So here I am, merrily skipping down the poly path of life, hanging out with my friends Rickie and Lucy the other night. Rickie and Lucy are a poly couple I know and enjoy socializing with once in a while. Their poly relationship has been handled differently than I usually handle mine which is one reason I enjoy talking with them.
As usually happens, someone says something that gets the wheels in my brain spinning. This time it was Rickie saying "Yeah, we are going to head out to the swing club tomorrow night. Wanna go?"
Remember, I'm the guy who blurts out what is on his mind without thinking so appropriately my response was something like "Why would I want to go to a swing club? I'm not a swinger."
The conversation that followed (which I won't repeat word for word) basically went down the following road; Rickie believes that when poly's want sex and can't find other poly's to play with, finding a couple of swingers is a good substitute.
Now, don't take that the wrong way. Neither of us believes swing is a subordinate lifestyle to polyamory. We both respect Swing as a lifestyle and respect those who choose it.
Here is the real difference between myself and Rickie; I tend to believe that love is somewhat closely related to sex. That's to say, I need to have an emotional connection to have sex. Whereas Rickie believes love is an emotional component separate from sex. That's to say, Sex is just sex, whether there is an emotional component or not doesn't matter much. (At least with playmates).
Hence his reasoning that since he and Lucy are poly and able to have sex with others then swingers are viable sexual partners.
Now admittedly Swinging and Polyamory seem to overlap at times and the lines become blurry. Of course that is my opinion. There are plenty of folks out there who believe the two should never meet and if they do there will be sparks and an explosion of epic proportions which will cause the Earth to cease rotation. There are also those who believe the two are so similar that the terms "Swing" and "Poly" are interchangeable and use either to identify themselves. I tend to believe that people define their own relationship and lifestyle paradigms so whatever they do, it is their choice. And that's okay.
Where it does cause confusion though is when trying to relate to other people. Having my poly friend Rickie tell me he is going to a swing club with the express intent of finding a "playmate" causes me to question his categorization in my mind as "poly". At which point it becomes more difficult for me to relate to his lifestyle.
I've noticed Rickie also has difficulty relating to me at times. Particularly during the above conversation when he says something like "Don't you want to get laid?" and I respond something like "Hell yes I want to get laid. But not with some stranger!". To which he will reply, "It is only sex." and my response is "Exactly, that's only sex." Which results in us both having perplexed looks on our faces.
I really don't have a problem with having sex just to have sex. Been there, done that. I just don't prefer it and the older I get, the more unsafe it seems on several levels.
So where are you at with Poly vs. Swing? Are they oil and water, never to meet and mingle? Or is one ice cream and the other syrup, a good compliment to one another?
Are you able to exist happily in either lifestyle?
Have you in the past identified as either Swing or Poly and "converted" to the other? How did that go? Any regrets?