Every journey begins with a first step. It’s the natural progression of things. But beginnings are slippery things, not always easy to pin down and analyze. Sometimes a beginning is a monumental event. So huge in it’s scope that it’s impossible to ignore. Other times, and more frequently in my opinion, beginnings are a series of small events that build momentum. Eventually there is enough energy there to propel you forward and set you on your way.
Our journey into ethical non-monogamy definitely falls into the latter category. It began with a conversation. That’s all. Late at night, in bed, in the dark. Simple. Innocent.
Well, maybe not completely innocent.
A little backstory is necessary, so I’ll provide it here. Mrs. P and I are high school sweethearts. Not only had we never slept with other people, we had never dated or kissed other people. And that was OK.
Our sex-life had never been great. We were late bloomers in that regard.
She was raised in a very conservative environment where premarital sex was strongly cautioned against. In fact, any sort of unsavory behavior was strictly forbidden. No drinking, no fucking, no getting tattoos. Nothing that would make you appear abnormal in the eyes of others.
My upbringing was one of parental apathy. It wasn’t that my parents weren’t around, it was that they weren’t strong. They provided no modelling of how a grown-up person should act. Things weren’t forbidden as much as they were feared. We don’t *insert activity here* because it’s dangerous and just wrong.
So either way, sex was forbidden, either because it was morally objectionable, or because it was scary. Take your pick.
We did have premarital sex when were in college. But not often. Once we were married it wasn’t much better. We were a once or twice a month couple, depending on the mood of that month. But let me make this clear: this was not her fault. I think there were several factors.
First, she had always been on the pill, a known killer of libido as it stops ovulation. She was also inexperienced, but so was I. On the flip-side, I wanted sex more often, but I was too immature to communicate that effectively. So instead I spent a lot of time feeling resentful. It was a perfect storm of boner-killing dysfunction.
Then we decided to have a child. Away went the pill, and up jumped the libido! She was suddenly much more interested in sex. We had it quite a bit. It was hotter. More fun. Exciting. But I’ll be damned if she didn’t get pregnant the first month every time we tried to conceive! Four months of sex with a purpose? Nope. First month and pregnant.
Four kids later and this pattern persisted. But, it was life. It was OK. We had a great marriage (we thought). Never fought. Things were peaceful and as they should be.
We didn’t know there was anything else. We were resigned to our own lives.
In early 2012 I started having…thoughts. Fantasies, I guess you could call them. Most of them revolved around watching Mrs. P with another man. Of joining in on that scenario. Basically, a MFM threesome in which she was the star. It was my go to fantasy. But it was an impossibility. It would never happen. And that was OK. Some things are meant to live only in our minds, and I was OK with that.
It was also during that same time that there was talk of swingers in our town. We live in a small, very conservative community. Such things were only whispered about. At parties and social events, when the alcohol would flow and tongues became loose, someone would mention names.
“So and so are swingers! Isn’t it scandalous? Who would do such a thing? How could anyone be OK with their spouse cheating on them?” All the usual judgments were made, followed by carefully worded assertions that such a thing would never be condoned by us!
One night, while lying in bed, I told my wife about the most recent rumor. A couple we knew by name, but not personally, were dancing with the devil. They were swingers. Isn’t that shocking? The logical progression of the conversation took place, with us wondering how that would even work. Are they all in the same room? Do they go to separate rooms? How do they decide when to take that step? How do they find other people to swing with? Are other people in our town swingers? Is it groups sex, or just sex in the same room?
Suddenly we were all over each other. We had talked ourselves into a frenzy, simply by discussing the possible scenarios. This was the hot sex we had been missing. There wasn’t anything routine or predictable about it. It…was…AWESOME.
The next night we started with the hypothetical situations. Could you handle me being with someone else? Could I handle you being with someone else? What if I had to watch it? Have you ever fantasized about being with other people? More than one person? Who? When? Again, we couldn’t stay off of each other. The night ended with great sex.
We were onto something here. And guess what? It wasn’t just the sex.
I can hear you yelling “Bullshit!” in your head. But I’m serious. There was an element of openness and honesty there that we hadn’t explored. We didn’t talk about these things, especially when it came to our fantasies of other people. This was new. And we were suddenly closer.
Our favorite game was a little something we called “Would you?” What about that guy? Would you? What about her? Would you? How about that couple? Would we? It was fun. And safe.
We knew a couple. We hung out with them on occasion. And they were the only couple who wasn’t a solid no, for whatever reason. They weren’t people we hadn’t ever thought of in those terms. But the initial “no” wasn’t there, and that was interesting.
On her birthday that year we hung out with them. We got extremely drunk. Had a lot of fun. Nothing happened, but at one point I was sitting on a couch with the wife, and Mrs. P was sitting on the other with the husband. It just happened. Again, nothing more happened, but it was interesting how that dynamic seemed to present itself.
For the rest of 2012 we played our game. Talked about our fantasies. And had better and better sex. It was fun. Harmless, right? Nothing was ever going to happen, so what could it hurt?
And then 2013 happened. Our perfect disaster.