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The Things I've Learned After Years of Being a French Swinger

All my life I had fantasies about orgies, but when I finally became a swinger I found out that the scene can be pretty messy in more ways than one.

This article was originally published on VICE France.

All my life I've fantasized about orgies and debauchery. I realized this fantasy later in life, after meeting a girl who thought monogamy to be impossible. Just like me, that girl—who is now the mother of my child—believed that suppressed sexual desire can lead to tumors. I don't know if it's a coincidence, but to this day I haven't gotten cancer


As I said, the urge to be a libertine manifested early in my life—it probably dates back to my first readings of the hypersexual cartoons of Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton when I was too young to be looking at such things. Still I had my first adventure quite late—at the age of 30.

It was during an orgy organized by a friend of mine at my place—at the time I had already been in a relationship for seven years. That same friend introduced me to a circle of other self-proclaimed "libertines," people who I have continued to come across sporadically at parties for several years now.

This lifestyle choice has allowed me to discover many things about myself and others, but it's also led to many moments of embarrassment, shame, and pain. I have long meditated on the negative consequences of the choices my partner and I made, and you should too if you'd one day like to to embark upon this great adventure beyond animal desire and vanity. Here's what I've learned so far:

THE IDIOTS The first—and most obvious—complication of being a swinger is the high probability of meeting idiots. Most of the philanderers I know are brainless assholes. Whichever social class they come from, libertines—particularly swingers—are, to varying degrees, boring people with limited conversational skills. So don't think you're going to gain access to delightful new intellectual spheres by choosing this kind of sex life.


I showed up at her doorstep with a bag of croissants expecting to find her naked in bed with the guy. I thought that they would both be thankful for the breakfast delivery and that we would all eat them naked—perhaps we would even end up having a threesome. I mean, we are French libertines after all.

Before I realized that orgies were not what I was looking for—unless they occur naturally, on a whim, at the end of a party—I had to deal with a shitload of sinister plans. Imagine the worst night of your life with your friends, add a dose of sex to it, and you will have a vague idea of the evening I had once.

An acquaintance of mine from the orgy scene dragged me along to a place belonging to a friend of his, to whom he was selling MDMA. It was 4 AM when we got there, and were met with a bunch of people who were all stoned and half naked. The atmosphere was sordid. They all sat in a circle, high and naked, and nagged me about their mundane, horrible lives. Apparently, they would meet up once a week to get high and fuck, but they had been doing it for so long they didn't enjoy it anymore. Everyone I met at that party complained about what a drag their weekly appointment was—"but we still do it," they kept telling me, one after the other.

After this, I decided to experience debauchery outside a network. It's a more difficult task—convincing women that it's OK to fuck a married guy is hard, for example—but ultimately far more rewarding.


Because I am an honest man, I refuse to flirt with a girl without specifying that I am in a relationship. I learned that lesson the day I found myself naked in a bath with a girl I had also flirted with at some party the week before. It was during a party at my house and I had just proposed that all of my guests should enjoy a "naked moment" in the Jacuzzi together.

I decided to set the example, and she followed. She was shy and charming—a pleasure to be naked with. Then she asked me if I lived in that apartment and I said, "Yeah, with my girlfriend." Awkward silence. I thought she knew that I was dating someone, but she started to cry, jumped out of the Jacuzzi in a hurry, got dressed, and left the party. I felt like an idiot and a jerk at the time, but eventually I stopped giving a fuck—I had sex with my girlfriend that night.

This is the worst thing that can happen to you—if, like me, you're a good guy and you care about the person you are with. Falling in love with a girl who wasn't my girlfriend destroyed me. I finally confessed everything to my girlfriend after a night spent standing on the edge of a roof wondering if I should jump or not.

I was being a drama queen; at best, I'd have broken a leg since I was at a terrace on the first floor of a house in the Parisian suburbs, but still, I was depressed. After hearing my story, my girlfriend laughed and told me I was cute as I was whining at her feet.


After that dramatic episode, something unexpectedly backfired. I was shooting a movie at the time, and I started going out with one of the actresses. It was a rather easygoing affair, largely driven by a bohemian impulse that tends to hit people when they're working together in the creative context of say, shooting a very-low-budget horror film.

At a depressing New Year's Eve party, I was looking forward to that girl showing up and making things a little more fun. But she never came, and, slightly upset, I texted her a "kiss." It so happened that that night was the night my girlfriend decided to start reading my texts—for the first time in our relationship—and she got really upset. She woke me up by kicking me out of bed and asked that we didn't see each other for a week. I respected her wish but thought it was a mistake—I had already been in love with another girl (the one my girlfriend had known about) and nothing felt the same this time.

I kept my mouth shut, but it was a tough time for me, and I vowed to never let a doubt of this kind enter my relationship again.

One night, my girlfriend went home with a guy in the middle of a party. It wasn't a problem for me, and I told myself I would meet with her the next day and we'd resume our life as a couple. She had told me she'd be taking him to her sister's, who was out of town that week, so in the morning, I showed up at her doorstep with a bag of croissants expecting to find her naked in bed with the guy. I thought that they would both be thankful for the breakfast delivery and that we would all eat them naked—perhaps we would even end up having a threesome. I mean, we are French libertines after all. It didn't go at all as I'd planned.

So I woke them up. They were naked—I was right about that part—but then my girlfriend started screaming at me to get out. I had to walk all the way back home barefoot, in a Jesus costume, while another guy fucked my girlfriend in her sister's bed. The party I had been to the night before had a "Religious Icons" theme, and I didn't have enough money to take a cab.

Still, at least I had the croissants.