|Happiness Home Page||
Separate Search Page
|Purpose||Write To Karl Loren||Table Of Contents|
|Role Model||You Can Help!|
[Karl Note: it is almost impossible to believe that this is the scene in San Diego -- apparently well known, and hardly ever publicized. What kind of moral example are these people setting? What kind of family life are the children in these homes living? What moral code will they be learning -- these children?
Does it tell you something that out of more than 1,000 separate visitors per day to this web site, the single most popular page is THIS ONE. That data is valid for the week ending April 8, 2005, and again for the week ending April 15, 2005 and the week ending April 22! During this last week there were no less than 700 different times that someone looked at THIS page! YOU, reading this line, are MOST likely to have come to this page because you are interested in joining the "San Diego Swingers," and, of course, you are not finding that type of information here. Can I tempt you to consider what effect such a life-style has on you, or others? Read more on this web site!
I discovered that if you enter "San Diego Swingers" into Google, THIS page comes up with the number one listing. Therefore it could well be true that people "looking for swinging" are making just that entry, finding this web site and reading some, (none?), of this page. Do you suppose any of them are changing their opinion on this by reading anything here? The next most popular page in Google featured this:
The murder of little Danielle van Dam brought “swinging” into the spotlight. Log on to the World Wide Web, type in “San Diego” and “swingers” on the Yahoo search, and you get 6,160 hits. That’s more than “San Diego” in combination with “hiking trails” (2,570), “car clubs” (772) or “pet lovers” (359)—though not as many as “golfers” (7,430) or “Republicans” (18,900).
By Thomas K. Arnold
Club Paradise, according to its Web site, “is situated in the back hills of the El Cajon Valley, nestled in a secluded, yet easy to access area.” The facility offers a “high-class, home-party style environment” and boasts “5,000 square feet of fun, including a swimming pool, spa and backyard fire pit to socialize with your new friends while warming your erogenous zones.”
Guests are “welcome to bring some goodies (besides your wife)”—and once their erogenous zones are sufficiently warmed, they may choose from “plenty of play areas ... most prefer the living room floor or kitchen, but [private] rooms are always available.”
Club CB is an on-line club “providing a safe meeting place for sensuous consenting adults.” Member parties promise “the hottest couples, the best facilities, very tasty buffet dinners, scrumptious desserts and a staff dedicated to ensuring your experience is clean, fun and safe.”
Club CB party organizers boast they specialize in “stirring up erotic sensations and placing our members in the ideal environment to meet and expand friendships with the most exciting people in San Diego County ... all while raising funds for local charity foundations contributing to the research for multiple sclerosis and other debilitating diseases.”
Welcome to the wonderful—and apparently charitable—world of swinging, San Diego style.
Tony Lanzaratta, a retired Los Angeles police officer who, as executive director of NASCA International, probably has a better handle on swinging than anyone else in the country, stops short of saying San Diego is a hotbed for what he calls “play couples.”
“It’s impossible to chart,” Lanzaratta says. “But I travel a lot, and I know one thing: I meet a lot of people from San Diego.”
He says there are half a dozen organized swing clubs in San Diego County, some in private homes and some in commercial buildings. None is openly marked. “San Diego is a very conservative city,” he says, “so you just can’t do that.”
But even the local presence of half a dozen organized swing clubs—most of them with Web sites rivaling those of ritzy desert resorts—is no barometer for how many San Diegans actually participate in what Lanzaratta and other swingers call “the lifestyle.” According to the official NASCA Web site, that lifestyle is defined as follows:
“Swinging is social and sexual intercourse with someone other than your mate, boyfriend or girlfriend, excepting the traditional one-on-one dating. It may be defined as recreational social sex. The activity may occur at a swing party, a couple-to-couple encounter, a liaison or with a third person in a threesome. Though single men and women are involved, it is primarily an activity of couples.”
“A lot of people just have little neighborhood get-togethers in their homes, five or six couples who go for it,” Lanzaratta says. “The thing is, people are not card-carrying swingers; they don’t necessarily have to belong to clubs or even frequent parties. People don’t call up and say, ‘We’re with the Rand Corporation; are you swingers?’ So many people keep it hidden.”
NASCA originally stood for North American Swing Club Association, but now goes solely by its acronym. That’s because membership in the loosely knit, Orange County–based confederation of swing clubs now extends beyond North America—and Lanzaratta and other practitioners of “the lifestyle” believe the term “swing” has become dated.
“‘Swinging’ is not really a favored term anymore,” Lanzaratta says. “Swinging kind of connotes 1950s wife-swapping crap. It has little to do with that, and that’s why lifestyle organizations prefer to use the term ‘play couple.’”
Call it what you will—swinging is big news these days, and all because of a vivacious, bright-eyed little girl who was snatched from her home, brutally murdered and then dumped in East County.
The Danielle van Dam kidnapping and murder case has gripped San Diegans from the time the 7-year-old was first discovered to be missing from her Sabre Springs home in early February. It has also pushed into the spotlight—or shoved under the microscope—what had previously been one of San Diego’s salacious little secrets: the thriving local “swinging” scene in which the dead girl’s parents, Brenda and Damon van Dam, were involved.
From the time KFMB Radio talk-show host Rick Roberts first brought up rumors of the van Dams’ mate-swapping lifestyle, there’s been a collective finger-wagging of disapproval—and also a collective curiosity about the phenomenon.
During the murder trial of David Westerfield, defense attorney Steven Feldman tried to convince jurors that swinging may have opened the van Dams’ doors—figuratively and literally—to all sorts of perverts who could have made off with and later killed Danielle. Early in the trial, he even tried to question Brenda van Dam about what he called “sex parties,” but Judge William Mudd stopped the grieving mother from answering broad questions about her sex life because he deemed them “irrelevant.”
No wonder, then, that local swingers are becoming increasingly gun-shy.
“It seems that the San Diego media are finally waking up to alternative lifestyles about 50 years late and for all the wrong reasons, i.e., the van Dams,” Jay, who operates the Free Body, Mind & Spirit Society, one of San Diego’s swing clubs, wrote in an e-mail, replying to a query. “Our membership is composed of mostly late arrivals from the rest of the world. They are quite aware that they now reside in the epicenter of geekocracy and therefore do not wish any publicity. Nobody likes to find burning crosses on their front lawns.”
Lanzaratta, too, decries the spotlight directed toward the San Diego swinging scene by the van Dam case. “It’s too bad there was this sudden interest in the lifestyle because a crime was committed,” he says. “The lifestyle, from what I’ve seen and heard, has nothing to do with the crime. These are everyday couples, and the suspect in this case is not a couple, is he? He’s a single male. So where is this thing coming from? I’m sure the defense is going to use this [the van Dams’ connection to swinging] and say they are unfit parents and all that B.S., but that’s a bunch of crap. They’re just trying to latch onto anything at all. I can’t fault the attorneys, because that’s their job, but for everybody else to jump on the bandwagon is just crazy.”
Lanzaratta’s indignation underscores the basic philosophy that seems to be embraced by most swingers: What they are doing is perfectly normal—and besides, what goes on behind closed doors between two (or more) consenting adults is nobody’s damn business.
“Eighty percent of the human world population is polygamous, so maybe the monogamists are freaks,” claims Jay. “We swingers all seem to feel completely healthy.”
(Jay’s comments aren’t entirely accurate. He might be referring to the legality of polygamy, not the practice. According to the polygamypage.info Web site, “In most of the world polygamy is an acceptable social practice and is never a crime. In much of the Western world, including Britain and most of the United States, the practice of polygamy is not illegal. As long as the marriages are not registered with the state, there is no offense, although there is also hardly any legal recognition of the relationship. In a few states, the bigamy law is used together with a ‘common-law marriage’ law to define polygamy as illegal. These laws also tend to make same-sex partnerships and cohabitation by unmarried couples illegal as well.”)
From the NASCA International Web site: “People who swing come from all economic levels. Every job classification, all races and nationalities are represented, though the majority are Caucasian, middle to upper-middle socio-economic class, and married. Swingers ... tend to be adventuresome, emotionally mature and have excellent relationships with their mates and friends. ... Many single women have joined swing clubs, finding them a refreshing alternative to the traditional bar scene.”
Lanzaratta, 52, a proud swinger for 14 years, says that definition really says it all. Sex is just part of the lifestyle, he maintains.
“It’s first and foremost social, with a capital S,” he says. “Now, what these people do after they meet other couples is between them, but 40 percent to 50 percent never take it to the next step, which is sex. It’s a place to go to be social with like-minded people, but certainly not just to get laid.”
Typical swingers, Lanzaratta says, tend to be baby boomer couples in their 40s or 50s with time and money to travel. The annual Lifestyles convention, which used to be here in San Diego but is now held in Las Vegas or Reno, draws upwards of 6,000 attendees each year, he says.
“They are factory workers and firemen and store clerks and bankers and doctors and newscasters,” Lanzaratta says. “It’s a total cross-section of whatever middle America or normal America is. It’s couples looking for a social outlet. They’re tired of theater and dinner and $100 nightclubs. They want to go to clubs where they can meet and socialize with nice couples, with no lecherous singles stuff or pickup scene. It’s not a meat market; people who go to our clubs have no requirement to do anything.”
Of course, if they do choose to do anything of a sexual nature, he says, “they’ve got privacy, anonymity and the company of other couples.
“Sex is certainly a big part of it,” Lanzaratta concedes, “but it’s not the only thing.”
Sampling of classified advertising on the Internet indicates that sex may be a bigger part of “the lifestyle” for some swingers than the ones with whom Lanzaratta is familiar. Here are some ads from San Diego swingers pulled off www.e-MacDaddy.com, a portal for adult sites:
From Dan: “Hi, I’m a good-looking and athletic male, looking to be a sex toy. I am putting myself out [for] any kind of adventure. 3somes or anything, I’m game. I’m disease and drug free and expect the same.”
From Twoofus: “Me and my wife are looking for a couple to swing with or a party to go to. Is there a good place to just sleep with many people at once? Any info would be helpful or another young attractive couple like ourselves that would be interested would be great.”
From Shon: “Wife and I are looking for a partner to join up for a night. Male or female. If male wifey says must be big. ... Females must be in shape, nice body. No skinny model chicks!”
From SD and NW: “We have been in the San Diego area a little over a year and we are interested in making new friends. We are interested in the swinger lifestyle. We are willing and able to try anything once and we would like to experience this lifestyle. We are a married (wife is bi) couple with no children. We are both clean and in good health. If we sound interesting to you, please e-mail us and we would like to meet you for dinner or just a coffee out. PLEASE NO BI OR GAY MEN.”
So how does one go about joining a swing club? Lanzaratta says that regardless of whether a “lifestyle club” has a physical headquarters or consists of parties held in various places, the mechanism is the same. It all starts with an interview.
“You contact them via phone or e-mail and then they talk to you, talk to the [partner], have you come into an office and meet you in person,” he explains. “They sit you both down and interview you to make sure both of you are on board with this. There have been instances in which the guy dupes the woman into doing this, and no one wants to have any problems.”
Once the prospective swingers “pass” the interview hurdle, they pay an initial membership fee—$130 is standard, and that includes the first “party”—and then are given a date, time and location of the next gathering. Most San Diego swing clubs hold get-togethers for couples every weekend, or every other weekend. “Some are also open on Wednesday night, hump night—no pun intended,” Lanzaratta says with a laugh.
Most parties are for couples only, but sometimes single men or single women are allowed in—typically on Friday nights, when the action’s a bit slower than on Saturday nights. The membership fees allow these functions to be private. “If they were open to the public,” Lanzaratta says, “there could be problems.”
Once at a “party,” couples pay a cover charge of $50 to $60. That fee buys them not just admission but also munchies.
“Most of the nicer clubs have a nice buffet,” Lanzaratta says. After dinner, “you get up and sit somewhere and strike up a conversation with somebody else,” he says. Most clubs have deejays playing music, “so you get up and dance and mingle and drink a little to get more relaxed.”
And from there, well, use your imagination. “If it’s an on-premise club, there’s an area for sex,” Lanzaratta says. “It could be a back room, it could be a bedroom—that varies greatly, too. Some couples will only be with another couple if they’re both there; others want to be separate. The orgy scene is not really that prevalent—it’s usually two couples, three couples max. And then there are situations in which the man doesn’t want to do anything—he wants his wife or girlfriend to be with someone else.”
Robin C. (not her real name) is a young North County mother who briefly tried the swinger lifestyle several years ago, before she and her husband had children. Speaking through an intermediary—she’s deathly afraid of being identified—Robin says she was enticed to try “the lifestyle” by her husband. After much prodding, she relented. They hooked up with another couple her husband knew and had sex with one another.
“I knew it was wrong, but I did it,” she says. Robin and her husband soon opted out of the lifestyle, but the memories are still painful. “What were we thinking?” she asks. “This just isn’t normal.”
Lanzaratta isn’t at all surprised at this story. He says “the lifestyle” is best suited to older couples who have been married for a while and who are on solid ground.
“New relationships aren’t ready for something like this,” he says. “They have still got a lot to learn about each other. In fact, when we have a young couple come in, we give them some food for thought. We say, ‘You guys might want to think about it for a while.’”
Young couples, Lanzaratta says, are also more likely to feel insecure, which can lead to jealousy and guilt.
“Jealousy is pretty common in couples just starting out,” he says. “They need to separate love from sex. It [swinging] is recreation; it’s like going out and playing golf or tennis. And if they can keep it in that context—and if it is that for both parties—only then are they ready. Sure, the first time there might be pangs of anxiety or jealousy, or ‘Wait, you really enjoyed that; I’ve never seen you like that.’
“But they need to discuss everything before they do it and after they do it, and make sure nothing’s hidden. If one partner is more gung-ho than the other, they need to take several steps back and regroup, and ask themselves, ‘What are we trying to accomplish here?’”
Rich Hycer is a psychologist with a practice in Solana Beach. Since 1976, he has counseled hundreds of individuals and couples about relationships. He frowns on swinging just as he does on affairs, and says both can cause irreparable harm in a relationship.
“In most cases, it’s really an avoidance of dealing with the issues,” Hycer explains. “It’s much more important to look to ourselves and to what’s going on between us and our partner than look outside the marriage.”
He says people who are drawn to sex outside marriage, or outside a committed relationship, invariably are looking for a quick fix. “They may feel their marriage or relationship isn’t satisfying, but they don’t want to go through the problems of divorce,” he says. “It may temporarily make people feel good, but it doesn’t deal with the underlying issues that are going on in that marriage or relationship. It may be a short-term, ‘feel-good’ experience, but it doesn’t really solve issues and can become an avoidance.”
Lanzaratta agrees that swinging can be detrimental for couples whose relationships are in trouble. But for those involved in solid, mutually satisfying relationships, he maintains, “it’s just the opposite—it brings couples closer together and deepens their commitment. It’s not the way to fix a bad marriage; it’s a way to enhance a good marriage.”
What drives people to seek sex outside of marriage? Monogamy is unnatural, Lanzaratta says—which is why so many people have affairs, something he rails against.
He adds that, contrary to common thought, women are often the drivers behind a couple’s entry into “the lifestyle.”
“A lot of women would like maybe to have an experience with another woman, but they have no idea how to go about it in regular society,” Lanzaratta says. “This is one place they can find it. This is very acceptable here. It’s the covering up and the cheating that destroys a marriage, not the sex. This is something couples do together.”
Information center for couples interested in swinging in San Diego, CA Area. Personal ads, forum, lifestyle articles, online magazine, swing club listings, shop, picture galleries and more!
Swinger Sex personals! CLICK ABOVE to go to San Diego
A Proud Member of the Singles & Dating Associate Network
|Swinger, sex and match making service featuring San Diego Swingers and singles from the Internet.|
By Sarah Tippit
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - California's second-largest city -- once seen as a quiet, conservative U.S. Navy town -- is also now allegedly home to an active swinging scene, revealed to the world through the tragic Danielle van Dam murder case.
Danielle, seven, was snatched from her bed in the upscale San Diego neighbourhood of Sabre Springs in February, shining a spotlight on the "alternative" lifestyle of her parents, who reportedly engaged in swinging and wife-swapping.
Attorneys for David Westerfield, 50, a neighbour of Danielle's found guilty of her murder, suggested at trial that the Girl Scout's killer could have come from those swinging circles, a line of defence that has enraged the van Dam family and their supporters.
The two-month trial brought new attention to San Diego's singles scene, which experts say now flourishes in some half-dozen clubs. "This movement is growing rapidly," said Tony Lanzaratta, director of the southern California-based NASCA International (http://www.NASCA.com), an umbrella of sex clubs and businesses catering to mature adults. "Let's just say San Diego is well represented."
Club CB in the San Diego suburb of Escondido calls itself an "equal opportunity lifestyle organisation" -- offering sex parties for up to 75 couples on a private estate, according to its Web site (http://www.clubcb.com).
The web site points out that the sex club also has a social conscience, saying that it "raises funds for local charity foundations contributing to the research for Multiple Sclerosis and other debilitating diseases."
Free Mind, Body & Spirit in Encinitas, meanwhile, (http://www.geocities.com/fkkusa) shuns smoking and encourages vegetarianism, while offering a menu of swinging choices for those "tired of the bar/poolhall/country club ambience".
The options include "polyamorous pan-sexuality and eroticism, social nudism, group massage, shared sensuality, Tantra, Thai Nuad, Kama Sutra" as well as "informal, fun, intimate meetings" in various locations weekly.
And Thad's in San Diego (http://www.thads.com) offers an on-premise nude swing party for couples, single ladies and single men where "the men go completely nude while the ladies may wear sexy lingerie".
According to testimony during the Westerfield trial, Damon and Brenda van Dam drank beer and smoked marijuana in their garage with two female friends before Brenda went to a local bar, Dads, for a "girl's night out".
The three women returned to the van Dam home late that night with two male friends. There, one of Brenda's girlfriends briefly climbed into bed with Damon.
The case and its revelations beg the question, repeated often around town these days: If someone can eat a burger, drink a beer and slip into mate-swapping mode at Dad's -- which sponsors Little League baseball teams and bills itself as a family restaurant -- is the practice also common elsewhere in the state's second-largest city and across the country?
Yes, say some experts.
After blossoming in the free-spirit 1960s with an explosion of orgies and free love parties and later going underground with the advent of AIDS in the 1980s, swinging couples began coming out of the closet again in the mid-1990s.
A GROWTH INDUSTRY
A thriving tour and travel industry catering to swinging couples has tripled its business in the last five years, according to Lanzaratta, and private sex clubs also report a significant increase in new guests.
"Every club I go to, and I've been to clubs all over the country, they are telling me they are introducing 10 or 12 new couples to the lifestyle at every new party. Now if they are having a party every Saturday night and you multiply that by four or five parties a month, at just one club, that adds up to a lot of people," Lanzaratta said.
The hit HBO series "Six Feet Under" recently featured a swingers party, and the March issue of French Vogue includes a story on the rise in swing clubs.
Lanzaratta said last year's "Lifestyle Organisation Convention" in Las Vegas attracted 6,000 people who were seeking not only to sell products and promote clubs but to meet new friends. A large number of attendees were from California, including San Diego.
Although no official count exists, "play couples" as they are commonly called, tend to be more concentrated in places such as Miami and Southern California because of the easygoing lifestyle.
"You don't see as many clubs in places like New York or Chicago where everything is hustle-bustle and people are working 24-7," Lanzaratta said.
Lanzaratta, a former police officer said it's a shame that the van Dam case has focused the spotlight on the lifestyle in a sometimes finger-wagging way. Locally here the clubs have felt the pressure, stemming from publicity over the case, and they feel they need to be more low key.
"I'm very indignant about the public attitude. I was a cop 25 years. There is no paedophilia in the lifestyle community because they're all mature couples. Paedophiles are going to be single, or if married, their spouses have no knowledge of what they are doing."
As for Dad's, a spot check of the place on a weekday afternoon showed a lively crowd of local business people and families happily munching on burgers. An employee who did not want to be identified said that business is up about 20 percent mostly through curiosity seekers and reporters and that T-shirts are selling briskly.
However the van Dams are unlikely to show up anytime soon, Manager Sean Brown told the San Diego Weekly Reader in an interview published August 1. "When I saw Damon van Dam in court, I offered him a free dinner anytime they want to come in. He said, 'We'll probably never be back again,'" Brown said.