Lexi Sylver: Welcome to My Playground
That is THE word that comes to mind when I think of myself, and when I think of the lifestyle.
As the host and producer of SDC’s podcast Seek, Discover, Create, I have spoken and written about the ins and outs of the lifestyle on countless occasions. I’m incredibly passionate about helping to dispel the multitude of misconceptions that people have about what the lifestyle is really all about.
Shameless is the way I approach sexuality, and one of the same reasons I love the lifestyle so much: because we are celebrated for expressing ourselves sexually in an open way, without the misplaced and preconceived judgment we so often encounter in other spheres within society.
I’m an advocate for sexual empowerment and exploration. You’ll easily notice my intensity and outspokenness when you listen to my SDC podcast, read my erotic stories, attend one of my workshops, or just have a casual conversation with me.
My mission is to inspire and empower individuals to explore and embrace their true Lexuality, however they want to, without feeling shame or judgment. And I’ve come very far in working toward my mission, in large part due to SDC’s support.
I’m fully behind ASN’s goal to educate others about ethical non-monogamy, relationships and sexuality, whether they’re simply curious about the lifestyle or are already immersed in it. My avid commitment to this might be one of the reasons ASN Lifestyle Magazine selected me as one of their Influential Women in the Lifestyle for their October 2019 issue.
Now, let’s get down and dirty together, shall we?
I’m going to answer some of the burning questions that heat up my email and social media inboxes.
Are you ready to enter my playground?
Why are you on a mission to help others experience their sexuality — or Lexuality — shamelessly?
I’ve always been intrigued about sexuality. When I was younger, I read as many books as I could because I wanted to know absolutely everything about human sexuality. (We’re talking about pre-Internet / pre-Google days, so checking out library books was really a thing.)
Most people can probably relate to the fact that I didn’t have much sex education in school, and the sex ed we did have was antiquated. Teachers never talked about desire, masturbation, pleasure, relationships or anything in the realm of LGBTQIA. My parents were open-minded and I could have asked them some questions, but we all know it’s not always very comfortable to talk to your parents about such a sensitive topic.
Around twelve years old, I was exceptionally eager to engage in erotic play and learn about pleasure. I gave myself my first orgasm just by exploring my own body, and that opened up an entirely new world for me.
I talked to my so-called girlfriends at the time about my orgasmic experience, I was shocked by most of their responses. Some of them said that masturbation was disgusting and that it was dirty to touch yourself, and it meant I was a sexual deviant. A few years later, I was hardly surprised when some of those same people shamed me and spread rumors that I was a slut - simply because I was openly flirtatious and would fool around with guys shamelessly. I wore that as a badge of honor rather than hiding in the shadows and letting them hurt me, but I know that others who have had similar experiences did not emerge from such name-calling and bullying as unscathed as I.
My high school experience helped me understand how great a need there was for sexual education – and also motivated me to help others to remove those layers of shame from sexuality and their body. People heard through the grapevine that I was the go-to person to talk to within my high school. When people had questions about sex or relationships, they would come to me and ask. I didn’t always know the answer, but I accepted their questions without judgment and helped people feel seen and heard. And I could then point them in the direction of resources they could seek out to give them more insight.
Among my peers and within the lifestyle, I’m still inundated by these kinds of questions, but I’m armed with a broader arsenal of resources to assist me in that, especially because of SDC.com and our amazing network of sexual educators.
How did you get involved with SDC?
I’ve always worked within the domain of sexuality: from writing erotic stories to writing scripts for porn scenes to doing marketing for an erotic event company in Montreal called Monde Osé. It was in this latter job that I met George Jones from SDC, through a partnership MO was doing with SDC. We worked very well together. George thought I was the perfect person to help manage the new media site for SDC, and he wanted to bring me into the fold. So he introduced me to the team, and the rest is history.
What is SDC.com?
SDC stands for Seek, Discover, Create, and used to be known as Swingers Date Club. Since its creation twenty years ago, SDC has become the world’s largest lifestyle dating site, and is now also the world’s largest adult sexual education platform as well. The dating site and app allow you to connect with a membership of over 3 million SDC members all around the world, 1 million of which are very active on the dating site. The media site on SDC.com provides expert resources via articles, podcasts and videos about health, sex and relationships, in a variety of different languages.
What is your role within SDC?
Other than producing and hosting the podcast SDC Presents Seek, Discover, Create, I am SDC’s content director. I connect with potential contributors who are experts within their respective fields, and work with them to produce informative and entertaining resources for anyone who seeks them. One of the benefits of my work with SDC is that I travel all over the world to attend sexuality conferences and SDC travel events, where I can learn from and connect with sexperts, help educate others and interview people about their personal experiences.
Are you in the lifestyle?
Yes, my partner and I are in the lifestyle! We’ve been together for over 15 years now, and for many of those years, we have been open to many things and enjoyed ourselves with other people. Actively being in the lifestyle and within SDC’s dating site have given us a lot of education and flexibility, and the opportunity to meet some very interesting and incredible people who are now some of our closest friends.
What is the lifestyle like for you?
The lifestyle for me is all about freedom: the liberty to express ourselves emotionally, physically and sexually among open-minded people who won’t judge you for your sexual choices.
Just to be clear, when I talk about the umbrella term “lifestyle”, I’m including various forms of consensual non-monogamy within it, and all of the gray areas in between: from monogamish to open relationships to swinging to polyamory. I’m not really a big fan of labels, but they can be useful to understand the basic dynamics of the relationship – but I’ve often found that many couples and people fall into a gray zone, including myself and my partner.
Even though these relationship styles can be different, what they have in common is that the lifestyle is NOT about cheating. Cheating is non-monogamy, but it’s not consensual: one of the partners is not aware of the other’s activities and therefore cannot consent to their partner partaking in sexual acts with other people outside of their relationship.
When you meet people from “the lifestyle” and take time to listen to their stories, you can quickly understand that there is no ONE right way to be in the lifestyle. Many people enter for different reasons, and that can really differentiate their experiences in the lifestyle versus those of other couples.
I entered the lifestyle to connect with others, to play openly and watch others do the same, to fulfill my fantasies, and of course, to solidify my connection with my husband.
What are some tips you have for people who are in the lifestyle?
There is no ONE right way to be in the lifestyle. Whatever works for one couple might not work for another. I can’t speak to what every other couple in the lifestyle does when it comes to their own relationships, so I’ll reveal a bit about how mine works.
Can you tell us a bit about your relationship?
My partner and I have been together for 15 years and married for the last five. He’s my lover, my partner in crime, and my best friend. We have always been open-minded and experimental with others, but we have only actively been integrated in the Montreal lifestyle for about two years.
We seem to do swinging a bit differently than our other lifestyle friends. We identify as swingers within the swinging community but are broader with the way we do our non-monogamy, so we don’t love the definition of “swinging”. Most of the couples we know in our local community don’t play separately, but we do. Yes, we do play together, but I also play as a unicorn, and he plays as a “rhino”. (Rhino is the term we use in French within our community to define a man who can play alone without his partner, just as a female unicorn can swing without her partner.)
What do your lifestyle friends say about the idea of playing separately within your relationship?
I’m surprised that when I speak to other lifestylers about my relationship, there is some judgment when it comes to the fact that my partner and I sometimes play separately. Being in the lifestyle as a couple and playing together is great, but we also enjoy the freedom of being able to meet our respective partners and experiment individually. Naturally, we always bring the passion back to our bedroom and to our relationship, so even though we’re playing separately, we re-invest in keeping the sizzle alive.
When I go to a sex club on my own, others either ask me where my partner is, or are surprised when I tell them that my husband and I agreed that we can play together as well as on our own. This concept might not work for all couples, but it definitely works for us.
But as in all other things, what other people think or say about what I do or the way I do it is of absolutely no consequence to me, or to my partner. We’re happy with our arrangement and that’s all that matters.
What do you think is the trick to having a successful relationship within the lifestyle?
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Being able to be honest and open about what you want and how you feel is essential, especially when you’re talking about the potential of being in any type of open relationship. Even before we opened up our relationship, our base of trust, honesty and healthy communication skills gave us the closeness that some other couples did not seem to have.
Prioritizing our relationship is crucial above all else. When it comes to our relationship, my partner always comes first. Whether we play together or on our own, we always respect each other and the boundaries we have mutually agreed upon. We check in with each other regularly to make sure we are still on the same page. If something doesn’t feel right, we address it and don’t wait for there to be a buildup of negative feelings or resentment.
What kind of boundaries do you and your partner have in your relationship?
We have minimal boundaries and they work for both of us. If ever they didn’t or we wanted to make any modifications to them, we would and could communicate about doing that together. Our boundaries are all about prioritizing our relationship and intimacy. Even though we do share our bodies and minds with others, we reserve love for each other.
How do you handle things if you have a disagreement or something unexpected happens?
Like in life and in any relationship, there is a natural evolution that can occur. As people change, so can relationship dynamics. Since we’re so open about the way we communicate, no issue seems too big for us to address together — so we have set the stage for being able to be in constant communication with each other and adjust ourselves if or when something comes up.
What details do you share with each other about your individual adventures?
We pick and choose the details we share with each other. We respect each other’s privacy, and so if one of us chooses not to divulge something, we don’t pry or try to coax the details out of the other person. If we do reveal this information, there is zero judgment about what we did and how and who with.
How do you keep things hot while playing separately with others?
For us, being in the lifestyle is a philosophy, but it’s also a way for us to reinforce our relationship and keep it intimate, sexy and exciting. Even though we play separately, we always ensure that we spend time together just the two of us. We set a date night every week and try out new places together. We also make sure we spend time playing with other couples together, and balance that with our solo play with other libertines as well, so that we have a healthy and exciting mix of both. The new relationship energy (NRE) we feel with others gets reinfused into our own dynamic, which always keep things spicy.
You’ve mentioned before that you don’t love using the word “swinger.” Why is that?
The lifestyle does include swingers, but the term “swinger” has gradually become slightly outdated as they do not refer to the old-school 1970s “key” parties you may have heard about. In French, the term swinger translates to “échangisme”, which means to exchange. People in the lifestyle may enjoy swapping their partners with another couple, but they might also play alone, or add a third or more to their dyad.
I prefer using the word “libertine” as a more all-encompassing term that embodies the open-mindedness and essence of everyone who engages in any kind of consensual non-monogamy, from open to monogamish to swinger to polyamorous relationships, and everything in between. I am not a fan of using labels, and I think saying “swinger” is a bit exclusionary to other potential gray areas of non-monogamy that some people might fit into.
Is your open-mindedness linked to your desire to write erotica?
Absolutely. I love writing about my erotic experiences because it enables me to share ideas with others and inspire them to explore more on their own or with their partner. I get off on being told by people that I’ve expanded their mind with my stories and helped them discover things about their own fantasies and desires.
How and why did you start writing erotic literature?
I have a very vivid imagination. Alongside my sexual curiosity and development was the prolific pen that never stilled. Most of the stories I’ve written and continue to write were for personal use rather than with the intention of other people reading them. Writing is a way for me to create an erotic world with characters and scenarios that please me, in which I can safely explore my fantasies.
My writing style and the content of my stories definitely evolved over the years. It was only natural for me to take on writing about my emotional, psychological and sexual growth as a person and a woman. My fiction writing took a turn for the more romantic, and then it gradually became more sexual.
Throughout my erotic exploration, I also kept very detailed journals about my sexual adventures — and misadventures — with my very willing play partners. Some of my real-life experiences began to penetrate the walls of my fictional writing, and then my stories took on some of the more carnal features of my escapades, embellished with some extra details and changes to settings and names.
Some of the characters are inspired by my previous sexual partners, but far more elaborate. Some are based on my group of close friends, including my friends’ little personality quirks that really solidified their roles within my stories. Others are people I have fantasized about in real life, and yet others are creations of my filthy mind. And some of them are me — different versions and sides of me, but with some trademark recognizable traits that only those close to me might be able to distinguish.
How do you come up with ideas for your erotic stories?
As I mentioned, my salacious mind is full of ideas — I just need time to get them down on the page, which is the biggest challenge. Not all my ideas are winning ideas, and not all of them can be fleshed out into a full story, so sometimes I blend a few decent ideas together and come up with a better story. When I’m really not sure if an idea is worth writing about, I ask my best friend Danielle, and she’s always honest with me.
What is the significance of your upcoming book, Mating Season?
Mating Season is a culmination of some of my best erotic writing work so far: a collection of my short erotic stories which were written during different periods of my life. I originally printed the first volume of Mating Season when I was in my teens, and had it bound at a local office supply store. My friend Vince designed the cover for me, which entailed a vector image of a sexy woman with long curly hair and a curvaceous body in silky lingerie. I printed a bunch of copies to give away to my friends, just so I could share my stories with them. It was a passion project and at that point, I didn’t have any desire or intention to charge anyone for it.
In this new version of Mating Season, I carefully selected some of my personal favorites as well as some of my readers’ favorites to curate the best possible volume of erotica. Mating Season has a little bit of everything — different characters, scenarios, genres and settings. There are intriguing one-on-one scenes, threesomes and more, several of which have kinky BDSM themes. Each story flows seamlessly into the next, thanks to my incredible editor.
It will soon be available for pre-sale! Check out lexisylver.com for all the details and links to buy a copy of your own! I’ll also be offering a giveaway on social media so connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and keep an eye out for more juicy details.
Do you have anything else to say to your readers and audience?
Stay Lexual, my fiends and friends. The best from Lexi Sylver is yet to come.
This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of ASN Lifestyle Magazine.