Smells Like Free Spirit

Swinging ain't for everyone.

My boyfriend and I share a mutual group of friends who are very free-spirited, like ourselves. However, because they are very open, they have become very sexual. When we talk to any of them, it centers around sex the majority of the time. And although I support them in being free, it is hard for me to feel comfortable around them since we are seen as sexual objects to them when we hang out. It seems to freak me out more than my boyfriend, and I feel as though it's separating us from one another. What should I do?

Lots of love,

Solitary Woah-man

I see I'm going to have to put my criminology degree to work here and read between the lines: I'm fairly sure there's something more going on than just a lot of talk and innuendo. Because really, why would you be so freaked out over mere words? A self-professed free spirit wouldn't be so out of sorts over the occasional F-bomb and furtive wink. I'm guessing we're talking more along the lines of orgies or swing parties, or whatever the hell else the kids are calling it this week.

It's the rare lady who's able to cheerfully drop trou and get down in front of a bunch of people. Taking that one step further and actually swapping partners is amping the action up to yet another level. Some people are cut out for this kind of thing and don't suffer from inhibitions or sexual jealousy. Bear in mind that those people are few and far between, and it doesn't sound like you're one of them.

The problem comes when you try to turn yourself into something you're not. It's one thing to wear a goofy outfit or maybe dye your hair a primary color; it's quite another to strip down and blow your boyfriend in a room full of rutting others. Color me uptight, but I couldn't do it. If—like me—you're a little prudish (quit laughing!) and the public shtup is not for you, there's no shame in that. Don't let yourself get talked into something you're not comfortable with because it'll only make you miserable.

However . . . if your boyfriend is gung-ho into this lifestyle, the two of you have a problem. It's not that either of your predilections is wrong or right; you may just be incompatible. Like a straight girl pining over a gay guy, some things just don't work. But that's something the two of you need to figure out together. By, yes, talking.

Now it's my turn to ask for help. As I may have mentioned a few weeks back, I recently sold a book on all the wrong things to do, datingwise. And while it's true that I have enough bad date stories to fill an entire library, I'm kind of bored with myself (imagine that!). What I need are your stories of dates gone horribly wrong.

These stories can range from the mundane (she burped and it stank like cheese!) to the unthinkable (he crapped his pants!). But really—the more humiliating and/or horrifying, the better.

While of course I want to hear about all the freaks you've met, I also want to know about your own dater mistakes. C'mon, haven't you ever been the bad guy? I sure have. I'm thinking specifically of the time I showed up wasted for a date I'd had to be talked into going on in the first place. Guess I showed him. (Or not.) Then there was the shameful incident when I made out with a guy even though I had a festering cold sore. (And yes, I know how fucked up that was—believe me, I've paid karmically 10 times over. At least!)

So if you, my dear, sweet, gorgeous and/or fantastically handsome reader, could provide me with some fodder, I'd be forever in your debt—and who better to owe you than a sex columnist! But if that's not incentive enough, the best five entries will win copies of the book when it comes out next fall—along with five other specially selected prizes, to be determined at a later date. You can write to me at or enter through my Web site: Thanks!

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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