So, what’s the difference between swinging and cheating? The main difference is awareness of what your partner is doing. Cheating occurs without your partner’s knowledge or consent. It is hidden and kept a secret – relying upon the “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” ideology. However, more often than not, a cheater is found out and trust in the relationship is broken – sometimes never to be regained. Swinging is done with both partners’ knowledge and consent. Most times (at least in the beginning), both partners are present for the sexual exchanges with other people. This is one of the main draws to this type of lifestyle – you really can have your cake and eat it too!

For Shades and I, it increases the intimacy and trust between the two of us. We have to be open to discussing our likes and dislikes, issues we have with certain activities and our comfort level with things that occur. When we started this journey, we did a lot of talking beforehand.

We went through all the “what ifs” and scenarios we could come up with. Even trying to prepare, the reality was much different. Even after talking about hypothetical situations, reality caused different reactions for us both, that we had not expected. Not that the reactions were necessarily bad. Most weren’t, but we realized that until you are actually in a situation, you really can’t know what your reaction will be.

This realization started a whole new form of communication between the two of us: the active discussion during a party or gathering. I’ve always been one to “check in” when we are out – even just at a bar and having fun of a non-sexual manner. It’s part of who I am to check on Shades and make sure he’s enjoying himself and that he’s not supremely bored. So, this part of the process came very naturally to me. For Shades, it’s taken him a bit to learn to check in with me, luckily any times I’ve had an issue have been few and far between. So it’s safe to say that we take care of each other and communicate well throughout our experiences.

I’ve often said that I would be entirely happy with Shades as my only partner for the rest of my life. So, why do I do this? The answer is simple, because we share in it together. We both get something out of it. I enjoy the exhibitionist aspect (as well as getting pleasure from a multitude of different experiences), and Shades gets to fulfill his voyeuristic fantasies. We see it as feeling secure in the intimacy between the two of us and expanding that outwards. There is more to our relationship than just sex, so exploring our sexual desires is merely an activity meant for fun.