Michelle 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.
I am Michelle, or as many might say, Michelle from Quiver. My husband, Joe, and I are JandMQCpl on the Quiver website. Some people might say, “You know this couple — she’s tall with auburn hair, and always wears her hair up?”
I was very humbled and flattered by the ASN invitation to be featured as an Influential Woman of The Lifestyle. When you have fun doing something that you enjoy, it is hard to take credit for the positive things that come from that. After all, isn’t it supposed to be “work efforts” that bring you to such places of notoriety, not fun? While we do give a lot of our time and selves to the Lifestyle community, especially via Quiver, mostly, it just feels like we are enjoying ourselves. I am a helper — that’s in my nature. If something is good for me — I want to share that with others. I want them to enjoy that, too. “Leave it better than you found it” is a motto that resonates in me, for basically all things. In that, I think we have so richly benefitted that it’s only natural that we speak openly and share the love!
My favorite aspect of the Lifestyle is — hands down — the people. We have met the most genuine and caring people. We have met fascinating people that inspire me to be a better person. I think about this quote by Maya Angelou often, and it is so true: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I hope I make people feel good or better in some small way.
Like many open couples, growing in our communication and open honesty about our desires and wants has been the best benefit for us together. Developing and encouraging positive body image and openminded respect for what others like and enjoy are other areas we have personally evolved. The community provides great support. Being a part of the encouraging and sharing is giving back to what we gain from.
Quiver is an exceptional website and platform for people to learn, grow, and have fun! It was also designed to appeal to women! After all, it’s the women who control so much in the Lifestyle dynamic. (Quiver also empowers women!) It is a tool for community and openminded couples to share and evolve. We are honored to be a part of the team. Quiver has realized success and growth. We look forward to continued growth, and thus GROWTH within our Lifestyle community. In addition to promoting for an exceptional site, soon, we plan to be adding on a new facet of serving the community. Joe and I have been asked to join with Houston’s busiest and only female-operated and -managed Lifestyle club for a North Houston (Spring/Woodlands) location. This club is completely female-centric! Ladies, your comfort and security are our highest priorities. The Pendulum Club – North is expected to be ready to serve our community late in 2019! We cannot wait to open and share so many fun nights with our friends and grow the community.
Hugs with Love,
What do you think is the biggest challenge going from being a monogamous couple to a swinging couple?
For me, it has been reconciling new views that contradicted some traditionally held beliefs about sexuality, promiscuity, and respect as a woman for myself and from my peers, and love VS. sex. To be specific, If I embrace this sexual side of me, am I still the respectable mother, wife, friend, Christian, and business professional, I consider myself to be? And, will my husband still love, honor, and treasure me, as his wife? People might say, do we even really love each other if we are willing to share each other? I had to know in my heart that we both did and do, and trust that would not change.
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?
People are curious about how we play as a couple; most often, they want to know if we play at events we host. We are honest. Most times, we do not simply because we are typically very social, meeting or visiting with lots of people, and chatting among different groups. We just do not always feel it's the politest practice.
What advice do you have for women who are just dipping their toes into the Lifestyle?
Have fun! Just start small and see where it takes you! The Lifestyle is so body-positive; maybe wear something daring that makes you feel sexier or more beautiful than usual.
When you first entered the Lifestyle, what's the best advice you were given?
Talk to your partner each step of the way, and go as slow as feels right for you. If you try something, talk about what was good or what was bad so you can do it a little differently as you move forward. Basically — it's all about COMMUNICATION!
How has the Lifestyle has improved your life?
We both agree that we feel closer and stronger as a couple. All this honesty and communication has made us happier together. It has been fun exploring sexual fantasies and expanding sexual interests together!
For me personally, I love the positive body image and self-love encouraged in the Lifestyle. I am way more confident than I ever was before in my life.
As an influential woman in the Lifestyle, what makes people gravitate to you or what makes you a leader?
I am friendly, and I try to embrace everyone we meet. I try to be genuine and sincere with people. I really enjoy making others happy. For all the positives that the LS has brought me, it's so easy to want others to have a little of that, too. So, sharing it is simple!
In what ways have you been able to educate either those in the Lifestyle or those wanting to get in the Lifestyle?
As an owner-ambassador for Quiver and club partner with The Pendulum Club – North in Houston, TX, I regularly meet couples at various stages in the Lifestyle evolution. I have been blessed to make many friends. I have a privileged opportunity to be a focal point for people to sound their questions and concerns. I also witness firsthand some awesome experiences and disappointments. Many times, it's a couple’s first time to a club, letting them know the rules, or making them feel safe and comfortable. Sometimes, it’s introducing couples to how they can meet likeminded friends on Quiver — we all need sexy social media these days! On any given day, I can expect to get a call or text or message from someone to talk about something they are celebrating or struggling over. It takes special friends to discuss these matters with, right?!?!? So many people just won't understand.
What’s the most common misperception the general public has about women in the Lifestyle?
I feel there is a negative stigma that the women who are in the Lifestyle are of loose morals or less respected ladies. But we ARE the same ladies you work with, go to church with, PTA with, volunteer with, socialize with. You can be sure — WE are the ladies who will quietly straighten one another's crown — without pointing out it was crooked. I might be a little biased.
How would you describe the sexual evolution of you and other women in the Lifestyle?
I think this is personal and unique to every woman. There is a place for everyone, mild to extreme.
There are so many aspects to consider: embracing a positive body image, confidence, increased and better communication, deeper trust for your partner(s), sexual exploration, flirting, sexting/photos/video, soft swap, full swap, same room, separate play, voyeur, exhibitionist. The various stages could go on and on. We should not feel a need or rush to broaden our personal boundaries past our own true desires. It should not feel like a competition, nor that there is some need that at some point, we all evolve to a certain place. BE TRUE TO YOU!
If you’ve come out to your family and friends, what was that like and how do you feel now?
We came out to our older children and closest friends some time ago. This was a necessity to stop the lies, as Quiver and the club scene became so much of our day-to-day. Trying to explain trips and evening event commitments that weren't in our regular routines just got too taxing. We did not get into detailed specifics about "how we play," but we did explain that what we were doing was probably NOT what they picture in their mind when we said open or swinging. Honestly, it is a lot more social and less scandalous orgy than they might imagine. We reassured them that we were in it together, and stronger and happier for it. That's what is most important for those who genuinely care to know. We have discussed the possibility of what we will say if we are approached by certain others. Basically, if we have never had a mutual need or desire to discuss our intimate life, we will not entertain those conversations. I will likely remind them how rude they would consider it if I wanted to ask them some very personal questions about their intimate affairs.
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?
In my perspective, I see some unfair slant on bisexuality as far as the common attitude. Girl/girl bisexuality in the Lifestyle seems very widely accepted — perhaps an even “preferred" status. I do seem to sense hesitation where male/male bisexuality is expressed. I think society is moving toward wider acceptance. Being SEX-Positive is something many people seem to be working on. I recently saw an article that reported bisexual male porn was on the rise in popularity among women — all very encouraging signs. There is certainly more work to do in this area.
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?”
The Lifestyle is so much more than just "full swap sex with another partner," and a couple can desire to experience greater sexual heights together without there being some indication that either partner is not enough. Like most things, the evolution into that could be quite gratifying. It's even possible that some couples decide they don't need to go that far to be satisfied. A good starting place would easily be a conversation to talk about sexual desires or fantasies.
As noted in the questions, the approach is key — you should be certain that your words and actions reassure your partner of your commitment and desire for them, and have patience knowing that they might not jump on board with this idea. If you both start Googling things and expore it together, you may find a place that mutually excites you both — and a starting point to evolve from.
Seneca Purgahn Photography
This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of ASN Lifestyle Magazine.