The 2003 Lifestyles Convention
By Dave Schwartz firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at DaBelly we can always tell when the Lifestyles Convention is approaching. We get increased hit counts on past convention articles (features F50 and F94), inquisitive e-mails from distant friends and new acquaintances and I find myself shopping for a new robe! All right, Hugh Hefner I'm not, but if I'm going to be in one of Las Vegas' nicer casinos with 1,500 of America's more adventurous couples, I plan on being comfortable!
You know, I promised myself this year that I would spare the reader my usual disclaimer about "We're not a lifestyle couple," blah-blah-blah. This being DaBelly's third year at the convention I find it hard to sell the idea that I'm not a participant in spirit that is at the heart of what Lifestyles is about. Anyone who has followed our saga over the years understands that there is no one lifestyle represented at this convention. From the most timid to the shameless exhibitionist, we all fit in somewhere! After all, this is exactly what the convention is all about! So let's dispense with the disclaimer. I feel it's a point that has long been moot anyway.
Okay, so each year I'm asked the same two questions. What is the convention all about and why would an average couple attend the Lifestyles Convention? I can answer that with two words, communication and adventure.
Why does DaBelly attend? First of all, you, the readers, continue to show so much interest and, if nothing else, choose to live vicariously through my words. By the way, I am flattered that you would rely on me for your entertainment, but I would rather you got a life and joined us at the next convention! Secondly, and perhaps more selfishly, it's the sense of freedom and the almost-anything-could-happen atmosphere. Translated: It's a Friggen Party, that's why!!! As some of you may remember, the first year I attended the convention with Naughty Mickie. For those of you connecting the dots, yes, I went to my first "swingers convention" without my wife! It seemed appropriate at the time. Just kidding, actually she was busy, so Mickie and I toughed it out together. But back to the fundamental point, we walked around for days laughing. We couldn't help ourselves, we had so much fun. And I'm happy to report that three years later, my wife has freed up some time and, as far as the laughing, nothing has changed.
Did I mention adventure? Yes, well I will get to that!
This year the convention was held at the Aladdin Casino & Hotel. I can't recall ever being in the Aladdin before the convention so I can only comment on the current accommodations. This hotel is gorgeous! The rooms were spacious, the hotel opulent and the clientele was there to party. Since we arrived at the convention on Thursday, I'm sad to report that we missed Wednesday night's "30th Anniversary Celebration Dance Party." If it was anything like the other dances I'm sure they ripped the place!
After checking into the hotel and the convention, we spent most of the day roaming through the convention facilities and shops in the hotel. We took the time to discover the "Sensual & Erotic Art Exhibition" and of course did some shopping in the Lifestyles Market Place. We were disappointed that the facilities couldn't allow for a larger Market Place. That's not to say that there wasn't an excellent selection of goodies, but perhaps we were spoiled by last years Reno convention. Regardless, we still managed to find everything.
Thursday night was the first of the theme dances, the "Red, White & Blue Dance Party," sponsored by Qualton Club, Ixtapa Mexico. I have to admit that I struggled with this theme. I guess I was confined by the obvious patriotic intent and fixated on images of women in American flag bikini tops and guys dressed as Uncle Sam. It turned out that it was a clear case of not seeing the forest for the trees! As we rode in the elevator down to the party we stopped a couple of floors below ours. The doors opened and I immediately began to giggle. How obvious could it have been? In walked a couple in rather elaborate costumes. He was Captain America and she was Wonder Woman-- it was difficult to find costumes much more perfect than that. Let's just say we were a colorful bunch and it wasn't long before the drinks were flowing and the dance floor rocking. As with all of the convention dances, this party raged into the early hours.
Friday morning came early. You know I find myself saying that every year! It seemed like only a couple hours earlier I witnessed Uncle Sam hitting on Wonder Woman... Maybe it was just a dream, yeah, right.
Friday morning we found ourselves enjoying a little breakfast, some orange juice and our first seminar. "Slut 101: Releasing Inhibitions and Retaining Self-Esteem with Theresa Reed <www.darklady.com>." All right, maybe it wasn't a perfect fit with the eggs, but we were happy we went. Theresa was a great speaker, intuitive and informative. Her style was more like that of a friend sharing years of practical knowledge rather than someone giving a lecture. Most of us walked away understanding the primary purpose of the seminar was, that despite implied social paradigms, it is OK to feel promiscuous or conservative, dominant or submissive. The most important thing is to be the individual that you are and to live life safely and to its fullest reward.
Each seminar is about 1½ hours long and since there are multiple seminars happening during each session we found it a challenge to choose just one.
During the afternoon seminars we bounced from one room to the next before settling in on "The Myth of the G-Spot and the Truth about Female Ejaculation" by Gary Schubach, EdD and Patricia Taylor, PhD. It was standing room only, but we managed to wiggle our way through the door. The seminar was more of a clinical view of the female anatomy, presented with simple explanations and perspectives to help dispel the many myths of human sexuality. The lecture was informative and inspired spirited and insightful exchanges with the audience.
We got back to our room with just enough time to relax for a few hours before heading down to the "Wicked & Wild Lingerie Dance Party" sponsored by Hedonism Resorts <http://hedonism-resorts.com>. Of the four dances each year, this one always seems to be the wildest! With a theme like lingerie, it takes little imagination to know how the dance floor looked. This year the party was only slightly more subdued because the nipple police were out in force. At the 2002 convention, women had somewhat more flexibility in their attire or for that matter, lack there of. This year, partly because of Clark County regulations, modest adjustments had to be made to compensate for the possible interaction with non-convention hotel guests. It was a minor inconvenience and had little affect inside the party.
And speaking of the party, it was packed! You could hardly get on the dance floor! Judging from the line at registration to purchase a single-day pass, a full month of radio advertisements in Las Vegas had an impact. The more, the merrier!
During the party, we decided to make a brief trip back up to our room. As we exited the convention area, we found a small group of voyeurs that had collected on the mezzanine level. I'm not suggesting that these were a bunch of greasy men huddled in the corner with a camera. To the contrary, these were average people wondering what all the fun was about and, given our attire, it's hard to blame their curiosity.
As we rode in the elevator, four men returning from the pool boarded on the sixth floor. Eventually curiosity got the best of them and one asked, "So what's up with the robe?" I felt I looked rather stylish in my blue pinstripe Calvin Klein robe. What could I say? "We're having a pajama party," I replied. We all laughed as he responded, "Can we come?"
We slept in Saturday morning and eventually made it down to the casino for some gambling. We took advantage of the central location of the Aladdin and visited several of the casinos too.
Saturday afternoon we were back in the seminars. My wife chose "Tantric Puja" by Francoise Ginsberg, PhD. Yes, this would be our adventure for this year since neither of us had any in-depth of understanding Tantric. But then, what's life without adventure? This was a couples-only seminar and, as the class began, Francoise explained the key point of this seminar-- the word "puja" translates to "touch." In this seminar, we would be exploring the sensations of touch with our partners and other members of the class. It was a peculiar moment for me as I turned and bowed to my wife. Truth be known, my wife and I have never explored other couples and the look of terror on her face was priceless. We had stumbled into a class that we may not have taken had we known the content. I should point out that we could've excused ourselves from the class if we wanted, but instead we chose to stay for the experience.
During the class, we repeatedly exchanged partners and participated in five minute exercises intended to explore the bounds of sensuality, not sexuality. I won't cheat the experience by giving a detailed description, suffice it to say that an hour and a half later we emerged from the class relaxed and laughing with each other over what had happened. We enjoyed an experience that we may not have normally tried and therefore learned about ourselves, each other and grew as a couple.
This being the last night of the convention, Lifestyles Tours & Travel <http://Lifestyles-Resorts.com> sponsored the "Lifestyles Banquet." This is always our favorite evening of the convention. It's a chance to have dinner with the other convention attendees and reflect on the past several days. We dined with several couples from the Southern California area. Not only the company, but our food was excellent too-- the stuffed chicken breast was delicious! Dinner was followed by some slow music and dancing, but it wasn't long before the main doors were open and the "Arabian Nights Masquerade Adventure," sponsored by Lifestyles Getaway Club Puerto Vallarta, was underway!
Perhaps even more than the other dances, the spirit of the evening was reflected in the costumes that people were wearing. There were plenty of belly dancers and a great deal of sheiks in attendance and it was all very extravagant. Of course this was the night that Lifestyles awarded vacations for the best male costume, best female costume and best couple and each year this is a contest that must be witnessed to be appreciated.
On our drive home, we discussed how the convention continues to grow. This year was another sell-out. And each year ,the struggle for the LSO staff continues to be to find larger accommodations that can house all who wish to attend. Rumor has it that the Lifestyles Convention will be returning to Las Vegas next year, but I would suggest you continue to check with the Lifestyles Web site for details. And for those of you who missed this event, there are more on the horizon-- you have Lifestyles-East in Miami Beach, Florida March 26-30, 2004. And don't forget the very first international gathering in Acapulco, Mexico May 12-16, 2004.
I would like to thank Robert McGinley and the entire LSO staff for allowing DaBelly to be a part of another convention. We look forward to next year!
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