WARNING!! The article about the Lifestyles Convention deals with adult subject matter and, although there is no explicit or pornographic language, it may not be appropriate for all readers.
Free your mind
at the Lifestyles Convention
By Dave Schwartz
and Naughty Mickie
The Lifestyles Organization and Dave Schwartz
another one of those late nights that publishers can never seem to avoid. It was
4 a.m. and I had been awake for nearly 24 hours. It had already been a long day
twice and there was no end in sight. Slaving away over the computer, it was time
to do monthly assignments. It went something like this:
Let's see, assignments for the month. We've got the music requirements covered-- Joe Satriani and Darwin's Waiting Room should make a great one two punch. The columns have begun trickling in. Wait a minute, what's this? Lifestyles Convention. I've got two passes for the Lifestyles Convention in Las Vegas! It seems almost too good to be true. But who can I send to this? Let's see, description. "Thousands of couples from around the world attended the four day event with the majority arriving early and staying late. Hosted by The Lifestyles Organization in Anaheim, California, this has now become the planet's largest gathering of people who agree with author Jack London who wrote: 'The proper function of Man is to live, not to exist.'" This is a "swingers" convention! And it's in Vegas! Woo Hoo!
I can only justify my actions by telling you that a good leader leads by example. Never send your troops to an assignment that you wouldn't do yourself!
Now who can I take with me, my lovely wife, the mother of my children and lifelong companion? Ooooh, swing and a miss (forgive the pun) she's busy. Too bad too, we could use a weekend away together. Male writers on the staff, I don't think so! Male bonding is the last thing on my mind. That narrows it down considerably. Let's see, we have Ceara, Michelle, Stephanie, Carin, Naughty Mickie. Naughty Mickie! Anyone with the moniker Naughty for a first name has my vote!
Mickie: I was soaking in a bubble-filled bathtub when I got the call. It was my publisher, Dave, and I was sure he had another weird assignment for me-- that's the only time he ever calls. Sure enough, he wanted to know if I wanted to go with him to the Lifestyles Convention in Las Vegas. What does he think I am?? Stupid?! Of course I want to go! But what to pack? Leather, lace, heels, a bathing suit... I'm halfway there!
The alarm sounded
at 4 a.m. and with blurry eyes and little knowledge of what we were getting
into, I climbed into the car and headed for Mickie's. I was surprised to find
her wide-awake. She never struck me as a day person, but then it was still dark.
She must have slept better than I did. In fact she almost seemed chipper when I
arrived at her house.
sleep all night. I'm not sure if I was excited or anxious, but I was ready. I
got in the car and Dave looked like morning came way too soon.
Mickie and I set
out for Vegas long before the sun came up. As we drove across the desert from
Los Angeles we had plenty of time to discuss our expectations of a convention
that neither of us had ever attended. We had been over the itinerary and you can
say that we were both slightly apprehensive. Press junkets are always
interesting, but for this one Mickie and I had an additional problem. In order
to experience the Lifestyles Convention first hand, we were going to have to
pose as man and wife. Being married, I knew that I could fake it as well as the
next guy, but Mickie on the other hand, you were never sure who she was going to
appear with. Perhaps Mickie was better suited for this convention than I had
Mickie: We arrive
in Vegas, one of the cities that never sleep. Sounds like a perfect getaway for
me, except for one tiny itty bitty thing-- Dave and I are supposed to be posing
as a couple for the convention, since it is a "couple's only" event. I guess
I'll get over this, but if he expects me to rub his feet tonight, he's outta
As we stepped
away from the registration desk, it was clear that we had stepped right into a
world where the threat of reality didn't exist. This was a world where many of
the sexual and social paradigms of everyday life simply didn't apply. The women
were dressed casually and often erotically. It was a world where a person's
sexuality was celebrated, not repressed. We were beginning to understand what
Jack London was talking about.
impressions? How about that little blonde walking past in the green see-through
top and matching tap pants. That was impressive, but not nearly as impressive as
her utter comfort in her attire, as well as the almost lack of reaction from
everyone in visual range. The few comments that she did receive were of
admiration. She was confident and that was the quality that made her even more
attractive. But perhaps the most impressive thing about this lovely creature was
that, like us, she was heading for the first seminar of the morning, "Women Who
Seek Gang Bangs: A Nation Wide Study" presented by Joan Dixon, PhD and Dwight
Mickie: Dave was
looking hard to find someone dressed provocatively, but it looked like a bunch
of way too normal people to me. I had gone casual in jeans and a red T-shirt, so
I blended in perfectly. Okay, okay, there were a few women who were dressed in
what could be considered a little wild, but no more than I've seen in any clubs
in Hollywood, or casinos in Vegas for that matter.
It's 9:30 a.m.,
and as Mickie and I settle into ours seats, we hear, “Welcome to 'Women Who Seek
Gang Bangs: A Nation Wide Study'.” Am I in the right room? Did I
bring the right person? What twist of has fate brought me to another state
with a woman other than my wife to hear a lecture on women who enjoy sex with
three or more men at a time? I’m concerned and should be. I think
Mickie was taking notes!
Mickie: All the
way here Dave was saying it was important for us to get to the first lecture. As
we sat in the meeting room, I looked at him and whispered, "You said this was
what?! Gangbangs and the women who love them? Geez, Dave, I need some coffee for
this first thing in the morning."
It turned out to
be an interesting lecture. The subject was presented maturely and I could
understand why someone would want to study this topic. It may only apply to what
one may consider a sub-culture in our prudish nation, but it seemed to be a
So have we
learned from our lecture? Yes, at this convention the only appropriate
pseudonym for Miss Congeniality would be slut. Now it’s easy to
misconstrue that as an offensive statement or even an insult, but it’s not.
As I had suggested earlier, the sexual and social paradigms of everyday life
simply didn't apply here. To better clarify I will take my assertion a
step further and add, the only appropriate pseudonym for slut would be queen.
And here, those who might be called sluts in the outside world are treated as
Dave and I were first-timers to the convention; we decided that we had better
brush up on our etiquette. The next stop for us was "Systemic Sexuality: An
Introduction to Swinging" with TL and Suzi Wahl. Again, the topic was presented
in a very mature manner. The basic idea was you don't have to do anything you
don't feel comfortable with and you must always respect other people's feelings.
Sounds about right for most things in life.
Welcome to the
land of the newbie. We were learning that these seminars were well
attended and this one was no different. I thought that I would feel a bit
awkward walking into this workshop because by default you are announcing to the
“world” that you are new to this lifestyle and for the most part may not have a
clue. Like the other seminars, I felt completely at home here. No
funny looks or paranoid couples, just a sea of smiling faces. It was
comforting to know we were not alone with our newness.
TL and Suzi Wahl
conducted the lecture. They did a great job answering some of the more
awkward questions and offered a wealth of information for the first-time
explorer. In future articles we expect to be hearing more from this
And now, it’s
time for our first break of the day. We’ve spent most of our time learning
and haven’t yet explored and mingled with our other new found friends.
Where do you think Mickie’s first stop was?
bazaar is a blast! There's tons of clothing, a terrific round bed, a nice
selection of whips and floggers and all kinds of things. I finally settle on a
terrific nightgown of black lace with silver highlights. It's cut low and slit
high and flows beautifully-- I'll wear it tonight under my leather bodice for
the evening's event, "A Very Naughty Nightie Dance Party." I also can't resist a
black leather paddle-type flogger-- it will go great with my outfit!
Let me just say,
this place had some stuff! Let your imagination run wild! One of the
more impressive items for sale was the “Drilldo”. I won’t explain it, nor
should I have to. Suffice it to say that lubrication would be the prime
concern of every woman. And judging from the demonstration video…
Never mind, some places you really shouldn't go!
break was several hours long, we never seemed to find the time to eat.
There was so much to see and do that, before we knew it, it was time for our
“I’ve been a bad boy…”
A Multidimensional Perspective" with Mark Ostrom PhD was a bit more clinical
than I expected. Come to think of it, I don’t know what I expected.
Obviously there is more to this than just smacking someone around, I could get
my head around the pleasure aspects too, but I wasn’t certain what angle Ostrom
would use to approach the topic. Since he was a PhD, the clinical method was
Spanking" was presented like a formal college lecture. We learned the history of
spanking, technique and dos and don'ts. An intense-looking muscular man and I
got into a discussion about S&M (sadism/masochism) with the Ostrom. It seemed
that the Ostrom didn't consider spanking to be in the genre of S&M, while we
did. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
This was also the
place we met Malcolm Arnold. Tall, dark and muscular… Hey, why am I
describing his looks? Mickie was the one squealing about him. In fact, I
haven’t heard the end of him since we first met the guy. He had a knack of
looking into a person’s eyes when you spoke that left both of us wondering which
of us he was more interested in. I had little doubt that if Mickie had her
way we would be running into him again.
"March of the wooden soldiers"
It was time for
"A Very Naughty Nightie Dance Party" or, simply put, the lingerie ball. We set
out. Luck of the draw, our room was on the far side of the hotel, away from the
dance. Down the hall, through the casino, it wasn't long before we had attracted
attention. The whispers and pointing had started. I leaned over and whispered
into Mickie's ear, "I wonder if Stephen Mason (Public Relations) is pulling a
joke on us!" She smirked, "It's probably a cruel trick that they play on the
media every year." The longer we walked, the more obvious it became that we were
the only ones dressed for the occasion. We began to laugh. In my bathrobe and
slippers, I looked like I was heading for the pool, but in her cape, Mickie
looked totally Goth.
Mickie: Dave and
I are the only "strangely" dressed people marching through the casino. People
may think that Dave, dressed in a robe and slippers, can't find the pool or his
room, but I'm sure I look creepy in my big black cape, fishnet stockings and
studded red platform heels. I'm not really bothered by the attention, I'm just
nervous that we've been hoaxed into dressing this way. If it pans out that just
the media is in lingerie, I know I'll just laugh and go on to enjoy the evening,
but how will Dave react??
Out of the casino
and down the long walkway over the pool. There were plenty of people, but we
still hadn't spotted anyone else dressed even remotely like us. By this time, we
were really laughing. If this was a joke, we were going to revel in it. Through
the bar and down the remaining length of corridor, the black curtain was in
sight. Finally the moment of truth, as we pass through the curtain we smile. We
have found our people!
the curtain and here we are-- home at last. It hasn't been a joke; we are part
of the group. We step into the ballroom and I feel immediately comfortable.
Everyone is having fun. There's a large crowd dancing and others milling around
chatting with people. We meet a lovely couple, Ricky and Lisa, from Kentucky.
Lisa is in a white camisole and has a beautiful smile. Ricky is in pajama
bottoms and is a little more reserved. It turns out that they're first-timers
too and they're having a great time.
A little later,
the intense guy from "Erotic Spanking" walks by and admires my leather bodice.
He stops to tell us about his class, "Erotic Candle/Wax Play," tomorrow and
looks deep into Dave's eyes as he speaks. I learn that his name is Malcolm
mmm.... I could have a good dream about him. When Malcolm leaves, Dave says that
he thinks the guy was hitting on him. "Why do you think that?" I ask. "After
all, he's teaching a candle class, he was wearing a leather vest with leather
shorts and he's from San Francisco?" Dave glares at me. Really, Dave, I still
think he is just one of those people who when he's talking to you, you have his
total attention. And if that doesn't make you feel better, at least he's very
My memories of
the dance? Let me just say two words: Mal-Colm. There he was in his
black leather vest and skintight black short shorts. And the women?
Some wore virtually nothing, but most wore slightly more than nothing. It
was a great visual and a great time!
Throughout the dance, one thing gets my attention-- the vibe. It seemed more
like a high school dance or perhaps even an office party. Everyone was wandering
around in various states of dress, depending on the lingerie they selected, but
there wasn't any groping or staring or anything rude. I get treated worse on
stage at some of the clubs I frequent in Hollywood! Miss Manners would have been
impressed. The group was there to have fun and we did.
After the dance, we go back to the room and change for the pool soiree. Dave and I lay down on lounge chairs at the edge of the sparkling blue water and watch people swim and laugh. What's that?! Dave's snoring; I think it's time to go. I poke him in the ribs and we return to the room to crash. Instead of sleeping right away, we talk and talk and talk about what we've learned and what we plan to do tomorrow. Good night!
Morning comes and
it just doesn’t seem fair. The last thing I remember was lying in my bed
and chatting with Mickie. Oh yeah, and there was the sound of the woman
next door. I swear they were moving furniture over there. I don’t
know how many people were in there, but they were making use of every inch of
that room. I think I passed out just before 3 a.m. Now it’s 7:30
a.m. and Mickie is sitting out on the balcony in her underwear. Did I miss
like greeting the morning with a cool glass of water while sitting on a balcony
overlooking a picturesque garden. It's so private that I didn't even have to get
dressed-- except for my undies, gotta have some modesty. So relaxing... until a
pesky persistent hummingbird decides to yell at me. I think I'm sitting to close
to his tree or something. Don't you have something better to do? Go find some
nectar or a friend you nasty critter. Maybe you're just not a morning person--
Dave sure isn't. I think I'll go and jump up and down on his bed until he wakes
“S&M with Nina”
Mickie: Is it
really ever too early for S&M? Maybe. 9:30 a.m. came quickly today and I wasn't
quite awake enough. Then Nina Hartley walked in. She looked great, long blond
hair, a petite figure and long legs. She and Ernest Greene (of Taboo magazine
fame) led "S&M and Romance: What Every Swinger Should Know." The talk was
straightforward and basic. Hartley and Greene covered topics such as the proper
time and place for a "scene" to how to bring up the idea to your partner. We
learned that this lifestyle is much more prevalent than most people think. The
other surprising element is that it is a lifestyle that draws many
intellectuals. It is often said that the most powerful sex organ humans have is
their mind and I have to agree.
“The Toy Box”
Mickie: I don't
want you to take this the wrong way, but I wish that this talk, "Toy Time! Tool
Time with a Twist'' by Terri Galietta, had been presented in my college Human
Sexuality class, it could've helped a lot of people. For a short time, I worked
a day job in the medical field, and I learned that people would do a lot of
strange things for sexual pleasure. Most of the things they do are because they
are ignorant of what damage they can do to themselves or don't think clearly
while in the throes of passion. The class covered serious stuff, such as condoms
and safe sex, as well as fun stuff, adult toys. Galietta explained which toys
could actually hurt you because of their poor manufacturing and which toys were
better. She also explained how to care for the items, how to clean them properly
and avoid bacteria or disease. This sounds very dull and clinical, but it really
wasn't. An earth-mother type, Galietta, was a hoot-- she should take her act on
the road. Everything was presented clearly and sliced with humor, the perfect
way to approach this topic.
lecture, we have an opportunity to purchase some of her wares. On the table I
spy a clear acrylic dildo, it's so beautifully made that it could be a work of
art. The women are clamoring to get at it, but I'm in front and something in me
says, "Buy it." So I do. It's not like I need one. I think I'll take it home and
put it on the coffee table in my living room-- now that should spark a
conversation. And if one of my dates gets too fresh, I'll chase him out the door
"Tool Time Again"
Time for us to
make purchases for our loved ones. They have been very generous in
allowing Mickie and I on this little adventure. Yes, we owe them, but I
think we would rather they could’ve joined us. Off we go to the bizarre.
The day before we both spotted a selection of toys that piqued our interest.
As we walk around, it's not uncommon to see women trying on clothes right on the
sales floor. There are changing rooms provided for the more modest, but this was
a swinger’s convention.
Mickie: I take
this last opportunity through the marketplace to roll around on the round bed,
try out the "massage" table, play with the whips and just enjoy having some time
off. We wander through the art gallery and I find several works that I like, but
can't afford today. The sculptures are wonderful and detailed; there is a
painting for every taste and the photographs are intriguing.
As we continue
through the bazaar aisles, I spot Nina Hartley. We wanted to get a photo of her
for DaBelly. Nina's busy talking to a couple who are considering bringing
another women into their relationship. I stand quietly nearby. "Can she feel
your breasts?" Nina asks. Surprised, I say, "Okay." The woman tentatively places
her hands on my chest. "Really feel them," Nina says as she gently guides the
woman's hands which slide slowly under my shirt. They discuss my attributes as
though I'm not there. I look over at Dave and he's laughing. Nina explains that
it was important for the woman to feel my breasts, as they are natural rather
than enhanced by silicone. After the couple leaves, I realize that Nina, who is
seated on a table, has wrapped her legs around me and crossed her ankles. I turn
to her and say, "Well? It's only fair." She says, "Of course." And there we are,
in the middle of the busy marketplace, feeling each other up. What can I say? I
always wondered what enhanced breasts felt like and now I know. Calm down--
they're only breasts. We pose for Dave and chat for a minute. Then Nina releases
me to more adventures.
As we walked away
from Nina, Mickie turned to me and gushed, “I made out with Nina Hartley right
here on the bazaar floor! Now I can put that on my resume!” A little
kissing, a little feeling… It was nothing that any of Mickie’s friends haven’t
come to expect from her!
"Candle in the Wind"
Our last seminar!
During the course of the day, Mickie and I had debated the possibility of
leaving early. I had high hopes of getting back to Los Angeles before midnight,
but it would seem that Mickie had bigger plans. All day long she brought
up Malcolm and his candle class. Armed with her insider knowledge that he
would be looking for an assistant, I had the feeling that she planned on
Mickie: Dave and
I sit in the front row of "Erotic Candle/Wax Play" with Malcolm Arnold. I keep
teasing him that he should be the model, after all Malcolm liked him best-- ha
ha ha! Arnold proves to be very professional. He has a beautiful young woman lay
on the table and coats her naked body with dripping candle wax as he explains
how a couple can explore their trust with each other and learn to become closer
through this erotic play. As Arnold speaks, he keeps rubbing her tummy, her
cheek and her leg. His hand never strays from her long and Arnold keeps his
model relaxed throughout the talk. He explains the proper candles to use,
different techniques and how to avoid burning each other. It's actually quite
interesting and, like Malcolm, very intense.
“On the Road Again”
Mickie: We hit
the road with a sigh. It would've been nice to stay for the dance that night,
but Dave and I both had other obligations. I feel enlightened and impressed. The
convention wasn't anything like I thought it would be and, yet, everything I
did. People should be comfortable with themselves and their sexuality. They
should also treat others with respect and maturity, as people did here. It
wasn't some wild swinging orgy, it was educational and made you want to talk
more about your inner feelings and discover more about yourself. It was
definitely an event that couples should attend at least once so that they can
learn how to be more open with each other. Most of all, it was fun. I'll be
marking my calendar for next year.
I'm left with a
sense of déjà vu. It's 4:50 a.m. and, again, I've been awake almost 24 hours.
I'm slaving over my computer and it's another continuation of a long day. I made
it home and things are back to normal, well almost. During our last walk
through the convention floor a guy handed me a viagra-type drug that he claimed
was all natural and “would keep me up” all night. Let’s just say that he
hit the nail right on the head! I mean the short-term results were nice,
but it left me wide-awake when I really needed some shuteye. On this trip, I
think Mickie and I both had our epiphanies. It was refreshing to enter an
environment filled with sexuality yet without sexual tensions. A reality
where people weren’t afraid to let their inner self out for the briefest of
moments and take a walk on the wild side. I enjoyed meeting Malcolm, Ricky
and Lisa and all the others. And, although Malcolm has become a point of
teasing between Mickie and I, it is done with affection. I am not a
homophobe and I find a sense of irony in not knowing his orientation.
Mickie did make a point that I will stand with, “It’s all right if a man is
going to find you attractive, at least he’s a good looking man!”
Back to the Lifestyles
Back to DaBelly Back to the Lifestyles Organization