Zen and the Art of Swinging or How I Achieved Equilibrium
That title makes it sound like I’m going to explain something to you, or take you step-by-step through a process, doesn’t it? I’m not sure I could do that.
I am going to tell you that I feel enlightened. I feel calm and comfortable. I feel like, for the first time maybe ever, I understand a great mystery about male and female interaction that I never quite grasped before. But before you ask, I don’t think I could put it into words at the moment.
“Real nice, Coop,” you say. “So, you called us all here to say nothing?”
Not “nothing.” This is gonna be a bit of a stroll for me as I sort of center around a concept. It’s well known that I have a problem with expectations, the want for something to happen that almost becomes a need, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how powerful that drive within me is. How strongly my brain pushes its expectations.
Removing the “End Game Goal”
I was having dinner with a friend in the lifestyle, ostensibly to help him with his own troubles, and he wound up giving me a great bit of insight into myself.
Forever, at swinger gatherings, I was playing some sort of a Bizarro version of Beat the Clock. Early on, I was at a swinger party that quickly paired up, my partner found some action, and somehow I got left holding the metaphorical purse. Ever since then, it’s been a race against time to partner up so as not to be the “last picked” or last man standing. If I didn’t find connection or fuck or whatever, I felt as though I’d “lost the night.”
And, as any lifestyle man will tell you, we all lose the night, except when we win.
So my friend, over some scotch, told me of a trip to Vegas with an evening involving a several-club bar crawl where he did very well with the ladies without even trying. Fascinated, I asked for more.
“Because we were going to these other clubs, I wasn’t worried about making any big moves all night. I was able to just talk to women, flirt a little, and they came to me.”
It was the removal of the “end game goal” because there was always a “next club.” The concept of removing the end game entirely fascinated me. And when I said goodbye for the night, he went home to think about the things I’d said, and I thought deeply about those comments.
I’d been given the key to a lock I hadn’t even realized was there before, and the next night was the first swinger party I’d been a guest at since that fateful night that almost destroyed the entire swinging experiment in one fell swoop.
Putting Enlightenment into Practice
I committed to myself that I would go in without end game in mind. That I was arriving at 8pm to a party that generally goes till 4am. There’s no need for quick plays, for pushing, there’s really not even any need to hook up. We’re there with friends, and my partner promised not to leave me holding the purse.
“I’ve got your back,” she said.
“I love you,” I said, “Let’s go sexin’.”
It’s entirely possible I didn’t say that, and instead, it’s just a quote from a John Waters movie I happen to really enjoy, but that’s neither here nor there.
Once inside, I found that for the first time, I didn’t feel nervous. I didn’t have the pressure cooker going. I was able to say hello to people, and have some wine, and mingle and talk with friends, and introduce myself to people I didn’t know. To tell women they’re beautiful, glad hand, talk websites, talk movies, talk sexy, really get to know people.
And somewhere along the line, I was fucking a girl doggy style on the kitchen floor with people enjoying the view, thinking, “How the fuck did I do this?”
That was the key. That was the piece of the puzzle that’d been eluding me, and it makes sense and looks really fucking obvious looking back now because it’s not a new insight. My interest was ambiguous. Not obvious, not needy, and because of that, I was alluring. Me! Cooper Beckett! Being told, “I want you to fuck me right here!”
I know, I know, the readers of this website seem to have a misguided belief that I’m some sort of überswingen. But no, no, I wrestle with myriad insecurities that hamper that status on a day to day basis. But this, this was a break-through. Later in the evening, it happened again, with another girl I’d flirted and chatted with, gave a momentary kiss to, now on the bed, panties down, asking me to fuck her.
I marveled that the seeming secret to having control of yourself in this lifestyle (perhaps in any) is to allow yourself to relinquish control. As soon as I stopped trying to hook up, it suddenly became easier than I ever imagined.
Turn the Questions Off and Enjoy the Ride
Taking my newfound realization a bit further, on a play date with a close friend, I was having difficulty reaching orgasm from a blowjob. After a while, I had difficulty maintaining the erection. I could sense this happening for a number of reasons, including the amount of wine I drank at dinner, the very full meal, the very long day. In the past, these moments of what I’d considered failure were terror-inducing. I’d close my eyes and try to talk some sense into the cock. As nothing I told it made a difference, I only would become more and more panicked, and more and more stressed.
In this moment, I told her, “I don’t think it’s going to happen, and it’s okay; I’m not worried about it. This feels amazing, and I’d love if you continued.”
I don’t even know where the words came from. It was as though I was telling myself this very thing at the same time I was relaying it to her. It’s true that even in the past when I’ve had trouble, the sensation from the handjob or blowjob or whatever was happening at the time was always wonderful. I was just spending too much time stressing about things to notice. But here I was, completely extracting the perceived end game from the proceedings. And you know what? Even though I didn’t come, I had a wonderful time as always, just this time with none of the stress of wondering “Why can’t I come?” or “Why am I not hard?”
So what am I saying? Sometimes the greatest insights are the ones that seem bleeding obvious to you after that moment of ostensible enlightenment.
Maybe I’m trying to tell you that you can do this too. ‘Cuz I’m a fucking neurotic and a paranoid. My brain doesn’t know how to turn off to just enjoy. It sits there and evaluates and reevaluates over and over until I can’t focus on anything except the questions in my head.
But I did it. I hit Zen.
I turned the questions off and enjoyed the ride.
Now go and do likewise.
This article is an excerpt from my book, My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory.