When the Captain and I filled out our first profile on a lifestyle website we hadn't given a lot of thought to our rules yet. One thing we knew right away was that we prefer to be in the same room.
Why might a couple in the lifestyle like to play in the same room? There are a number of different reasons:
1. The category "same room only" probably in lots of cases appeals to a certain comfort level. Lots can happen during a sexual encounter with someone other than your partner. Having your partner nearby within earshot and eyeshot can be reassuring. It helps you feel safe and helps you to know that your partner is safe. Especially if we are in a new environment or with new people, this kind of reassurance means a lot to me and helps me relax.
2. Trust might influence your decision about same room or different room play. It's a big deal for most couples to open up their relationship to sexual play with other people. It can and often does mess with your emotions. Jealousy and insecurity can sometimes set in even with couples who are usually not jealous or insecure.
Your partner is off playing in the next room with someone else and your mind can start to wander -- What are they up to? Is their play partner a better lover than you? Why are they alone? Isn't that kind of intimate? Playing in the same room can help keep those feelings at bay.
If you know what your partner is doing and she or he is doing it right in front of you, there is less reason for your mind to concoct all sorts of scenarios that trigger suspicion or insecurity. The Captain and I don't normally have trust issues or need to deal with jealousy, but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility that this sort of thing could sneak into the picture if we regularly started to play separately. Of course, it is up to each couple to determine what their own emotional constitution is like and take it from there.
3. Same room play adds spice. Rather than thinking of same room only play as a cautious limit, we think of it more as catering to our reasons for being in the lifestyle in the first place. For us (and this is not the same for everyone), we each had fantasies of watching and being watched. Being with other people in the same room allows us to fulfill those fantasies. What a bonus!
As we explained in Episode 05 when we talked about different definitions, the Captain is into "hot wifing." He gets aroused when he sees me enjoying myself with others. We like to make eye contact when we're with other people. We also get into a little bit of dirty talk (okay, I'm blushing now). We can't do that when we're not in the same room, and that immediately takes away from our mutual pleasure. For us, the arousal factor increases tremendously when we're together with others.
Once at a party, I was with someone who was not comfortable playing in a group setting. He wanted to go off to a different room. I'd never done that before but I checked with the Captain and he said "okay." So off I went, but I simply could not focus my attention. I kept looking at the door, trying to peer into the other room to see what the Captain was up to. This wasn't because of trust, but because for us, that's a big part of the fun.
We have only two rules that for the most part guide our decisions in the lifestyle. Rule #1 is that we like to be inclusive, that is, play should involve pleasure for both of us. We both need to feel as if we are a part of the fun, not apart from it. That usually means we're in the same room. Rule #2 is that whatever we do, we do it to enhance our relationship and our sexual enjoyment. If one of us is not digging what's happening, or if it's having a negative impact on us as a couple, then it's not okay.
The Captain comes first for me, and me for him. When we lose sight of that, we're in dangerous waters and we need to take a step back and remember what our motives are. Yes, it's exciting to get turned on by new people and yes, that can make us silly at times. But in the end, this is not about falling for other people. We need to keep our emotional attachments in check.
We like these rules because they are not overly rigid. They allow that under certain circumstances, things we don't normally do might be permitted. For example, I spent a weekend in San Francisco a couple of months ago and he gave me a hall pass. One condition of it was that I would come back with some hot video tape of my adventures. I didn't capture everything on tape, but I managed to get enough to honor our agreement and stay within the spirit of our rules.
If you are in the lifestyle as a couple, you need to spend some time figuring out what you enjoy and where your comfort lies with respect to playing together and playing apart. I've met lots of people who are comfortable playing apart and lots who would prefer to play together or at least be able see and hear each other.
It's a really personal choice. For us, we found that thinking about our motivation for wanting to swing helped us get clear about why we like being in the same room.