I Was A ‘Unicorn,’ A Single Female Swinger, But My Sex Life Was Far From Magical

In the swinger community, a single female swinger is called a “unicorn” because of her rarity. Generally speaking, most swingers are couples. Couples that are looking to play with a single female swinger are sometimes said to be “unicorn hunting.”

I know because I spent just over four years as a unicorn and learned a lot about relationships, both in and out of bed. And, more important, a lot about myself and what I do and don’t want.

When I was 23, a friend I’ve known since middle school had discovered a swingers club in the heart of downtown Cleveland, and neither of us could resist the lure of doing something that would firmly divorce us from the good girls we used to be.

After registering online for an individual annual membership (which was $10 for single women and $75 for single men or couples), we read the “lifestyle rules” while waiting for our e-passes. The club was BYOB with a strict no-drug policy. You left your bottle of choice with the bartender, and the club supplied the mixers.

During the summer of 2008, I was really into Champagne and Red Bull, so my friend and I had a few “Champagne cocktails” before heading downtown. By the time we got to the club, we were already high on post-adolescent rebellion and liquid courage. After leaving a bottle of Andre with the bartender, we commenced le grand tour.

The setup was pretty boring. There was a bar, a dance floor, a room with surprisingly good canapes and a variety of private rooms down dimly lit hallways.

Where was the trapeze-like sex apparatus hanging from the ceiling? Or the dominatrix with clamped nipples and the obligatory whip? Or the sketchy middle-aged white guy jacking off into the dessert? It was nothing like I imagined based on romance novels and “Skinemax.” We came prepared for a den of iniquity and instead were faced with normal people and a normal club.

After some dancing and a few more drinks, we decided to check out the private rooms.

Good sex clubs are all about consent, and there are rules in place to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable.  

A closed door means the party is full. An open or cracked door means you can come in and observe. If you like what you see, you can ask the couple/group if you can join them. Whatever their response is, it is not to be contested.  My girlfriend and I had no interest in participating that night. We just wanted to watch.

Owl-eyed and giggling, we poked our heads into every room with an open door. We saw a man getting a blow job from two women, an erect penis sticking out of a glory hole like some disembodied phallic fantasy, a woman sitting on a nightstand while a man knelt before her.

When we got back to the bar, a middle-aged woman was on the dance floor in nothing but a body stocking, encouraging men to pinch her nipples and pet her body through the mesh. I was intrigued.

This woman who was easily 20 years my senior, with her imperfect body and questionable rhythm, danced with confident abandon. She owned her sexuality in a way I yearned to.

After that night, I got into the habit of checking the swinger club’s event page. Every weekend for almost five months, I hyped myself up and talked myself out of going back. I was tempted by the idea of Dungeon night and Day-Glo night, but I could resist them.

What I couldn’t resist was the Sybian. A Sybian is a vibrator on steroids. It’s a saddle-like device with an electric motor stronger than most lawnmowers. A wriggling, rotating dildo protrudes from the center of the device. Vibrating pads at the base of the “seat” provide additional clitoral stimulation. The closest I’d been to one was watching women use it in porn. 

Women’s faces sell porn. Either they look enraptured or ashamed, depending on the genre. Sybian porn is different. Women riding Sybians have ugly, real orgasm faces.

Barring a sudden six-figure windfall, I would never be able to purchase a $1,500 sex toy. This really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  

I had to go back to the club. This time, I was alone.

There was a line of women waiting to try the Sybian and a circle of men in the room to watch. I was close enough to the door to see the women having a good time. Their faces were contorted with ecstasy.  One woman actually cried. They looked so free.

Finally, it was my turn. The Sybian had been disinfected and covered with a condom, ready for my use. The man operating the machine offered me lube.

“I don’t need any,” I said with a wink, wanting to impress the crowd.

Here’s a tip: When someone offers you lube, the answer is always yes.

There were so many eyes on me, I couldn’t relax. It felt good, but I also kind of felt like I needed to pee. I wasn’t anywhere near turned on enough to squirt, so I was pretty sure I had to pee. I was going through the motions, making sure my breasts bounced attractively while thinking, “Don’t pee! Don’t pee!”

The man directly to my left asked if he could play with my breasts. I said yes. It felt good, but like the Sybian, it wasn’t going to get me off.

I was not having the ride of my life. I was too inside my head, and orgasm was slipping away like the sun over the horizon. But I had waited in line for almost an hour, and there were all these men around me, excited, expectant, awaiting my pleasure.

I faked an orgasm to avoid disappointing them, never realizing how much I was letting myself down.

I went back once or twice a month after that, determined to have a real orgasm at the club. In that time I met:

  • The guy who only used technical terms during sex. Him: Do you want me to kiss your pretty brown anus? Me: Um, no.

  • The guy who kept apologizing for slavery. Awkward.

  • The really hot guy who never got fully hard. (We met up twice outside of the club. I have a three-strike rule).

No matter what I tried, I could never relax enough to actually come. Don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying the sex I was having, the kissing and skin to skin contact as well as the act itself, I just wasn’t having orgasms.

Then, in October of 2008, I got a DUI in the parking lot of my building. (To the officer’s credit, I did throw up on her.) I had spent the better part of the evening taking shots of tequila with a bartender I wanted to bang.

I was kicking ass at work, but my personal life was spiraling out of control. So, naturally, I decided to drown my sorrows in anonymous sex. But the more I went to the club, the more random people I slept with, the less I liked myself.

I may have been a unicorn, but my life was no fantasy.

Don’t get me wrong, there is magic to be found in a sex club, especially between partners who both honestly enjoy swinging. I experienced this once with a couple I picked up in the summer of 2011.

By that time, I had gotten pretty good at giving women orgasms. There is something about a female orgasm that gives you a sense of accomplishment you just don’t get with men.

This particular husband and wife both enjoyed sex with women. Most of the couples I had been with were men with heterosexual wives who had voyeuristic tendencies. This couple both wanted me, and that was a heady feeling.

I was having sex with the husband when the wife started coming. She sat straight up, locking eyes with her husband as I expertly stroked her.

“Yes, baby,” he said. “You’re so beautiful.”

“I love you!” she replied. They were sharing an incredibly intimate moment, and I was just… there. I was the voyeur. He was inside me, and I was still the third wheel. I went home and cried.

I should have stopped then, but anonymous, unsatisfying sex had become my drug of choice. Sex was cheaper than drugs. No one at church could smell sex on my breath or coming out of my pores. I wasn’t hurting anyone important, only myself.

I kept escalating until one night I agreed to have rough sex with two guys. I was bruised and sore the next day, but a part of me felt like I had gotten what I deserved.

I broke down and told my therapist I was sleeping with random strangers.

“Is the sex good?” she asked.  I shook my head. “Well, then why are you doing it?”

I didn’t have an answer for her. I decided to be celibate until I figured it out.

Eventually I realized how severe my trust issues were. Sex was just the latest in a string of narcotics I was using to satisfy my hunger for unconditional love. The club wasn’t the problem. I was.

The majority of singles and couples I met in “the lifestyle” visited clubs to explore their sexuality in a safe and judgment-free environment, deepen their intimacy with their partner, or have consensual, no-strings-attached sex. The majority of people are in the right place for the right reason, and within that context, sex clubs can be empowering.

I wasn’t in the majority. I was deeply depressed and emotionally fragile. I used the sex club as a way to avoid the intimacy and vulnerability of a relationship. I didn’t believe anyone would want to be around me for longer than it took to get off, since I could barely stand to be around myself.

Looking back on it now, I realize that I was searching for something I should have been generating. The dancing woman in her bodystocking and the couple whose intimacy moved me to tears already knew what I’m finally discovering: Unconditional self-love is the safety net that supports freedom ― sexual or otherwise.

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