with a huge hug. With my first hug of a naked stranger complete, he promptly invited us on a tour of the resort. We saw our room, and then the dining area, and everything seemed as normal as it probably could when you are fully clothed and everyone else around you is completely naked.
Then we were taken to the pool where I noticed a couple canoodling. You know that classic move where the girl is sitting on the edge of the pool, and the guy swims up and kisses her? Well, it was like that move, except that immediately after he kissed her, his attention and his mouth shifted… um… south.
I was so surprised by this bold move that I think my eyebrows might have jumped completely off my forehead. I assumed couple was clearly breaking some pool rule until I started to take in the pool scene more completely. I noticed that while some people seemed to be going about traditional poolside activities like sunbathing, reading and chatting, others seemed to be involved in much more explicit activities.
I nudged my husband hard and gave him a look that said “Holy crap, this is a swingers resort!”
Back in our room, we took a deep breath and removed our clothes. I paused as my hand reached the door knob. This door lead directly to the pool deck. I was insanely nervous. Were creepy guys going to hit on me? Were couples going to assume we were there to have sex with them?
What actually happened was nothing like that. Everyone was very friendly and unassuming about our reason for being there. Unlike the outside world where talking about sex is taboo, the people here seemed nonchalant talking about sex, even with someone they just met. It was refreshing, inspirational, and if I’m honest, a little bit of a turn on. In a conversation around the pool, someone asked me how long I had been in the lifestyle.
Lifestyle? What lifestyle?
We learned that these days, many swingers don’t refer to themselves as swingers. Turns out that “lifestyle” is a term that refers to a sub-culture focused on couples looking to meet other sex-positive couples that are interested in sharing various forms of physical intimacy. This kind of blew our mind, but a quick Google search confirmed that lifestyle events were everywhere, hiding in plain sight.
We also learned while many couples attended these events to have sex with other people, other couples attended just to make friends, observe or have sex with the partner they came with. This new information made me feel much more relaxed, happy and intrigued. Was I an unexplored voyeur?
That afternoon, we enjoyed more conversation with other couples in the outdoor hot tub. People were drinking socially but in moderation, with an emphasis placed on consent and being in control of your own boundaries. As the day turned to evening, we noticed groups of 2, 3 and 4 departing for a dark room with music playing.
The nerves of walking out on the pool deck earlier seemed like a distant memory. But was I ready for the dark room? I looked over at my husband, raised my eyebrows, and he responded with a nod.
As we entered, we found a veritable cornucopia of bodies in different configurations, accompanied by an orchestra of moans. The sights and sounds were definitely a level up from daytime poolside escapades, and way better than any porn I’d ever seen. We found a spot all to ourselves and proceeded to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. Technically the sex itself was pretty similar to our normal sex, but the situation heightened everything. My heart was racing the whole time.
That night, I learned a lot. I learned how important it is to me to be able to speak freely about my own sexual desires. And I learned how inspiring it is to hear others speak freely, and see them act freely upon those desires. And that by sharing all of this with my partner, our emotional and physical connection was strengthened.
Later that night, lying under the stars together outside the dark room, I sighed a happy sigh and told my husband that I thought I was pretty much the best wife ever. He laughed and agreed.
New to this blog and want to start at the beginning? Check out this post about why I started a blog about sex.
You can also check out these resources or email me at email@example.com if you are interested in classes or coaching to explore your own sexuality. I am a sex and relationship coach and if I can't personally help you, I'd be very happy to connect you with other wonderful sex educators, coaches and therapists.