Ask John & Jackie: BV & Play Invitation Etiquette
The Openlove 101 duo give their LS advice to two ASN Lifestyle Magazine readers in this edition of Ask John & Jackie.
Question #1: Bacterial Vaginosis
Q: My wife and I are very new to LS. Last week, we had our first group play date. Unfortunately, a few days later, my wife’s vajayjay was not her usual fresh self. She was diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis. I know this is common and easily curable. However, she doesn’t want to continue with LS. I support her decision but want to know if I could change her mind? Thanks in advance for your comments!
– New to the LS
A: Dear New to the LS,
As you so correctly noted, bacterial vaginosis is common. Actually, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance. Women in their reproductive years are most likely to get bacterial vaginosis, but it can affect women of any age.”
It’s also important to note that bacterial vaginosis is not considered an STI. Society’s association with infections and sex goes back years. I can’t think of a better way of discouraging people from having “unapproved” sex than to make them feel as though what they are doing is dirty. Even with all our medical advancements and a much more relaxed view of sex, the stigma of sex being something dirty abounds. Of course, no one wants to needlessly subject themselves to infections. This is why we tell our co-workers to please stay home when they’re sick, and why we keep our kids’ home from daycare or school when ill. Whether we are successful in keeping clear of all the hundreds of infectious bacteria we come in contact with daily seems like a luck of the draw most times. You never know whether that doorknob you just grabbed was touched by someone with the flu or a cold or pink eye.
We usually don’t think a thing about falling prey to any of these illnesses. There is no push-back from society, nor is there any guilt or shame associated with calling into work and stating you won’t be in today because you have the flu or a cold or pink eye. And while we don’t normally consider any of these sexually transmitted, you can (and many do) “catch” these during sex with someone. Now, it might not be caused by the sex act itself, but the close quarters of sex can put you within reach. So, you see, so often it’s not the illness itself, but the stigma associated with the illness.
Whether or not your wife will feel comfortable in a play setting in the future, only time will tell. It may be too soon to begin discussing the next round of play until she has had an opportunity to recover. Fear can definitely be a driving force in how we view what we are doing. If there is an association between sex and doing something wrong, then any ailment could be a deterrent, even if the ailment isn’t a direct result of the action.
Question #2: Play Invitation Etiquette
Q: Dear John & Jackie,
I have a pretty basic question. We are just getting into the Lifestyle… we jumped in full swap. We have an agreement that we can have sex with whomever we choose. One question is how to approach a man or woman I am attracted to without turning them off or offending them? Do I wait to be approached by someone? What I’d also like to know is how to say no if I feel no attraction. I know I ask a lot of questions, but I want to be comfortable.
– Question Queen
A: Dear Question Queen,
The one thing to remember about attending a swinger’s club is how similar it is to attend any other kind of club or gathering — it’s a collection of couples and singles all getting to know one another. You strike up conversations pretty much the same way you would with anyone new you meet. “Hi, my name is _______, how are you? We’re in town visiting. We live in ______. Where do you live? This is our first visit to the club. Have you been here before?”
As far as approaching someone, I would always suggest reverting back to honesty. You’re new — be honest about this. You’re not sure how this all works? Again, just be honest. Heck, the single men and women you meet might be new, too. If you find someone who has attended the club before, you can always pick their brain about what approach works best for them; maybe they will give you feedback.
I know for me, one of the most difficult boundaries I had to learn was to say no. I don’t necessarily mean blurting out a capital letter, “NO!” when asked to play with someone you aren’t feeling a connection with, but learn to be honest. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out explanation. A simple “no thank you, not tonight” can be enough to get you started on the road to declining invitations.
One thing I always tell those new to the club is to please be sure to leave your expectations at the door. There is nothing worse than attending the club with the burden of whether or not the night is going to be a success or failure. Just enter with the notion of having an amazing experience with your partner. If something else happens, well, then that’s a bonus.
This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of ASN Lifestyle Magazine.