I’m Not A God Damned Show Pony: Being On Display As A Female Swinger

We’ve been at this swinging game for a few months, and by no means, am I an expert on the scene or the varied experiences of women in the lifestyle.  We are still, very much fumbling through the myriad of emotions, perceptions and even our own identities as we peel through the various layers of self we come across when going deeper into the lifestyle.

I did though, think it was important to take a pause and document the viewpoint of a newbie swinger and one giant thing that stood out with these fresh little eyes of mine, as it’s something I still cannot wrap my head around.  Maybe you’ve noticed it too-  the fact that it’s all about the female body on swinger dating sites.

For anyone familiar with the speech given on newbies night at a local club, the owner will lecture everyone attending that the women are in charge.  This sentiment has been echoed by women and men alike that we’ve met in the last few months.

Women make the moves.  Women can say yes or no.  Women make the calls and women need to be respected.

At first, this was great- a space where women were welcomed to be sexual, consent was necessary – and if a women didn’t feel safe or changed her mind about an encounter, our swinger culture dictates that you need to respect her decision and back off.

I haven’t seen anywhere else where consent was held up so regularly, communication so valued and women’s boundaries so respected.

While this is great, and usually is respected (at least in theory), it can be startling to sign up for a swinger date site and see nothing but a sea of blurred out faces dotted by frequent pussy and boob close ups.

Just boobs, and lingerie and vulvas everywhere.

If you’re anything like me, who sometimes finds the online dating tango to be sufficiently superficial as it is when you’re “vanilla,” it can seem like the superficiality of the swinger profiles (despite being touted as a space where female sexuality reigns supreme) is amped up to the maximum.

This is something I’ve struggled with- who am I to judge if a woman honestly finds it sexy to put on skimpy lingerie  and spread eagle for the camera, or a woman who is super proud of her breasts or her booty and wants to fill a photo album with her ass in the air, posing for an enthusiastic partner who never joins her on the other side of the lens.  The profiles are filled with women, men are disproportionately less represented in the photo albums, and often the photos feel like the same old male gaze, porn star-esque bullshit.

I can’t be one to judge every woman who posts photos and determine her expression of sexuality, but for a woman who was attracted to this space partially because it seemed both safe and empowering for women, allowing them to sit in the coveted driver’s seat of their own desires, why does it feel like we’re all simply slinking along to the same standards of the male gaze?

Like, honestly, to me- even as a straight woman, I would be hotly turned on to see a picture of her toy collection or pictures of her doing cool shit that would make me want to know her better.  I’m not renting a porn, I’m checking out a human being…so how can the lifestyle be so forward and so behind at the same time?

Really- if it’s about the women, where are the men?  I know I’m just a newbie, and much less- a vanilla who is dipping her toes in the water, but for a scene that is supposed to be liberating, it seems like the same old pursuit of some bullshit, mysogynistic perfection we face in every other aspect of our lives.

giphy

Yes, look at this delightful show pony, isn’t she lovely? 

At first, I tried to silence my own objections.  Surely, I thought, I was just a prude who wasn’t comfortable completely shaving my yaya or taking photos with a dildo sticking out of my vagina and making come hither eyes at the camera.  I gave it some time and hoped the scene would warm me up, to shake loose some of the uptight strings I’ve held myself up with for years- but while I’ve come leagues closer to being confident in my sexuality and proud of my body, I still can’t shake this feeling that swinger dating sites perpetuate the same bullshit we’ve always dealt with about primping up our desires and displays to the standards men expect of us.

Is that what I need to do to play the game?  Is that really what gets swinger women off?  Did I miss the memo that this was supposed to be liberating to pose on a swinger dating site like it was a faux porn shoot?

The partner and I talked about this, and simply wondered if maybe men just weren’t as fun to look at, so they are underrepresented- but again, if the women are supposed to be in charge and should be the ones leading the flirts and rendevouzs, why the disparity?

While there are a lot of bisexual women in swinging, for those of us who are straight, why do I need to weed through a bunch of pictures of the woman to see just one of the male? I seemingly have to do a lot of digging to figure out if  *I* am compatible with the male part of the equation.  Additionally, it concerns me that we put a lot of pressure on women to perform and portray themselves in the sexiest ways possible, beyond their normal level of comfort in order to stand out or attract interest on behalf of their partner.

Burt Reynolds

Maybe we can’t fix it, but fellas, how about we raise the bar?  Start at level: “Burt Reynolds.”

I have no idea how to fix this, other than suggesting that profiles need to have more males represented and profile photos should ideally include both parties (even if the faces are blurred out).  Additionally, if women are going out of their way to do pin-up shoots and pose in sexy lingerie on swinger sites, maybe we can ask the men to upload or than just blurry dick picks? A girl can dream.

Otherwise, I have to wonder, are women really in charge in the swinging lifestyle? Or are we just a bunch of showponies who are the singular ‘bait’ intended to snag the interest of other couples?  The question remains to be answered.

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