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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cognitive dissonance - If you read any posts in my blog, read this one!

This post will be the most controversial post I've ever written and posted on this blog.  It's also going to be my last one.  I thought how I was going to write this post for the last couple of days and come to the conclusion that I shouldn't pull any punches.  I've shared with over 56,000 people my experiences in the lifestyle.  Well I hope this last post gets the most hits out of any of the previous posts.  Sadly, I think many of you will gloss over it someone who just couldn't handle his shit in the end.

To be completely honest, you are right if you are thinking that right now.  I did not handle the past year well.  In fact I've struggled throughout the 7 years we dabbled and full embraced the lifestyle then polyamory.  There are two words, cognitive dissonance, that I heard when I was exiting the LDS religion 8 years ago.  It was used by many atheists and anti-mormons when it came to apologists of the LDS church.  It was used at times in the right context.  But cognitive dissonance can be thrown out not just with religion, it's rampant in the lifestyle and polyamory as well.

Here is the problem with most people in the lifestyle.  They really think it's going to make their marriage better.  They jettison their upbringing, they then change the way they view the world, their sexuality, their relationships.  They then adopt their own belief system that has been spun around the lifestyle and open relationships.  The attend the parties and meet and greets like they are religious services that they are expected to attend.  It's the same people in general, it's the same conversations, the same wanton behavior, and ultimately the same boredom.  But then the dopamine and adrenaline of swinging dies, we want more.  We want closeness, we want some type of intimacy.   Then some choose to embrace what they ALWAYS knew was there, loving more then one.  I'm sorry, but this could be scripted from watching from the inside the past 7 years.  It's a false leader my friends and it's the final step if you haven't gotten there already, to your marriage breaking up.

Sure, there is always a poster couple that defies the odds.  The swinging community wishing to keep that cognitive dissonance alive and well come together telling each other how crazy those people are who leave their fold.  Sounding familiar yet my friends who left a real religion?   I even heard this statement the other day from a long time swinger.  Once they go back (to religion) they never come back, which he said with disdain.  I wanted at that moment to remind him of the polygamist religion he left years ago and what they probably still say about him.

What are the real facts?  What are the real statistics?   I guess it depends on what you view as real.  If they do a study on swingers, your going to get a small sampling.  First of all, real swingers/poly couples, are not let's just stick our toes in it a couples times and we're out.  Second, this isn't like the most acceptable type of lifestyle to main stream America (though it's becoming more popular every day), so not many couples are willing to be apart of studies, let alone shed their privacy in any degree to answer these type of surveys.

Yes, I've read the recent John Hopkins study about swinging helping some marriages.  Again, what is the sampling and compared to the general population, it's still very early to make any long term predictions on how this could play out in the general population.  To use some generalities, there are certain types that are attracted to swinging and certain types that are attracted to polyamory.  Rarely you have both, like my wife and I, but we've defied the odds, at least for now.  The reality is that numbers are unclear in regards to the actual divorce numbers, some estimating them to be quite high and others admitting that it's still unknown how extensive the problem is really.  Think about it, how many of us (in the lifestyle currently) want to air our dirty laundry with colleagues, family, vanilla friends.  It could have dire consequences on our employment and those with these type of jobs will never admit that open marriage killed their marriage.

I'm going to take on the myth that swinging helps a marriage.  Let's break this down for a minute and look at that statement for what it is really.  I used to make those statements myself and now I see how enmeshed in my own cognitive dissonance.  If your marriage needs spice, it's not going to be sustainable in the arms of another lover.  It's not possible to increase intimacy if your just reliving the sexual romp you shared with another person.  Sure, it can be exciting and you really think in the moment that your connecting with your partner.  But let's not fool ourselves.  As my wife put in the other night, sex is selfish expression for oneself, and rarely are we aware enough to be so in the moment that we pull ourselves and unite with that other person in a rare but incredible moment of intimacy and connection you only get with someone you know more then the last hour!   If you want to argue with me, fine, but I call bullshit and maybe someday you'll wake up and realize that you threw away something precious in your relationship.  Let me tell you, picking up the pieces after the music stops, it ain't easy at all.

I'd be lying as well to say it wasn't fun at times.  I'd be lying to state that I didn't have some incredible sexual experiences.  I'd be lying to suggest I didn't love another person.  But I'd also be lying to say that this hasn't affected my family in a negative way.  I'd be lying to say that it hasn't almost destroyed my marriage, and though there were issues, this just throws gasoline on a small fire that you may have controlled and doused with proper care and education.  Before you swing, I really suggest you think through the possible consequences.  Think about your children (if you have them) and how they will feel when you get divorced.  Think about the emotional roller coaster you'll put your partner through and get ready for the screaming Hell you'll get to enjoy when or if that happens to you as well.

It's kind of sad.  A culture that regularly prides itself on honesty and openness is obsessed with lying to itself about the consequences of its participants.  From the STD's they think we'll never affect them, to the destroyed husks of marriages they leave in their wakes, they move from one relationship to the next looking for something that always eludes them.  I purposely didn't go into detail about my own situation now and I won't.  The only thing I will say, my path with my family and partner is not hopeless.  But there is some severe damage and it may take years to repair.  It still may eventually claim my family as well, but before you do this to your own family, your spouse, yourself, stop and think this over.   Ask your spouse to read this post.

Finally, I do want to thank my readers of this blog.  I don't mean to throw any judgments out at those who wish to continue in this lifestyle.  It is what it is and your adults and I respect that we can disagree.  I also want to thank those personally that participated in these experiences.  Though I look back at this as a mistake, I do thank many for the lessons I learned about life, about myself.  Though I won't continue down this journey with you any longer, I wish you all a safe journey.  Please be careful and think about your families, those who mean the most to you.  It could all be gone tomorrow if your not careful.

Peace be with you.
Abcman, signing off.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First real update.. Yes, we have it!

Kind of left it in the air last May, but it's time to come clean.  Yes, my wife and I have contracted HSV2 (Genital Herpes).  It's funny that today I make that announcement, but last night my wife mentioned she maybe having her second outbreak, which I later confirmed examining her.  This one is a lot less painful then the first, but it's the final confirmation that we have this nasty little disease.

So is it the end of our world.. OH HELL NO!!  Hardly.. but it has caused us to reflect on our choices in terms of future swinging experiences.  It hasn't affected our relationship with our  lovers, in fact in some ways it has brought us even closer together.  But it has required us to completely change the way we interact sexually with others in the lifestyle.  In fact we've been celibate in terms of opening up to anyone new.   Most of that is just a satisfaction with what we currently have with our dear friends, but then there is still that itch (pardon the pun) to mingle with new people.  The reality is that responsibly sexual people tell their potential partners that they have an STD.  Mrs ABC had had a number of single men ask if it was possible to get together, but when the subject of STD's are brought up, then it's silence from the other side (which we both understand).  There still have been a couple of guys willing but Mrs ABC is just not in the mode to push it.  So yes, there is a curiosity but not an over whelming need for it at all.  As she put it, she's feeling more then sexually fulfilled at this point and nothing in our swinging adventures ever touched what we have now.

Swinging was always more about the flirting then the sex.  In swinging the "newness" was a turn on to Mrs ABC, because it was almost like the "hunt".  To be honest, I liked flirting as well, especially with someone new that finds you sexy.  In the beginning of our swinging lifestyle, I think I really didn't enjoy it like I could have because of some self image issues with myself, but lately, as I exercise and lose weight, I'm now finding that I'm attractive and sexy in my own way.  Sexy is just a state of mind I'm finding, a way of being, less about how you look naked.

One thing that has bothered me though is the attitude among swingers regarding STD's.  I posted a long forum message about our plight.  Many thought it was brave and to be honest I was nervous doing so.  But the supportive response was appreciated.  The sad truth is it did very little to change most swingers attitudes about playing.  Just read another blog today about Mormon Swingers, it made me realize how naive we were in the beginning of this adventure.  I can't even believe how sad I would have been if our STD had come from some casual mean nothing sexual encounter with another couple.   The fact that we possibly contracted it form someone we love and care about is one thing, but to think we could have picked it up from someone we barely knew, now that would have been a harder pill to swallow.

This last paragraph is to all you experienced, newbie, and potential swingers!!  Read this carefully and think about it.  IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!  Do the research folks and protect yourself.   There should be a warning label that you get at each party anyone attends in the lifestyle.   Warning:  Sex can be dangerous to your health, especially if you do not use proper safe sex practices, such as condoms, dental dams, but even that is not a guarantee that you will not get it from touch as well (See HSV2).


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Warning... this may make some Swingers uncomfortable

Yes, this is the post that most swingers fear.  The post that many swingers do not wish to discuss and often quietly fade into the woodwork.  Recently I came down with what I thought was a bladder infection and shortly after my wife came down with something that we've yet to confirm but it looks like HSV-2.

Now nothing is confirmed and we were shocked.  We've been in a closed relationship now with another couple for several months.  We were all STD tested for the basic Planned Parenthood standard STD nasties.  But of course they don't test for Herpes, and so we didn't have any symptoms ever so why test.

Now we're unsure that anyone has HSV-2 at this point.  My wife came down with symptoms that her OBGYN thinks is Herpes, she's taken the test now.  Our lovers have taken the test, I'm going to take the test tomorrow, but it's a little unsettling.  Not to get too graphic, but it could be a number of different scenarios at this point.  We're hoping it's just a staph infection at this point.

But even if it isn't HSV-2, it still has rocked us.  We've been kind of on our way out of swinging full time anyway.  But this would put the nail in the proverbial coffin.  I think my wife would still like to continue in the lifestyle if she is not infected with HSV-2 but after educating ourselves about this disease, the typical Swinger lifestyle is now not as appealing.

The lifestyle is not what is the issue, it's how couples are about it.  STD's are so misunderstood in regards to how they are transmitted.  Recently on a forum on a popular swinging site we use locally, there was a forum post about STD's.  It was  incredible how flippant the posters were about oral sex.  What they don't realize is how easy it is to get HSV-2 even with condoms on when someone is shedding HSV-2 virus.

Even if we find out that the blood test is negative, the reality is we're not too excited about new partners at this point.  The couple we're with now is like family anyway, and I personally have not been interested lately in exploring new love with others anyway.  But I think this will really put a crimp on any "hookup" sex in the future.  As one of our partners stated, "I will require full STD results before I'm touching anyone in the future".

One cool thing though, we've all had many discussions about this subject with one another.  All of us knew the risks that we were taking getting into this lifestyle.  It's not something we can now blame on others.  I'm not sure if this happens often, but we've already discussed the possibility of contacting all former sexual partners if we find out if she's positive for HSV-2.  I'm sure there will be some uncomfortable conversations, but the problem is that most symptomatic male carriers of HSV-2 do not even realize they are carrying the disease.  And it's much easier to infect another female then male.

Bottom line my fellow swingers or those thinking about it.  Any sexual contact, with or without condoms is risky!!  If you engage in sex with others, you may eventually contract a STD.  Hopefully you are lucky and you keep the risks to a minimum, but the danger is always there, especially any unprotected genital or ORAL SEX.  Oral sex is the biggest issue in the swinging community.  So many will engage in unprotected oral sex, we have in many cases as well.

We're crossing our fingers.  Tomorrow we'll know for sure.  We're hoping that everyone receives a clean bill of health, but we're also mentally and emotionally ready for bad news if we get it.  Luckily we're in a committed relationship with our friends and lovers.  We're also committed in our own marriage.  The key to dealing with this type of thing is acquiring as much knowledge as you are able.  We'd also be much more careful though if we could do it all over again.  Even if we dodge the proverbial STD bullet, any sexual contact  beyond our current partners will be carefully scrutinized.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I know it's been a while but a quick update

Things have been going well as of late.  We have now been in a relationship with another couple since Janurary, though we didn't all really acknowledge it was that until a little later.  I've been posting off and on about it and this is just a quick update.

Everyone has been doing fairly well.  Sure we've had a few speed bumps but most relationships of any type encounter issues.  The level of communication and willingness to allow this in each others lives has been impressive.  I've read numerous posts, articles, and blogs about how this shouldn't work but in our cases it is at this point.  I've also read a number of blogs and posts on the Internet that suggests that this can work if approached the right way with all involved.

Each of our relationships with one another have gone through various stages and at different speeds.  The female half of the other couple and I hit it off fast and hard.  I think it's the way we both operate though we both experienced fear of what this is all about and how things would turn out.  I think the reason we've been able to gt through it is a combination of efforts to meet each other half way.  After 16 and 18 years of marriage, each married couple has a pattern in which they relate to on another.  This type of relationship turns that on its head, and it's literally a brand new relationship is created.  New relationships are not always controlled by years of making one another wrong, or patterns we utilize in our communications with one another.  Plus the individuality of each person in the relationship is important as well.

There have been a few jealousy/envy issues in the relationship.  Most of these have been resolved through communication and allowing that individual the space to work it out.  In most cases this has worked and I imagine it should continue to get better as well.  In some ways trial and emotional issues make a relationship stronger, as long as individuals don't use the situation to make others feel wrong, or use it to make others feel guilty.

Currently the male half has been at our home yesterday and today.  His wife/my girlfriend just left with on of her girl friends for a 8 day cruise.  We wanted him to come over last night, which he did, and we've had a ball with him, playing board games with our kids, then watching Tosh.0 last night, all three of us on a bed together, which of course turned into what my wife quotes, "my best orgasm EVER!!".  That seems like a pretty good deal for her, which she freely admits.

One thing that is kind of unique to our situation, we've been really clear that not everyone in this foursome is ready to completely end the swinging lifestyle.  Though we're all now fluid bonded (meaning we've not had sex with anyone else but one another for over 3 months and we've been STD tested - so condoms are now optional).  We still realize that some of us what to still hookup with new people and some of us would rather focus on what is already there.  My wife and the male half want to continue to go to parties.  They did both commit though to full protection and that includes oral.  One activity we may do together is practice creating dental dams with a regular condom.

This truly has been worth it and I can honestly say that I've never been happier in my life then I am now.  In some ways I've found this to be much more "moral" then swinging.  I know for sure it's much more full filling then swinging.  So it's difficult to describe our exact status but we're happy to make it up as we go, without labels or are we worried what others think. I know when I post one of these happy poly articles I will tend to get a "be careful", or "you are going to end up unhappy" posts.  Sorry to disappoint some of you, but this has been an awesome experience!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jealousy is like a cold!

Jealousy is a funny disease. It's almost like a cold.  You think your over it and then it sneaks up and bites you in the ass another day.  This time it took me a little while to diagnose it, but now that I realize whats bugging me its helped me sort through my feelings quickly.

My wife and I met a fun couple recently.  We've clicked on many levels, but like usual my wife is ahead of me.  As a man, I've noticed that swinging is much easier in some ways for a woman then men in general.  Men tend to be the first ones to introduce their partners to swinging, but then are shocked when their partners are more excited then they are about it.

I've been finding myself in that situation lately.  Various reasons, from not feeling attractive enough compared to some of the other guys who live in the gym, to struggling with a number of little things that begin to clutter inside your head.  I keep hearing about men who have performance issues, but could the issues be more whats not being taken care of internally, and less about their performance?  I myself have had this issue, but I usually chalked it up to the fact that I simply wasn't into the woman I was with.  There could be valid reasons, but then on the other hand there is a willing female (no matter what she looks like) who is wanting to have sex... whats the issue?

So around and around my mind swirls.  And then we run into this fun couple recently.  My wife and he hit it off instantly.  Hot text messages fly back in forth all day long between them, much like new teenagers in lust.  This time I'm attracted to his wife unlike many of our previous experiences, but I have the nasty habit of over thinking everything, and with some lingering insecurities I really have a challenge getting present in these situations.  But she's a nice girl, nothing wrong with her at all.  She's allot different then my wife, she is more reserved, but she's also patient and understanding, unlike some women I've met in the lifestyle, and we hit it off in terms of a friendship.  Sexually we're still figuring it out unlike our "teenager" spouses.

So anyway, I managed to get those internal issues resolved finally, then we hit mild speed bump the first night the four of us get together.  She and I play a little, but her Dad is in town, and she's having allot of issues with her sisters.  So I can tell she's having a difficult time that night, so I foregoe intercourse with her and we talk.  Meanwhile my wife and her husband of course are banging away in our bedroom, and of course enjoying every minute of it.  Later I find out that she did want to have sex, but again I over analyzed it, but she seems to be pretty understanding and even grateful I'm not a typical fuck em and leave em kinda guy.

Well its more then a  week later, all four of us want to get together again soon.  My wife and her husband are hot and heavy as ever, and things are going great between myself and my friend.  But then I get a weird text about how they want to open things up in their marriage.  Hey, to each his own, if you can date singly and still make the marriage work then great.  But I notice a change in her texts... well I didn't get a text after sending her several.  This isn't normal for her, so my curse in life is being able to take snippets of information from various sources and coming up with a analysis that is usually spot on.  She finally called me today, and I teased her about not text-ing and then she tells me she met a new guy, was with him all afternoon.

Well, I wasn't prepared for what happened in my head.  It was like all the previous shit I was worried about was suddenly true once again.  She's really taking one for the team, she's not into me, she's really into a new guy, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, I know if your reading this your thinking, WTF dude!   Yep, and I agree 100%. Hey, but stay with me, I'm not going to self destruct like you think.

Wow.. didn't think that would happen, and makes you take a step back and say.. WTF!  Thank goodness I caught it at this point.  For a minute I was letting some of the old shit in my head come back in and cause havoc.  But then I thought, "what the hell, she can see whomever she wants", isn't that what this is all about?  And to answer my question, yes it is, and if you can think flirting or banging more then one woman at any given time, then why not her.

But then you have to ask yourself some hard questions.. Is it the fact she's seeing someone while planning on getting with me again soon.  Hmm.. maybe a little.  But I think part of my problem could be the fact that our relationship is nothing like my wife and her husbands?   Ahh.. see now your starting to keep score buddy, and that will always lead to disappointment.  So is it really about your wife, her lover, your new lover, or is it just the insecurities in your own head.  BINGO!

So is there really anyway to get rid of insecurities totally.  I'm not sure there really is.  You can got to expensive self help seminars all you want, but the reality is your personality is what makes you the person you are.  Good and bad, its a combination of experiences throughout life that shape who you are.  The key is to understand when the bad shit is occurring and then how to pull yourself out of it.

I've also realized, most people don't want to hear about your bad shit.  They have a bunch of their own running through their own heads.   So bringing up yours is just a way of reminding them they have some of their own.  So sorry reader is that applies to you, but hopefully this is helpful in some way the next time your feeling left behind, inadequate, less confident.  It happens to us all, but its only conversation in your head.  You don't like the conversation then change it!

OR go get some golf balls, knock the shit out of them for a few hours.  Come back with a good perspective about how hot your wife is, how your going to be with a hot girl this weekend as well, and don't worry about the stupid shit.  I think I'm going to do both ;-)

Most people in the lifestyle will not expose themselves like this, but I know many who go through the same struggles.  And please spare me the self righteous comments if your thinking them, I've heard every platitude there is about the lifestyle.   Reality is there is drama, and there are people in the lifestyle that may or maynot should be in it.  The reality is that no one is a robot without feelings or emotions and those whom express and talk them through are generally the ones with a healthier outlook in this lifestyle or their lives in general.