When K and I first entered this “lifestyle” I was not fond of the term “play” because I felt that it minimized the sexual experience and made it seem exceedingly casual and light. I think that my perspective of the term and my perspective of sex have simultaneously shifted to the point where the term “play” is an acceptable term to describe what it is that we do when we are intimate with other couples.
What I mean by saying that my “perspective of sex has shifted” is that K and I have deconstructed the idea that sex is sacred (more about this idea coming soon) and have come to understand sex as just a natural part of the human experience: it is just another way that people connect and share themselves with those that they want to be intimate with. We feel that sex is just as natural and normal as sharing a meal or a good conversation with another human being. This is not to say that we are not highly selective about who we play with but we do not attach any significant emotional meaning to sex solely because it is “sex;” we attach meaning to sex that is important to us for other reasons such as: doing it with people we care about, people we respect, people we want to be closer with and share an intimate physical experience with, and people we love. We recognize that sex can be very emotional or very meaningless depending on the relationship that accompanies the physical act of sex but we do not think of sex as inherently “special” or “emotional.” Sex to us is merely a physical act that can have as much or as little meaning attached as is appropriate for the level of relationship that we have constructed with those who we share the experience with.
K and I decided to include this aside about the term “play” versus “sex” because we recently met a couple who seemed put off by our use of the term “play.” When I was discussing writing this post with K she shared an interesting insight with me about her understanding of the term “play” and why she has come to adopt that term to describe what we do. For her, the term at first seemed superficial but she now feels that the term is appropriate because it is more encompassing of a wide range of sexual behavior that can range from light and fun to deep and emotional. The term “play” encompasses, for K, sex that is light and casual and sex that is emotional and profound, depending on the relationship that has been established that underlies the sex. She also explained that “play” more broadly is a fundamental part of the human experience and that it is something that everyone can relate to and does throughout their whole lives. Play is merely a time to interact and connect and have fun with other human beings and “play” that involves sex between consenting adults is the same way!
For both K and I, we now prefer the term “play” because it is a unique term that does not come pre-loaded with preconceived ideas about what sex is. “Play” for us is “sex” but it is encompassing of a wide array of sexual activity ranging from meaningful sex to casual and light sex.