An Attempt to Explain the Female vs Male Bisexuality Double-Standard Among Swingers
Female bisexual behavior is considered almost de rigueur in the swinging lifestyle while male bisexual activity is generally considered unwelcome -- although not unknown. This discrepancy has been getting much attention of late; potentially causing fissures in a community already embattled by those with opposing moral views. In an effort to bring some perspective to the matter, I thought it would be useful to lend my view on why this discrepancy exists. At the end of this examination I will detail where I stand on the argument.
The reason male bisexuality is discouraged in the lifestyle is to empower women.
Now bear with me...
The old chestnut in swinging is that women are in charge. This, of course, is utter bullshit. In the lifestyle, as in most other things, it is men and women making decisions together. A relationship between two people, whether in the lifestyle or the vanilla world, consists of series of compromises, of give and take. Otherwise none of us would be able to make even the smallest decisions as a couple to get things done in life without a fight, or worse yet, without resorting to deceit. As they make these compromises, members of the couple will tend to fall into the same roles. Negotiation tactics are developed for dealing with different situations. This, in fact, is why the lifestyle works best for people with good communication skills and possess the ability to compromise; this is what makes strong relationships. (An aside... I believe the lower divorce rate for marriages in the lifestyle has more to do with these skills than anything to do with sexual gratification.)
Entering the lifestyle is one of the most high-involvement decisions a couple will make. Typically, the male-half wants sexual variety and the female, while also desirous, is hesitant to put the relationship at risk. In order to gain her buy-in, the male assures her that she will get to "call the shots". This is a legitimate tactic commonly employed outside of swinging. You give a little in order to get a lot in return.
At swinger clubs, women will typically engage in bisexual play with each other. During this time, the guys watch the action and wait to be allowed to join the game. This is a way for women to call the shots. It works on multiple levels. First, when women play with other women they will more than likely have the undivided attention of the men; it gives them the opportunity to feel desired, which makes them feel good. Next, it gives them the opportunity experience sexual novelty. However, neither of these are the most important reason, which is that it allows the women to decide with whom their partner will have sex. The women, are in-effect, vetting potential sexual partners for the men. If the woman does not play with a woman, odds are neither will her partner. Further, even after having played with another woman, if the female half of the couple feels that the other woman could be a threat to the relationship, the other woman would be discarded as a potential play partner for the male half. However, if all goes well, then male-half will be allowed to have sex with the other woman. The female half calls the shots, and that was bargain.
The best part is that it works. After all, most men are happy "just to be there". The mere possibility of having sex with another partner keeps men interested. This explains why it costs twice as much for single men to join a swinger club than it does for a couple or for a single woman to join -- and the single men are always there! Just being there is gratifying, and if something were to happen? All the better.
Men playing other men breaks the deal. By doing so, men would be taking back some of the control they yielded to their partners. It messes with the dynamic because women would no longer be the gate keepers of the men's sexual activities and thus would feel like they are adding risk to the relationship. Swingers have cultural understanding of this dynamic and this is why they protect it. It's not done at a conscious level; it's simply a case of, "We've arrived at this point, and it's working."
So where do I stand on whether or not male bisexual behavior should be more widely accepted in the lifestyle? I contend that it is tacitly accepted and regarded as another natural variation in the lifestyle. The reason we don't see more of it is because it done exclusively in private between consenting parties, and not in the open, where the current, functioning dynamic is holding the whole works together. In other words, you will rarely, if ever, see it at a swinger club.
My wife and I love swinging and while we love intimate encounters with other couples in a private setting, we would like to continue to be able to go to clubs and meet new couples. I am a very sexually open person and will advocate anyone's right to sexual self-expression, however if discouraging male bisexual behavior at the swinger clubs means more people will enter the lifestyle, then I am, much to my chagrin, on board with it.
I hope this rant adds to this discussion and helps clarify my position on this delicate topic.
(In an attempt to reach a broader readership, I've asked that this entry be cross-posted on Life on the Swingset)