Vanilla is a great flavor. It was my favorite flavor as I grew up. Now, I love cookie dough ice cream with real pieces of cookie dough mixed into the ice cream. Traditional, mogomouse relationships and sex, Vanilla Sex, is what I grew up with as well. I was a traditionalist. That changed once a girlfriend of mine admitted that she was bisexual and invited me into the bed of her female lover and friend. It was one of the most passionate experiences that I ever had. I loved the experience. The three of us merged at different points of our erotic experience. It was a loving experience that I cannot quite describe.
On the other hand, swinging or having polyamorous relationships can bring about life changing experiences that are not always pleasant. My time spent as a swinger was life changing in many ways. I changed my thinking about manhood, monogamy, and love. I have no real opinion about what style of loving is the best; however, I do think exploring sexual and relationship boundaries has the potential to raise physical, spiritual, a psychic self-awareness more than most other forms of human exploration. In addition, because of my personal explorations, I have dedicated my life to the study of the erotic world, and I purposed this column to Upscales Desires, and exploration of the swinging and polyamorous world.
I feel blessed to talk to Joe Grant, co-owner and founder of Topless Travel (http://www.toplesstravel.com/default.aspx). From my experience with Joe, I surmised that he is an easy-going, life-loving, married man, a self-made man who thinks about life, race, spirituality, and of course, the erotic world. Joe is a swinger, and his travel agency creates travel opportunities that swingers, folk in the “lifestyle,” can enjoy. He also creates sexy vacations for vanilla folk as well.
Dr. T: How in the world did you get into creating sexy vacation experiences and lifestyle vacations?
Joe: I was in the travel business some already. I owned and operated the Playboy Travel Club that catered to men who wanted to explore exotic, erotic places like Brazil, Thailand, Costa Rica, Columbia, and the like. Business slowed down in 2006. I began reexamining life. My other businesses were also teetering some in the poor economy. In the past, I dreamed of working full-time in travel, many times. As a result, I approached Swing LifeStyle (http://www.swinglifestyle.com/; SLS) a few times to create a travel branch of their already thriving business. The creators of SLS didn’t need the money, and they really were not interested in running a travel business. I pointed out that the people who already used their services went to other agencies for their travel needs. From those discussions, we became the official travel agency for SLS. That is how Topless Travel was born.
Dr. T: How is business?
Joe: So far, it is increasing every month. Our cruises are booked almost as soon as we make them public. We’ve had to buy our own cruise ship, which ain’t easy.
Dr. T: (Laughing) I’m sure. Have you always been a business man?
Joe: I have been self-employed since I was 20. I was able to have some early success as well.
Dr. T: Have you always been a swinger?
Joe: I have always been open-minded sexually, and I have never been monogamous. I serial dated until I married Shelly. Shelly and I started swinging together about 15 years ago. We started a party group first, just to meet good people in the lifestyle. It became a business about seven years ago.
Dr. T: From your interactions with others in the life and your personal experiences, can you tell me what it takes to be a “successful” swinger?
Joe: (Laughs) Successful swinger? Well, there are three things important to me:
1. You have to control your jealousy.
2. You have to excellent communication.
3. In addition, you have to have the ability to work through the things that might come up.
When we swing, both of us have to be attracted to the couple. Neither one of us will “take one for the team.” (In the lifestyle “taking one for the team” mean spending time with someone you don’t care for because your partner is attracted to one of people in the other couple.) When we first started “playing,” we wanted notches in our best post. We were really active, but we are not like that now. We do not have to be.
Dr. T: Do you and you wife get jealous?
Joe: Absolutely. We handle it in a different way though. We channel our jealousy into putting energy and care into each other, asserting our love for each other. We have a strong commitment with each other. We also agree that cheating is deceiving. We swing, but we also have an open relationship.
Dr. T: Do you play alone?
Joe: We both have a lover or two, playmates. Not regular events. Our playmates are usually married and in open relationships like ours. I believe it enhances our relationship.
Dr. T: How so?
Joe: We both get sexually charged when we anticipate seeing our playmates and when we have spent time alone with our playmates. We take it out on each other. (We both laugh)
Dr. T: Does it take a lot of work to be in an open relationship?
Joe: Well, I have always been open and honest that I dated more than one woman. I have always dated numerous women at a time. I had resources from my businesses, and I was able to show them a good time, so I have had an open relationship in some way. Shelly needed some coaxing to communicate more, but she is a great communicator now.
Dr. T: What are some of the pitfalls to swinging or having an open relationship?
1. Swinging can be very exciting. It is always exciting meeting new people you like, but you can’t make it primary in your relationship.
2. Keep it light. The excitement of swinging can over shadow the regular everyday life, so you have to keep it in perspective.
It (swinging) is a good thing, but we have discussed not swinging, and we have taken breaks. We have gone back and forth, but the lifestyle suits our personalities. We enjoy ourselves.
Speaking with Joe was a treat, for I finally met someone who enjoyed the lifestyle, but also admitted that things like jealousy existed. When I played, I often met couples that claimed they never get jealous and that there are not dangers in the lifestyle. Having an open relationship or having a swinging lifestyle is not different than other relationships in my perspective. As human, we learn much about ourselves and our partners in any relationship. Alternative loving, as I call it, has the potential to be great and uplifting, and it has the potential to bring much pain into your life. I know this from experience.Check out my new blog radio show (See above):
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