Sex & The Suburbs
Lead Me To The Swingers
Sex, drugs, and poker games are still on the table in the suburbs — if that’s your thing.
If you’ve recently traded in your standing Sunday-funday appointment to spend weekends navigating the chaotic parking situation at your local Trader Joe’s, first off, congrats on being an Adult. Secondly, welcome to the club — you are not here alone.
Even before the pandemic, millennials were leaving cities for the ’burbs. But just because you’re no longer a hustling and bustling metropolitan doesn’t mean you can’t still have some R-rated fun — it just requires a little more creativity, discretion, and a bit of research.
Find tips on swinging, getting high, and gambling in the suburbs, below.
How To Find A Swingers’ Club Or A Couple To Swing With
You may have heard the rumor that a pineapple door-knocker lets the neighbors know that you’re down to swing, but Ashleigh Renard, 41, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, says that’s not necessary in 2021. She would know — the self-proclaimed “failed swinger” literally wrote the book on the lifestyle with Swing: A Memoir of Doing It All. Now, Renard says, there’s a location-based app for that, and it’s called SLS (which stands for Swing Lifestyle).
“There’s no swiping right and left, and you could actually sign up as a single, but the majority of the profiles on there are couples,” Ashleigh says. “People usually use aliases and they don’t have their faces in their profile photos, so quite often it’s like a cleavage shot.” From there, you can DM other couples to unlock private albums that show their faces, and then share real names if you’d like. Once you’re ready to take things off the app, Ashleigh and her husband would get a group text going with all their new friends.
If you prefer to go the club or party route, the internet is also your friend. In 2004, when Ashleigh’s swinging adventures started, it took some searching to find her first local club. Now, she says, you can simply Google “swinger sex club near me” to see your options. “There are brick-and-mortar clubs that are privately owned, and almost always, you have to purchase an annual membership in order to attend,” she says. The annual fees she’s seen are about $80, and then you buy tickets for each party that you go to — up to about $80 per couple. They’re often BYOB, she says.
Then there are the hotel takeover parties, which unlike clubs, require a vetting process. “For these, usually you have to be pre-screened,” she says, adding that they promise “hot young couples” will be in attendance. You’ll have to send in headshots and full-body photos for those, and if you get approved as a couple, you’ll be on the email list for when the party planners are putting something together in your area. These exclusive parties will cost you about $200 for the night.
“They’ll take over a hotel ballroom and usually one full floor of the hotel,” she says. “In the ballroom, there’s no sexual activity allowed. There will be some nudity, but it’s sort of like an open-door policy. You know, like … in a wild college dorm.”
Another way to find clubs or people who host in the suburbs is through online kink communities like Fetlife, says Jay, 50, who lives in California. “Events on Fetlife is a great place to find munches, socials, and kinky parties in obscure places,” they say. Munches, they explain, are gatherings for kinky people to meet at a safe public space such as a restaurant, coffee shop, or bar to get acquainted.
Heather, who’s in her 30s and lives in Winter Park, Florida, is also a fan of the site. She’s swapped with friends in the past, but last fall she and her husband attended their “first full-fledged party” after joining Fetlife. “We were able to find events organized by location on the various forums on the page,” she says. “[The party we attended] was hosted by a nudist/swinger campground in our state and it was completely organized, secure, and felt very discreet.”
And everyone followed the rules. “No drugs, the ‘no means no’ policy was strictly enforced — but everyone was chill and respectful anyway — and the ‘no photo’ rule was also strictly enforced,” she says. They had such a “sexy fun time” that they’re getting ready to go to their next one after Thanksgiving.
One thing to keep in mind: The community is small, Ashleigh says. She quickly realized that when she began running into the same people at different parties, at the grocery store, and even the toddler’s section of an amusement park. If this happens, she advises giving a sheepish smile and a tiny wave. “[It’s] this covert mini wave, sort of, that swingers exchange when they’re in public and a non-swinging atmosphere.”
How To Find Poker Games
Paul, 26, who lives in Tacoma, Washington, knows a thing or two about finding a good poker game outside of a major city. As a content creator and writer for PokerCoaching.com, he says it all depends on how you enjoy playing — at someone’s home, meetups, casinos, or virtually. “If anyone ... in the suburbs wanted to get their poker fix, but they are worried about the laws of the state, because it does differ, you can find sites online to play almost every variation of poker,” he says.
If you prefer a live environment and want to play for cash or in a tournament at a casino, Paul says a number of helpful sites are out there, but PokerAtlas is the most effective. “You search your location, and if there are any tournaments or casinos that are above board — they fall within state regulations,” he says. “You can use the site to find calendars, buy-ins, [and] all of the info you would want.”
Let’s say you want a more intimate home game. Paul says Facebook groups and social media sites with built-in features for local events are helpful. Another pro tip: Find communities whose interests may overlap with poker. Paul did that when he organized a poker league while getting his master’s degree. “If you have a group and there’s some interest in sports and they like sports gambling, chances are they also like playing poker,” he says.
That strategy worked for Alex*, 33, who lives in Westchester County, New York, where gambling is illegal. He played the game throughout lockdown, sometimes driving 45 minutes to play Pokerstars in Hoboken, New Jersey, where the game is allowed. But then he started asking people who had similar hobbies and found out his friend’s dad had a nightly poker game going with a group who all met at a local country club. For about two months, he played with them every night using an app called PokerBros. It was $200 buy-ins and they’d pay each other on Venmo with random emoji so no one else would catch on — a golfer, pizza, or, if they lost, the vomit emoji.
Of course, driving to another state or joining a country club aren’t always realistic options, so Alex also recommends asking waiters or bartenders at local spots if you don’t know anyone else nearby. As a former waiter, he used to get the question himself. During a game he played with his restaurant co-workers at someone’s home, he even noticed some people he had served showed up to play.
Before organizing or joining a game with a new crowd, however, Paul says to set clear expectations, especially around how much money everyone should bring.
How To Find A Drug Dealer
As far as the United States has come with marijuana legalization, talking about recreational drug use, and where you get them, still remains fairly under wraps. And it may feel like even more of a topic to stay silent about if you’re in an area where the parties are few and far between, with less opportunity for someone to offer you a hit when you first meet. Editor’s Note: Bustle does not endorse illegal drug use.
When Jessica*, 31, moved to Ohio two years ago, she first asked a few trusted friends where she could find a dealer. They introduced her to people who could connect her directly with someone reliable. Although she gets weed in her state legally now, she says that if it isn’t legal where you live and you don’t have a network there, it might just take some time and whispering to find.
“You have to be smart and safe and find someone that’s trustworthy,” she says. “I think in building a community where you’re moving ... that there will be opportunities to just ask — like, ‘Hey, do you know where I can get stuff here? I haven’t been able to find someone so far.’”
When you find what you’re looking for — whether it’s a new dealer or someone at a party who’s feeling generous — it’s never a bad idea to test your substances for adulterants. Check out this guide to checking your drugs for everything you should know.
What you definitely don’t want to do in the suburbs, she says, is post something like “Where can I get some molly?” on Facebook, because it could put other people at risk by drawing attention to the transaction. Also, don’t tell people whom you got it from unless you have explicit permission, she says. And, if it makes you feel safer, she suggests using Signal to communicate with dealers.
That’s what Taylor*, 33, who lives outside of New York City did. Since he didn’t know where to get drugs in his new town, he asked a friend in the city for a referral in hopes someone might make the hour-long trek to him or meet in the middle. The friend cleared it with their contact and told Taylor to download Signal. He didn’t know what to write or how explicit to be at first. But a quick rundown of the menu and several mushroom emojis later, and he was setting up a time for the person to come to his house.
Lisa*, who’s in her 30s and lives in a New York City suburb, says she and her husband also rely on their connections in Brooklyn to buy drugs since it feels safer than asking people they don’t know in their new village.
Although finding a dealer can still feel awkward and hush-hush, Jessica says it’s for good reason. “[It’s] a means to keep yourself and the person whose living is being made off of these sales safe,” she says. “It’s OK to feel like you have to sneak around for a minute.”
*Names have been changed.
Readers should note that laws governing marijuana and psychedelics are evolving, as is information about the efficacy and safety of those substances. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as legal or medical advice. Always consult your physician prior to trying any substance or supplement.