Stacey and her boyfriend Matt are perched on bar stools, holding hands, in a popular bar in Fitzroy, Melbourne. They both have excited butterflies. It feels like their first date all over again! Only it’s not. They are in a long-term, committed relationship. But tonight, they are planning on having sex with another couple. And it’s certainly not their first time.
They have been using an app called Feeld (formerly known as 3nder), to meet other open-minded singles and couples to have threesomes and group sex. Tonight, they are meeting up with a couple that they have been flirting with online for a couple of weeks. If all goes well, they plan on inviting the couple back to their apartment to enjoy a few more drinks, a carefully prepared cheese board and a night of group sex.
Stacey tells me that the notion of including other people into their sex life was introduced early in their relationship. They both describe themselves as sexual people and having dappled in threesomes previously, they knew that it was an activity that they wanted to explore and share together.
Listen: Porn star Madison Missina and self-proclaimed prude Carla G talk about threesome etiquette. (Post continues.)
I can’t imagine that it is particularly hard for them to find other people who are keen to jump into bed with them. They are both in their early thirties, have good careers and are both good-looking. And while Stacey tells me that there is no shortage of other young, good-looking couples interested in swinging, it seems that the process is much more involved than I would have thought.
Stacey says, “it takes ages to find other couples that you connect with. And once you do meet a couple you like, there needs to be long discussions about boundaries and comfort zones. It is really important that everyone feels comfortable.”
Stacey and Matt feel that swinging is healthy for them as a couple and that it keeps their relationship fun and exciting. Stacey says that swinging is about “practicing being open and accepting of your partner”. From chatting with her, it certainly seems that, as a couple, they have a wonderful willingness to communicate, trust each other and to open themselves up to vulnerability.
Swingers are leading the way in healthy relationships. At least according to Sex therapist Dr Cyndi Darnell. In a recent interview with ABC reporters Richelle Hunt and Kerri Sackville, Dr Darnell discussed how couples that swing are better able to navigate their own emotions, and those of their partner, in a way that demands resolution. She argues that swingers have been navigating vital relationship issues such as discussing consent and prioritising emotions and empathy for decades. Issues that are only now receiving mainstream attention.