My husband persuaded me to swing. I’m desperate to do it again, he’s not – what should I do?

My husband took many years to persuade me to go to a swingers club. I eventually said I would try it. I have a 60-year-old body but it’s OK and I wasn’t shy; I love nudist beaches, I just wasn’t sure I’d like having sex with other men. Well, when I got there, I was like a kid in a sweet shop! I felt desired and sexy!

My husband wasn’t so lucky and didn’t get to swing at all so was very disappointed. I’m desperate to do it all again but he’s not so keen. I can’t get that feeling of utter depravity, sexual delight and total satisfaction out of my head! What should I do?

Eleanor says: There’s something so Greek tragic about being the instigator of swinging who doesn’t ultimately get to swing. What a car ride home!

You asked what you should do now. The question of whether to actually swing again is only part of that. There are also the questions of what you should do in conversation with your husband about this, in your sex life with him, and in your own thinking about that electric feeling. You might wind up having different relationships to this experience in each one of those roles. That’s OK! Sometimes that’s part of the fun in sexual experience – having spaces where you can be wholly committed to just one of your many modes.

The trickiest bit, I expect, will be talking to your husband about it. No matter how old we are, how secure in our body or our relationship, nobody likes to be rejected. So it would be surprising if your husband hadn’t felt a pang at missing out. And sometimes those feelings show up elsewhere in our emotional hydraulics – it could become jealousy, resentment, withdrawal, competitiveness, anything. So if you want to have this fun again, in a way that isn’t just unpleasant for him, there has to be space for him to feel those emotions. Fine to feel the giddiness and the excitement; fine to desperately want to go back. But it might go a long way if you can show him that you’re interested in helping him access that experience too – not just that you want it again for yourself.

That said, you do want it again for yourself! That fact shouldn’t get banished to the corners of the mind or swept under the mental shame-rug because of how it might affect your husband. You now have a desire, a memory, a fantasy, that’s fantastically erotic and thrilling. It can stay that way in your relationship to it, no matter how you decide to relate to it as a couple. You’re allowed to mentally cherish and thrill in this experience. You don’t have to let your decisions about this as a couple go all the way into the solitary realm of private fantasy. In fact, I bet a fast way to become really resentful would be to decide that you won’t swing again – and therefore have to banish all thoughts of, or fondness for, that memory. Some parts of your sexual life you get to have all to yourself.

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As for what to do as a couple, the key will be trying to avoid the trap that “compromise means no one’s happy”. You don’t want to feel deprived, and he won’t want to feel as though he’s depriving you. If he stays uncomfortable with swinging again, might there be other ways to experience those same thrills? I’m so struck by your description of “utter depravity and sexual delight”. There are all kinds of ways you could get those feelings without totally leaving your husband on the sidelines.

Whatever path forward you take, I think you should have a glass of wine and a giggle together about the fact that you’ve got to this point. Sex and love can teeter over the edge of darkness so often that we can forget they’re meant to be fun. It sounds as though you have a wonderful appetite for fun. It might help to defuse some worry or tension to find moments of silliness – not just connection or honesty, but fun – with him.

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