After reading Sean Rowe's article about swingers in the suburbs ("Swingers Redux," June 11), I was struck by the fact that he was so objective. I do not believe most people, after seeing the scenes described in the article, could not have been anything but outraged and frightened. The images brought back memories of a porno movie that circulated around my fraternity ten years ago. Back then, young guys fresh out of high school would watch but eventually got sick of the movie, and resoundingly all agreed that group sex is for freaks. These club members seem to be stuck in hormonal explosions of the teenage variety, only now they have the egos to act out sick and immature fantasies. How depraved does one have to be to go into one of these clubs, with your mate no less, and parade around in search of instant gratification? I felt like a voyeur just reading the article.
Mr. Rowe described the large orgy room as silent except for a sound similar to the "rustle of insect wings." I believe this is an accurate description. The actions described are of persons being led by their basest animal instincts; what they do not seem to realize is that the basis of civilization is to rise above our instincts. We should try to be better than the animals, not replicate a dog pound with animals in heat.
This article gave me a glimpse into a world the mere existence of which makes me question why America ever agreed with the secularists and gave up on shame. In the movie Raising Arizona, Nicolas Cage's character laments about his fears of child-rearing, and he frets to his boss about the pressure he's under. His boss has the answer to eliminate the pressure, fear, and boredom of life, by suggesting that they swap wives. Nicolas Cage clocks his boss in the jaw, knocking him 20 feet backward. That scene could be a metaphor for him trying to knock some sense into the guy, but really, it is just an expression of disgust at such depravity. I felt disgust while reading the article, and I just wanted to take a shower and get clean afterward, but I can't, now that I know hedonism is alive and well. It probably will always exist, but I hope the vast majority of Americans do not look at swingers as members of a lifestyle, but for what they really are, one step above a sex offender.
Sean P. Schwinghammer
Which Do You Prefer -- Group Sex or the History Channel?
First of all, we wanted to take the time to thank you for publishing a well-written and researched paper. In these days of liberal slants and conservative bias, it is refreshing to read accomplished journalism as it was truly intended to be practiced. Kudos.
That being said, we wanted to reply to the June 11 issue of New Times, specifically the article about swinging. My wife and I thought about this for a long time and finally decided to write your publication in the hopes of giving a more quantitative view on the subject, since this is something my wife and I actually know something about and feel qualified to comment on. She and I entered "The Lifestyle" (for lack of a better word) about a year and a half ago, after researching the subject on the Internet and making various contacts through it. We decided to give it a try, and this is what we have found out so far: We have made several wonderful friends (both in and out of the bedroom) and have met some real kooks as well. Throw in the all-too-common and pesky single and/or married man trying to make an easy score, and you have the typical lot. My wife and I have found swinging to be a mutually fulfilling avenue for our social and sexual exploration together, and so far consider it a fun addition to (not a replacement for) our sexuality in our marriage.
This is where we must take exception to the comment by Al Goldstein, who stated, "Those places were always about structured infidelity.... They're for guys who don't have the balls to cheat on their wives. I'd just as soon go home and watch the History Channel." Well, Al, since when does it take balls to cheat on one's spouse? Those individuals who do cheat on their most trusted loved one, in our opinion, have to be the most ball-less people on Earth -- the sneaking around, lying, hurt feelings, and guilt that go on for years could fill the ocean's bottom. People in a truly honest and loving relationship value each other and reveal their deepest fantasies and allow one another to fulfill those fantasies in a safe and open environment -- free from all the lies, guilt, and tears that come with cheating on one's spouse or partner. While we do not feel that this lifestyle may be for everyone, bear in mind one startling fact -- 50 percent of all marriages fail, and a large part of them do so for sexual reasons (not to mention all the [couples] that continue on in misery but never go through with severing their marital bond).
Lastly, we wanted to state that the vast majority of couples that we know practice "safe sex" when engaging in intercourse, and many couples don't even go that far, preferring to do "everything else" but intercourse. However, there are all types, and as long as everyone involved is mutually consenting, who is to set the parameters? This is what sexual freedom is all about. While my wife and I are not sure if this is something that we will do for our entire marriage or if it is just a stage in our marriage, we do agree that whatever we decide to do, it will be done together and without regret. So, Al, what's on the History Channel tonight?
Name Withheld by Request
Plugging the Politics of Pop
Bravo Michael Freedman! It's about time West Palm Beach citizens are informed of the true goings-on at City Hall and in the government committee meetings taking place throughout the county ("The Politics of Pop," June 4). Although a reporter from The Palm Beach Post was in the courtroom during at least part of Jeff Koons' divorce proceedings, typically, nothing was published in the local paper at the time (several months before Koons was up for reelection). It seems it only became newsworthy when word got out that Michael Freedman had uncovered the wrongdoings and that New Times would be printing an in-depth piece on what was happening. Were the issues finally addressed in the Post in hopes that citizens wouldn't bother reading the New Times article, since they would have already read a similar story in the Post? For readers who overlooked Freedman's article, it's well worth requesting a back issue of the paper for "The Politics of Pop."
Now if you could get the word out about the perilous financial state of the City of West Palm Beach (we'll be approximately $300 million in debt by the end of this year); the true extent of the misuse of city funds by Mayor Michael Wright and city staff; the total amount of city land sold in recent years to balance the city budget; the negative financial effect airport expansion will bring to West Palm Beach, Cloud Lake, Glen Ridge, and Haverhill; unchallenged violations of the Sunshine Law and numerous other issues; and what it cost the city to sell the auditorium (money and equipment returned to the county, asbestos and other cleanup, political favors following donations to the mayor's P.A.C., cancellation of existing contracts, security costs, fees for city attorney acting as counsel for the Watchtower Group, et cetera). With the all the goings-on at City Hall, one could keep a daily newspaper busy.
Patricia M. High
West Palm Beach