Ep 18 – Confessions of a Mormon Swinger Part 2

Written by on June 12, 2013

Matt, Glenn, Bob, and Randy have a panel discussion about Mormons and swingers. They are joined by a Mormon swinger named Jay who previously shared his story of becoming a swinger after having been an active Mormon for most of his life.


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Comments
  1. Smith   On   June 17, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    So after listening to both parts, I have one lingering question that was never directly addressed. If we are evolutionarily adapted to be promiscuous, but culturally adapted to be monogamous, why did Jay instantly feel such strong jealousy toward his wife’s newly-forming relationships? My assumption is that jealousy is an emotion that has strong biological/evolutionary roots, and not just a product of growing up in a particular culture. Maybe my assumption is wrong. But if it’s right, to me, the fact that Jay felt such strong jealousy is a strong indication that we did not evolve sexually the way that book said we did. It points more toward monogamous relationships in our evolution. Maybe this is addressed in the book, but hey, I’m looking for a shortcut here. 🙂

    • Naomi   On   June 23, 2013 at 7:00 am

      I haven’t read the book, but here’s my take on it:
      It can be extremely difficult to overcome cultural expectations of anything. Think about the cultural expectation we have for women to be thin to be desirable. Evolutionarily speaking, thinness is NOT what you want in a mate. The more parts that jiggle, the more likely they are to survive the hard times, as well as be able to birth and nurse babies when they are at their most vulnerable. Yet our culture now values thinness over fatness. That was not valued until maybe a 100 or so years ago. You constantly hear women bemoaning the fact that they are not a size 6 or 4, even when they are sexually active. It comes up in EVERY conversation I have with other women: how fat we are, how unhappy we are that we can’t lose the weight, how clothes don’t fit right because we aren’t the right size/shape for them, how it doesn’t matter if our significant others find us desirable and attractive, WE aren’t happy with our bodies, how we would just feel so much better about ourselves and our lives if we could just lose another 10 pounds. The cultural pressure to be thin is enormous, and not being able to overcome and/or ignore the guilt that we are bombarded with every day for not looking a certain way is so difficult that most women who try never completely manage it. Look at all the people who develop eating disorders because of the cultural pressure to be thin, because of feeling jealous of those who you feel are thinner than you (I speak from personal experience here). That is certainly not natural, that jealousy, but it is still very very hard to overcome (I’ve been in “recovery” for over 10 years, and I still have to fight that jealousy every time I see someone who weighs less than me).
      Or what about homosexuality? It’s been around for as long as we can go back in history. The only reason humans have ever had problems with it is when their culture, and usually holy writings, have said that it’s not natural.
      And if you look at the natural world, it is fairly uncommon for animals to be monogamous, though it does happen sometimes. Most animals don’t even have family units like we do. And the nuclear family is also not natural and is an extremely recent development, historically. The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” was taken quite literally historically, as well as the fact that people did not move away from their parents and other extended family. Culturally, we no longer need to stay with the entire family to survive, so we have slowly stopped doing that, but we didn’t evolve to live in isolation like we do, or else we would have no social gatherings, or even have social media. So, to me, I think it is logical to conclude that monogamy is not natural, evolutionarily speaking, but when that’s all you’ve ever known, and people who don’t follow it are severely punished in one way or another, the feelings you have when you decide to have an open relationship with someone can be very hard to overcome. I personally would not want to be in an open relationship, but that is just me. I believe that people who are chronic cheaters are probably also people who would be very happy in open relationships because having many partners is just their natural state (I am not condoning how much pain their actions cause other people, just offering a belief as to why they may do it).

      • Hermes   On   June 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm

        I do not know how I feel about “cultural pressure to be thin.” In my case (as a subclinical ano- or more accurately orthorexic), I cannot think of any cultural triggers prompting my obsession with “health” (as defined by waistline). I was about eight years old when I suddenly became very concerned that I was too fat. I did not have people telling me that. I did not see any culture promoting thinness (my childhood occurred in the early eighties, before obesity became a thing people cared about). I produced anorexic (orthorexic) thoughts on my own, as part of my natural development. As I got older, I became aware that there were other people like me, including some that happen to be famous. But I was not produced by them (recruited by their anorexic/orthorexic agenda, which is as specious to me as the gay agenda: I don’t think it really exists, at least not in a way that I find helpful). Now, after many years of introspection and living, I learn that my mother had some serious issues with anorexia back in the day. She did not actively try to pass them on to me (though not all my siblings were as lucky as I in that regard), but they were there nonetheless. Our shared biology set us up to be the kind of folks who practice culture that is anorexic / orthorexic (and occasionally toxic).
        There is not one standard of beauty in society. There never was, and there never will be. Not everyone reads Cosmopolitan or Seventeen, and even readers don’t uniformly “believe in” let alone endorse the (incoherent) standards of beauty authors and editors put forward. I do not think that people who rail against toxic forms of culture (all culture is toxic, in my view) are misguided or wrong (they are reacting to something real), but I do think that the best solutions to cultural toxicity always come from conscious individual disengagement from groupthink (of any kind). Don’t expect journalists, artists, and editors to make your standards of beauty (or anything else you value). Don’t consume somebody else’s culture, imbibing their values uncritically. Make your own culture, and then carefully, gingerly introduce it to people whom you trust and ask for honest feedback (so that you know how your culture is toxic and build antidotes into it).
        There will never be a safe culture, a drug that isn’t also a poison. That doesn’t mean that we all must be hermits, living in perpetual isolation from ourselves and one another. But it does mean that we have to be careful. We cannot simply “express ourselves” or expose ourselves willy-nilly to others’ expression with no thought for the consequences (which will always be bad at some point). Culture is like a wonderful alcoholic beverage: it can be enjoyed, but it must be enjoyed carefully, responsibly, under caution.

    • Hermes   On   June 25, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      I think the idea that we are evolutionarily adapted to display either end of an absolute dichotomy between chastity (monogamy) and promiscuity is easily falsifiable. The truth about human sexuality is always going to elude generic definitions that rely on dichotomies like this (since even the promiscuous among us are not promiscuous in the same way: we are not all attracted to the same kinds of people; environmental triggers engage our sexual responses differently, now and always). It is nearer the truth, in my view, to say that we value both chastity and promiscuity, with lots of wiggle-room available for collective and individual adaptation (such that none of us value these universals the same way: I am neither chaste nor promiscuous as you are; I am myself, and you are yours, and never the twain shall be one and the same).

      • Bob Caswell   On   June 25, 2013 at 8:13 pm

        Right… Appropriate behavior or values often feel defined by the aggregate wisdom of the masses. The probability that it’s accurate for any random person may be high, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate for everyone. And I don’t think society yet has evolved to the point of widespread acceptance of individualized values. It’s not that anything goes… it’s that context, individualism, and environment create a difference in all of us along the spectrum of chastity and promiscuity. And that type of conversation scares most, from what I’ve seen.

      • Hermes   On   June 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm

        We come to accommodative behavior (respecting boundaries in a way that can make them seem more objective than they are) because we want to live together. To the extent that we are proximate to one another, I don’t want my life to interfere with yours. I want to get along with you. If you are Jay, I don’t want you getting fits of jealousy every time I speak with your wife (or girlfriend). So we come up with culture whose purpose is to take the edge off jealousy (and other things). What we come up with is often useful, but it can also be harmful–and there are inevitably times when it is worse than nothing (when the collective values we create to save us end up becoming the poison that kills us).
        It is really hard to confront our complicity in this, I think. And perhaps hardest of all is to realize that one is poisonous–and that every antidote to one’s own poison is itself another. The natural man is an enemy to God, in Mormon terms, and God himself is a natural man (voila the real reason evangelical Christians legitimately hate the Lorenzo Snow couplet, and the reason I myself rather like it: it is an honest representation of the dark side of deity and human culture as these exist historically).

  2. K   On   June 21, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Jay, thank you for sharing your story. It takes guts to share something so very personal. I was rather surprised the panel wasn’t more open minded to these paradigm shifts. Kudos to both you and your wife Jay for supporting each other in your exploration of a new paradigm of long term relationships. I wish you both all the best as you continue to evolve and define your relationship.

    • Glenn   On   June 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      Maybe we weren’t as open-minded to it because we all have wives even less open-minded to it who listen to what we say. Just maybe.

  3. Hermes   On   June 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    My considered reflection after listening to this series is that I will never be visiting bars to pick up women (should my wife die or decide to open our marriage). To me there is something about that environment that is off-putting. I cannot quite put my finger on it. To go out and have fun somewhere (doing something entertaining, which might be sitting at a bar alone or in company) strikes me as OK (inviting). But the prospect of being “on the market” is utterly disgusting to me (now as when I was romantically unattached). I am theoretically open to finding romance again (under the right circumstances), but I will never beg for it. I loathe desperation in myself, and I fear it in other people. (This is not meant to condemn Jay personally, at all. His course of action and wilingness to share it with the world here demonstrate courage. People don’t have to live like me to be good people, and not everyone needs the same lesson I need. Vulnerability can be a good thing. I just don’t like it, and so I slander it with bad words and advertise my avoidance.)

  4. cwald   On   July 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I actually enjoyed this podcast more than I thought I would. All in all…big Infant on Thrones fan. Thanks.

  5. Guest   On   August 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I listened to both podcasts and found them very interesting. I hope there might be a third interview where Jay could expound on his statement that swinging (together) with other couples is much preferable to each spouse having separate encounters with other partners. The first interview left a strong impression that the “experiment is over.” He seemed to reverse himself in the second interview, saying it could resume anytime he and his wife feel the time is right. Like to hear more on that.

  6. anonymous   On   December 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I could write a small book about my experience with swinging…long story short (maybe not so short) my husband and I dabbled in this lifestyle over the last few years off and on. We never FULL swapped and barely really even soft swapped…it was interesting as the wife, the gammut of emotions and problems that arose. He pursued it way more than I, but I secretly got excited about a possible opportunity to have sex with a sexy guy!! But he never wanted me to go that far…but maybe secretly he was hoping to find the right girl he could experience completely…We never found a couple that he didn’t end up being jealous of me and the guy, and he never found a girl that he was more attracted to than me…I believe it’s impossible to be sexual with another person without having some kind of connection…and that connection will most likely create problems in the marriage. And even though I was exited about the “idea” of it, the “reality” was not near as sexy and erotic!!! And I now struggle with feelings of how could my husband have ever been willing to share me like that? Even though I got to where I really wanted it. The potential of what could happen and the fantasy of what you would do created way more intense and memorable sexual experiences with my husband alone than with the other couple. Even though we agreed to be honest through it all…I wasn’t. I didn’t want to hurt my husband by my true desires or concerns and he probably wasn’t completely honest with me. My husband never really got his itch scratched, and it created an itch in me….so who knows what will happen but I’m hoping this is behind us. At times during this we were believing mormons and at times non. Much easier to do as a non believer! Be careful what you wish for applies to this completely… definately easier as the girl to connect with a guy than for him to connect with a girl. I do wish he could have his experience just so he can get it over with…but that is another example of what I should be careful what I wish for.

  7. bashing brigham   On   January 11, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    We have been listening to infants on thrones for a few months now and we were very excited to see that there was a mormon swinging episode. We met at BYU and we were married at the temple abotut 15 years ago and we have been in the lifestyle for the last 7 years. The drive for us was discovering that my wife is bisexual and was a major interest for her and seriously what guy is going to say no to that. The only advice I would have with Jay is that in the lifestyle community going to an open marriage is almost as big of jump as entering the lifestyle is from a traditional marriage. We have made some great friendships and can honestly say it has improved our marriage, but I havent seen anyone make the open marriage thing work … It almost always seems to end in separation or divorce as it stops being something you guys do together anymore. A large part of it too is understanding the hormonal changes that happen during sex and orgasm as if you are not prepared for it you can definitely develop some emotional attachments which you might not be ready for at first.

  8. Orrin Dayne   On   March 15, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I wonder how Jay’s marriage is doing these days, now that years have passed. Also, I’m having a hard time not hearing Satan from South Park as “Jay” is speaking.

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