Friday, March 19, 2010

True Wife's Tale #1: "Ally" and The Lifestyle

Our first true wife's tale is from "Ally," a 37 year-old woman who found that her secret to a good married sex life was not, say, taking a lively evening class at the community college, but embracing The Lifestyle. "We get to explore a lot of our fantasies," says Ally. "Some people never get to do that and get frustrated. I think that’s why some people end up getting divorced or having affairs. Shoot, if couples do it together, they can both have fun," she says jauntily.

In Bed: The logistics of two couples all having to agree on each other seems daunting. If everyone else seems interested in getting together but you aren’t, do you go ahead with it anyway?

Ally: Have I ever taken one for the team? NO. I’m not going to play with a guy just so Mark can play with a girl he really likes. There are plenty of times we've been approached by another couple and the girl's really hot, but then I look at the guy and I'm like, “Aw, HELL no!”

In Bed: Have you had any bad experiences with the lifestyle?

Ally: There have been times where the guy I'm with is going at it too hard, like too fast or too deep and I didn't say, “It’s hurting.” I told Mark after the fact and he said, “You need to tell the guy to back off.” There always needs to be communication for this to work. For example, I enjoy anal sex, the back door. Mark makes sure that the guy asks if it’s okay first and doesn’t just go for it. It's a courtesy factory.

In Bed: Rule note: Always ask courteously before going for the back door.

Ally: Mark’s well-endowed lengthwise, so he’s got to be careful because it hurts. He needs to ask the girl if she’s okay. Some guys are into butt-slapping, pulling on the hair, things like that. I always make sure Mark’s okay with that. There’s only been one time that he spoke up during the act. The guy was into choking. Mark’s actually done a little of that to me, nothing major, nothing hardcore. It’s supposed to affect a woman’s orgasms. But the guy was doing it quite a bit, to the point where Mark was quite fearful for my life. Mark said, “Hey, seriously, dude back off on that.” The guy was very respectful and stopped. It was one of the things that guy likes to do, but it’s not necessarily what works with all women.

In Bed: How were you introduced to “the lifestyle”?

Ally: Mark and I were talking to our friends about some of our sexual fantasies. We were talking about being with other people and it evolved into, “What if we four got together and tried to play?”

In Bed: How did you bring it up in the first place? Someone has to go out there on a limb...

Ally: There were steps that led up to it. There would be times that we’d be together, drinking a bit and we’d maybe do a little touching and feeling and kissing. It finally led up to the whole thing of clothes coming off and having sex together. But our first time was kind of a disaster. We didn't know how to approach each other and who should do what.

In Bed: Did the friendship stay intact?

Ally: Yes, but it was awkward. Seeing each other after it was like, “Okay, now what do we do? We’ve seen each other naked and had sex.” Nowadays we don’t cross the line with friends. We made it a rule that we don’t play with friends or coworkers--that's a big no-no.

In Bed: Is that a general rule in the lifestyle or your own rule?

Ally: It’s our own rule, but other people have it too. With friends, there can be jealousy--someone hears more noises coming from the other couple, whatever. You don’t want to have that coming into a friendship. And with coworkers, word gets around and you’re looked at kind of weird. If we have any of Mark’s coworkers over to our house, people will be like, “OOOOhhh, they’re going over to Mark and Ally’s!” They assume automatically that because someone’s hanging out with us, something’s going on.

In Bed: Okay, so you had your first awkward encounter, but it was compelling enough to give it another try.

Ally: After we got married, Mark was out of town a lot on business. We decided to give each other an opportunity to explore other things while we were apart. One of our fantasies was to pick up a stranger and have a one-night stand. I got together with a couple of people, but Mark lucked out only once. Poor little guy! (laughs) He’s Mr. Shy. He always tells me, “It’s just so hard for me to go up and say something to some girl at a bar.” But he finally did and was so excited about it, he called me the next day. I thought it was going to be a one-stand stand--a “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” thing. But when he called, he was still at her house, hanging out and watching NASCAR. It made me totally jealous and upset. I realized that separate play wasn’t for us.

In Bed: So how did you find other people who were into the lifestyle?

Things really opened up for us when Mark got a new job and we moved near San Francisco. We were away from our friends and family and felt more at ease about trying things. We looked into swinger’s clubs. They are usually a house turned into a club. You bring your own alcohol and they have jacuzzis and pool tables. There's a DJ playing music, so you dance and get to know people that way. If you want, you can go in a room and play with your partner and other people watch you. They can join in or not, or you can join in with somebody else. It's all about asking and getting permission. They have strict rules about things. If you don’t follow them, you get kicked out. One organization called Pleasure Zone threw parties in different restaurants. After the restaurant closed, they brought in a DJ and took it over.

(In Bed trying desperately to rid mind of sudden unbidden, and thankfully unspoken, thoughts of restaurant tables, sanitation issues and the breakfast rush.)

Ally: After each time with a couple, we’d discuss it and new rules would come up. This whole thing is a learning process. Every couple has their own rules. We know one couple who doesn’t believe in kissing on the lips. They think it's too personal.

In Bed: Tell me some of your rules.

Ally: Certain sexual positions are only between the two of us. We have to play in the same room. One, because we enjoy watching each other with another person. And two, safety--just to make sure things don’t get out of control.

In Bed: Did you ever have to break up with a couple

Ally: There was a couple that we used to play with, but we had to put an end to it. A couple times, all four of us were in bed naked and their child ran in and jumped in bed with us. I didn’t feel that the child should be exposed that young to stuff like that. We want to be friends, but we won't do anything again.

In Bed: How do you meet couples?

Ally: Lifestyle Lounge has been the best thing that’s happened to us. [note: If you're interested, click here.] You put up a picture and a profile, with what you like and what you’re looking for in a couple. We look for people who love the outdoors. We have a boat, we love to have barbecues and play Wii.

In Bed: Do you ever meet a couple that's just not that into you?

Ally: Yeah, we went to a Halloween party and there was a couple that we started talking to. We got along fine and we thought there was something there. But when we’d run into them in another room, they’d talk a little bit, then walk away. We were like, “Oo-kay.”

In Bed: At least you have someone to commiserate with in your misery. Do either of you find yourselves developing love feelings?

Ally: No, we’ve been able to separate it. It’s sexual play, it’s fantasy. And we always talk afterward about how things felt. I might say something like, “His angles were good" or Mark might tell me the girl was good at sucking him off. It could make me jealous but when he tells me what she did, it actually helps me. I ask, “What did you enjoy? Do you want me to do more of that?” It’s a whole thing that adds to us later on. We end the night by playing with each other so that we reconnect. We use that energy from earlier--that whole sexual energy and excitement of it all and put it between the two of us. It just makes us that much closer. Yeah, a couple may turn us on sexually and we get aroused and have orgasm and so forth, but the emotional part is between the two of us. '

In Bed: What do you think your marriage would be like if you didn’t have this outlet?

Ally: I think we would probably have a lot of issues if I had to stick with one man. Some people are turned on by watching porn or role playing or whatever. We’re turned on by being with other people. Just being around the sounds and the sights and the smells of things is a major turn-on for us.

The lifestyle is not for everybody, although I think it could be. We get to explore a lot of our fantasies. Some people never get to do that and get frustrated. I think that’s why people end up getting divorced or having affairs. Shoot, if couples do it together, they can both have fun.

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