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Sex with Dr. Jess


August 18, 2017

Can Shy Couples Be Swingers Too?

Of course you can!

The Lifestyle is rooted in social interactions — both online and in-person — so it’s not uncommon for all couples (regardless of
swingerwhether or not you identify as shy) to feel intimidated by the prospect of meeting, flirting with and pursuing new friendships and connections.

Being shy, however, does not mean that you cannot fully indulge in the swinging experience; with a little guidance and practice, you’ll find your groove and be well on your way to making new connections, cultivating lasting friendships and igniting the sexual spark with other couples in the Lifestyle.

I turned to my friends from PlayboyTV’s Swing (click here for the NSFW link which confirms they are the antitheses of shy!) for their advice for shy folks in the Lifestyle. Here’s what they had to say:

Tammy McCray of offers the following insight:


“Having our own Lifestyle club has really opened our eyes to how difficult it can be if a couple is shy. Couples should try to contact the event host via email/PM prior to the event and ask any and all questions they have. This helps in two ways:

1. It can ease any fears or concerns they may have and they can enter the situation with far less trepidation,

2. They will feel like at the very least they “know” the event organizers prior to the event so they have a familiar face so seek out upon arrival.”

She offers these additional tips:

  • Tell the event organizer that you are shy and need help and ask them to introduce you to the most gregarious person/couple in the room. They’ll be thrilled to introduce you around!
  • If possible, scan the guest list and do as much “research” as possible on other attendees. You can then approach people you recognize.
  • Remember that outgoing people generally love to make shy people feel welcome. We had a single guy that came solo to an event and he simply walked up to a group and said, “May I join your conversation?” It was totally effective. Much better than standing around feeling awkward. There is no harm in just being honest, “Hi, we’re not great at this, can we join your conversation?”
  • A good suggestion for shy couples would be to search out events that are specifically geared toward meeting new people. That increases the likelihood that there will be other couples in the same boat and that may ease their shyness. We created a meet-and-greet event every Friday for just this purpose.

Kristal & Mike agree:


“Many shy couples prefer quieter environments and one-on-one meetings where they can hear and be heard. Louder, higher intensity parties where people are often grouped up with friends they regularly hang out with (i.e., cliques) can be more of a challenge to navigate.”

Daniel (of Swing’s Nikki & Daniel) adds:


“Being shy means finding ways to navigate social situations that don’t have immediate consequences. We were discussing this in one of my local groups the other day and came up with several ideas.

  1. Role play with your spouse on approaches. – Most shy people will be the first to admit they don’t know how to flirt. If they read articles online about best flirtation techniques, they can get a sense of what they can do in a non-pressure environment to express interest. (Arm touches, specific compliments when someone is funny/smart/appealing) Role playing will give the shy couple a chance to feed off of each other and boost each other’s confidence, as well as give clues to when their partner may falter and need the help of their wing-person.
  2. Place a ball in the other person’s court for a later time. – If you’re in a group setting, the fear of rejection can be overwhelming. If you’re meeting new people, give them your contact info with a generalized statement like “We would be interested in getting dinner/drinks with you guys sometime soon. Shoot us a text or call when works for you.” An open-ended overture hands the control over to the other couple and eliminates the fear of on-the-spot rejection.
  3. Consider using “Hint Cards” at a party.
  4. Have the chemistry conversation.

We all know you can use “chemistry” as a way to decline an invitation. For example: “We only capitalize on moments where we are feeling the chemistry. Chemistry is tricky, and sometimes it may change based on our own mood, but the chemistry just isn’t there for us tonight.”
But you can also use chemistry to offer an invitation: “Not sure how you guys are feeling tonight, but we feel that there’s a certain chemistry we would like to explore with you.”

IMG_0599In addition to the practical advice from these sage and experienced swingers, I have a few science-based tips to boost your confidence and improve your social game:

  1. Understand the science of likability. Shy people are more likable, so don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Expand your comfort zone in small doses without playing a role that’s at odds with your personal values and disposition.
  2. Practice new social skills in lower-intensity settings; for example, if you really struggle with initiating social contact, practice smiling at or saying hello to strangers at the hardware store before you attempt to do so at a Lifestyle event.
  3. Enacting new and challenging behavioural skills in low-pressure environments can help you to overcome initial shyness and build the confidence to do so in more intense (and sexually charged) settings.
    31458_1150.7f3aff83d1c7 This approach is similar to the “exposure hierarchy” used by cognitive behavioural therapists: if you experience anxiety in social situations like dating, we help you to create a list of exposures (experiences) in ascending order of anxiety-producing intensity. For example, you might practice making eye contact with the bus driver, saying “good morning” to a mail carrier, asking a stranger for the time and/or making small talk with your local barista. As you perform each task on the list and your worst fears (e.g. social rejection, embarrassment, hyperventilation) don’t come to fruition, your anxiety decreases and you The key to overcoming anxiety is to expose yourself to the anxiety-producing stimulus or situation and you can do so in small steps; avoidance of the stimulus only serves to intensify the anxiety.
  4. Shyness is often rooted in a tendency to overestimate negative scrutiny and reaction, so positive planning can go a long way to help you to overcome shy tendencies. Think about what you might talk about in advance just as you would if you were going on a first date. What questions can you ask to learn more about others? Asking questions to show genuine curiosity and listening intently to the responses fosters meaningful connections and makes you more likeable.
  5. Be your own best friend. Shyness is also associated with a critical inner dialogue, so chances are you’re being to hard on yourself. Cut it out!

When you catch negative self-talk running through your mind, think about what your best friend would say to refute your doubts; they’d offer reassurance and a confidence-boost and it’s essential that you learn to do the same for yourself.

You’ve got this!