A few thoughts about party behavior

I've been to several swing parties now, and I've decided to write a bit about what I've seen that I have and haven't liked in the behavior of my fellow attendees. Consider this a bit of a Ms. Manners Guide to Swing Party Etiquette.

  1. Be respectful of the other party-goers! Sure, we all like to watch, but don't stare at people playing as if they were animals on a display at a zoo. Running commentary about the action going on and speculation about who wants to do what with whom is also VERY bad form. No one can tell you what you may and may not think. However please leave these kinds of thoughts unspoken.
  2. Be even MORE respectful of the other party-goers! If you want to play with someone new, try to feel them out for what they do and don't like. Some people like a bit of nipple-biting, hair-pulling and ass-slapping. Some people, believe it or not, hate all of those things. Some people like to actually have sex at parties, some prefer oral or just a bit of messing around here and there. Respect their limits. Do not presume that what someone does with another they will do with you as well, should they choose to play with you.
  3. Be UNBELIVABLY respectful of the other party-goers! You may feel that swinging is a dark, dirty, shameful thing. And that might well be what you like about it. The person next to you may be a sexual idealist and think themselves (and everyone else at that party) to be amazing, wonderful, questioning human beings looking for pleasure and self-knowledge. Respect your fellow swingers as people, respect their views and treat them as you'd want to be treated in any conventional social situation.
  4. Be nice to your hosts. Yes, even if you are paying to get into the party.  Calling a few hours beforehand and asking if they need anything is a VERY nice gesture. Keep track of your own soda cans and/or glasses, plates, and napkins. Make sure that any condoms you use get into the trashcan, along with their wrappers!  Take a few minutes to help make new group members feel comfortable, even if you are not particularly interested in playing with them. Just remember this…most anything that would make your life easier when you throw a regular party will make your hosts lives easier as well.
  5. Be cool. Relax. If you play, cool. If you don't play, cool. Somewhat less cool? Perhaps. But it's still cool. Be prepared to enjoy conversation and hanging out as much as anything else. People are much more attracted to those who seem confident and relaxed most everywhere in life, and at swing parties this is especially true.
  6. MEN: Remember that no matter how harmless your intentions, if a woman doesn't know you fairly well, she may be made uncomfortable or feel intimidated by very strong sexual advances.  Approach gently.
  7. WOMEN: Men have the right to not want to play with you, just as you're allowed to not want them. If and when someone you are interested in says “No”, smile, say “Oh well”, and get over it. If they are rude about it, they won't last long in the scene anyway.
  8. COUPLES: Know BEFORE you arrive at a party what the rules between you and your signifigant other for playing with others are, and FOLLOW YOUR RULES!  The middle of a party is NOT the time to decide to re-negotiate these things.   There will be other parties, and what you don't do at this party, you can do at another.
  9. Practice impeccable personal hygiene!!! Have brushed teeth, no stubble and no body odor. Trust me on this one, if personal hygiene is too much bother, you won't be invited back to many functions.  Looking nice is good, but at least be fanatical about personal hygiene!
  10. If you want to play with one or both members of a couple, and that couple is game, great! Just remember to show courtesy and respect (there's that word again) to both members of said couple. Show respect for their relationship, and appreciation that you're being allowed to play with either or both of them.
  11. If you want to play with a pair or a group that is already playing, approach gently.  Do not try to jump into the middle of the action.  Start with a hand on the shoulder, maybe a caress on the arm or the side...Give them a chance to invite you into their scene.  If they pull away, or are not encouraging, leave them be.  Do not take it personally, do not be offended, and do not keep pressing.  If you are cool and respectful, one or each of them may well play with you at another time.  If you are aggressive and ignoring their wishes, you will leave a bad impression that you may not be able to overcome.
  12. Watching and being watched is great, but when watching others play, be considerate.  Be relaxed, don't crowd those you're watching.  Be quiet, because it's not nice to break their groove, the focus of those that are in the middle of playing.
  13. At these parties there is a separate conversation area, if you want to take a break and chat about whatever, get dressed and go outside.  Listening to you chat about your timeshare does NOT increase my enjoyment of what I'm doing in any way, shape, or form.  This doesn't mean you can't speak, it just means you should be considerate of those in the middle of enjoying themselves.
  14. Know thyself. Do not play like a  21-year old Olympic athlete unless that is your reality. No matter how great the party, it's not worth several weeks in traction.
  15. Again, know thyself. It is best not to do in the heat of the moment that which you will feel guilty or regretful about later. If it happens that you do something like this in the heat of the moment, it's not the end of the world.  Actually, it happens to the best of us. Within reason, handle your feelings as you see fit.
  16. Everyone is there to have fun. Remember this. Even those you are close friends with do not wish to deal with your drama at a party. If you have an issue with someone, discreetly take them aside. Even better, discreetly take them outside, and discuss the situation quietly. If it turns into a real argument, either put it off until later or leave the party premises until it is over. Swing parties are NOT the time for fights, confrontations or melodramatics.
  17. Discretion is EVERYTHING to the large majority of swingers. Do NOT discuss parties with non-group members, never mention names, and remember that a quiet discussion in a public place can still be overheard. Above all things: In swinging, be discreet.
  18. If you feel a party rule is being violated, take a host aside, discreetly tell them what you saw or experienced, and then let it go. It is now in the hands of the group owners.
  19. There will never be a day in this world without at least one misunderstanding occurring. If something happens at a party or in a group that you do not like, try to be open-minded. Try to understand the viewpoints and foibles of others. Don't leave a group that you have loved in a moment of anger over something that, in the long run, might not turn out to be not all that important.