Myth No.5: Swingers Don't Value Family
I met a group of swingers on their own turf in their own village and spent a week with them. Following are a series of articles that outline what I believe to be the “5 top myths about swingers” that my clinical training taught me, and I believe is representative of how a lot of people think about this emerging sub-culture who seems to be leading the next sexual revolution.
In this fifth and final myth-buster installment, we explore the notion that swingers can’t possibly value family life.
Myth No.5: Swingers can’t possibly value family life.
If values are discernable, one way to discern them is how people behave and what they talk most about. After all, our values are an expression of what we invest valuable mental and emotional real estate into, our highest good as it were, the beliefs, standards, convictions and ideals we cherish and hold most dear to our success and happiness.
After walking around with a legal pad and laptop for a week, it’s possible my fellow cruisers thought I was a reporter or hired help of some kind, rather than a “shrink,” but in all our conversations we identified ourselves as “content contributors” for SDC and relationship experts interested in learning more about the swinger lifestyle.
Once we got that part over with, the next part was quite interesting and a clue into Myth No.5 about whether or not swingers are a threat to mainstream family life or quite to the contrary. Does the erotic lifestyle offer couples a consensual garden of variety and rich spices from which to harvest a divorce-proof model of modern monogamy, albeit quite unconventional, controversial and poorly understood?
Every conversation began with an unexpected focus, either by mentioning their family life and/or children peripherally (e.g., “We have 3 kids and here are some pics...”) or going into detail about how their lifestyle journey began because of some type of real threat to the family they created by potential divorce, devitalization or some other destructive influence they were choosing to address together through their decision to participate in the lifestyle. Obviously, a high value for their marriage and family life.
Values are discernable by what people DO, not what they SAY; Lifestyle couples DO a lot of investing in strengthening their primary relationship as a commitment to their families.
Once we explained our approach was about “relationship mastery” to any couple committed to designing an extraordinary relationship through our seminar program Soul Mates For Life, the question we received from every couple we spoke with centered around one version or another of this: “How can we deepen our love and connection while also protect our relationship”. Clearly, the couples we spoke with were highly engaged couples actively pursuing creative and out of the box strategies to divorce-proof their marriages. Unconventional? Absolutely.
I stopped listening a while back to what people “say.” I pay much more attention to what they “do” and where they invest time, energy and money as that tells me all I need to know about who they are distinct from the cacophony of bullshit out there. As I tuned in to what swingers really do, I was humbled by the arrogance of prescriptive assumptions that shaped my personal and clinical filter about them. Who these people really are demonstrates a lot about what we don’t know and assume we do, namely, wise and often seasoned people who are intent on learning from prior relationship mistakes by making a tangible investment into their primary relationships which for most were marriages. There was a palpable sense that the swinging lifestyle, ironically for a conventional conservative mindset, was a deliberate choice by two consenting adults consciously wanting to invest in their family and married life, not seeking to destroy or undermine it.
In fact, compared to the “vanilla” world of my psychotherapy consulting room where I have to pull wisdom teeth and do root canals to get partners to engage at the level of their demands for fulfillment from their relationships and each other, this crew was already there investing in their next lifestyle event! When we asked, “why do you do this”? again the answers were surprising: “Because I want to have an amazing relationship that lasts forever… I want to learn from my past mistakes… We are closer and have more trust and intimacy than ever before and the lifestyle is one way we’ve found to help us get there.”
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