One of the most remarkable achievements in our western civilisation, after centuries of presumable progress, is the incapacity to publicly accept sex as something natural in the human condition. Among all the features that conform our species, it is impossible to find one more reviled and mishandled than the perfectly natural need for sexual pleasure, which is no more no less than one of the basic tools that mother nature provides us with in order to secure the survival of the species.
In other words, if we didn’t feel a need to eat and drink, we would die. If we didn´t see little babies as lovely creatures we must look after and love, we would abandon them under a tree. And, of course, if we didn’t feel a need for sex, those babies would never be born and humankind would disappear… to the great relief of the Planet, by the way. In any case, what is quite clear from a strictly naturalistic point of view is that the sexual instinct is a source of pleasure and relief, regardless of the fact that it also conforms the natural way for human conception. So we get sexual pleasure through the sexual activity in itself, not through the fact of thinking that a baby may be born as a result of it. In the same way that we get culinary pleasure through eating our favourite dish, and not through acknowledging that we will not starve to death thanks to regular feeding.
These very simple statements, as simple as saying that there cannot be rain without clouds, have been and still are the subject of intense controversy related to the most varied and hypocrite approaches of life. Personally, I have never had any special interest in trying to convince a fanatic that nature is nature and cultural beliefs are cultural beliefs. But what really fires me up is hypocrisy and meanness: pederast degenerates protected by The Vatican, ultra-conservative politicians leading a double life with the most obscure hobbies, respectable businessmen and political leaders financing their baroque sexual fantasies with corporate credit cards or public money –and even using the Oval Office as a battlefield-…
All this conforms a basic principle in our stupid societies according to which people must publicly disguise their natural and healthy interest for sex, as if it was something bad. However, in the strictest intimacy and anonymity there are millions of citizens who contribute worldwide to the development of the most reliable of all economic sectors, the one for which there will always be demand: sex… or better called: anonymous sex. Thus emerges the indisputable success of thousands of websites offering different kinds of sexual content and on-line interaction; social media focused in specific sexual inclinations…; not to mention the dizzying revenues generated by prostitution at a global scale.
In the end, it all leads to the ridiculous importance attributed in society to appearances of a certain type versus what is really lying underneath. But what is even more dramatic is the fact that this moronic cultural cornerstone of ours is the result (as Henry Miller would say) of centuries of refinement. And this clearly contradicts another simpler and probably more productive approach of life, which would basically consist in accepting ourselves the way Mother Nature made us, defending our rights, respecting other people’s, and not making life more difficult than it already is. Because, concerning sexuality, I don’t see anything wrong in assuming that it is healthy, fun, natural, relaxing and a wonderful source of communication and pleasure. So our efforts should never be focused in trying to deny all that, but rather in trying to guarantee everybody’s right to a healthy sexual life based on free choice and respect for the others.
However, many people would argue that in the last few decades many changes have occurred that have improved in many aspects our right to enjoy sex in a more natural way, particularly in the case of women, whose rights –as in many other fields- required a further scope of improvement. This is basically true, but I must argue back that the change is more related to an increase in the number of sexual partners or a more extensive presence of sex in everyday conversations and the media, than to a more natural conception of sex in itself, which -for the most part- remains an obscure human facet in everyday life. And this is definitely one of the many contributions we have to thank the Christian dogmatism for, this philosophic trend permanently determined to make life extremely more difficult than it actually is for most of the people.
And it is considering all those facts that a truly remarkable phenomenon, which has basically turned up in the last twenty years, comes to my mind: “swinger clubs”.
To give some context to those who still today are not familiar with the term, let’s start by explaining what a “swinger” person or couple is supposed to be. Let’s say then that a “swinger” could be someone who seeks to enjoy sex without prejudices of any kind, within an atmosphere of respect and mutual agreement between adults. These concept started to be used like thirty years ago, when the many social and political changes befallen in the western societies had created a propitious breeding ground for urban people who sought to explore their sexuality in a more naturalistic way.
So the preliminary idea was perfectly nice and healthy, and was basically based upon regular meetings of groups of adults or couple exchanges in mutual agreement. The best proof that this new life-style was tempting was its progressive success: more and more people found out about it and tried to join it. This unfortunately led to the inevitable: could this trend become a successful source of business?
So the first swinger clubs started to appear, in the form of very modest gathering places whose access was limited to couples. The functioning was otherwise pretty similar to any night club´s: entry fee for the attendants, lounge-bar and maybe dance-floor… The true difference is that people went there openly looking for unconventional sexual experiences in a place where they could have them, for which the facilities also included beds, jacuzzis, showers, sado-maso rooms, dark rooms, cages, peepholes and so forth.
And, of course, there is nothing wrong in doing business of any kind in a responsible and sensible manner. These first swinger clubs were places that basically attracted a crowd of open-minded and well-educated people, who enjoyed the atmosphere of freedom and respect offered by those few existing clubs. Besides, the fact of entering a small and private universe that contrasted with the wide narrow-mindedness around was an extra source of excitement. We could thus say that when the first swinger clubs started to appear, about twenty years ago, their success was more based on the atmosphere of privacy, freedom and respect offered than on the fact that sex was allowed in them.
Many people could have naively thought at that time that this new trend was the point of departure for a more natural and healthy vision of sexuality in our societies. Time has proved such idea to be utterly wrong. Yes, swinger clubs have proliferated like wild fire. This day, only in Madrid there are about 25 swinger clubs operating, some few getting huge incomes and some others struggling to survive. However, what one may come across in them is far from being sophisticated, constructive or even defendable.
Most swinger clubs decided long ago to open their doors to single men, decision that dramatically deteriorated the atmosphere and reputation linked to these places. In the first place because that decision implied to adopt an openly sexist policy: Single men are charged shockingly high fees whereas single women are charged no fee and even invited to the drinks. This obvious discrimination has a highly praiseworthy explanation: pussies attract dicks, and the pussies involved don’t seem to find anything wrong in taking part in the farce. Many of these women are also stupid enough to declare themselves convinced feminists, and find that noble conviction perfectly compatible with being used as sexual objects under beneficial circumstances.
So the resulting ambience basically consists in a flock of sex-starving males nervously wandering around the venue trying their luck. Another modality, depending on the rules of the place, is to keep all the guys stuck in the bar area waiting for any eventual interest of a couple in them, in which case they would be allowed to access the private area. Just like an imaginary “masculine flesh shopping centre”. Tell me if this wouldn’t do for a successful National Geographic documentary.
But also, in their crazy race for easy money, swinger clubs have practically lost all their fondness for discretion. Not long ago, swinger clubs where found by their potential customers with no need for conventional or modern advertising of any kind. Whoever had to find them just managed to do it. However, in the last decade it has become relatively easy to find swinger club advertisements at the “sex classifieds” section of newspapers and websites, thus sharing a common space with other ads that obviously denigrate the concept of a healthy and mature sexuality. There are also many Spanish seaside resorts where you can effortlessly come upon placards and leaflets advertising swinger clubs in a variety of spots: street furniture, beach accesses, car windscreens, tourist offices… One of the results of this conscientious divulgation is the proliferation in the clubs of pervert snoopers, stressed wankers, groups of scandalous drunken male friends and, in general, a wide scope of guys looking for an easy fuck. Not to mention the enterprise managers who have attested these places to be the best possible ones to discreetly fuck their secretaries in weekdays.
It is true though that what is bad can always get worse: A business related to night-life, sex and easy money necessarily had to fall prey to the mafias. Just to give an example: The most successful swinger club in Madrid is called “Encuentros”, and its owners have obtained such a huge income on a regular basis and for so long that they have opened some other clubs, probably because they didn’t know what else to do with so much money. At the same time, four years ago they managed to get the closure of some of his competitors by means of their corrupted police contacts. Likewise, the eastern-European accent and looks -as well as the manners- of their doormen unmistakeably lead to infer which kind of providers they use in their ordinary activities.
Isn´t all this wonderful?
So if you have a healthy and open-minded approach of your sexual life and don´t know what to do with it, there is probably just one remaining option: seek the right people and the right space of privacy, difficult as it may be. And let everyone else mistreat their sexuality if that’s what they like.