top of page
  • Ashley Rivard

Open Love 101: Discussing The Swinger Lifestyle With Jackie and John Melfi


The swinger lifestyle has long been seen as taboo and is shrouded in mystery if you’re not a part of it yourself.


Jackie and John Melfi are swingers and are in an open marriage. They are the driving force behind Colette Clubs, a swinger’s club brand located in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and Austin. John has been in the swinger club industry for 20 years, and when he and Jackie met they expanded their business. Their first venture together, the award-winning lifestyle blog Openlove101, aims to educate couples and singles who are curious about the lifestyle. They provide coaching as well as video and blog content about the lifestyle weekly.


I sat down with Jackie and John to discuss all things swinging: how the lifestyle works, why it doesn’t look the same for all couples, and how the way they approach their relationship has brought them closer together.


What is the swinger lifestyle?

The swinger lifestyle consists of consensual nonmonogamy. There aren’t any strict rules that say what a swinging lifestyle or open lifestyle should or shouldn’t be. The beauty of it is that it’s up to the people in the relationship to create whatever kind of relationship they want to have.


People outside of the relationship are often called “play partners.” The rules in terms of what is acceptable to do with said play partners can really differ couple by couple — some couples like to keep things solely physical while others allow actual dating. Some “play” together and others do it separately. In the end, it’s truly up to the couple to decide what works best for their relationship.


If you’ve ever considered getting into the lifestyle, you may have concerns about jealousy, insecurities, and fear in general. You may be worried it will be detrimental to your relationship. This is normal, as most of us grow up surrounded by monogamous relationships. Anything else is considered abnormal or unhealthy.


But, if you have a relationship that’s open then the ability to absorb the concept of being able to interact with others without it being a detriment to the relationship becomes possible. The most important piece of the puzzle is open and honest communication.


The benefits (and repercussions) of the swinging lifestyle

Most folks in the swinging space believe that the benefits far outweigh any kind of repercussions. Again, this is due to the fact that in order to make it work, couples must be really conscious about communication, comprehension, vulnerability, transparency, and trust in each other. The intent is all about making the relationship the best it can be.


Swingers believe that if you find this other person who means so much to you that you want to wake up with them every morning, it should be much more about expansion than restriction. You should almost have more freedom within a relationship than you do when single because you have this other person in your corner who is always there to back you up.


And yet, so often it isn’t the case. Folks in monogamous relationships may have a fear that their partner will eventually leave them because they aren’t good enough. Swingers tend not to have this fear: they’re comfortable in their relationship because they are comfortable with themselves. They have confidence in themselves and their partner, and aren’t afraid if they become attracted to someone else — they believe that this attraction is normal, and can actually become a turn-on.


Swingers like Jackie and John believe that the lifestyle is all about unconditional love. They say that if you have unconditional love for someone, you should be happy if they meet someone else who also makes them happy. You wouldn’t want to keep them from this happiness.


It’s also about deconstructing the social codes that surround us. In the United States especially, there is a code around being in monogamous relationships: it’s the only way to live. Swingers don’t feel that they fit into this code, so they reject it and create their own. They create their own truth — and live by it.


Decoding social constructs and taboos

Women are often put under a lot of pressure to look, think, and feel a certain way. Again, in the US especially, there is this idea that men are free to date and be sexually active, while women are expected to be more reserved and ache for emotional connection rather than physical. These are, again, codes that have been hammered into us from a very young age.


Swingers reject these codes. Women and men alike are free to be sexually active with as many people as they’d like — as long as they communicate and are honest about it with their partners. They believe that you can be intimate with several different people instead of just one. They’re also free to be physically intimate with someone without necessarily feeling an emotional connection.


The biggest taboo around the swinging lifestyle is then the fact that folks in serious and committed relationships have sex with other people. Many people outside of the lifestyle can’t wrap their heads around the fact that swingers are really in love with each other if they pursue other people outside of their relationship. The idea is so taboo that some swingers have lost their jobs when their employers find out about the way that they live.


This is one of the reasons that Jackie and John are so passionate about sharing more about their lives. They want to show that they are just normal people. They’re a slice of society, and they don’t believe they should be rejected.


They are working towards educating folks about the swinging lifestyle so that one day, it is more widely accepted. Because in the end, we’re all different, aren’t we? And no one deserves to be judged — or worse, lose their job — over a lifestyle of consensual nonmonogamy.


I wanted to do a podcast on this topic of open relationships/swinging because I had a judgment towards it. I didn’t understand how anyone could do that and claim to be happy in their relationship. “Why would you want someone else if you are in love with your partner?” was my driving thought. I was as open as I could be while talking with John and Jackie, and to be honest, I do believe that they are in love with each other and that for them, swinging adds more to their relationship.


That said, even though I enjoyed our mind-expanding conversation, it didn’t change the way I would live my life right now. But, it ultimately helped me be more accepting of how others chose to live theirs. And, if swingers believe that it’s not cheating because they are open about their reality and needs, then all the more power to them for living what is true for their soul’s evolution.


If you’re interested in learning more about the swinging lifestyle, be sure to check out Openlove101. Jackie and John also have a YouTube channel and a podcast where they discuss their relationship in depth.


You can listen to Jackie, John, and myself talk more about the swinging lifestyle over on the podcast. Find the full-length episode here.


7 views0 comments
bottom of page