In the last post I gave some reasons that swingers use to explain why experienced couples have same room-only rules for hookups. You can do a lot more different things with three or more people than two; one or both of the couple are bisexual, and want the opportunity to play with both of their friends; frequently at takeover parties there’s nowhere else to go; it’s really fun watching your spouse play.
We definitely identify with some of these reasons. It is fun to have many people having sex all at once, and the possible combinations are awesome. We both enjoy seeing each other have pleasure. On the other hand, we’re both largely straight, so there is generally only one of the other couple each of us is interested in. And we don’t go to takeovers that often; we prefer to meet people at house parties and in our homes, where there are usually multiple options for rooms to have sex in. But we do definitely see the pros of same room play. But we also enjoy different room play, different house play, different state play… each of them have their own thrills, advantages and downsides. We really enjoy separate room or hall pass play (when we do it) because it allows a more intimate experience and a deeper (i.e., not merely sexual) experience with our partner. That has become the reason that I tend to want separate room experiences with playmates with whom I have a really good connection. Separate room play can be really great, for entirely different reasons from same room play. Thus, for people to completely rule that experience out, even after having been in the lifestyle a long time, there must also be additional explanations for why “we only play together,” as many couples put it.
1) Lack of interest in one half of the couple and/or associated insecurities within the couple. Some couples have one of them who is more vivacious, socially skilled or attractive than the other. If they play separately, one of them is going to get more attention, more dates and more sex, and the other may be jealous or insecure about that. I also think female bisexuality is a factor in this, as well; bisexual women married to straight men will get orders of magnitude more interest than their husbands. While I will agree that a physically fit wife with a less hot husband is more common than the other way around, it isn’t always the man who is less attractive. Also, the straight couples we meet outside the club scene tend to be generally equal in attractiveness.
2) Concerns about safety. One partner (usually the husband) may be worried about his wife’s safety, if she is out of his sight.
3) Insecurity about emotional connections or sexual performance. Probably more often, one partner feels he/she will feel left out, anxious about his/her partner making TOO GOOD a connection with someone else when out of sight and earshot, or worried that the other partner will be better at something. Separate play lends itself naturally to not just sex, but extended periods of snuggling and pillow talk, and potentially intimate emotional connections. We find that a big benefit of separate play, but when couples are worried about being supplanted by someone these insecurities make separate room play scary.
4) Plain old jealousy and/or insufficient trust. People simply don’t feel good about their spouse engaging in a certain sex act or something else that might happen during a play session, and it is impossible to make sure that doesn’t happen when you aren’t there.
#3 and #4 are the flip side of experiencing joy in seeing each other’s pleasure. We experience that joy too, but I am certain that a significant chunk of this pleasure is insecurity or jealousy that is eroticized into a strong desire to see your partner have sex with you there. From my wide reading in human sexuality, it is very, very common that people may turn something they are worried or scared about into a sexual interest of some kind. For some people (but not others) certain forms of BDSM play represent a sexualization of fears or taboos. Many women report having fantasies about being grabbed and forced to have sex by a stranger. Do they really want to be raped? Not likely, but they have discovered something sexy in the idea so long as it is only a fantasy. It is quite common for men (and occasionally women) to be very turned on by watching their partner fuck someone else, at the same time being humiliated by being told their cock is too small, they are not desirable enough, and see how this other person is doing a much better job of pleasing their partner. To me these “cuckolds” have to have a part of their brain that really thinks they are inferior for some reason, and they have turned this fear into a sexy ritual that now gets them off. I think the desire to see your partner have sex is sometimes (frequently, but not necessarily always) a mild form of the cuckold fantasy, where the fears about their partner finding someone better or leaving them are turned into a sexy pleasure, where they can then “reclaim” them afterwards.
So, I definitely think couples who play only in the same room have this rule to some degree because of some jealousies or insecurities. After all, pretty much all swingers will agree that newbies who have the same policy are “still figuring things out” or “just starting to push boundaries,” which basically are sanitized ways of saying they might be a little jealous. Can’t we agree that if this same situation continues, it probably has a bit to do with jealousy?
By the way, I am NOT saying there is something wrong with wanting to play only in same room – we had that guideline for us for a while, and each couple is entitled to design their own lifestyle experience. But it is impossible for me to explain the “same room only” phenomenon without concluding that there is some insecurity and jealousy mixed in. In fact, if you buy the idea that wanting to watch your spouse fuck someone else is a sexy manifestation of jealousy, I would argue that that is a very successful way of minimizing and resolving jealousy (even if it never completely is gone).
Personally, I am not a jealous individual. I thought I would enjoy watching the Mrs. play before we tried it, and it turned out to be true. These days, we sometimes do hall pass play, and when she is out fucking one of our friends I don’t have negative feelings about that at all. I enjoy having a little me time, and think about the next time I might get to have a similar experience myself. When I do get jealous of something, I notice it is not that I have a problem with what the other person is doing, but that really I feel left out or want to do it too; for instance, it is March when I write this and many friends of ours are going on some kind of spring break trip to a tropical resort or similar. I don’t want to deny them that experience at all. It is simply that I want for us to be able to do that too, and we can’t at the moment. Last year for a few months I was a bit jealous of the attention the Mrs. was getting from some guys, and setting up hall pass opportunities when I wasn’t getting any. But thinking about it I didn’t resent her having the fun; it made her happy, and that helps to make me happy too. Instead, I simply wanted to have similar opportunities myself, and soon the tables turned and I got some play myself.
I want to be very clear about something. I don’t view myself as being “better” or “more evolved” because I am not a jealous person, and I don’t view the two of us as a couple as being “better” because we do hall passes. I am just naturally that way – I can’t claim any more credit for that than being tall, or being good at math. Maybe I think about these things a lot and that helps, but… still it’s just the way I naturally am. So, if you want to have same room only play, and that works for you, great! You’ve figured out what works for you, and that’s what matters. After all, it doesn’t make you a worse person for being a little jealous, even when you are a swinger. Especially if you have turned that into an advantage, which I think a lot of swingers have. It just makes you human.