Neighbors with Benefits – Part 4 - The Hidden Swing

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The Hidden Swing

Finally “Neighbors with Benefits” aired on A&E on Sunday 22, 2015 at 9cst/10est.  I’ll admit, I was really looking forward to the first episode of this show.  After seeing so many poor attempts at trying to describe what “The Lifestyle” is to the masses, I was nervous and anxious about A&E’s take on it.  What gave me hope is that A&E is also responsible for good reality TV with shows like “Intervention”.  This blog post won’t be an outline of the show, but simply my thoughts based on how it was presented to me.  Look for The Hidden Swing Podcast Episode 24 where we will discuss the show and our own sexy adventures on April 1, 2015.

The central figures of the show are Tony and Diana.  Tony and Diana are a pretty normal, good looking couple living in suburban America.  They seem to be great parents, have jobs, and function as any married couple would but for the fact that they are swingers.  They have surrounded themselves with a cast of characters that seem to look to them for fun.

There is Lori and Eric, who entered the lifestyle to live life to the fullest after Lori was faced with a life threatening illness.  Brittany and Cody, a young married couple who seem a little torn.  Brittany seems all in, while Cody seems like he would be happy in a monogamous relationship. Mike and Maria get to be the focal point of the episode drama.  Vince and Penni who are not in the lifestyle but have obviously had discussions about it.  Finally, Mark and Amy representing the religious, fanatics.

My first issue with the show is because of Mark and Amy.  Why even bring religion into the series at all?  Do the producers believe that you have to make a choice between being a swinger or someone that is a faithful believer? I can tell you from experience that this is not the case.  A little disclaimer, I am not Christian but an overwhelming majority of my swinger friends happen to be Christians.  I would never ever question how they justify the two because that is not my business. That is their relationship with their belief.  But to make such a big division in the Neighbors with Benefits series between the religious and the swingers seems like the proverbial apples and oranges comparison.  It makes my skin crawl every time it is presented.

Another issue I had with the show was the “ringleader” aspect of Tony and Diana.  I know that there are some people in the lifestyle that do recruit people into the lifestyle but from my experience that is not the case with most swingers.  Most swingers are happy to talk to you about their lifestyle if you ask them about it, especially if you seem like you are not going to attack them about the subject.  But most of us are not actively recruiting people to come to parties.  We don’t need to recruit.  The lifestyle is FULL of open, healthy minded, couples with great relationships which happens to be what most married couples are looking for in a social group.  As a side, there is Mark’s (religious fellows) answer to why its easier for Tony to recruit swingers than it is for Mark to recruit the religious.. Mark, have you checked divorce statistics of monogamous couples lately?  The key isnt in swapping, its in communicating and enjoying life together.

My final issue with the show is the situation between Brittany, Cody, Mike and Maria.  Brittany goes to purchase lingerie to wear to the houseparty in hopes that Mike will like it.  She takes a picture in it and texts it to him.  Apparently Mike and Brittany have been texting each other quite a bit.  The episode explodes when Mike shows Maria the pictures and Maria expresses how she feels betrayed.  In the lifestyle, the “RULES” are between you and your spouse and it is the duty of each couple to express what their rules are to other couples.  Otherwise, how do you know what a couples rules are?  So, I felt like the slut shaming, blame card was played on Brittany a little too harshly.  In a real life situation, when Brittany started texting Mike personally then Mike should have told her that it was against Mike and Marias rules.  If Brittany continued, then Mike and Maria would have to decide if they wanted anything to do with Brittany in the future.  That texting conversation is 99 – 99.9% on Mike and NOT Brittany.

All that said it seems that the series is very much scripted.  It seems as though the producers are rolling the film and asking the cast to talk about specific topics.  It seems VERY cut and in fact there are some conversations that were difficult to follow because you could tell that part of it was cut out.

So Jim, what is good about it?  Well, my number one reason that I think other swingers should watch this show is because it has the potential to bring about discussion with other vanilla people in your lives.  Not for the purpose of recruiting, Tony, but for the purpose of educating other people that we aren’t in the lifestyle because of the massive orgies, unlimited partners, and opportunities to spread disease.  Most of us are in the lifestyle because of the open communication that comes from being in the lifestyle, because we love the open friendships of the people we meet, and it is fun when you meet a couple and have protected, healthy sex with them.

This show, and the others that follow, will likely bring The Lifestyle to the forefront of conversation and in the beginning there will be a lot of friction around that.  People are not going to openly accept your lifestyle which it becomes more of a common conversation because of our outing from the media.  But knowing what vanillas are being fed is the first step in knowing their perspective so that you can give them the truth about what makes the lifestyle so great.

Please share your comments or question below.  Jen and I released a podcast about the first episode of Neighbors with Benefits on April 1, 2015 and we would love to hear your thoughts about that as well.


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