In the spring of 2014 I had a dream in which I was intimate with a man, but I couldn’t see his face, only his voice. Yes, his voice was so recognizable that I knew it was Cooper S. Beckett, co-founder of the podcast Life on the Swingset, a podcast about ethical non-monogamy that I was listening to religiously.
I read Dan Savage’s American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics in 2013 and started a discussion with my husband at the time about non-monogamy. I took an interest in opening up our marriage, though at the time I wasn’t sure how that would happen or if it would happen. Eventually we did open it up and at that time I started sucking down every bit of info I could. (Ok, maybe not the best verb to use. Then again, maybe it is!)
I do nothing half-hearted. I was reading Ethical Slut and Opening Up: A Guide To Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, two bibles to ethical non-monogamy. I was also looking for information on how to better please a woman and I’m pretty sure that is how I stumbled upon The Swingset. See, nothing is done half-hearted. (Seriously, this is probably beyond sex geek.)
Fast forward. My marriage ended and I was in a limbo as to how I would proceed. What kind of relationship(s) would I want? Did I still have an interest in non-monogamy? I was still listening to Life on the Swingset. I was attempting to date but fumbling back and forth with how to label myself. (I wasn’t dating anyone long-term so there really was no reason to label.) But for myself, I needed to know what my heart said. I was feeling internal pressure to be “normal” which meant monogamy. But am I “normal”? (I would say the adjective most commonly used is “intriguing” which I like!)
(Let’s see how many books I can reference in this post)
This fall I read Betty Dodson’s memoir, My Romantic Love Wars: A Sexual Memoir and it inspired me and reminded me of the sexual freedom I longed for. I decided to embrace my sexual openness and make my own rules going forward. I could have anything I wanted, I just had to know what that was. No more wishy-washy. I could be an independent, sexually liberated woman. I could meet new people and grow these “fun friendships” into whatever they will be, no expectations.
This morning I finished My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory by Cooper S. Beckett, the voice of my dream. Cooper takes us through many of his essays from his website Life on the Swingset. His writing style is very conversational. If you are a fan of the podcast, you will get the audiobook version in your head as you read it, which I find to be a bonus. For me, I particularly enjoy how he weaves us through his evolution. I am certainly in a major evolution. I have friends going through major evolutions. The evolution seems scary at times. The evolution is even more scary when is doesn’t follow mainstream culture. I frequently asked myself, “Will I be alone?” But as Cooper illustrates, and I can attest to, being you and following your desires will just surround you with others who you really connect with. You will find your tribe. You will feel more comfortable in your authentic life than you ever felt trying to fit in.
My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory will now be one of the books I recommend to people that come to me with questions about opening up their relationship, because I do get those questions, along with the other “bibles” of the lifestyle. It is funny and honest. It isn’t a “how-to” but a “how it has worked out for me” book about Cooper’s exploration of ethical non-monogamy. Thank you, Cooper, for being a sex geek and starting your website and podcast and now memoir. I think it will be of great use to a lot of curious people as well as those veterans who just want to be reminded that they aren’t alone.