Life Outside the Box
(A Conversation with Robert McGinley, President of the Lifestyles Organization)
By Dave Schwartz
It's that time of year again, when I look at my Web site logs and discover that several of stories in our archive have suddenly, once again become quite popular. For some there is an excitement brewing, but not everyone knows what that excitement is. Here at DaBelly, our readers tend to find out about it after the fact when either Mickie or I write the review. And then, of course, it's too late! So you write us. And for the record, we hear more from women than men on this topic. You write us and ask some fascinating questions. Why? Well, because you're a curious bunch. And when you've finally satisfied your curiosity you file the information away for yet another year, wondering if you were adventurous enough to have experienced that same moment in life.
The readers have once again expressed an interest so this year we decided to be a bit more proactive. We wanted to not only allow our readers to live vicariously through our stories but to also have a chance to live life for themselves. What am I talking about? Shhhhh!!! The Lifestyles Convention is coming to Las Vegas!
Yes that's right, the LSO Convention is being held in Las Vegas this year at the Aladdin Casino August 6-10. This is a grand opportunity for all you curious DaBelly readers to take a chance on life. And perhaps take a bigger chance by asking your partner to join you.
We recently sat down with Robert McGinley, President of the Lifestyles Organization and creator of the Lifestyles Convention. We had a few questions concerning LSO's 30th Anniversary and McGinley was happy to share his thoughts.
His office was warm and spacious, adorned with paintings of big cats. A stuffed bobcat is displayed behind his desk. McGinley smiled as he eased back into his leather chair and began the interview, "Although people like to call this a 'swingers convention,' it's not. We have never used the term. Its called Lifestyles on purpose, with an 's' on the end."
McGinley is patient to explain what an LSO convention is all about. Justifiably, he seeks to relieve himself from the tainted, '70s porn, red shag-carpeting stigma that is associated with the moniker "Swinger." Whereas one of the largest sub-cultures found at an LSO Convention are polyamorous couples, the convention is about more than couples meeting couples. It's most importantly about communication.
He also takes pride in announcing that regular couples have begun discovering the LSO convention, "We don't want to limit the number or kind of people who might be interested in going. We don't want anyone to feel threatened. And because of that the convention keeps growing, it gets bigger every year."
The LSO is open to everyone, singles or couples, who has a curiosity about the many aspects of sexuality. But, to be certain, the convention is more specifically geared toward couples, "All the social activities, that is the pool parties and the theme dances are strictly for couples. The luncheon, the dinner functions are all strictly for couples. We are a couple's organization. However, we do sell tickets that allow the adult public to go to the art exhibition. It doesn't matter if you're couple or single for that. And too, most of the seminars will allow singles. But there are always a few seminars that are strictly for couples. So, yes, there are events that a person can walk in and buy a ticket. We do not presale any of that. It has to be a walk-in situation." For those only casually interested a day pass is available.
As always, there will be four themed dances this year. The first night of the convention will host the "30th Anniversary Celebration Dance Party" followed in order by the "Red, White & Blue Dance Party," the "Wicked & Wild Lingerie Dance Party" and finally closing Saturday night with the "Arabian Nights Masquerade Adventure." The dance parties are a spectacle themselves, where couples often dress in outrageously lavish costumes.
But the convention is more than just the evening activities. The days are filled with seminars that address topics that are educational as well as deal with issues that are often difficult for couples to discuss on their own.
"We hope to enlighten people," McGinley continued. "And we do it by having an event like we're talking about. One where people are relatively free in their thinking and feel and in what they say. Women have a ball at our convention. Women like to show off. Here they can. Here they can go topless at the dance, for example, as long as it's a part of their costume. The women love it, but they can't do that hardly anywhere else, nor would they of course. Here they feel free enough to do it."
As McGinley has already eluded too, the convention has grown to the point of almost being cumbersome. Each year there is the struggle to find convention space large enough to accommodate all who wish to participate. "We have ample room for what we want to do, but we are limited on the dinner," McGinley explained. "We are limited to 1700 people. We could easily book 2000 to 2500. So we have begun offering a 'B Package' which is a convention without the dinning arrangements. We have no choice."
I asked McGinley why he started LSO. His reply was rather a matter of fact.
"We have a basic philosophy here. It's a quote by Jack London, 'The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.' I thought about that a lot. I thought that, in a very few words, he said what I think. I knew so many people that didn't live their lives they just existed. But why I asked. And it was always, 'My gosh, what would the neighbors think?' or 'What if the post man knows or the minister should find out?' They were living their lives for someone else, not for themselves. And that's a shame. Too many people have been brought up that way, they don't know any better and can't think outside the box. What this convention does is allow them to think outside the box."
For the first time attendee there is so much to see and so much to do. But what if all of this becomes overwhelming? You're in Las Vegas people-- you can still hit the casinos or catch a show!
Rest assured that if you live on the East Coast and can't make the convention on such short notice, LSO began hosting an eastern convention a couple years ago. This year, the convention was held at the Miami Radisson, March 26-30. Like the Vegas convention, it was a great success and you can look for LSO to be back next year.
And what's on the horizon for the Lifestyles Organization? They have begun to expand internationally. First, by opening Desire Resort and Spa in Cancun Mexico, an all-inclusive, 24/7 Lifestyles resort. Next stop, Acapulco, Mexico, Lifestyles, with 30 years of hosting conventions in America, will host the first International gathering at the Fairmont Princess Hotel, May 14-17, 2004.
So there it is DaBelly readers. This is an opportunity to, if I may steal a Lou Reed song title, take a walk on the wild side. So have you asked yourself yet? Or more importantly, how about your partner? Is this going to be another weekend sitting on the couch or is it time to think outside of the box?!?!?!
If you're interested in a recap of our experiences at the 2001 and 2002 conventions you can follow the links below. Happy reading!
DaBelly at the LSO 2001
DaBelly at the LSO 2002
To find out more about the Lifestyle Conventions, follow the link below.
For a complete listing of the 2003 Las Vegas convention schedule, including seminars, follow the link below.
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