Bunny, an ASN Most Influential Woman of the Lifestyle
Bunny is one of ASN Lifestyle Magazine's Most Influential Women of the Lifestyle. All women featured in this series were chosen by the swinger community and ASN readers. Meet these women: who they are, and how they are recognized as leaders, influencers, and contributors within the Lifestyle community.
My background consists of real-life experiences, honesty, and a helpful approach to others. I don't have a degree in human sexuality; however, I provide insight to others by sharing my opinions on how Thave also navigated the sexual non-monogamy Lifestyle with my husband, Tom. I think this is what contributes to being an "influential woman in the Lifestyle!”
I had been married for over ten years when we became involved in the swinging Lifestyle. This was the time when the internet was still in its infancy, and the only place to find information was through real-world experiences. It was a different time, one without resources like Google, websites like SDC, Kasidie, Swing Lifestyle, and podcasters, bloggers, and vloggers.
I came to the realization that there were no errors or mistakes but only a process of learning what to do and not to do in the future. I learned the ability to turn a negative situation or experience into a positive one.
As I started working in the Lifestyle, it brought an entirely new perspective on what it means to be a participant. I began to work for one of the oldest and largest swingers clubs in Southern California. I was involved in every aspect of the club; greeting couples and singles, cleaning tables, bartending, setting up parties, etc. until I moved into management. All of this involvement brought me more of the real-life experience that people have often gravitated towards. I now answer many questions about relationships and navigating the Lifestyle.
Video, podcasts, and blogs in the Lifestyle was an obvious and natural progression for me. Today there are hundreds of Lifestyle informational podcasts, blogs, and websites. When I first started out, there were only a handful of references, and many times I felt that these people were "telling" people how the Lifestyle was or they were self-proclaimed "experts" with their views on how the Lifestyle should be. I immediately knew that was inaccurate information and that open and honest communication with your spouse was truly the best thing for a marriage. Not everybody is secure in their relationship, though, to be in the Lifestyle.
While everyone has their own approach, I thought instead of telling people how they should participate in the wide variety of activities, they should have their own set of rules. There are generally a few accepted rules that everyone follows, such as "Don't touch without asking" to "No means No."
I answer questions with the approach of explaining how I would handle a situation and how I could relate to what my audience what I was going through. Many people have told me how down to earth | am (a little ego here lol). They also express how they felt my opinions helped them to make their own choices and giving them the ability to move forward in the Lifestyle. I believe that the ultimate choice of the swinging Lifestyle boils down to the couple deciding what is best for them.
I get fan mail from all over the world, and many express that watching or listening to my videos or podcasts have made an impact in their lives. Some of these people have moved into the sexual non-monogamy Lifestyle while others chose not to. Many have expressed that my honesty has made them more confident with themselves and their decisions.
I have also received an abundance of recognition for being a strong proponent of body confidence and also with male erectile dysfunction discussion videos. I not only empower women to be more honest and open with their spouses, but their own confidence increases. With every video or podcast released, they have learned so many things because, as I say, you need to open up your life, be transparent, tell it like it is, and have no shame in your Lifestyle.
What do you think is the biggest challenge going from being a monogamous couple to a swinging couple?
As a fantasy, we discussed the Swinging Lifestyle for many years, while in the privacy of our bedroom. When the opportunity arose to make the fantasy a reality, we feel we were more prepared than if we had just decided to become swingers one a whim. We felt that our main challenge would be jealousy. We were concerned about the possibility our first encounter would create a sexual wedge in our great sex life and would one of us may become jealous of the others’ experience or feel left out. We were fortunate that, following our first encounter, we had a long drive home, which gave us an ample amount of time to discuss everything we liked about the situation and things that we really didn’t care to see again. I will say that we were so excited after our first experience that we couldn’t wait for our second, third experience, etc. With each encounter, I became more confident in my desires. In the beginning, I would accept what the other person did or wanted; however, now if I am not really feeling the direction things are going or what is being done, I feel free to show them what I enjoy and how to please me — which has enhanced the whole experience of swinging such a great thing. I feel the biggest challenge has been to keep our “vanilla” world and “swinger” worlds separate. I don’t feel that my neighbors or non-Lifestyle friends need to know every aspect of my life, and when they ask what we did last weekend, I have a major problem with lying, so I choose not to. I tell them everything about the weekend in a non-sexual way, but the conversation still feels awkward when I can’t be totally open with people.
What's the most common question you receive from people when they ask you about your personal practices within the Lifestyle? What is your response?
The most common question is, “do you have sex with everyone you meet?” My answer is no, I don’t have sex with everyone I meet! For me, it is more mental. I have to be attracted to a person for their personality, not just their outward appearance. You do not have to feel obligated to do anything with anybody that you do not want to.
What advice do you have for women who are just dipping their toes into the Lifestyle?
You should be open in your communication about your sexual desires with your partner 100% of the time. You can only go as fast as the slowest person. Do not push yourself or your significant other to do anything they are uncomfortable with. If one of you is not ready to try something new or different, then I would advise you to step back, reevaluate and, most importantly, discuss why you or they are not comfortable with the situation and if they feel that there is a way to make it more comfortable or appealing. It might be that you’re not ready or just having a bad day. Discuss every situation afterward, what you both enjoyed, or what may have been a negative aspect of the encounter. The more you discuss the experiences with each other, the closer you will become. People new to the Lifestyle don’t realize how much communication can enhance your relationship and make it stronger than ever.
When you first entered the Lifestyle, what's the best advice you were given?
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, meaning that we live an alternative Lifestyle, and we need to be open and understanding to all the different facets of this Lifestyle. Do not judge others as to how they live their life and how they choose their sexual outlets. There are so many different ways that people play and explore their sexuality. Do not condemn anyone for what their choices are. We have enough negativity from the vanilla world, and we do not need it in any facet of the Consensual Non-Monogamy world.
How has the Lifestyle has improved your life?
I don’t know that I would say that the Lifestyle has improved my life, rather that it has enhanced it. Opening up communication with my husband, Tom, is the biggest improvement I have made. Working in the Lifestyle community, we get to meet so many great people and get to live a great life traveling and having fun. When we do our YouTube videos and Podcasts on the Lifestyle, we enjoy it when we hear feedback that we have helped people. This is a great accomplishment and is one of the reasons I love this Lifestyle. We have also made some amazing friends. True and honest friendships with people that enjoy the freedom that the Lifestyle has to offer.
As an influential woman in the Lifestyle, what makes people gravitate to you or what makes you a leader?
People always tell me that they can relate to me, and I believe this is because we are open and easy-going. We do our YouTube videos and podcasts as though our audience is sitting in our living room, and many people express that this approach makes them feel we are talking directly to them. What you see on our videos or listen to on our Podcast is what you get, a down to earth real couple that can relate easily to other people. We do not have a clinical background; we have a lot of real-world experiences in the swinging Lifestyle to fall back on, from running a Lifestyle club for over 18 years and now working in the Adult Lifestyle travel industry with Tom’s Trips. People often tell us when we meet them in person that we are just the way we come across in the videos. I am just a down to earth average woman who loves to live my life the way I want to and that I believe that radiates to others.
In what ways have you been able to educate either those in the Lifestyle or those wanting to get in the Lifestyle?
I feel that I educate people in many different ways and keep open communication with people who reach out to me. I don’t feel that one approach reaches everyone, so I provide the following ways for people to learn about the swinging Lifestyle with my husband, Tom.
YouTube videos: We have been doing Video Vlogs on our YouTube channel (youtube.com/tomandbunny) for many years as a way to educate people and give them things to think about when they are looking into the swingers Lifestyle.
Podcast: We found that there are so many people who listen to Podcasts, and when we added a Podcast to our list of media formats, we did get a great response. On our podcast, we generally discuss Lifestyle topics that we find on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit and talk about our opinions on those subjects. Our podcast can be found on our website TomandBunny.com, Apple, Spotify, Blubrry, Google, Tunein, Stitcher, and many more.
Dear TomandBunny: We get a lot of emails from people desperate for information or confirmations and need help. While we are not therapists, we can relate to many questions and offer our insights and direction to as many of their questions as possible. On occasion, we may re-direct to other people that may better respond and assist. We do answer all our emails. If you have a question, please feel free to ask us! Just go to our website TomandBunny.com and click Contact.
Blogs: I do blogs on the Lifestyle on our website about various topics
Facebook: I am very active on Facebook, and when someone posts something I can relate to, I try to offer insight on what works for me or us as a couple.
I am very involved in the body confidence movement and self-empowerment. I am a firm believer that Sexy is all in your head. Self-confidence and positive body image are the biggest issues. I have a lot of women who contact me to tell me that they love the videos we do on body confidence. If I can help women feel sexy about themselves no matter what size they are or what flaws they think they might have, then I feel that I have had a positive impact on their life. Everyone should love themselves for who they are and feel comfortable in their skin. When doing our videos, I always dress as though I were going to a club, so I radiate the confidence I am trying to project to my audience. Everyone is beautiful!
What’s the most common misperception the general public has about women in the Lifestyle?
That we want to sleep with their Husbands! Most people do not understand the Lifestyle, and they don’t take the time to research it either. If they did, they would find out that this is definitely a consensual non-monogamy Lifestyle. What we do, we discuss with our significant other. I have found that when some vanilla women find out that I am in the Lifestyle that they feel threatened by me in regards to their husband. We are not out to have sex with someone else’s husband that is not in the Lifestyle. Maybe if they opened up to their husbands sexually, they would not feel threatened.
How would you describe the sexual evolution of you and other women in the Lifestyle?
Empowerment! Women have evolved so much since the beginning of time. The Lifestyle is no different. I have heard stories of “key parties” where the women had no choice to sleep with one of the men at the party. It was the luck of the draw. Today women hold the key to their Lifestyle and make the ultimate decision that is right for them.
If you’ve come out to your family and friends, what was that like and how do you feel now?
Yes, I have come out to everyone if my life. It was a little different for me as I worked in a Lifestyle Club for almost twenty years. We told everyone about the same time.
Our children have always been very supportive of us, as are Tom’s parents. My parents are both deceased, but I think they would have been the hardest ones to tell.
There were issues with some of our friends and other family members. We did, unfortunately, lose four of our vanilla friends whom we were best friends with when we told them. Two of them have come back to us and did apologize for how they took it and how they treated us, and we are thrilled to have them back in our lives. I have two brothers that no longer talk to me as they can’t understand, or don’t want to understand, that this is my life and how I choose to live it; as much as I have reached out to them, I get silence in return. I did see one brother at a family reunion, and he was great, friendly, and nice as could be, even saying we should communicate more, but after the reunion, I reached out only to get nothing back.
I personally do not recommend coming out to family or friends unless you feel it is something that you have to do. I would hate to see others go through what I do when it is time for a family get-together, and I find out I wasn’t invited because of my life choices and that my family chooses not to associate with me.
If you are not bisexual, do you feel there’s a negative stigma around you and why? What could change this for others moving forward?
I would consider myself bi-situational. I will play with other women if I am comfortable with them, and if I feel a connection in the right setting. However, I do not personally seek out other women as I prefer men overall.
That being said, I do not feel there is a negative stigma. I have never had another woman or couples treat me differently because I was not interested in her. I do believe with the onset of social media, podcasters and video bloggers have made great progress in making everyone open and honest about their sexuality, thus making it more positive, no matter what your sexual preference is. I do feel that there are too many labels for people and that not everyone has to be in one group or another.
If communication is key to success in any relationship, what advice do you have for women to bring up the topic of entering the Lifestyle without their partner feeling they just want to “sleep around” or that their partner is “not enough?”
You have to be open and honest in order to make the Lifestyle work for you. Tom and I talked about swinging for five years (mostly bedroom fantasy talk).
You need to have a sit down with your husband, preferably while the kids are away, so you do not have any distractions. Let him know what your true feelings are and that it is something that you would like to explore. Explain to him your fantasy and that it has nothing to do with you being unsatisfied with him or your life together.
It can be a difficult transition, and it is hard for people to realize that you might just want something different for the night. Most couples go into this as a way to spice up their sex life. Tom and I always have sex with each other after playing with another couple. It’s kind of our way to reconnect after a great night, and we discuss what we liked about the previous experience and what we didn’t, so we will always be on the same page with each other.
This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of ASN Lifestyle Magazine.