Our Take On BDSM And Swingers

When the wife and I first started out in our sexual exploration, it all began at a BDSM dungeon. Prior to our relationship, I had exposure to the world of BDSM and swinging, but all this was kinda new to her. I can recall her surprised reaction when I would pull a flogger out in the bedroom without us even discussing it. She played along with it, but didn’t really know where I was coming from. Needless to say, we didn’t have the open lines of communication we have today, and now she gets excited when I suggest we break out our toy bag of pain toys.

As we have both explored the worlds of BDSM and swinging, we have noticed some significant differences and some wonderful correlations that should be discussed. Unfortunately, both alternative lifestyle communities seem to thumb their nose up at each other. We’ve been criticized by those in the BDSM community for the seemingly lesser status of swingers, citing safety concerns and issues with consent. We have also been looked at sideways when we’ve mentioned to our swinger friends that we play in the BDSM world. Their interpretation is usually that BDSM involves men beating women and violence.

Throughout our year long experimentation, here are a few observations we’ve noticed between the two. This bullet-pointed list isn’t mean to be exhaustive, just our personal opinions:

• BDSM seems to be highly male driven, while the swinger lifestyle seems female driven. No matter how you want to chalk it up, men seem to be more in control in the BDSM spaces we’ve played in. This isn’t to say femdoms don’t exist, but it seems rare and they are in high demand. This seems completely opposite in the swingers clubs we’ve visited. In some swingers environments, the party doesn’t even get started until the women begin playing, with the men just tagging along for the ride. We’ve had a hard time finding truly dominant men to play with in the swinger scene.

• Swingers seem to be more conscious of their appearance. Most of the swingers clubs we’ve been to are of a “dress to impress” type of atmosphere, although it might depend.  You will find lots of leather, metal and sharp objects in a BDSM dungeon. While there might be attractive people there, we’ve found those we’ve ran into in the BDSM community are more on the darker, science fiction, Dr. Who/Comicon personality type. Nothing wrong with that, but not necessarily within the spectrum of OUR interests. Dressing up like furries is, unfortunately, not a turn on for us.

• There are legitimate safety concerns trying to mix BDSM play with swingers parties. Most BDSM dungeons are alcohol free, while swingers parties are usually fueled by alcohol. This becomes a concern when there are people trying to hit, tie up, spank or possibly choke people attempting to play out a BDSM scene. Also, when you are tipsy it fucks with consent. In our opinion, you should not play out a BDSM scene with any person drunk or under the influence. People could seriously get hurt.

• The BDSM world seems to be more accepting in general. You will find anything you want under the umbrella of kink. There are bisexual, gay, trans, CD, Queer, fat fetishes, role players, ball busters, pain sluts, sadists and masochists. You’ll find people into blood, piss and anything you could possibly think of. Most (not all) swingers we’ve met think fuzzy cuffs from Lover’s Lane are kinky. They could never imagine being restrained with leather straps on a table while being flogged with a studded cat-0-nine tails. Not to mention, while bisexual females are largely accepted in the swinger lifestyle, bisexual men still seem a bit taboo, although this might be changing.

• Lastely, BDSM is full of strict protocol and rules, while the swingers scene seems to be much more loosely structured. We’ve personally had consent issues with touching, ass grabbing and unwelcome advances at swing clubs. As a Dom in the BDSM world, I’m used to being asked before touching my wife. Men in swingers clubs seem to assume they can just approach my wife by herself. This isn’t to say consent isn’t violated within the BDSM world, it is, but we haven’t seen it as often. There seems to be a “touch first, ask later” unspoken policy in swinger clubs versus a “ask before you touch” vibe.  Swingers clubs do their best, but could definitely improve on making people aware of issues around consent.

These are a just a few of our observations. Are we completely off? Did we miss anything? Is there any way for these two worlds to safely abide together? We are curious to hear your comments!

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Our Take On BDSM And Swingers

  1. I’d have to say in general your observations are similar to what we experienced. You are right on with the primarly male diven vibe of BDSM clubs, dungeons , parties and events and swinging is more female driven.

    One thing i’d caution you on is when you discribe BDSM under stereotypes of pain and hurting …. there are so many styles/ sides to it that don’t involve pain , even with restraints the your readers may not know about.

    I’d also add the BDSM scene/ play time requires a connection, established trust and lots of communication before, during and after where swinging may or may not require as much effort.

    I also disagree with your assessment of dungeon Dom or other BDSM events with Doms … the nerdy D&D type exist but each club , dungeon and event has its own diverse personality. Most of the BDSM events we attend the Doms don’t fit this stereotype of Dr. Who type however we do a lot of Munches, sloshes and play parties. Actually, the closest group to us consist of highly professional looking people you would never guess like to fire flog or play with 10’s units.

    Totally, agree with you safety comments- we’ve had multiple issues with unwelcome minor touches at swinging events ( although some host do address it and do thing to help prevent issues) and one of the huge rules in BDSM spaces is asking permission and most people don’t play under the influence.

    It actually shocked us to attend a swinging club that had a BDSM play area and it was BYOB with no restrictions in that area . We have observed that swingers interest in BDSM get a poor into to it because the foundations of safe, sane & consensual are often overlooked. We also find swinging based Doms ( that have never done anything in the full BDSM scene) tend to be more bossy guys showing off or just intimidateing guys misusing power than true Doms as we define it. I was taught that that was very unsafe for both Dom’s and subs to drink and play and this is happenes a lot at swinging events. However, the Doms we’ve met at swinging events that cross over to both events/worlds are typically have a better understanding of safe play practices ( for our interests).

    We have played in both worlds and ultimately prefer the safety aspects a BDSM events more than swinging events for sensory and harder play but both have their pros and cons. Swinging events are super relaxed and have great fun opportunities like the hotel take over we did last spring.

    You asked if you can mix them . I’d say yes, but I believe that you need trust before mixing BDSM play safely at a swingers party. We lean towards swinging events that have a BDSM area and typically only play in that area with people we already know (and have seen play) or just each other then share / swap / swing more vanilla- ish style in the typical swinging areas. We’ve recently found a great BDSM group in the dekalb area that is a good mix for us with our preferences but we do enjoy some low key swinging time too.

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