Photos by Dave Schwartz and the Lifestyles Organization photo staff

All right, maybe it didn't take the full 12 months to recover from last year's convention, but I certainly walked funny for a while.  Why you ask? Well, I guess you'll just have to read on to find out!

Dark-Thirty Again?

Didn't I learn from last year?  Didn't I promise myself last year that I wouldn't get up in the middle of the night to drive to another convention? As we started out from our house at 4 a.m., I found myself reflecting on our first experience with Lifestyles.  What changes would there be from the 2001 event?  Well, to start with, I actually took my wife, Sally, this time!  Yes, applause, applause.  It's not that Naughty Mickie wasn't fine company; in fact she would be accompanying Sally and I to this year's event.  But rather, by bringing Sally along, I was able to better share with her the many experiences that Mickie and I had the previous year, not to mention I would avoid "that look."  Yes, you all know what look I'm talking about.  The look a non-Lifestyles kind of guy gets as he tries to explain to his wife why he's sharing a hotel room with, well, with our own leather queen, Mickie. And the look a guy gets as he tries to explain why he's walking funny when he comes home from the convention.  Yes, there were several things we learned last year!

I was eager to bring Sally along this year.  I knew that she was open-minded enough to be able to enjoy the carefree sexual attitude that prevails at this convention.  It's no secret that these people have traveled in some instances from Europe to be, well, carefree.  There is a tangible feeling that you sense at an event like this.  It comes with an understanding that almost anything can happen and often does.  Perhaps it's best described as a true sense of freedom or adventure.  But truth be known, bringing Sally along was also a matter of self-preservation.

Aside from taking several seminars and of course "shopping, shopping, shopping," I knew that during the trip, my loving bride and mother of our children would most likely be occupying the front passenger seat in my car. This was important to me for many reasons.  It meant that I could spend time with Sally and also that the aforementioned leather queen (Mickie) would have less of an opportunity for a repeat performance of last year's drive home.

Last year, as I drove home from Las Vegas, Mickie was in the front seat twirling a foot long acrylic phallus she had purchased when she decided to take it for a test-drive.  And test-drive she did, right on my nuts.  I forget what I said to provoke the attack, but to this day, she claims I got what I deserved.  All I remember is searing pain and struggling to keep the car on the road.  Note to self:  Never piss-off a sleep deprived, phallus wielding leather queen!

Note from Mickie: Awww, Dave, doncha know that pain is good for the soul?!


This year, the convention was held at the spacious Reno Hilton.  Check-in to both the hotel and the convention went smoothly.  And as I had hoped, soon after arriving, reality was officially suspended.  As we entered our room, we could hear the sound of a PA system.  We opened the curtains to discover  that our room was not only overlooking the pool, but also the beginning of the wet T-shirt contest!

Yes I know, we all have been to wet T-shirt contests, but this one was a little different-- this was the first contest that I've been to where people had to get dressed before they could participate!  At the pool, European-style sun bathing was the rule of the day and there was no shortage of women enjoying the warmth rays on their bare skin.

We had a few hours to kill before dinner and the "Hot Ladies in Red, Cool Men in Black" - themed dance, so we decided to take a walk down to the Erotic Marketplace.  Let's just say it was everything that you might expect and more.  If you arrived at the convention with the sudden realization that you had forgot that favorite something back home, the marketplace had anything you needed-- a full assortment, from toys to lingerie, was available.

About 9:30 p.m., we ventured down to the dance.  For Sally, several months of anticipation and lamenting over what to wear soon came to an end.  This was her first experience with a full scale Lifestyles Ball and she was a bit apprehensive, but expectations and hesitation soon gave way to the reality of the evening.  And for Sally, there was an unsuspected surprise.

After entering the hall and taking a moment to look around, I got her first impressions.  "I'm really impressed by how elegant this is," she commented with a smile.  The hall was already filled and the atmosphere was overwhelming.  Although the ball was themed, there was a "come as you will" attitude within the red and black color code.  Attire ranged from black tie and gowns to many things decidedly less formal and with a live band already onstage the party was raging!

How raging you ask?  The dance floor was packed with people bumping and grinding and it seemed that everyone was getting a fair amount of attention. For these couples, the dance floor was a place to meet and greet!  And as we all know, bands often receive a fair share of attention from women in clubs. This night was no different, as some of the women at the front of the dance floor began first grabbing at several members of the band and eventually undressing them!  This activity left the lead singer commenting, "We've played a lot of shows but this one is something else!"  All this and the night was just getting under way!  We stayed and closed the party down
before finding our way back to our hotel room.

Mickie: Settling in my room quickly, then getting out to check the scene was foremost on my agenda. I previewed the marketplace, seeking out some new fashions and getting an overview on the crowd. After a decadent dinner featuring sushi and champagne, I was ready to roll into the dance. I donned my latest black and red creation and took to the floor. The dance floor was really the best spot to see the action-- and to flirt with the interesting people!

Day Two

Friday morning came so early!  With our bodies already crying for a little recovery time, we managed to rise for the occasion.  And the occasion was the "Enhancing Sexual Performance Using Astrology" seminar hosted by Lyn Greenleaf-James.  The seminar was early, but we found it well worth the struggle to get out of bed!

Greenleaf-James covered astrological compatibility issues, as well as touching on how astrology plays a role in personal fetishes, fantasies, positions and passions.  She also delved into how astrology plays a role in relations weather they be non-traditional or traditional.  This seminar put a whole new wheel on sexual play.

As we were leaving the seminar, I remember having a conversation with Sally. We had and important choice to make.

"Let's see, it's mid-morning, what do you want to do?" I asked.  "We could go to brunch or the pool."

And that's where the struggle began.  Brunch, pool, brunch, pool, brunch...POOL!  "Come on," I said.  "It's still morning and we needed some time to recover.  There's nothing wrong with a quick trip to the pool. We'll grab a couple of cold ones and stretch out in the sun."

As we got up to our room to change I remember looking out our window and down at the pool and commenting, "It looks like half the people down there are topless."  As we arrived at the pool, I was impressed with the accuracy of my estimation.  Half were topless, the female half!  The pool was packed although we still managed to pick out a place on the grass to soak up the sun.  The atmosphere was contagious and the sun hot.  It wasn't long before we found ourselves in the water splashing around and cooling down.  As we relaxed and made small talk, we were both suddenly taken by a vision of something we hadn't ever seen before.  Two young ladies were approaching the stairs with their flotation devices, which happened to be blow-up dolls! After the initial trepidation of climbing on board, the two were off paddling around the pool and having a great time.

Mickie: I arrived at Dave and Sally's room shortly after their return from the pool (I needed some beauty sleep, ya know). While waiting on Dave to change, Sally and I amused ourselves by flashing our breasts by the room's window for the crowd below and crying out, "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You can't see them!" And then laughing hysterically, because we knew the tinted window kept us from view. Except, maybe not for Sally, she actually rubbed up against the window a few times-- hey, to each their own, maybe it felt good after spending the morning in the sun.

After a late lunch, we hooked up with Mickie and we were off to the "Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Toys" seminar hosted by Terri Galietta.  Mickie and I attended this seminar last year and were impressed with Terri's ability to relate with an audience on a topic that can often be uncomfortable.  This year was no less entertaining and had an added touch of emotion.  After more than a decade, this year was Terri's last year hosting seminars at the Lifestyles Convention because she is moving to Australia.  Nonetheless, she made it through the presentation with the same grace and humor that we have grown to expect.  I know that her contribution will be missed.

Finally, it was Friday night and time for the "Hedonism Resorts Pajama /Lingerie Dance."  This theme has long been a favorite of the LSO partygoers and this night would not be an exception.  Apparel ranged from erotic to humorous.  Each night at the dances, Lifestyles and the various sponsors of the evening gave away trips to all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica.  The contests ranged from "best" to "least" to just plain old funny.  Walking through the audience you could see couples dressed as Adam and Eve, Austin Powers and Foxy Cleopatra and even someone dressed as former-president Clinton.  And during this night, perhaps more than others, skin was in.  While we were on the dance floor, it seemed the closer that we got to the stage, the less people were wearing and yes, less was more!

Mickie: Oooo! I just love an excuse to go out in my jammies. Isn't that what they're for? Certainly not for sleeping in! At the ball, it was fun to see all the different things people consider lingerie. The outfits ranged from innocent to something I wouldn't even put in my closet. The scariest part, was the people who wore regular normal street clothes-- tonight, they were the freaks!

Arguably we had a pretty full day at this point.  The pool, the seminars, the shopping and, of course, the dance, but as we were about to learn, our evening just wasn't complete.  It was around one o'clock when we were leaving the dance and we discovered Lingerie Bowling.  Where it is true that we had just spent the last three hours in a hall filled with thousands of people in various forms of sleeping attire, I can honestly say you haven't seen anything until you go lingerie bowling with them!  And make no mistake, there weren't any Earl Anthony's lounging on the lanes in their "tighty whitey's" that night.  Only the few, the proud, the half naked!

Mickie: Just like a man, always excited to play with balls. Dave, is this where I tell everyone how you wiggle your butt when you go for a strike? Oh, sorry, that's a secret... But I can tell everyone how great those bowling shoes went with your G-string!  Just kidding! Really, I loved the lanes, it was one of the few places you could strike out and still score!!

Day Three

It's all beginning to blur.  Everything is becoming one big flesh-toned blur!  It was Saturday morning and several days of partying had begun to take its toll.  Each night we stayed out a little later and each morning it took a little longer to drag ourselves out of bed.  It's the price we pay for journalistic excellence!

It took a couple of extra hours, but we did make it out of bed.  It's a good thing too, because our own Naughty Mickie was hosting, and my wife Sally assisting, the "Introduction to the Sensual Art of Belly Dance" seminar.  The two spent several hours giving more than 50 women a basic introduction to the ancient dance form.  The ladies had a great time learning some new moves from Mickie and Sally and I know the husbands were expecting to see them on the dance floor that night!

Mickie: Not bragging or anything, but my talk on the history, culture and fashions of belly dance went well. When it came to the moves, I even got most of the guys to get up and stretch with us. Sally was a great help, she did the moves with me, assuring that everyone could see how each one was executed. Then my big trial came, could they learn the choreography I prepared? To my amazement and joy, I turned around at one point and saw everyone dancing along perfectly! Kudos to my "future dance troupe"! Before we parted ways, we made a big circle, sticking all of the men in the center and shimmying up to them, turning and giving them a shake for the eyes. I hope everyone had as good a time as I did! And thanks, Sally, I couldn't have done it without you.

We spent a quiet afternoon roaming the casino and eventually viewing the Exotic Art Exhibition.  In the exhibition hall, Martini Nation was working their way through a set of music that was very Frank Zappa influenced.  They sounded great and certainly put a smile on my face as we watched their performance.  The art exhibit was tasteful and well done, offering a full range of works, from the shocking to the erotic.

The last night of the convention had finally come.  After three days, I think we all felt not only tired, but also melancholy that this was the final party.  The "Silver & Gold Masquerade Ball & Costume Contest" was much like the previous nights, albeit with slightly less energy.  For many, the night was filled with the same excitement and outrageous costumes from the previous dances, but for us it was an evening to relax and chat with several of the other attendees.   I think this was my favorite night of the convention because we had the opportunity to have dinner with such a diverse group of couples.  Interesting conversation and a sense of normalcy juxtaposed the raging party.  And where the backdrop of the dance would always make for a unique evening, it was substituted by an opportunity to connect with real people and step back toward reality.

Mickie: I made my appearance in an Indian-style outfit with a long skirt flecked with silver, a fringed silver top and a brown and green veil. I spent some time at the ball, but I really wanted to see the town, so I sneaked off to a taxi and headed for downtown Reno. There, I cruised the casinos and the bars, stopping in for a martini at each one. Before heading to the hotel, I nibbled on a mashed potato omelet and sipped a frothy cappuccino. It must have been at least 3 a.m. before I finally tucked myself into bed.


So what did I learn from another Lifestyles Convention?  I guess that's the fundamental question.  Well, I brought my wife this year (although some attendees might argue it's not a requirement) and to my delight, my nuts are still intact!

Mickie: Yeah, so Dave's body survived, but what about his wallet? Actually, I was the big shopper I think, with a cool T-shirt, a new bellybutton ring and some toys. Okay, okay, what did I learn?? Hmmm... I learned that the Lifestyles Convention is a great way to spend a weekend even if you can't spend it in the same room as your publisher, every year brings a new experience and, most importantly, I wanna go again!

The 2002 convention was like 2001 and yet completely different.  As it turns out, the experience is as unique as the people who attend.  Whereas in setting up the convention, Lifestyles President Robert McGinley can only offer us a stage to shed inhibitions.  The performance is really within the people who attend.  And all the performance requires is an open mind and a willingness to let yourself experience all that feels right to you.  As we are discovering, the attendees of this convention are not exclusively swingers.  There has also been a small influx of straight couples that enjoy the freedoms and openness afforded these convention goers.
Is the Lifestyles Convention for everybody?  Fortunately not!  The amount of pasteurizing it would require to make this convention palatable to everyone would certainly destroy the experience.  No, I would rather leave it to those who understand the need for adventure.  Some climb mountains, others go to the moon, and still others go bowling!  See you next year!

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