I did say that my most recent post was a Part I, and this one would be a Part II. I’m going to put off the Part II of our baby steps story since this topic came up today on the Kasidie forums and got me writing.
A lot of couples and single women in the swinger scene complain about the behavior of single men. If you listen to some, meeting a single man for a threesome is basically hopeless, not because there are no single guys around, but because all of them classless, clueless and unappealing.
Lifestyle folks (including us) will tell you stories of getting messages from single guys who, with a bit of inductive reasoning, are really coupled and are trying to play without their partners’ knowledge. Or guys who set dates and just ghost at the last minute. Or guys at parties behaving very badly, touching people without permission or being excessively pushy. And especially you hear stories of guys and their poor behavior online. If you have a couple or a single woman profile, you will get emails from guys you have never heard of before with only a crude come-on, repeated and increasingly angry messages after being declined politely, or getting you in a live chat and being insistent on meeting in two hours. And the couples and single women on the receiving ends of these complain about them a LOT, frequently writing off the entire demographic of single and male as unfuckable, antisocial boors. This is why most swinger sites have an option to categorically block single men from viewing or contacting your profile.
If you listen to more than a few swingers, though, you will find the defenders of single guys. I tend to be one of them. We have talked to, met and played with several who were great, respectful guys. So clearly all single guys are not hopeless. Also, there is a very obvious double standard in swinging where single women are almost universally desired and under-represented, are catered to, their bad behaviors overlooked or forgiven. So, what’s all the hating on single guys about?
I’m going to argue that while there are plenty of undesirable single guys in swinging, the general level of undesirable behavior of single guys is exaggerated in lifestyle chatter relative to dumb things that couples and single women do. Here’s my theory on this general phenomenon, in the usual several parts.
1. Some non-trivial number of men are simply rude, unsophisticated or ignorant and write or say dumb or rude things. There’s a start for you.
2. Men feel more freedom than women to express their sexual wants and desires, due to diffuse societal programming and gender expectations. This leads more single men than single women to become interested in, investigate and ultimately give swinging a shot. Therefore more single guys have swinger profiles than single women, and therefore we would observe more poor behavior from single men than from single women even if the incidence of being a dope is equal between the two groups.
3. Tightly related to #2, general societal programming gives the expectation that men are the ones to actively approach women, and women are supposed to be more passive and let the guys come to them. Therefore swinger men, especially single men, throw out vastly more emails, chat requests and solicitations than do women. I think this is a good chunk of the explanation for why men manage the majority of couples profiles as well.
4. Couples tend to be looking more for threesomes with single women than with single men, and single men get repeatedly brushed off even when they are behaving appropriately. This leads to men writing more messages, starting even more chats, and sometimes acting desperate. At the same time single women just sit back and wait for the invites to roll in (sometimes being overwhelmed by it). Also couples that are not interested in single men have a much lower bullshit threshold for single men, while allowing all sorts of BS from single women, and do lots of complaining about the men but less about the women.
5. A significant number of couples and single women in the lifestyle have adopted the strategy that they only or mostly meet people at events and parties. This can be a perfectly valid way of doing things. However, single men are usually limited, can only attend if specifically invited, charged much higher entry fees or excluded entirely from almost all swinger parties. So single men don’t have the option of ignoring online profiles and messages and just meeting people face to face at events, and thus have to mostly make connections through emails and chats. The couples and single women who don’t prefer to meet people through profiles (and thus frequently have never developed good online communication skills themselves) still get emails from single men, since that’s the only way single men can meet anyone. Especially because some of these messages are crude, the fact that they receive any communications whatsoever from a demographic they aren’t interested in, on a platform they don’t like to use, seems to enrage a lot of people. And people are much more likely to complain about what they see as horror stories than talk about unwanted but generally polite and appropriate inquiries.
5. While society in general makes it clear men are supposed to do the approaching, it does a bad job of teaching how to do this appropriately and effectively. Therefore most men have to use trial and error and figure it out. And they make a LOT of errors. And we see endless repetition of the same mistakes, because there is always a flow of newbies who never start out with any more skills than the previous batch. And continuing to see the same mistakes tends to grate on couples, who then are more likely to chastise and block single guys making the mistakes than to help them out.
So I think is true that various men are boors, and act like it online (and in person). But I think the reasons above explain why the male boors are more visible, especially online, than the female boors and therefore give the relative impression of greater male boorishness than female boorishness. I think a lot of it is that women (and couples with women) do less communication online, and we see fewer mistakes as a result, but that’s really not because men are worse at it but that the opportunities and expectations are different. And swingers get really pissed off at seeing poor behavior from groups that they aren’t trying to meet, while easily forgiving similarly bad behavior from groups they are trying to meet. I think most swingers will agree that women in person make plenty of blunders and bad behavior and that it is generally tolerated more than when men do the exact same things.