We Spent 3 Fun Days At A Hotel Takeover For Swingers –– Here’s What It Was Like!
With an intentionally vague name like Podcast-A-Palooza, it’s easy to imagine it as an influencer meet-and-greet or a digital audio bootcamp.
Instead, this hotel takeover featured non-monogamous content creators and their audiences, sex-positive workshops, and a well-stocked playroom in the basement. As the hotel was contracted exclusively for PCAP 2022 guests, security guards sat by the front entrance, diverting any wandering outsiders. The windows and doors were completely blacked out, hiding attendees from curious eyes.
As official sponsors of the event, #open came to connect meaningfully with other members of the non-monogamous community and introduce them to our dating app. Me, #open co-founders David and Amanda, and three members of my polycule –– my boyfriend, his fiancé, and my girlfriend –– met people who’d flown to Palm Springs, CA from all over the United States, Canada, and a few further locales.
READ MORE: Swinging: Fact vs. Fiction
As a Black, queer polyamorous person living in New York, the NM events I usually attend feature very little romantic exclusivity. At PCAP, on the other hand, I mostly met people in romantically-exclusive partnerships, who self-identified as swingers. So when I showed up with my 4-person polycule in tow, talking about our other partners back home, we stood out just a bit.
“What do you do if he wants to have a baby with her?” someone asked my metamour in horror, pointing at me and my boyfriend. Then, he asked the same thing of me, pointing at my metamour this time.
We were struck by the fact that he only had parenting questions that pertained to my boyfriend, ignoring my girlfriend in the conversation entirely. In fact, every single other couple was (seemingly) comprised of a man and a woman, besides us. We were nervous that to everyone else in the room, our relationship was less real. Plus, while there are so many ways that polyamorous families structure themselves, the question assumed that we were all interested in having kids, capable of having kids, and viewing parenting as a decidedly two-person job. When I consider the webs of kinship that are present in my day-to-day life, I can come up with way more creative (and less exhausting) ways to raise children. Family, after all, isn’t exclusively determined through romantic pair bonds or shared DNA.
As the weekend progressed, and we chatted with more swingers, I started to relax. Everyone was so welcoming! In fact, when I pulled Mr. Question-asker sternly to the side, telling him his question was insensitive, he was unexpectedly thoughtful and apologetic. I sank into the ‘edutainment’ atmosphere, thinking that maybe the gulf between swinging and polyamory really isn’t that wide. Some people shared their newbie non-monogamy mistakes, highlighting that absolutely zero of us are perfect angels who always communicate perfectly and never get insecure. I mean, how do we ever convince ourselves otherwise?
READ MORE: Swinging 101: The Resources
At our ‘Relationships By Design’ panel, Amanda and I spoke about creating relationships that are in alignment with our desires, rather than squeezing ourselves into predetermined boxes. We handed out dry erase paddles and markers, and everyone in the room came up with a unique hashtag pertaining to sexuality, kink, and relationships. Then, partners came together to create a new hashtag that incorporated both. No matter the relationship structure, this is fundamentally how agreements are negotiated; it was a really fun way to practice.
In a group that didn’t require us to justify our relationship dynamics, we were able to talk so candidly. One attendee brought up the unique joy of watching her partner play well with others and a few of us grinned or chuckled because, of course, we understood. Someone else shared the story of a foursome gone wrong and it took a while before everyone regained their composure, we were laughing so hard. These honest discussions felt so liberating.
Overall, my first non-monogamous hotel takeover was equal parts fun and educational. As we all checked out, it was sad to say goodbye, but I left feeling hopeful about attending an event like it soon. I even hugged Mr. Question-asker on his way out.
For more information on Podcast-A-Palooza, head to their website.
For more information on swinging, here are some resources we recommend.