Thousands of swingers will swarm Miami this weekend for Swingfest, the annual convention that celebrates the lifestyle with fetish play rooms, friction parties, an adult product expo, and educational seminars. Jason Jean, founder of Swingfest Events, will lead a session at the convention called "Swinging 101," geared toward beginners in the lifestyle. He gave us a little preview of the seminar with some tips on starting out on the scene, proper etiquette, and common misconceptions.
Tip #1: Communication is everything; talk about the details before you act.
"We tell couples to start by opening up about their sex life, their fantasies, and taking it to another level from there," Jason says. A husband might start by outlining his desire to see his wife with another woman. A wife might start by asking her husband's opinion on such a situation. Begin by talking about it on a hypothetical level and gauging your partner's reception to the topic. "Once people open up about this, it's like they can talk about anything—money problems, problems at work, problems with their kids. When a couple can openly talk about sex, it leads to better conversation overall," Jason says.
Tip #2: Find a community and build your profile.
Should you and your partner decide to enter the swinging lifestyle, Jason recommends joining an online swinging community to make connections in your area. Build a profile that outlines your specific sexual desires and what type of play partners you're looking for. A couple may include a photo of themselves, or opt for only detailed physical descriptions for privacy reasons. For group gatherings like Swingfest and larger swinger parties, an online presence helps you to know other attendees that are into your same sexual interests. "People will check into the website before going, see who else will be there, and see who they will be compatible with. For instance, a full swap couple [full intercourse between swappers] generally won't engage with a couple that's soft swap [full exchange of partners, with everything allowed except intercourse]," Jason explains.
Tip #3: Stick to your boundaries.
Before engaging in your first swinging outing, set detailed boundaries with your partner. While some swingers don't want to engage in certain acts due to the raunch factor, others hate to see their partner committing more saccharine, intimate gestures like kissing or holding hands. Decide your limits and stick to them. "During the intimacy of being with another person, it becomes easy to blow past these rules, so be aware of that," Jason says.
Tip #4: Don't be afraid to turn a couple down.
Should you be approached by a couple wishing to engage with you, don't be afraid to decline further advances because of a lack in chemistry. "Within this industry it's very customary to be honest and say, 'Hey, you're nice people, but as far as being play mates, we have to decline,'" Jason says. Although physical incompatibility is always a possibility, the swinging community is not a particularly shallow group in that way. "More often, it's people's personalities that dictate how they are received in the lifestyle. We have some couples that may not have the greatest bodies, but their personality is so great that people just want to be around them," Jason says.
Tip #5: Leave the personal hangups at home.
No matter your age, ethnicity, or physical appearance, it's likely there's someone in the swinging community that will enjoy your company just the way you are. "It doesn't matter if you're black, white, or Asian, fit or overweight, big wiener or little wiener. It's more about being confident and comfortable with yourself," Jason says.
Tip #6: Make safe choices.
"We promote safe sex," says Jason, and points out that an organization will be on site at Swingfest to test participants if they desire. In general, the swinging community embraces condom use during full intercourse, although Jason notes that there can be a generational gap where condoms are concerned. "We've found older couples can be more free with whether or not to use one, while most people in their 20s will always wear a condom," he says.
Swingfest runs from Thursday, October 22 until Sunday, October 25 at the Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Boulevard. Find a detailed outline of events and available passes at swingfestevents.com. Jason recommends that new couples considering the lifestyle start with a day pass, or passes to the expo and educational seminars.